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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Wait, is November making road disc frame? That is something I would buy! Love the colorway too.


Speaking of tightening up the writing … competent. It's competent. Roll on, Dave.

Bryan Redemske

Keep up the good work here guys. I love this blog, and wait on pins and needles for each successive post.Jack- Keep in mind that his site, like many others, is a blog, and not a news source. They don't need to be unbiased, or appeal to every audience. It's a niche world that we live in now, and there's something out there for everyone. This blog almost tells a story, and feels more like a journal entry than a news bulletin. I think the guys do a fair job at posting links to obscure references when they're absolutely necessary. As for the years of backstory that they've been telling here, I'd suggest you dig through their archives, and read some of the old posts. Not so that you're "in on the joke", but because it's just some really good content, and with that you'll be brought up to speed on many of the references.Jeremy

Jeremy Williams

Wheels: Rail34 laced to White Ind CLD hubs 28/24? (love the hub/nipple colors…) What size rotor are you using front/rear?


DavePlease let me clarify myself. I guess the biggest difficulty I have, is that I have to read your post multiple times to understand what you are talking about. Code words are really the issue, but more your post embark upon topics with very little back ground of what the post is about. They are clearly written with the thought process that the reader is inside the head of the author and has a clear understanding or the topic so very little explanation is needed. I find that in most cases today, it is exactly the opposite. All of us read so much from so many different sources, that it is more difficult to remember details from specific sources with great accuracy. Example from your most recent post. "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."I have no idea what 'Hot Buns' are. I have no idea what TIMONERIA is. Only after I read through this several times do guess, that hot buns was a bike or frame of some type that you tried a while ago, and only after I read through the next paragraph several times do I figure out that TIMONERIA is a new bike that you are testing out to replace the former bike that you carried which was known as the wheel house. You specifically write like all of this is understood by all and you fly into a lot of details about your disdain about naming Bike stuff with Italian names.In my opinion (and that all it is is an opinion) you would be better served by making it very clear that you are evaluating a new potential bike with disc brakes and these are your initial opinions of the bike so far. You say this but it is veiled in a lot of initial jargon that makes the whole post somewhat difficult to follow up front.I find everything in the remainder of the evaluation of the bike (really the disc brakes on the bike) very informative and well thought out and explained. The rest of the post is very good to read. Todays Internet Audience has information flying at them from all sources, and I find this in many blogs and articles that authors assume that there audiences know everything they know and they write "creatively" with much wit and charm, but at times it is very difficult for the average reader to understand, because they don't have direct recollection of the knowledge that the authors assume they have. November appears to be a great company that is innovative in its technology and products. It is a great undertaking for you guys to embark upon a series of articles about technical issues on bike technology with the limited staff you have. I would suggest you just not assume that your audience knows everything November has done over the last 4 years with excellent recollection. All of us get a tremendous amount of information from an abundance of sources, and it pays to spend a little bit more effort in educating your readers with Novembers history on the items you are going to communicate in your articles.Please Dave keep up the excellent writing. I do not mean to discourage you but to make your information more readable to your audience. Personally I find your actual writing excellent, once I figure out what you are talking about.

Jack Mentink

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