Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This Just In: Your Road Disc Brakes Are Now Obsolete

That's right ladies and gents, in a story released by Velo News, the most recent "brake" through (pun intended) in road brake technology has be replaced with its re-designed, yet formerly obsolete, rim-oriented counterpart.

Some one is fucking with me right? Is it April 1st already?

Damn it.

I mean, seriously, who is in charge around here?!
Wasn't it like, a year ago, that they told us that disc brakes were the future of road bike brake tech? The lying bastards started this by claiming first, that it would offer the same stopping power in all conditions. 

...Right. Just ask the folks who took part in the US CX Nationals in 2013:

Clearly this was the point at which they realized that the brakes had done the exact opposite of what they were intended to do. That is: to stop in all conditions.
You know who could stop in those conditions? The Belgians. 

 For what ever reason it was that they chose not to run discs, they still won the  damn thing as they are always likely to do... on cantilever rim brakes. Also, for what ever reason, the author clearly feels the need to grasp at straws here for an explanation as to why. Meaning, rather than saying "perhaps we were wrong, and disc brakes are bullshit..." he bases his argument on saying it would be too difficult for such a celebrated and well-disciplined team, to round up some new frames and wheels? I find that laughable at the least AND, with the potential sponsors out there that would mercilessly whore themselves out to represent said team, I find it highly unlikely.

(BOOM! Statistics bee-otch!)

The second falsehood they would like you to believe is less a lie as it is a half-truth. See, they claim that direct mount brakes are easier to set up:

"As icing on that already delicious brake cake, they improve tire clearance substantially, are dead-easy to set up, and can never be knocked out of place."

So... easier to set up than what? A disc brake?! Sure.
You know what else was "dead-easy" to set up? Side pull caliper brakes.
Also the same rim-grabbing variety, they literally required tightening ONE bolt!
Set up doesn't get much easier than that.
Also, the argument that they "can never be knocked out of place" is complete bullshit when it comes to being an effective argument against caliper brakes. Sure we may all (at some point) have dealt with a caliper brake getting knocked to the side, slightly, but that was likely the result of a bolt that was not tight to begin with. Regardless of how it happened, it is as simple as reaching down and moving the caliper by hand. If you are the type of person who finds that difficult, then I weep for your offspring as they will likely grow up to be as helpless as this guy:

Then there is the issue of clearance:

"Shimano’s 9010 direct-mount brake can be easily dialed in or out for different rim widths; we had no trouble swapping from a narrow aluminum set to Zipp’s ultra-wide 303 Firecrest carbon clinchers. You get the same tool-free adjustments as on any other Shimano brake: a quick release tab and a micro-adjust barrel."

That's all well and good, but the kicker...

"The design dramatically improves tire clearance as well, as the brake sits higher on the frame or fork. Though safety standards prevent both brake and frame manufacturers from recommending anything over a 27 or 28mm tire, we’ve easily fit 30mm clinchers"

Translation: "The CPSC has mandated that manufacturers cannot recommend a tire larger than a 28mm. But fuck them, we are not the manufacturers, rather, a respected news outlet. So if we say it is okay to do, then by all means do so."

"In today’s world of voluminous road tires, that’s a big deal. One of the primary arguments for the move to disc brakes is increased tire clearance; being able to run 28 or 30mm road tires with room to spare eradicates that argument"

The mere suggestion that a CPSC mandate can be "eradicated" as an argument is irresponsible at best. However,
I guess what I am really having trouble understanding here is what point is actually being argued here? Is it stopping power? Or is it tire clearance?
Again, why did we start using discs in the first place?
Stopping Power:
It was under the guise of stopping power that they tried brain washing us all in to thinking that disc brakes on road bikes were "the future" to begin with.
But now they are telling you that you can get the same power out of rim brakes because direct mount is stiffer? Sure you still need to buy a new frame (or bike) to have the latest technology, "but at least it's more aero!"


Tire Clearance:
For starters, let's all acknowledge the fact that road bikes and CX bikes, aside from some differences in geometry and tire clearance, are basically the same things. At the moment, USAC says the maximum allowed tire width for CX use is 33mm. The point of having a tire near 32-33 mm is to be able to run a lower PSI to gain more grip than a skinnier road tire could provide in off road conditions. What I am having trouble understanding here is why one would need a 30mm tire on a road bike to begin with. Outside of Paris-Roubaix, is there really a need for that low a tire pressure? Let's be honest here, the likelihood of any of us actually needing that pressure is basically non-existent, yet marketed anyway because, as we all know, this industry panders to the weeniest portion of the demographic. Hell, let's face it, If they could make a bicycle out of rubber to make it more compliant, they would.
SO... if they are selling us a wider tire option (frame and brakes) for the sole purpose of making a bike more comfortable, then this is evidence that they are simply making up new shit for the sake of taking your money. Meaning, if you need a bike that is more comfortable than what a typical road bike with 28's can offer, perhaps you are using the wrong bike to begin with.

IF... they are selling this concept based on the possibility that a user might want to go off-road with it, then they sold you the wrong bike the first time. Meaning, perhaps they should have sold you on the idea of, oh, I don't know... 
 I hear you already saying 
"Well I want a bike that can do both! What's wrong with that?!"
...and that's fine. I hear you... You want to have your cake and eat it too.
You want the same bike as Fabian Cancellara but you want it to be comfortable at the same time. However, there are at least two problems with this:
A) His bikes are designed for racing at an elite level and not puttzing about on your local Sunday Club ride, and

Let's get real here. This... ALL of this (picture me waving my arms in a big circle), is a response to a singular issue. You bought in to the hype in the before times so you could ride what all the cool kids were riding. But now the novelty has worn off and you wish that your handle bars could be higher and you could fit wider tires on your bike because you are actually a Fred who was not ready for the shock of riding a road-type bicycle. Plus it didn't help when the industry started screaming "WIDER IS BETTER!" Regardless, had you known it was coming, perhaps (fat chance) you would have planned accordingly. The reason you did not is because you were blinded by the light, no matter how colored it was by the industry. 

The reason you cannot have your cake and eat it too, is because your cake was not designed to be eaten. Now they need to make you a new cake so you have something to eat.

Here's the dildo... Ride what ever the F you want because honestly, you don't care what I say. If you do... I say this (and you had better listen),
Stop trying to be something you are not. Be honest with yourself when choosing a bike. Do you want it to be comfortable? Or do you want it to be a race-ready rocket ship? You cannot have both. The industry will try to convince you otherwise but no matter how hard you try, you cannot turn one in to the other.
No amount of new found tire width can make you comfortable enough to satisfy the demand that the many Freds before you have created.
One of these days you are just going to have to face the realization that YOU caused all of this. YOU are the reason I drink myself to sleep at night.
I heart you all, and while I hate to have to be so blunt,
 sometimes you force my hand.

On an unrelated note:
Pizza Hut decided to go "in a different direction" (creative differences)
 so today's blog is brought to you by: