Get the lowdown on the best disc brake machines currently available.
Disc brake bikes have become a booming sector of the industry in recent years – despite the fact that debate still rages about whether they can be used by professional riders.
The UCI has flip-flopped in the past 18 months over a decision to sanction disc brakes on the pro tour (largely due to allegations they can cause serious injury in crashes), but there is no doubt that amateurs love the extra confidence that comes from the super-responsive stopping power.
Unlike the professionals, weekend riders are less concerned by the added weight of the discs and simply want a system that is widely regarded as offering superior braking – especially when conditions are not ideal.
Nearly all manufacturers now offer disc brake road bikes as an option in their range – and some have gone even further due to public demand by abandoning traditional rim brake bikes completely. Here's our rundown on some of the best disc brake bikes currently on the market.
SPECIALIZED TARMAC EXPERT DISC, RRP: $5,300
The decade-old Tarmac was redesigned in 2014 with disc brakes added into the mix. Specialized were inspired by their collaboration with F1 outfit McLaren (which spawned a limited edition version of the Tarmac costing $27,000) and became determined to improve steering response and also stiffness in the rear triangle.
The result is an aggressive bike with race-style geometry, but also with an element of comfort thrown in. Specialized say: “By coupling the power and modulation of hydraulic disc brakes with the flawless performance of a Shimano Ultegra 11-speed build kit, the Tarmac Expert Disc Race becomes a purpose-built race machine.”
The Roval Rapide CL 40 disc wheels provide aerodynamics in a lightweight package and are capable of rapid acceleration while also being designed specifically with the demands of the disc brakes in mind. Specialized use unique rear hub spacing to keep the chain stay’s short (405mm) for racy handling. Indeed, its nimbleness in the corners make it well suited to those who compete in a lot of crits.