Chris Froome has questioned the merits of disc brakes, arguing the “the technology is not quite where it needs to be” despite preparing to use them during the 2021 season.
After spending 10 years on a rim-braked Pinarello at Team Sky/Ineos, Froome has switched to Factor Bikes and disc brakes at his new team Israel Start-Up Nation.
In a video released on Monday, the four-time Tour de France winner presented the features of his new main race bike, the Factor Ostro VAM.
While speaking enthusiastically about the rest of the bike and components, Froome did little to try and disguise his distaste for his new stoppers.
“I’m not 100 per cent sold on them yet, myself,” Froome said.
“I’ve been using them for the last couple of months and, performance-wise, they’re great. You always stop when you need to stop. In the dry, in the wet, they do the job. They do what they’re meant to do.
“The downside to disc brakes: the constant rubbing, the potential for mechanicals, the overheating, the discs becoming a bit warped when on descents longer than five or 10 minutes of constant braking.
“Personally, I don’t think the technology is quite where it needs to be yet for road cycling,” Froome continued, before adding to his list of shortcomings.
“The distance between the disc and the rotors is still too narrow, so you’re going to get that rubbing, you’re going to get one piston that fires more than another, you’re going to get these little issues. I don’t think the pistons quite retract the way they’re meant to all the time. Quite often it’ll work on the stand and when the mechanic sorts it out, but once you get onto the road, it’s a different story.”
Disc brakes have become widespread in the professional road racing peloton in the past few years. There were several early hiccups, including disputes between the UCI and the CPA, as well as multiple riders speaking out to question the benefits of discs and highlight potential dangers.
However, the debate has calmed in the past couple of years and now Ineos Grenadiers are the only team in the WorldTour still exclusively using caliper brakes, with only a couple of others giving their riders the option.
“I accept that’s the direction the industry wants to go,” Froome said. We bike riders gonna have to adapt, learn to use them.
“If you’re not on disc brakes already, it’s only a matter of time before you’re made obsolete and forced onto them.”