Riders from JLT Condor help launch disc brakes into the British peloton, and the results are 'oh so good'
The humble bicycle has had more revolutionary ideas thrust upon it in the last decade than across its near one-hundred and fifty year history — though no technology has been more divisive than disc brakes on road bikes.
Victory for disc
Love them or hate them, to best understand new trends and technology is to test them for yourself. We put our pro team to work testing a disc version of the Leggero to gain real-world feedback.
"I was looking forward to racing on disc brakes tonight. I have been riding this bike in training. I love the control the discs give"
- Matt Gibson, JLT Condor
JLT Condor are the first British UCI continental team to actively use disc-equipped bicycles in British races. Riders Ed Clancy OBE, Matt Gibson, Jon Mould, Tom Moses, and Graham Briggs have all been provided with the new bike, which features Campagnolo Record H11 disc groupset and Bora disc HH12 wheelsets.
The new model had its first official outing at the Tour Series in Motherwell, where JLT Condor’s young sprinter, Matt Gibson, became the first British professional rider to win using a bike with disc brake.
Gibson spent much of the race in the breakaway and, into the uphill drag, out-sprinted his fellow escapees to take victory.
Ed Clancy followed in Gibson’s footsteps, sprinting uphill to the finish in Aberdeen two days later, taking another win for the bike.
Rim vs. disc brake: what's the difference?
The front fork and rear triangle of the frame have been updated to accommodate flat mount disc brakes and 12mm thru-axles. The thru-axle system, brought over from our off-road MTB cousins, gives a much more consistent wheel attachment, reducing brake rub and increasing safety. But a quick wheel change is difficult because the axle has to be removed completely before the wheel is released.
"Hydraulic disc brakes offer an incredible amount of stopping power — more than is needed to stop a road bicycle", says Matt Gibson. For the riders, it means they can apply much less force to the lever, which means less muscle fatigue/hand cramps on long descents, and offers better grip around the bars for more control.
Improved tyre clearances
Removing the brake caliper from the around the tyre provides more space between the frame and the tyre, opening up the option of using any 28mm tyre in the new race bike.
The downside to new disc technology is there is a slight weight penalty between a disc and non-disc groupset of around 190g, if you compare Campagnolo's Record and new equivalent H11 disc groupset. Crucially, there is limited aerodynamic penalty for using disc brakes. The difference is just 0.5 watts in a direct head or tailwind.
Reliable, all-weather braking
When you apply the rim brake in the wet, there can be a delay before you start to slow. This is exacerbated if you are using a wheel with a carbon braking surface. The delay is the brake pad cutting through the water and grime on your rim to create friction.
The location of the disc rotor at the centre of the wheel and the disc pad protected by the caliper means weather has minimal impact on stopping.
A thru-axle system uses a 12mm hollow axle inserted through the wheel's hub and locked into place at either side of the fork leg. There is a greater constant surface area, compared with a traditional skewer, which means a stiffer base and torsional strength. JLT Condor's top young sprinter, Matt Gibson, felt a noticeable advantage: "The front and rear thru-axles give the bike a different level of stiffness. Coming out of corners feels good and on the sprint to the line I really felt confident."
Designed by Condor, tested by champions
Ridden by our professional riders, regular cyclists and staff, we've been testing disc brake frames for over two years, and they've been tweaked to perfection and the race results tell their own story.
The Leggero, with its aero profiling, and its super lightweight brother, the Leggero SL, will be available in June as disc ready models. Both frames utilise 12mm thru-axles.
A comprehensive fitting is included when you purchase a new Condor frame or bicycle so that it is comfortable from the moment you get on.