Fabian Cancellara is testing a disc brake bike in his winter training, but his Trek technical director believes he will use a traditional system in his Classics season

Despite a green light from the UCI, Trek Factory Racing and Classics star Fabian Cancellara will take a cautious approach to disc brakes in the 2016 season.

Trek is one of a handful of teams that tested disc brakes in the two-month period provided this 2015 season when select riders used them in the Vuelta a España.

“We have to be careful about rushing into it,” the team’s technical director, Matt Shriver told Cycling Weekly. “We have to be careful, but this is the future.”

Cancellara and Boy Van Poppel are training on Trek frames with disc brakes as they pass the cold winter months. They and some of the team’s other 23 cyclists will use disc-equipped bikes in select races in 2016 instead of taking an all-in approach.

>>> Everything you need to know about disc brakes

Unless it is a particularly hellish classics season weather-wise, Shriver sees Cancellara using calliper brakes to slow his bike.

“I would not rule it out [for Fabian in the Classics, like Paris-Roubaix], but we’ll see. I can’t divulge too much of our plans. I don’t think it’ll be our team, but I would not rule out a leader using them in other teams.

“The advantage of discs comes when the weather is wet. If Roubaix is wet, it’ll be good to have them. Also, you can use them in normal conditions to brake later ahead of the corners,” Shriver added.

“It’s unlikely, though, for Fabian because there is still a lot of testing and [Roubaix is] such a chaotic race, so you are adding more issues to an already busy race that pushes everyone’s resources. It’d be better if everyone is on them in that race.”

>>> What disc brake bikes will the pros be riding in 2016?

The hurdles to overcome include the unit’s weight, aerodynamics and safety. Sky’s Bernhard Eisel explained that he is concerned about slow wheel changes in the case of a puncture and risks of cuts or burns if there is a crash.

“It’s not going to be an all-in approach. We are still going to be testing in 2016, and that’s how it has to be,” Shriver said.

“In 2016, teams will be trying them out, more teams than this year, and riders will probably be asking to use them. In 2017, I think we’ll see entire teams fully on them. For sure it’s possible. It’ll help if a rider does well on them in a big race next year, that will spur it on.”

  • grizzman

    Ok, I’m not explaining properly..I’m just dispelling the myth that Disc brakes are the be-all and end-all in the wet.. Yes, they may brake better initially , however stopping power will always be limited by the tyre… And I agree – Neutral service will be a total NIGHTMARE!… As if we needed more motorbikes in the peleton!..

  • Nigel Rue

    Braking differences? Didn’t you say the limiting factor is tyre grip, which is the same for both setups. The difference between disc and rim brakes is modulation, the same as we currently get between different caliper types. Professional riders will have no problems, the same probably can’t be said for neutral service however.

  • grizzman

    Yes I understand that, but my point is that the limiting factor in braking on any vehicle is the tyre/road, not the rims/discs.. If you pull a disc brake on hard in the wet, the wheel will lock and the tyre will slip. I agree that discs will get to this point quicker but I think the benefits of disc are negligible from a safety point of view… Time will tell but I’m not sure having a peleton with mixed machinery is a good idea due to the braking differences.

  • Mondo

    Never felt the need for anything other than a rim brake with Swiss stop pads disc brakes are just ugly looking and not needed on a road bike I have seen 65mph on descents no problem slowing down for the corners so a good set of wheels with a good set of tyres and brake pads is all that’s needed

  • Nigel Rue

    I don’t think you are quite correct in your comment on wet weather braking. The problem with rim brakes in the wet is water getting on the rims from the road. The pads then have to clear this before normal braking is restored. This is less of a problem with discs.

  • grizzman

    What people don’t realize is that the limiting factor in braking isn’t the pad against the rim/disc, it’s the tyre against the road.. Discs may be better in the wet at braking the wheel but the tyre will always lock up against a wet road at the same point as a rim brake.. So, not actually safer in the wet and more likely to overheat on long high speed descents… Road cycling is a totally different discipline to mountain biking or cyclocross, so it’s not just a case of ‘it works for that so it’ll be fine for this’…

  • J1

    Is there an issue with brake fade/overheating with discs on long descents? This is an issue with calipers too obviously but I hear it from the riders that have adopted discs early more. Would be good to hear from people who’ve actually done some long descents on them.

  • ummm…

    I need to replace all my bikes…..

  • andrew1953

    Much safer in the wet and long, high speed decents on mountain stages. Also don’t lose braking with bent rims.