In this staff review, Andrew Reeves takes a look at the new Vitus Vitesse EVO Disc road bike. Will he be converted by the power of disc braking?
Do you need disc brakes?
It's fair to say that I was sceptical about the need for disc brakes on a road bike. It seemed like a marketing led initiative, to get consumers to part with their hard earned cash.
I've been cycling for many years, and have seen lots of new technology; including the less than successful biopace chainset, and the much more successful move from down tube gear shifters to the current electronic shifting. I have also enjoyed the advances in braking technology in the MTB world: from rim, to cantilever, and then to disc.
As part of my training for the 2017 season, I was lucky enough to borrow and test a Vitus Vitesse Evo Ultegra Road Bike.
With a carbon frame, Shimano Ultegra groupset, and Vitus own brand components speced throughout, this is a great value bike. Add in the hydraulic disc brakes, and I was especially intrigued to test it out.
Luckily the weather for my tests was a combination of wet and cold, as well as icy at times; so the brakes were put through their paces.
From the start, I was impressed with the positive feel when pulling on the levers, and even liked the larger brake hoods (required for the brake fluid reservoir), which provided an additional hand position.
The stopping power was incredible, but also much smoother than my usual Ultegra caliper brakes.
The bolt through axles front and rear provided additional stiffness, and there appeared to be no brake rub when out of the saddle.
The only time I was ever concerned was on a twisty decent when I met a car coming the other way and panic grabbed a handful of brake which momentarily locked the rear wheel. Lesson learned, less is more.
In summary, using disc brakes provided additional confidence, especially on descents or approaching junctions, where a positive stop was required.
In wet conditions caliper brakes and their pads get wet and dirty, and braking performance is affected. This decrease in braking efficiency never happened with the disc brakes.
The proof of the pudding is would I spend my own money on a road bike equipped with disc brakes?
Well the answer is yes. The next road bike I buy will have hydraulic disc brakes, and will be my default training bike especially in winter or bad conditions.
View the Vitus Vitesse EVO Disc (Ultegra - 2017) Road Bike at Wiggle