Trend of the Year
Disc brakes and wider tyres
...are everywhere this year, and for good reason.
Disc brakes have been creeping further into the road bike market
for a number of years, perhaps the best technology the road bike
sector has borrowed from the mountain bike world. We've gradually
become fans of the extra stopping power, the dependability in all
weathers, and the extra clearance they provide for wide tyres, but
more on wide tyres in a moment…
The biggest indication that disc brakes are here to stay came
with the launch, and our subsequent test ride, of Trek's brand new
Emonda SLR Disc. With a super light frame and the latest Dura-Ace
groupset, here's a bike that makes a mockery of the UCI's weight
limit, and for the first time almost virtually eliminates the
previous weight penalty inflicted on any bike sprouting disc
We've not yet seen widespread adoption of disc brakes in the pro
peloton, but with bikes like the new Emonda SLR Disc, it's only a
matter of time before discs become a more regular sight in the
peloton. That the pros haven't taken to disc brakes more swiftly
has hardly been a hurdle to consumer interest, with disc brake road
bike sales increasing and become more common on group rides and
club runs across the country.
Disc brakes have readily enabled the other big trend to
proliferate in 2017, and it's wider tyres. Years ago the only time
you'd been riding anything wider than a 23mm tyre was when you went
mountain biking… but wider tyres have become universally popular
with road cyclists of all persuasions in the past year.
People have realised that wide tyres offer more comfort,
improved grip and rolling resistance is lower (due to a shorter and
wider contact patch that creates a rounder tyre that rolls better).
According to Continental, a 28mm tyre at 80psi has the same rolling
resistance as a 23mm tyre at 123psi, and we know which tyre is
going to be more comfortable…
Bike manufacturers have responded to this trend by producing
road bikes with improved tyre clearance. Models like the Trek
Domane and Cannondale Synapse have been redesigned to cater for up
to 32mm+ tyres, while race bikes like the Trek Emonda and
Cannondale SuperSix Evo will now accept 28mm tyres.