Riding The Brakes

It seems I've developed a bit of a specialty as the reluctant "early" adopter of disc brakes. A few years ago, I took the bullet when we first tested the HOT BUNS. More recently, I've been seen on the Timoneria Disc. While a lot of people out there in the wide, wide world of sports have their own HOT BUNS, and a handful will very soon have their own Timoneria (which, I assert, is the plural of Timoneria), I have the as-yet only disc version of each. Check me out.

Brief aside here, many of you are probably asking just what the hell is a Timoneria, and have Mike and I completely lost it and gone into that ersatz cycling "homeland" naming convention that we used to hate so bad? No, and we still hate that crap just as bad. The Timoneria, in name, concept, and execution, is the Italian version of the Wheelhouse. "Timoneria" is the Italian word for the cabin aboard a sailing ship or yacht from which the craft is steered - quite literally, the Wheelhouse. Again, check me out.

Oh HAI! Check me out.So now I've got about 250 miles on the beast, and I've developed a few impressions. At first, to someone who's spent his last, what, 25,000 road miles on a Wheelhouse, it's familiar. It's got some palpable differences, all to the good, but I'd like to focus on the brakes for a start. 

Escuse me, my discs are down HERE, you pig

While I've ridden disc brakes probably a great deal more than most in general, that has been primarily on mountain and cross bikes. I love my mtb's hydro brakes dearly, but my relationship with the mechanicals on my cx bike hasn't been as wunderbar. Whether road disc gave an experience more like the mtb or the cx bike would tell the tale.


The whole thing adds just shy of a pound against an equivalently spec'd rim brake bike, and we've previously explored the aerodynamic ramifications for the deal. How those affect the general mood in your household is for you to determine, we just give you the honest dope on what the numbers say.

To the riding... well, they certainly work very, very well. I've not ridden them among a group, but to me the whole prospect of danger in mixed company is a non-story. When you ride with a group, you ride as part of the group, and there's nothing to discs that would prevent that. In riding alone, it took a couple of rides before I did start to notice my braking habits starting to change. The ability to brake in excess of your traction is right there. If you think rim brakes are easy to skid, you ain't seen nothing yet. The net of this is that you brake not with what your brakes can do in mind, but what your tires can do. Yes, you can brake later, for sure. And sometimes, that means you get to the point where you thought you were going to need to, and instead you see that you really didn't need to brake after all and so you don't. That's the most striking thing to me so far - I actually half expect to get better through turns just by learning that I was actually braking too much before.

Operationally, they're tight. Rotor rub was easy to get rid of and hasn't been in an issue since about minute six of my life with road discs. There's an interesting issue where I actually think an overly-stiff front wheel will turn bad, but that's a story for another day. There's been no noise, despite a couple of rides being in damp conditions, and in general noise is super easy to manage. I'll send you the link that explains it.

One thing I was concerned about was shifting performance on a 135mm dropout spread with a 405mm chain stay. Shimano straight ahead says 415 should be the minimum chain stay length. Good thing I used Force for this build, because you can cross chain your face off on my setup. It shifts perfectly. 

These are preliminary thoughts. Later in the month I'll be in Tucson (haha!) and will get to do some big ass descents and put some more stress on things but for now I'll say that it's far from a life changing thing that I could never again be without, but they're certainly nice and work quite well. And, I almost forgot, those big honking shifters are actually super comfortable. 


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Your stories are always a challenge as you speak using lots of code words that are difficult to discern for a casual reader that doesn't spend an inordinate amount of time reader your posts. Don't assume that everyone understands your vocabulary and peculiar words. If you would write with less assumption that everybody understands this vocabulary, you would have a larger following. I consider myself very well read on cycling issues and technically competant, but your articles cause me to scratch my head and say what?I really believe you guys are very technically competant, but your articles don't always portray this to your audience. Tighten up your writing and you will be better received.

jack mentink

Nah, I didn't forget you, but your bike is only disc-curious. And this is really about road disc specifically. Meant to try the Hy/Rd setup for cx this year but never got to it. Almost certainly going full CX-1 next year.

Dave K

You forgot that I have the only red-headed stepchild Hot Buns with the front disc/rear canti!! I tend to think may be the best option for braking anyway. I'm also running the TRP Hy/Rd up front, Avid Ultimate out back set high, which is just about perfect for the mechanical shifter and braking performance blend.


Interesting — I feel like I missed something wrt the Italian road frames. Are you selling to the public [yet] or is this just a test run? Anyway, I'm passively shopping for a [road disc] frame that fits me a bit better so would love to learn more.


Jack – Thank you for your thoughts. Could you please give a few examples of "code words" so that I might have a better idea of what is giving trouble? I do, on occasion, get concerned that phrases like that a too-stiff front wheel will "turn bad" will be mistaken as me incorrectly saying that it will turn badly. My intent there, quite correctly phrased, is to say that I believe such a wheel might cause a bad outcome. Saying that it will turn badly would mean that it will struggle with turns, which a too-stiff front wheel will not. Spend a lifetime getting harangued by my mother, the grammarian, plus major in English at a top school, and do a bunch of freelance writing, and your writing becomes very intentional indeed. Misuses like writing "that," when the correct word is "who," drive me crazy. In a length-limited medium like a blog, it's also necessary to use specific vocabulary to avoid word waste. On rereading, I haven't noticed any words which don't have a specific meaning, but since this stuff is my job and an area of constant focus, I may be less aware of when I need to use remedial explanations. I also write to convey persona, which will of course be attractive to some and off-putting to others. Mike and I have long since decided that our mission is to find our audience, not adapt ourselves to the the broadest audience that exists. That is for the other brands to do. There is, however, always room for improvement. Thanks again. Bryan – ThanksHans – Indeed, we are selling road disc frames. We aren't making them, though. A very well known and highly regarded frame builder in Italy actually makes them to our geometry. They do the engineering and tube spec. I've laid plenty of carbon up in my life but nothing like this.

Dave K

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