Use of disc brakes in Road Cycling


Since the inclusion of disc brakes on road bikes in the World Tour events, Cycling South Africa has received numerous requests to allow riders to use disc brakes road bikes in road races.

The introduction of disc brakes on road bikes has been a conservative approach by the UCI (International Cycling Union) mainly due to safety concerns and the use of the braking system in large pelotons. The safety concerns included braking differentials and the exposure of disc brakes in crashes. A road bike fitted with disc brakes has a more controlled braking system and can slow a rider much faster and smoother than the standard braking system. This could cause a gross speed differential under braking, resulting in crashes.

Cycling SA follows the guidelines set by the UCI and has not permitted the use of disc brakes in road races.

The UCI have been testing disc brake bikes in the WorldTour for the past 18 months and although there were significant concerns from the outset, these have been addressed. Although the UCI continues to run trials in the WorldTour peloton, it has determined that each National Federation can, at its discretion, permit or forbid the use of disc brakes on road bicycles in road races. The UCI has published the following communique:

“As part of the trial phase for disc brakes during road races, the UCI Management Committee has decided to extend this trial to all events registered on the UCI international calendar, except the Junior events. For road events registered on the national calendar, the decision to permit or forbid disc brakes is at the discretion of National Federations; this includes the National Road Championships.”

The Road and Technical Commissions of Cycling South Africa have considered the communique from the UCI and have decided to permit riders to use disc brakes on road bicycles while participating in road racing events. As advised by the UCI, the use of disc brakes in road races will be applicable to all racing categories with the specific exclusion of Junior Men and Women, Youth Men and Women and the younger age groups (i.e. Under 19 and younger).

Cycling SA feels that disc brakes in road races will soon become a norm as the industry keeps pushing technological improvements to bicycles.

The ruling comes into immediate effect.