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2013 Reader Poll: Hydraulic road disc brakes voted best tech innovation

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Hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes were once considered an outlandish fantasy but they're coming - and soon. Even seemingly traditional companies like Colnago are embracing the technology

Hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes were once considered an outlandish fantasy but they're coming - and soon. Even seemingly traditional companies like Colnago are embracing the technology
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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American Classic is among several companies offering very wide rims for both road and mountain bikes

American Classic is among several companies offering very wide rims for both road and mountain bikes
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The rollout of hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes isn't going to be seamless. As we've already found out, there are going to be some hiccups along the way but there's no killing the momentum now

The rollout of hydraulic disc brakes for road bikes isn't going to be seamless. As we've already found out, there are going to be some hiccups along the way but there's no killing the momentum now
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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HED's latest Ardennes Plus wheels offer internal rim widths of nearly 20mm - a tremendous increase over the old 15mm standard

HED's latest Ardennes Plus wheels offer internal rim widths of nearly 20mm - a tremendous increase over the old 15mm standard
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Narrow-wide chainrings are revolutionizing mountain bike drivetrains, making 1x setups far more reliable than ever before

Narrow-wide chainrings are revolutionizing mountain bike drivetrains, making 1x setups far more reliable than ever before
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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SRAM was the first company to offer chainrings with alternating narrow-wide teeth but a number of other companies have quickly followed suit

SRAM was the first company to offer chainrings with alternating narrow-wide teeth but a number of other companies have quickly followed suit
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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New cassette options with huge ranges are making 1x drivetrains more feasible than ever

New cassette options with huge ranges are making 1x drivetrains more feasible than ever
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)

Cyclingnews readers have spoken loud and clear: by a nearly two-to-one margin, hydraulic road disc brakes once again top the list for 'best tech innovation' of 2013.

SRAM's recent recall may have tempered the excitement for some but road riders are still excited nonetheless about the idea of brakes that offer more power, more control, and more consistency over a wider range of conditions than merely squeezing a couple of blocks of rubber against a rim.

Provided manufacturers can work the bugs out, hydraulic road disc brakes also bring them additional benefits, such as fewer heat-related clincher and tubular tire failures, the possibility of lighter-weight rims, and longer service intervals.

For sure there are still some bugs to work out but there's no question that hydraulic disc brakes are coming to road bikes – and probably sooner rather than later.

Wide-profile rims such as from HED and American Classic have clearly caught readers' attention as they landed in second place. There's good reason for it, too, as the broader foundations allow for better traction, improved ride quality, and a more stable cornering particularly when pushed hard. Most major manufacturers are moving in this direction already so it's likely just a matter of time before we see rims as wide as 19 or 20mm becoming the default standard.

Landing in a solid third place are 1x mountain bike drivetrains – a strong signal that MTBers are growing tired of the hassles associated with front derailleurs. Wide-range cassettes, clutched rear derailleurs, and narrow-wide chainrings are making the concept more reliable than ever, and the increasing list of aftermarket players for compatible players is bringing the cost of entry down as well.

2013 best tech innovation voting:
1Hydraulic road disc brakes28%
2Wide-profile rims12%
31x11 MTB drivetrains12%
4Bluetooth-enabled computer sensors and smartphone apps11%
5Aero road helmets11%
6Internal batteries for electronic transmissions8%
7ICEdot crash sensor and emergency notification system7%
8650b/27.5" mountain bike wheels6%
9Bianchi Countervail vibration damping composite construction5%
10Wahoo Fitness Segments app for virtual Strava racing2%