Specialized Bicycle Components' founder and chairman Mike Sinyard says he believes that in two years time everyone in the pro peloton will be riding bikes equipped with disc brakes because they are a logical evolution for the industry.
In a video interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport that was published on Tuesday, Sinyard said disc brakes are safer than rim brakes because they bring a more precise level of control, and he disputed riders' claims that they are dangerous because of a perceived potential for cutting riders during crashes.
"If you think abut the disc brake in everything, whether it’s the car or the motorcycle and also the mountain bike, it’s so logical because with the disc brake you can have so much more precise control, and I believe it’s adding more safety, not danger," Sinyard said. "If anything the chainring on the front is the more dangerous piece. The disc brake is the future. In the future we won’t look at road bikes that don’t have disc brakes. They will all have them.
"My personal feeing is that the disc brake is bringing the safety because there’s more control and you can go down the mountain with the brake when you need it instead of dragging the brake all the way down to make the speed slower," he said.
The disc brake controversy has raged since last season when the UCI started its first trial period, a test that quickly ended after Francisco Ventoso claimed to have received a deep gash from a disc in a crash in Paris-Roubaix. An industry lobbying group has since commissioned a report that called into question Ventoso's claim. A second trial started again this year at the beginning of the season, but it too stoked up controversy when riders claimed their safety concerns had been ignored.
At the Abu Dahbi Tour in February, Team Sky's Owain Doull claimed the disc brake on Quick-Step sprinter Marcel Kittel's bike sliced through his shoe when the pair tangled in a crash. The claim caused Kittel to opt out of using his disc brake bike for the rest of the tour at the same time Specialized was unveiling a new custom-painted disc bike for Tom Boonen's final Classics campaign.
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Asked about the idea of covering the discs, a request riders made after the first trial was halted, Sinyard appeared hesitant.
"We always need to look at things for safety," he said. "We’ve taken the disc brake and made it very smooth on the edge, so that makes a big difference. If you cover it, it’s going to make it hotter. People talk about the safety of [the potential for discs to cut riders], but we actually have no evidence of that yet, and I think the safety of the brake outweighs any other issue. As I say, on the crankset is probably the most critical part that can cut the riders.
"Even now you see riders using them more and more, and for sure I believe truly that two years from now everybody will be riding disc brakes," Sinyard added.
One rider Sinyard expects to see on disc brakes in races very soon is world champion Peter Sagan, who rides for the Specialized-sponsored Bora-hansgrohe team. Sagan was seen trying out a disc machine at the Tour Down Under in January, but there have been no reports that he's used a disc-equipped bike in a race. Sinyard says Sagan has used disc brakes in a race, however, and he will use them more often in the future.
"He has used them in races and he will more in races," Sinyard said when the interviewer asked why Sagan had reportedly not yet raced on discs. "So I think you will see that. You will see that. He will use it. And of course he’s a fantastic mountain biker, and mountain bikes only have disc brakes. So it’s just a matter of time."
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