Six disc-braked Tour de France bikes

We test six of the bikes that will fea­ture in this year’s Tour de France, and they’ve got disc brakes!

Cycling Plus - - CONTENTS - Photography Robert Smith

The disc brake de­bate will, it seems, keep rag­ing for as long as we need to slow down a bike in mo­tion. Here at Cy­cling Plus though, we’re just fans of bikes in gen­eral, so don’t see the need for rim or ro­tor par­ti­san­ship.

Our Bike Of The Year 2018, Giant’s TCR Ad­vanced 2, has rim brakes, but we love discs for the feel and foul-weather per­for­mance they pro­vide. Discs rule the roost in cy­clocross, gravel and in­creas­ingly with en­durance/sportive bikes but the pro ranks have been slower to ac­cept this ‘new tech­nol­ogy’.

For this year’s Tour de France that’s set to change, as re­stric­tions have been lifted al­low­ing rid­ers to choose ro­tor or rim brakes. TrekSe­gafredo has said it’ll be us­ing disc-equipped Émon­das in the Grand Tours and all of the other brands have made sim­i­lar pro­nounce­ments. It will add an­other di­men­sion to the racing, es­pe­cially if we have wet days in the moun­tains.

Now that we’re a few years into road disc de­vel­op­ment, we’re see­ing some proper ad­vance­ments at the sharp end of racing bikes. With both Cervélo and Argon 18 mak­ing disc frames lighter than their rim-braked equiv­a­lents. Trek even pro­duces a disc frame that weighs un­der 700g – a figure we wouldn’t have ex­pected to see from a standard frame just a few short years ago. In fact, two of the bikes in this test come close to the UCI’s min­i­mum weight limit (and the pros’ bikes will be lighter as they’ll be run­ning tubu­lar tyres and rims). All of which goes some way to counter the discs are heavy ar­gu­ment.

To see how all the other ar­gu­ments stack up, we’re look­ing at six of the best pro-level, disc-equipped bikes that you’ll see be­ing raced around France this July.

We em­brace the ad­van­tages of discs that the pros are only re­cently be­ing al­lowed


Warren Ros­siter

Se­nior tech­ni­cal ed­i­tor Warren has rid­den more bikes than just about any other tester around. His Wilt­shire stomp­ing ground gives him ac­cess to a va­ri­ety of test ter­rain, from smooth A-roads to the mil­i­tary tracks of Sal­is­bury Plain.

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