We all know the UCI approved disc brakes in CX, and most of us have already seen a few racers out with a disc set-sup. What did you think when you first heard disc brakes were allowed, or saw your first disc equipped CX rig? Did you salivate with envy? Scoff with distain? Or, did you shrug with indifference? Personally, I did a little of all three.
Last season, I never did quite get my brakes dialled in. There was a pretty predictable ‘howl’, and amount of chatter in the front end when I hit the binders hard. At the time, I was told by more seasoned racers, this was just the way it was with canti’s – part of the deal/fun. Knowing the couple racers with discs weren’t dealing with any of that made me pretty envious. But, I was also told, again by more seasoned racers, that the disc guys were giving up weight – an unavoidable compromise. Disc set-ups weigh more than canti’s. Add that to the prolific believe held by most of the racers I talked to that canti’s are part of the CX ‘spirit’, part of what makes CX what it is, and I met disc brakes with a similar distain to an audiophile who refuses to give up his vinyl. At the end of the day, I didn’t really care that much. I knew damn well, braking power wasn’t going to be a silver bullet a racer like me needed to crack into the pointy end of the field… I had more immediate shortcomings to address, like fitness.
Thinking about it more this year, however, even though I have my canti’s set up perfectly, (for now), I have found in the last couple races that I’m starting to figure out how to carry more flow though a CX course, and with more flow, comes more speed. Now, to say I have more flow, doesn’t necessarily mean, I’m not blowing lines and corners with every lap, so it’s precisely for this reason I’ve found that I really would enjoy more braking power, and the modulation that comes with discs. They may have saved me a couple times already this season, from bustin’ through the tape – hard to know for sure I suppose… But, I do know from MTB, when I switched to disc, I was instantly ‘willing’ to go faster, because I knew I could stop sooner/better. It was a huge confidence boost. I’d imagine going to discs in CX would offer a similar experience.
This season, I can’t say I’ve seen too many racers using disc. I feel like I saw more last year, than I have this year, which really surprises me because I figured they’d be catching on quickly. That said, I don’t believe anyone is making production CX bikes with discs yet. You can upgrade a bike easily enough with a new fork, but really that’s it, for now. Next year, however, I know Specialized should have its Crux model out, with discs. I’d imagine other manufacturers will follow in short order and then we’ll see an influx.
So, with that in mind, are you holding out for the forthcoming CX disc models, or do you think canti’s are still where it’s at?