Road Disk Brakes and Carbon Wheels

Curve has built and sold quite a few road wheels with disk brakes now, and we can see that an increasing groundswell in consumer demand.

We recently asked our Facebook audience about what they thought of putting disks brakes on road bikes, and other than a few traditionalists, the overwhelming majority were in favour of the move to a disk. Some pointed out that maybe only the front is necessary, but most were happy to embrace the move.

From our point of view and with the increasing popularity of carbon wheels, equipping your bike with a disk makes more sense for performance and safety. The carbon wheel is a high performance piece of your bicycle, and its weight and stiffness put aluminum to shame. For a long time now braking manufactures have been improving aluminum rim brake performance, yet we had to start again when it came to carbon and riders have had to sacrifice braking performance, especially in the wet, to gain its extra improvements.

One of the biggest problems with carbon when designed for a bike rim, is that doesn't like too much heat. Granted, the heat retardant resin, the carbon layup along the braking strip and carbon brake pads do a great job, and it takes a lot of heat for the carbon to begin to de-laminate -  but the fact is, it can happen. If you are riding your brakes down an alpine decent for an hour, you will generate a lot of heat, and that heat goes into the carbon.

Introduce a disk brake - and hey presto, the heat is all transferred away a from wheel, into the disk itself eliminating any carbon heating risk... and for anyone who has ridden a MTB with disk brakes, then you will know how quickly and safely you can stop in the wet or dry with a disk brake.

But how about the extra weight that a disk introduces? This is what Steve, the Curve founder and product developer had to say

"Firstly, there isn't a huge difference in weight and it's only going to get better as brake manufactures get behind it and also from our point of view rims are going to get even lighter by eliminating the bulk of complex layers and resin that build up and reinforce the brake track"


Also, one of the big influencers in the lack of change has been the UCI, they have historically taken a very conservative approach to change, especially in road racing. Currently you are not supposed to ride a UCI sanctioned race with disks fitted. But do not fret - it looks like the UCI might finally be coming around - as bicycling australia recently reported on that a more progressive UCI is now here and are fast looking into disks and other technology.

See the article here http://bicyclingaustralia.com.au/2014/02/uci-becomes-more-progressive-towards-bike-technology

Curve offers road disk wheels as a custom option to our wheels - but just remember that if you are keen to make the switch you do need to consider your frame, your forks and integrating your shifters and brakes and maybe even your warranty - so it may not be cheap. A front wheel only conversion is much more possible... but I guess as you consider your new bike or frame, please consider the disk.

We at Curve are all for it - if it's safer for cyclists then why wouldn't we be. 



Adam Lana
Adam Lana

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