The other day I was reading a cycling article and ran across an offhand comment about how these days it was nearly impossible to find a top-range road bike without disk brakes. I stopped, re-read it, then started frantically searching bike maker sites. It turns out that the writer is right and I’m still reeling from it a little.
It was only a few years ago that there was a big controversy over disk brakes in the peloton, with some riders crashing and claiming that they were sliced by the rotor. Here’s one I just found, which only comes from 2016. We’ve gone from that to probably not one World Tour team using good ol’ rim brakes and now – I suppose this is the natural progression – you and I can’t even buy an €8,000 bike without going to disk.
I’m not sure how I feel about this…no, not true, I do know. I personally don’t need disk brakes, even if they are better, safer, nicer in crap weather, or whatever else all my disk-riding friends tell me. Would I be happy riding a bike with disk brakes? Probably yes, but I’d also be happy with electronic shifting and maybe even a motor hidden in the down-tube, but I still don’t want a bike equipped with that stuff. At my weight (okay, my usual weight) I don’t need better braking and I am a little nervous about the ‘new technology’ involved in disk brakes. I think disks are heavier than caliper, too, which would erase all the gains I’ve made buying €50 water bottle holders. I also hate hearing that tin-against-tin sound when the rotors are rubbing, not to mention the ‘scream’ of the braking from time to time.
But I might be just getting old and set in my ways. Even Alberto Contador, a devout rim-brake believer, has gone to the dark side, according to his Instagram account.
I’ll finish with some good news. I can always count on Ernesto to do the right thing, and so it goes for brakes. At least Colnago’s ‘queen’ – the C64 – comes in both disk and rim versions. Ernesto is 88 years old, though, so I guess I need to be quick and snap one up. You never know what the next whippersnapper owner will do.
Do any of you know of other makers who haven’t gone full monty with disk?