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Chris Froome on disc brakes: ‘I’m not 100 percent sold on them’

Four-time Tour winner still skeptical of disc-brake-equipped road bikes.

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Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is not completely in favor of disc brakes over rim brakes.

“I’m not 100 percent sold on them yet myself. I’ve been using them for the last couple of months. Performance-wise, they are great. I always stop when I need to stop — dry, wet — they work, they do the job, they do what they’re meant to do,” Froome said.

Froome’s move from Ineos to Israel Start-Up Nation means he will be on Factor disc brake bikes instead of the Pinarello rim-brake bikes he raced on since 2010.

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While Ineos Grenadiers continue to ride rim brake versions of the Pinarello Dogma, Froome is now on Sylvan Adams’ ISN squad.

While disc brakes have been in the pro peloton for a few years now, Froome still has reservations.

“Personally, I just don’t think the technology is quite where it needs to be yet for road cycling,” he said.

Disc brakes were introduced into the WorldTour peloton in 2015. After several high-profile crashes, and riders publicly questioning the safety of their use, their use was put on hold. After nearly three years and a gradual, patient adoption, finally, on July 1, 2018, the UCI ruled they could be used in race situations.

While VeloNews cannot verify any current generation of disc brake rotors becoming warped on prolonged descents, Froome was a bit more cynical of the technology, which has been nearly universally adopted by the pro peloton.

“The downside to disc brakes: The constant rubbing, the potential for mechanicals, the overheating, the discs becoming a bit warped when you’re on a descent for longer than five to ten minutes of constant braking,” Froome said. “I think the distance between the disc and the rotors is still too narrow. You’re going to get that rubbing. You’re going to get one piston that fires more than another. You’re going to get these little issues. I don’t think the pistons quite retract the way they’re meant to be, all the time. Quite often it will work in the stand when the mechanic sorts it out. Then, when you get on the road, it’s a different story.”

Disc brakes were introduced at the top level more than half a decade ago. Even today, some teams, like Ineos, are still holdouts, while other squads allow their riders to choose what braking system they are most comfortable with. Anna van der Breggen, who is the current road world champion, won road worlds on a disc-brake equipped road bike more than two years ago.

Some bike manufacturers now offer specific models of road bikes as disc brake only, meaning that those riders who are holdouts may be on a previous year’s model bike, or, will be forced to adapt.

“I accept that’s the direction the industry wants to go. We, the bike riders, are going to have to adapt and learn to use them. If you’re not on disc brakes already, it’s only a matter of time until you’re made obsolete in a way and forced onto them.”