Egads, the horror! Andrew Feather won the elite national hill climb championships on Sunday, and made history: he’s the first winner to use disc brakes. The race took place in the Climb Lake District’s Struggle climb and according to Cycling Weekly, he rode a Cannondale Lab71 disc frame, Hunt wheels and Shimano Dura-Ace 12-speed with XTR discs, as opposed to rim brakes that he has ridden in 2022.
Why the change?
He explained his reason using disc brakes after the win.
“I’m supported by a few brands and I’m in the fortunate position that they want to give me their latest technology, so I was keen to try it this year,” he said. His bike weighed in at 5.79 kg, 400 g more than his rim-braked ride. “There’s not that much in it. I could have brought it slightly lower, but then you know, either you’re not running power, or compromising braking performance–things like that.”
Rim brakes aren’t dead
Feather explained to Road.cc his own personal philosophy about the choice.
“I think rim brakes aren’t dead at the moment, there are still rim brake bikes around, but if you look at the latest technology it is all disc really. The weights are coming down and the margins are pretty small,” he added.
That didn’t stop fans from being just a smidgen hyperbolic, because The Internet.
“A dark day for hill climbing. First champs to be won on discs.” Simon Warren posted on X, (formerly Twitter.)
A dark day for hill climbing. First champs to be won n on discs. pic.twitter.com/jX91PtTy1P
— Simon Warren (@100Climbs) October 29, 2023
“Hauling the weight of disc brakes up a hill climb? How to make a miserable experience worse!
“No one should be allowed to enter a hill climb riding disc brakes,” James Payne joked.
Of course, brakes are rather irrelevant for a hill climb. In the past, riders would often use a single speed fixed gear bike with only a front brake in order to save weight. Some competitors would do things like remove all the handlebar tape and cut off the hooks of their bars, or use bullhorns.
— Rideupgrades (@rideupgrades) October 18, 2015
Greg Thorley seemed to be a fan of that look, adding. “Sacrilege it was not on a fix!!”
Some said that there’s nothing wrong with using discs, and in fact it’s a sign of the times.
“Good day for safety and development… rim brakes are a…