Quintana: Disc brakes are heavier, less aero, and dangerous

Nairo Quintana has weighed into the great disc brake debate, stating his opposition to the technology, which he sees as dangerous, noisy, unnecessary and counterproductive.

"Our bike brand [Canyon –ed] has disc bikes available but in my opinion we shouldn't be using disc brakes," said Quintana.

"Firstly because they don't actually brake all that well. You hear other riders' bikes in the peloton when the brake rubs up against the rotor. That's one thing. Secondly, it makes the bike less aerodynamic. Thirdly, they're much heavier."

"Lastly, there's the danger they pose in a peloton of more than 100 riders. They are good for a touring cyclist, or a person who goes out riding with two or three others and is more careful, but racing is another matter."

As others have argued in the past, Quintana doesn't feel that current caliper braking systems are in any way deficient, and doesn't see the sense in trying to improve something that doesn't need improving.

"There is no problem with the brakes that we currently have – they work very well. No one has ever had any sort of complaint," he argued. "They're lighter, and you have a much better feel."

Disc brakes have been said to be responsible for two incidents in the pro peloton since the UCI introduced them in 2016, with Fran Ventoso suffering a gash to his leg last April, and then Doull's shoe on Thursday – though many have cast doubt on the claims that discs were responsible.

The UCI halted its original trial after the Ventoso incident and commenced the re-trial at the start of this season with rounded rotors, though the riders' union, the CPA, has recently pushed the UCI to ban them once again until further safety measures are introduced.

Adam Hansen, the CPA representative in Abu Dhabi, told Cyclingnews the morning after the Doull incident that "it might take a bullet for change to happen", and his words were echoed by Quintana.

"Until something tragic happens, up to someone even losing their life, they're not going to see sense – the UCI as well the manufacturers," he concluded.

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Patrick Fletcher
Deputy Editor

Deputy Editor. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2022 he has been Deputy Editor, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.