UCI Rescinds Ruling on Disc Brakes for 2014

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Kettle Cycles SFL SiCCC disc rotors. © Clifford Lee

Kettle Cycles SFL SiCCC disc rotors: will they be allowed? © Clifford Lee

Two years ago, this statement from USA Cycling was met with mixed reactions from the cyclocross community:

“Following the recommendation of the Cyclo-cross Commission, the UCI Management Committee has approved modifications to its cyclo-cross rules which will take effect at the beginning of the 2010-2011 cyclo-cross season. A summary of the changes is as follows: 1) Disc brakes will now be allowed in cyclo-cross competition.”

Now, two seasons and millions of dollars worth of development later, it seems as though the UCI is beginning to backtrack, perhaps longing for those days when cyclocross was a simple race in muddy farm fields in Belgium, not a race of elaborate rituals, team trailers and (gasp) trips to the US for even the highest ranking Euros.

With developments coming out all of this year with regards to disc brakes, including Kettle Cycles SFL SiCCC disc rotors, which have been consistently coming down in size, we’re willing to bet that the UCI will be in for some serious criticism from companies, teams and racers. Many companies now find themselves in a difficult position, with SRAM, Shimano and TRP very close to unveiling new hydraulic disc brake systems for road and cyclocross (tune into our 2013 Sea Otter coverage later this month for full details on the new systems).

The UCI has been known to flip-flop on issues: disc brakes were legal and all the rage in the early 2000s, but since then, have been banned, and most recently, re-introduced to elite racing.

Citing reasons such as rider inequality — most women’s teams still haven’t made the expensive switch to discs — and the expense to properly outfit a junior development team, the UCI is willing to admit that they made a mistake. They’re also lamenting the disastrous consequences of weight weenie bloggers pushing cyclocross brake systems beyond their limit.

However,  the top reason that the governing body cited was the low adoption rate, as seen at the 2013 World Championships. “We were surprised that racers didn’t jump at the opportunity for superior braking despite weight gains,” one official told us, off the record.

“We made a mistake, we really thought these racers would want to slow down,” he paused, confused. “Who knew all they cared about was going faster?”

As a result, the UCI is urging governing bodies like USA Cycling to re-establish rules banning disc brakes in non-UCI races. And they announced today that for 2014, a rule re-banning the brakes will be in full effect.

We previously went over some of the pros and cons of disc brakes, back when the original debate was raging. “Many of the reasons given for not using disc brakes – weight penalty, overkill for road and cyclocross racing – have less to do with using disc brakes than using brakes designed for mountain bikes. There’s no way around it, discs will always weigh more than canti’s. But they don’t have to weigh as much as they do now. When it comes to using disc brakes with road levers there’s very little selection. Last time I checked the number of mechanical disc brakes designed for use with road levers was two: the road version of the venerable Avid BB-7 and Tektro’s Lyra.”

And when the decision first was handed down to allow disc brakes in UCI races, some racers were displeased. We wrote, “Several riders from the professional ranks expressed their disappointment that the UCI was abandoning a decision that has kept ’cross rooted to a long tradition for years. On Twitter Adam Myerson, a former member of the UCI Cyclocross Commission, wrote, ‘Disc brakes are for mountain bikes and motorcycles. Not cyclo-cross bikes.’”

Luckily, the change won’t impact most of the Euro teams, including the key players like Niels Albert and Sven Nys, who never made the shift to disc brakes. It’s primarily large American teams like Rapha-Focus and Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld, along with a whole host of masters racers, who will be potentially hurt by this decision.

But don’t fret if you’ve already bought a bike for 2013. The ban won’t go into place until next season, though how it will impact Nationals and Worlds (both in 2014) is debatable. “We’ll give them one year to switch back,” one official is reported as saying. “And that’s being generous.”

[Ed. note: This was one of a handful of stories posted on April 1 for a little April Fools' fun.]

 

 

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42 comments
WarrenCox
WarrenCox

Brilliant story, have just purchased a disc equipped CX bike last week after 25 years of MTB'ing and chose bike with discs due to familiarity on MTB's. Read this and couldn't believe it until I read the date / comments. Sort of thing you'd expect of UCI!

af_1
af_1

I have Shimano CX75 calipers with SRAM levers on my bike.  Same feel as BB7s but lighter.

jartread
jartread

I fell for it too!  Especially with the UCI crap about licensed racers participating in non-sanctioned events.  Bring back NORBA....!   Okay, not.  

Etienne Guay
Etienne Guay

Et voilà ! J'ai fais le bon choix pour courir.

chris.cleeland
chris.cleeland

In a related story, brifters now illegal in favor of bar-ends only.

Scott Dedenbach
Scott Dedenbach

I'll be glad when this day is over too. Don't get why people think it's funny, just lame.

Kevin Kohler
Kevin Kohler

Death to free wheels too! UCI to make everything fixed and required 50% gradient run ups.

Adrian Whitehead
Adrian Whitehead

Just doesn't make sense with all manufacturers churning out disc braked cx bikes. All that r&d down the drain. You would want to hope its am April fools joke....

Derek Perry
Derek Perry

Some racers like them and some don't but a racer will be more comfortable and confident with their equipment choice. Why can't we have a choice? Uci is full of dumb rules.

Victor Sternberg
Victor Sternberg

Oh we'll, I like the idea of great brakes. What can ya do? April fools joke really? Cool!

Frederick J Rose
Frederick J Rose

With UCI, its hard to separate April 1 from the rest of the calendar, isn't it. (knee socks, really?!)

Christopher White
Christopher White

One more reason I refuse to race in any UCI or USAC sanctioned event. These people are complete idiots.

NathanRoberson
NathanRoberson

UCI to dumb to do that.  Maby  they should ban riders form racing non-uci event.......Ogh Dam They  Did and that real!  Everyone that love bikes.   DUMP USAC and the UCI.  Never buy a LIC. again.  Tell your friends to do the same or you will un friend  them.  Pass it on to save out sport from the evil demons.

Adrian Montgomery
Adrian Montgomery

Will this April fools crap ever end? Tomorrow is the beginning of a BS free world for 364 more days.

Scott Hunt
Scott Hunt

Damnit! second time today. can we be grownups now? ;)

John McGrady
John McGrady

Seems disc brakes so not match even ordinary centre pulls brakes. My experience at any rate.!

Dan Dorval
Dan Dorval

Molly's not nice! These disc bikes are expensive, you probably made a few people cry with this.

Robyn Michelle Angeles
Robyn Michelle Angeles

"April Fools," is only till noon on April 1st .. I guess you didn't get the memo?

MarcDettman
MarcDettman

The funny thing is that everything said in this "fake story"  about not using discs is actually true. So it's an ironic April Fools joke, isn't it? The bike industry will hate you. I think you're spot on.

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