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!
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
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.