The latest version of the UCI’s list of approved frames includes three notable new additions: the Canyone Ultimate CF SLX Disc, the Merida Scultura Disc, and the Giant TCR Advanced SL Disc, all of bikes that are yet to be officially released by the manufacturers.
Of the three, the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Disc is the only one that has been seen in the open, with Canyon displaying a prototype version at the Eurobike trade show last August. If that’s anything to go by, then the production version will have a similar frame to the standard Canyon Ultimate CF SLX, but with thru-axles front and rear, post-mount brake calipers, and redesigned seatstays that dispense with the brake bridge.
Watch: Cycling Weekly’s Disc Brake Road Bike of the Year
Details on the other two bikes require a little more guesswork. Merida unveiled a new version of the Scultura last summer, which like the Canyon Ultimate was mainly intended as a climber’s bike, although with flax fibres built into the carbon-fibre apparently to improve comfort. What is notable is that the rim brake Scultura has the rear brake positioned underneath the bottom bracket, so the rear end shouldn’t need as much reengineering to accommodate disc brakes as on the Canyon.
The Giant TCR was also updated last summer, although was intended as a thoroughbred lightweight bike, with the Giant Defy expected to take on the challenges of the cobbles. With this in mind we’re unlikely to see the new Giant TCR Advanced SL Disc in action in the Hell of the North, although maybe the hillier terrain of Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico could prove a more suitable testing ground.
One other thing we noticed while perusing the UCI’s list of approved frames is that the Specialized Venge ViAS that was first revealed before last year’s Tour de France is registered as the “Venge Rim”. Could this mean that there could be a “Venge Disc” coming in the near future?
Finally, the only question left to ask is will the pros actually start using these disc brake bikes any time soon? When the UCI started its first disc brake trial last August, there was a flurry of pros sticking their hands up to test the new technology. However this year, we have only seen Roompot-Oranje Peloton riding disc brakes, with other teams and riders seemingly reluctant to embrace them.