New wind direction for braking? Will disc brakes or rim brakes dominate the 2020 Tour de France?

Since the introduction of the first disc brake road bike, fierce debate has been around and this year's Tour de France is no exception.

Here we will give a detailed and comprehensive introduction to the advantages of disc brake roads in terms of braking ability, adjustment, etc., as well as the rim brake system that has sufficient advantages in terms of lightweight, easy to use, and adjustable at any time. Nevertheless, we also foresee that the two sides will not completely agree with the other's views.

Given that the Tour de France, the biggest event of the season, has just ended, we might as well take a look at whether the "Death Razor" disc brake road or the "Rain Brake Road" rim brake road won more stages.

The vast majority of brands that sponsor World Tour teams are or have eliminated rim brake roads. However, there are still some riders who are holding on to the rim brake road, and even some frames have been discontinued but are still favored by professional players. Which model has won more victories?


Flat sprint stage

Four pure sprinters won the stage championship: KRISTOFF, EWAN, Sam BENNETT and VAN AERT. The top three drivers used disc brakes on the road, and VAN AERT was a team version of the rim brake Bianchi Oltre XR4, rather than the unpainted lightweight frame. We weighed the Oltre XR4 of Team Jumbo-Visma in the Tour de France. Although the body of the owner and VAN AERT are quite different, we can infer that the height of the car is almost the same, and the weight of the VAN AERT is also around 7.31kg.

EWAN's Ridley Noah Fast and KRISTOFF's Colnago V3R both have rim and disc brake versions, and these two sprinters both chose disc brake versions. It is certain that the barrel shaft is much harder than the quick release, and can be quickly aligned and locked. This usually makes the torsional rigidity of the front fork higher.

Our People'sChoice Classic before Circum-Australia weighed the Ridley Noah Fast Disc custom-painted EWAN, which weighed 7.6kg, which is nearly 300g heavier than the VAN AERT car.

It is speculated that, in the same way as the Team Jumbo-Visma team loses weight, as a pure sprint rider, a bicycle that will not bend under the high-powered cradle for a 100-meter sprint is advantageous. VAN AERT is not a pure sprinter, and his car is lighter than EWAN's.

However, some people think that the downpour in the first stage affected Kristoff's decision. Of course, this is also a guess.

As for BENNETT, Specialized Tarmac SL7 and Venge only have disc brakes, so the sponsor made the decision for him, but considering the green shirt he got in Paris, it seems that this has also paid off.


Mountain climbing stage

According to statistics, during the climbing stage, the disc brake road won five of the six races. ALAPHILIPPE and KÄMNA chose Tarmac SL7, LUTSENKO and LóPEZ chose Wilier Zero SLR, and Hirsch chose Cervelo S5 and MARTíNEZ's Cannondale SuperSix Evo. Among these big brothers, only HIRSCHI has a rim brake version of R5 to choose from.

For the rim brake camp, we can talk a lot. The protagonist of the rim brake camp, POGAČAR, used the rim brake road to win the championship in three stages and the overall championship. However, he did choose the disc brake road in the flat road stage of the tenth stage.

The aforementioned Team Jumbo-Visma team uses the rim brake version of Oltre XR4 in order to reduce the weight of the aerodynamic model. However, according to the UCI-certified frame list, on September 6, 2020 (the eighth stage), the new Specialissima CV Disc appeared at the bottom of the equipment list provided by Bianchi.

Although it is not a rare event to release a new car in the middle of a race, this time is puzzling. Brands usually pre-heat before the Tour de France in order to showcase their products at the hottest cycling races in the world. (For example, the Rivale helmet released by MET is an excellent example) instead of packing and leaving after the big show. Maybe that was their original idea, but it was delayed by the epidemic. We have contacted Bianchi and are waiting for a reply. (In addition, Lapierre's new-generation Aircode was also released on September 25th after the Tour de France, which made people confused.)

Bianchi claims that the Specialissima rim brake version released in 2015 weighs 780 grams, which is 400 grams lighter than the Oltre XR4. Given that the weight difference between the Oltre XR4 rim brake version and the disc brake version is within 100 grams, we can assume the approximate weight of the Specialissima disc brake version. Although Bianchi can provide Specialissima, it does not make it one of the three models actually delivered to the team (aerodynamic model Oltre XR4, time-racing Aquila, endurance model Infinito CV). Except for the time trial, they have not been riding a car other than the Oltre XR4 for some time. In the team's 2020 promotional video, they did not even acknowledge the existence of Specialissima.

The rider won the race, not the bicycle, but the equipment did indeed play a very important role in the victory. I am very curious about how Roglič rode his lightweight racing car and arrived after rushing to Bogakar Bay. At the top of the mountain in France, and because of the emergence of companies like SwissSlide, we can know that aerodynamics save about 8% of power at speeds of 25km/h and above.

Another controversial person riding the rim brake road is Team Sunweb's ANDERSEN, who won two stage championships on the rim brake version of Cervelo R5. According to Cervelo's official website, the car will be discontinued in 2020/2021. We saw the rim brake R5 of the Team Sunweb team weighing in January. The height difference between the owner and Andersen is two centimeters, so the size of the frame should be the same.

The other climbing stage victories of the rim brake camp came from the PETERS of the AG2R team, the Stockeu69 of Eddy Merckx, and the KWIATKOWSKI of Pinarello Dogma F12 X-Light. At the beginning of the year, the AG2R team had announced that they would use EM525 Disc in the flat sprint stage and Stockeu 69 in the mountain climbing stage.

Although Pinarello Dogma has a disc brake version, until this year, it is rare to see Team sky and INEOS Grenadiers use disc brakes in the World Tour.


Individual time trial

The only chance this year allowed us to see that many drivers changed their cars during the individual time trial, but they still used Colnago rim brake version K-One and V3Rs POGAČAR to win the stage.

Throughout the competition, POGAČAR brought the yellow shirt, white shirt and polka dot shirt all the way to Paris. Except for the tenth stage, he was all rim brake roads. Bennett, who won the green shirt, chose Tarmac SL7 and Venge, while HIRSCHI, the winner of the Super Combativity award, was the disc version of S5. The Movistar Team, the team's top overall result, chose the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX and Aeroad CF SLX with disc brakes. Although the GC champion gave the rim brake group back, but in terms of score division, the rim brake group and the disc brake group are still hard to distinguish.

In all 21 stages, the disc brake group won a total of 11 victories, while the rim brake group won a total of 10 victories. Both the first and second places on the podium were occupied by the rim brake road, and Richport riding his new Trek Emonda came in third.

Our general riders often weigh the pros and cons, including rim brakes and disc brakes, tube and tube tires, lightweight and pneumatic models, and whether to use a power meter. But the final conclusion is that for big Pros, with their strength and professional skills, the difference in equipment does not seem to have a big impact.

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