UCI gives green light to disc brakes for 2016 season

Men's and women's pro cycling teams will be free to use bikes equipped with disc brakes from January 1 2016

Cycling’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), will allow teams to use disc brakes in addition to standard calipers in 2016. The decision follows a two-month trial this year.

The UCI said in a press release on Monday that men’s WorldTour, Professional Continental and Continental teams, plus Women’s teams, may to use discs if they like. It did not set a time frame or limit the use to a set number of races.

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“After extensive discussions with its stakeholders, the UCI has decided to allow the use of disc brakes by riders across all divisions of UCI professional road teams,” read a press release.

“The use of disc brakes will be carefully monitored throughout the year with a view to definitively allowing them to be used in professional road cycling from 2017.”

Watch: Disc brake road bike of the year 2016

The UCI allowed teams to use disc brakes in two races of their choice this August and September. Several teams did so in the Eneco Tour.

Sky’s Bernhard Eisel used them in Eneco and his team-mate Ben Swift rode them in the Tour du Poitou Charentes. Team Roompot and Trek Factory Racing riders tested them, as well. Trek used them in the Vuelta a España.

“The braking is definitely better in the rain, but everybody has to use them. You can’t have the bunch with disc brakes and the other half with normal ones, that would cause carnage because the braking points are different,” Eisel told Cycling Weekly earlier this month.

“There will be a lot of work to do in the next one or two years. I’m guessing everyone will be on them by 2018, earliest 2017.”

The body is reportedly working on a standard disc size and through axles, but did not mention so in its release today. Discs range from 120 to 160mm, with some teams using different sizes that could complicate neutral support.

“If you make a standard, then you stop the development,” said Stefano Cattai, BMC Racing’s team liaison from BMC Switzerland.

“You can figure out a spec agreement to save a lot of costs, but to put a standard down would block the development.”

Along with sizes and standards, safety is an issue if riders crash in a group with a sharp hot disc. The UCI will have plenty to monitor throughout the 2016 season.