Cycling SA road director Bosseau Boshoff has welcomed a decision granting permission for road cyclists to use disc brakes when racing from July 1.
UCI on Friday released a statement announcing that disc brakes had been authorised for road-racing as well as BMX-racing.
The statement said the decision had followed an ongoing three-year trial, but this time final confirmation was given that the change would be implemented.
“In agreement with various stakeholders – teams, riders, mechanics, fans, commissaires and the bicycle industry via the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry – the decision has been taken to authorise disc brakes for road and BMX racing as of July 1 this year,” the statement said.
Boshoff said the official use of disc brakes was the result of technological advances in the sport.
“It is technology that is here to stay and I think in a few years’ time you will not see any bike with normal braking systems anymore,” Boshoff told In the Bunch today.
“I think it is a good thing. The UCI are always cautious when it comes to new technology.
“A lot of the WorldTour teams are using it [disc brakes] and they discovered it was safe for them so it made sense to permit it.
“It will be safe for your average commuter because you will be able to brake that little bit sharper in the case of traffic and other obstacles.”
However, the transitional process could pose challenges, Boshoff said.
“It may be difficult on the smaller teams who have just bought new bikes without disc brakes.
“It could be a challenge for them suddenly to have to adapt and adjust to a new convention in a sport. The transition phase will probably be the hardest.”
He felt that initially the use of disc brakes would have to be optional, otherwise the development of cycling would suffer.
“It will kill the development [of cycling],” he said. “Many of the developing countries, for instance, if forced to use disc brakes would then have to buy new bikes when they are already suffering financially.
“If UCI do eventually make it compulsory it should start at the top, in other words in all the teams in the WorldTour.
“But if it were to be made compulsory, for example in the 947 Cycle Challenge, you would lose half the field.”
Boshoff did not think the use of disc brakes would make “such a big difference” in races, specifically in a South African context.
“Numbers will not increase or decrease,” he said. “In terms of the tactical aspect of racing, your braking will be a little sharper so you might be able to take corners better.
“But races in SA are not that technical and the tyre, regardless of the brakes, is still the part in contact with the road so you could only take a corner as [aggressively] as the bike can handle.
“You could also only brake as sharply as the guy in front of you, so I do not think too much will change in terms of racing.”