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So it seems like disc brakes are coming to cx pretty fast but wanted to see how long everyone here thinks till it's the norm.  When do you think the kinks will be worked out.  So far the issues I've heard seen are lack of hydraulic brakes, difficult to switch wheels, calipers clogging with mud, and really fast pad wear.   I think eventually these issues will be fixed and discs will be the thing but when will that happen is what I'm not sure about.

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Nice timely question. We at Cyclocross Magazine have been riding quite a lot of disc bikes recently, both mechanical and hydraulic, and a future Issue 18 will have a complete disc bike round up. It seems like many brands have a third of their bikes as disc already, and so it's already quite mainstream, and in a few years I'm guessing a third of racers will have them at least.

The issues you mentioned aren't necessarily "issues" IMHO in that mechanical discs, compared to most cable brakes, work pretty darn well. Pad wear has to do mostly with pad material choice (organic, metallic, semi-metallic), and then switching wheels can be a lot faster than on a bike with some really tight brakes, or a fork/brake combo that doesn't allow the pads to open (ENVE/FSA SL-K for example). If you come from a MTB background and have the latest mtb hydraulic brakes, you probably won't be satisfied with mechanical discs, and maybe only the 324 Labs system will please you.

The calipers clogging with mud - that can be an issue, just like with rim brakes. At least the pads/rotor are a little further from the puddles/mud pits but mud can lodge in there and the downside is that you can't run through a puddle to clean it off as with a rim.

I think the biggest detractor for many serious racers still is weight. Most systems will add a pound at least, and lightweight wheels are harder to find with disc. Tim Johnson doesn't seem to think the weight or the mechanical BB7 brakes are reasons to wait...but he has a pretty light bike and has some custom Zipp 303 disc wheels to use.

Hope that helps. Stay tuned to our website and our print/digital magazine for all the latest on disc brakes in cyclocross and cyclocross disc brake bikes.


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