Cyclocross / Commuter - To Disc or Not to Disc?...That is the Question.by Ted on 04/13/12
We have been testing our cyclocross disc model for months now with very positive results. Most notably, racer Will Sullivan (www.willsullivancycling.com ) tested our cross bike in a race setting in December in Bend, Oregon at the USGP Championships. General convention would say that disc brakes are best in wet, muddy conditions for cross, but Will opted to spend some time on the dry course in Bend to really put the disc evolution to the test. Will was impressed stating, “I was able to carry so much more speed further into the corners, and bleed the speed off with a quick tap which allowed me to pass several riders in the more technical turns on the course.” He added, “I can’t wait to hammer these in the mud, it will make a tremendous difference.” Although heavier, Will felt that the added braking performance was well worth the weight addition. He also mentioned that he has received several comments from riders on the streets when he takes the bike out with a clamoring of interest in disc brakes on road and cross bikes, so the interest and momentum are building with enthusiasts in all disciplines.
For current available set ups, our preference is the mechanical Avid BB7 (skip the less expensive BB5), and we have seen a couple of hydraulic systems but in our opinion, they have a ways to go to perfect. The Avid (SRAM) BB7 is simple, easy to adjust and has proven quite effective with simple adjustment knobs. As SRAM says, “There is power in simplicity.” The simple knob adjustment is something simply not available in hydraulic set ups at this time, which makes this our go to choice when we build up our own bikes
Current IS disc brake set ups are for 160mm rotors and we feel that over time with the lifting of the UCI ban on disc brakes in cyclocross racing, Avid (SRAM) and Shimano will hone this down to be able to run a much smaller rotor as the 160mm rotor is a definitely a bit more power and weight than is required on a cross or road frame. We would love to see this scaled down to a smaller rotor and more compact brake, which will all happen in time especially now that the interest is sparking among road and cross cyclists.
Pro cyclocross racer, Tim Johnson, has also spent quite a bit of time testing disc brakes with very positive results. You can read about his experience http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/disc-brakes-for-cyclo-cross-a-pros-opinion-32649/
For most riders and commuters, and casual cyclocross racers non disc brakes are very effective and provide fantastic pad to rim clearance which minimizes any muck built up in wet, or muddy conditions, and allows you to ride a lighter complete bike. Even it today’s professional races, you will see that most racers ride and race cantilever center pull brakes. In fact, racers may very well equip themselves with both disc and cantilever bikes and choose the right bike for the conditions on any given day.
It will come down to personal preference for you, and we offer frames for either set up. Our Vendetta is set up for cantilever brakes, while the Venom is a disc specific frame set. We know you will be thoroughly impressed with the performance, styling, and weight of either of our carbon frames.