’Cross examination: braking news

by M

Rides like this have been an interesting exercise for me in exploring the limitations of a ’cross bike. I love that even with mud tyres, the bike really isn’t half bad on the road, and of course it opens up a realm of possibilities off-road. It is not, however, a MTB as the gearing and rigid fork do their best to remind me whenever the going gets gnarly and my lack of technical skills makes itself evident.

Moor CX

Gentle grassy rise? Bricking it. Photo: Jack Luke of mycountry.cc

Being an obsessive, I’ve naturally already started refining my ideas about the ideal bicycle for this sort of thing. Leaving aside that my humble TCX lacks even a carbon fork, there are some non-negotiable features already being added to the spec for my dream ’cross/all-road/gravel-douching machine. Most obviously…

Disc brakes. Really, having used cantis off-road, I’m astonished it’s taking this long for road lever compatible discs to come of age. Cantis, even set up by a rockstar mechanic like me, suck. I’m already lusting after the new Shimano hydraulics, although some of the latest mechanical setups like the dual piston TRP Spyre look worthy of consideration:

TRP Spyre mechanical disc brake

Photo: road.cc

…or perhaps the ingenious hydraulic/mechanical hybrid Hy/Rd:

TRP HyRd disc brake - rear

Photo: road.cc

The arguments for and against discs for the road-only use have been hashed out, refined and regurgitated more times than I’ve had saddle sores (which is a lot of times, my taint is a warzone), so I won’t explore them again. What I will say is that for ’cross or any of the endlessly proliferating sub-genres of all-road bikes, I really don’t know why this is still up for discussion.

Sure, blame the UCI or years of tradition or blame the tiny weight penalty or just blame good old fear of change, but really, just get on with it. Discs work.