Race Tech

Tom Boonen hails ‘best bike ever’ – and it has disc brakes

Four-time Paris-Roubaix winner riding Specialized Venge ViAS Disc this winter

Disc brakes have endured a stop-start to life in the peloton but, with the UCI set to restart its disc brake trial in January, 2017 could finally see some pro cyclists make the switch.

And Tom Boonen could be among them after the four-time Paris-Roubaix winner hailed the Specialized Venge ViAS Disc ‘the best bike I ever had’.

Specialized unveiled the Venge ViAS Disc earlier this year as one of the first fully-fledged, disc-equipped aero road bikes. It’s lighter than the regular Venge ViAS, and Specialized say it’s just as aerodynamic.

Best bike I ever had,unbelievable performance! @iamspecialized_road #desmosedici #dirtyfaceswinraces

A photo posted by tom boonen (@bomtoonen) on

The off-season has given teams and riders the chance to test the disc-equipped bikes they could be riding next year, away from the heat of the race-day peloton, and Boonen’s preference looks to be firmly with the Venge ViAS Disc, rather than the new disc-equipped Roubaix endurance bike.

While Boonen has been riding the Venge, the Cannondale-Drapac have been using the new Cannondale SuperSix EVO Disc on a pre-season training camp, as the video below shows.

Of course, with the Cannondale-Drapac team co-sponsored by, well, Cannondale, and Boonen a long-time Specialized rider, we don’t know how much pressure bike manufacturers place on teams and riders to showcase disc-equipped bikes – or at least give them a run-out in winter.

But, with disc brakes now at least permitted back in the pro peloton, there’s a good chance we’ll find out how many teams and riders are prepared to make the switch next year, and most likely when the Spring Classics roll around.

Indeed, it was at the 2016 Classics where the Lampre-Merida switched to disc brakes (in that case the Merida Scultura Disc) – and, of course, where the furore surrounding the safety of discs erupted after Movistar rider Fran Ventoso’s leg was badly cut after a crash at Paris-Roubaix, allegedly by a disc brake rotor.

That led to the suspension of the UCI’s disc brake trial as cycling’s governing body sought to examine any risk and, as a result, any rotors used in racing from January must now feature chamfered edges to reduce the perceived danger.


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