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UCI: Disc brakes okay, but still only a trial

The UCI will allow Continental, Pro Continental, and women's teams to ride disc brake road bikes as a trial program in 2016.

The UCI announced Monday that it will broaden its trial program of disc brakes to allow the equipment for pro road teams of all levels. This includes Professional Continental, Continental, and women’s outfits. WorldTour teams were allowed to test discs in August and September 2015. Teams had the opportunity to use bikes with disc brakes at two events of their choice, and a few did, such as Trek Factory Racing.

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Allowing lower-tier teams to test discs may lead to a greater proliferation of the technology in the peloton. Those squads typically have limited budgets and cannot be as choosy as first-division teams when it comes to equipment. Component manufacturers may see this as an opportunity to outfit some of their most-visible athletes — select Pro Continental teams race grand tours and often animate those major events.

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In a Monday press release, the UCI said, “The use of disc brakes will be carefully monitored throughout the year with a view to definitively allowing them to be used in professional road cycling from 2017.” Accordingly, it modified articles 1.3.017 and 1.3.020 of its Regulations relating to frames and forks, which go into effect on January 1, 2016.

The UCI has also approved several modifications to its Regulations with regards to saddles and wheel safety characteristics (articles 1.3.014 and 1.3.018).