Sometimes slowing down efficiently is the key to a faster ride. It is amazing how much time can be lost through bad braking and poor cornering. An absolute game changer in the road cycling world is disc brakes and they have definitely seen a breakthrough on this year’s Tour de France. Marcel Kittel has already won 5 stages on this year’s race while using Shimano’s hydraulic disc brakes on his Specialized S-Works Venge. He’s not the only one on disc brakes with Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb also utilising the reliable and smooth breaking of the same Shimano disc brakes. This disc brake technology is by no means exclusive to the pros of the peloton. There are plenty of options for us mere mortals to get our hands on and enjoy the smoothness and consistency hydraulic disc brakes have to offer, whatever th weather.
There’s a myriad of disc brake options available across the two brands of Shimano and SRAM: from entry level bikes, all the way up to the exact frame that Marcel Kittel has just won 5 stages on. It would be almost impossible to not find a disc brake equipped bike that meets your cycling needs.
At the lower price range is the Specialized Diverge, a sturdy aluminium framed bike, aimed at going beyond the road. This bike sure is a lot of fun, particularly with the Zertz inserts in the FACT carbon fork, cushioning the terrain. Stopping and cornering is where this bike stands out however, with the Shimano Claris brakes and Axis Disc wheelset integrating flawlessly - to give reliable and consistent handling and stopping power.
Specialized has grasped the disc brake world like no-one else. This is reflected in their bar-raising mid-range Roubaix Elite 2017. A bike built for comfort without compromising speed, there is not a bike that looks more complete with disc brakes than the Roubaix does. A light stiff carbon frame supplies great power transfer from rider to road, and the road ahead is always tempered by the ‘Future Shock’ suspension system, making the ride smoother than ever. With the Shimano 105 groupset and hydraulic disc brakes there is no need to look any further for a bike to take on the cobbles of the Paris-Roubaix, or the questionable road surfaces of rural England.
It’s almost impossible to copy Marcel Kittel’s slick and stylish haircut off the bike, but you can certainly copy his look on the bike, with the Specialized S-Works Venge Vias Disc SRAM eTap. This bike truly has it all: from aero frame and forks tuned in Specialized’s ‘Win Tunnel’, to wireless shifting with the near faultless SRAM eTap. It’s a good job it’s got 160mm rotor SRAM hydraulic disc brakes to provide the stopping power on this a bike that screams speed.
So, with all this terrific disc-brake technology available to the public, and some perilous descents coming up in the Tour’s final week: why more riders aren’t using disc brakes is a question we’d all like to know the answer to!
Image - Ben Delaney, Immediate Media