Tech of the week: 2016 pro bikes, the disc brake revolution, and more

Our pick of the best tech stories from the last week

Disc brakes given green light for 2016

Markel Irizar's bicycle on stage eight of the 2015 Tour of Spain

Markel Irizar’s rides discs on stage eight of the 2015 Tour of Spain

The big news of the week was that the UCI has given approval for the wider use of disc brakes in 2016. The decision comes after a successful two-month trial at the tail end of last season that saw a number of riders speaking highly of the new technology.

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This move means that it will be possible for all World Tour, Professional Continental, Continental, and women’s professional teams to use disc brakes from the start of next year.

>>> What do pro riders think of disc brakes?

“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.”

New pro bikes emerge

Pre-season training camps are one of the few opportunities that teams get to have all their riders and staff together in one place. That means that they’re the ideal opportunity to dish out the bikes that will be used over the next 12 months. And more importantly, it’s a chance for us to see those new bikes and all the equipment that comes with it.

Team Sky Pinarello Dogma F8 2016

Team Sky Pinarello Dogma F8 2016

The first new bikes to break cover were Team Sky’s Pinarello Dogma F8s, complete with a new paintjob for 2016. Unsurprisingly the team has stuck with a predominantly black colourscheme, but with blue and white stripes on the fork, seat tube and seatstays.

peter kennaugh british champion pinarello dogma f8

Peter Kennaugh’s bike gets a new look for 2016

The team also unveiled the custom-painted machine of British national champion Peter Kennaugh. This follows a similar pattern to the standard team bikes, but with a white, red, and blue theme.

Katusha SRAM Red eTap derailleur

Katusha has switched over from Shimano to SRAM Red eTap

Snapshots of the Katusha team bikes would not normally get quite the same attention, but for the revelation that the Russian team will be using SRAM Red eTap next year. This will make them the first professional team to use the wireless groupset in its completed form, after extensive trials by Ag2r-La Mondiale in 2015.

Endura Quintana model

nairo quintana scan model

Endura is taking a unique approach to clothing development

Another reason why pre-season training camps are useful is that they give teams a chance to make life-size models of their star riders. Wait, what?

Yep, you read that correctly. Endura, Movistar’s clothing sponsor, is looking to create a life-size model of Nairo Quintana to allow it to work on custom-clothing for the Colombian without needing the rider himself in attendance.

It is doing this by scanning riders at Movistar’s pre-season training camp, creating 3D computer models of each of the team’s riders, and then 3D printing physical models of the most important riders, before taking the models to a wind tunnel to perfect the aerodynamics of the clothing.

Kiryienka’s new kicks

Shimano R321 world champion custom shoes

An understated look for Kiryienka

After all the furore that surrounded the unveiling of Peter Sagan’s world champion’s kit, poor old Vasil Kiryienka, the world time trial champion, hasn’t received quite as much attention. In fact you could be forgiven for forgetting that the Belarussian had taken the title at all.

Thankfully Shimano hasn’t forgetten, creating a special pair of its R321 shoes, complete with rainbow bands running down the front. It’s just a shame that they’ll be hidden under overshoes whenever he’s in the rainbow bands.

The “world’s safest helmet”

headkayse helmet

The Headkayse helmet claims to be the world’s safest

Finally it seems like a day doesn’t go by without us receiving a press release about the world’s lightest/fastest/strongest bike/jersey/shoes (delete as appropriate). The latest such product is the Headkayse helmet, an Indiegogo campaign which claims to be the “world’s safest helmet”.

>>> Buyer’s guide to cycling helmets

But what makes it so safe. Well, instead of being made of expanded polystyrene like a normal cycling helmet, it’s made from a material called Enkayse that will withstand multiple impacts without being destroyed.