Disc brakes were used for the first time in professional road raing on Tuesday, when two riders on Team Roompot trialled the equipment on stage two of the Eneco Tour.
As part of the UCI’s project to test the technology in the pro peloton, Team Sky’s Bernie Eisel also trialled the brakes on his Pinarello Dogma during Wednesday’s stage three.
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However the issue of disc brakes in professional racing remains divisive. What did riders and mechanics at the Eneco Tour make of their introduction this week?
“It’s working perfectly!”
Bernie Eisel (Team Sky)
“Trust me I was the last one that wanted to use disc brakes. They gave me them to try, and see, and then I could still complain about it. At the moment it’s working perfectly, no rubbing, nothing. For the moment, no complaints at all.
“This [stage three] was the first time I’ve ridden with them. In the first 50 to 60km I had to figure out how it worked, but at the end it’s just super easy. After three or four corners of hard braking you know how it works.”
“A recipe for disaster”
Greg Henderson (Lotto-Soudal)
“A lot of the crashes already are caused by guys, say 20 places in front of you touching their brakes a little bit, and then by the time it gets 20 back it becomes a lock on, an accordion effect.
“If you have guys who just touch the brakes and they lock on, as far as I’m concerned there are going to be more crashes in the peloton.”
“I can tell you I’ve been cut by chainrings so many times; in a crash there’s always a mark on your leg or your arm where you look at it later and go, ‘yup, that was a chainring.’ So now you’ll be able to add, ‘oh yeah that was a disc brake.’
“It’s a nice idea, it looks good, it looks different, but as far as I’m concerned I don’t think it’s safe in the pro peloton.”
“It doesn’t change a thing.”
Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quickstep)
“I don’t think anybody noticed. Everybody is acting like it’s the biggest deal of the century, but it doesn’t change a thing.
“The one thing that limits brake power is the tyre of the bike, it’s not the brake. With a rim brake I can brake as hard as the disc brake, because when the wheel jams, the wheel jams.
“I prefer disc brakes, I think it’s safer to use disc brakes, but I don’t know what the fuss is about. Let all teams be free, give them the choice to use them or not this season.”
“Every time you put the wheel in you have to set the calipers up.”
Filip Tisma, mechanic (Team Sky)
“The main challenge is to make both levers feel the same, front and back. Just everything is different, wheels and everything. You have to go back to basics and make sure everything is correct.
“The plan at the moment is just to change the bike, not to change the wheel [if there is a puncture]. It’s not about time, but every time you put the wheel in the bike you need to set the calipers up. So if you do it in a rush, in the race, it’s impossible to get it correct.”