Pros respond to Andre Cardoso's nasty chainring injury

Despite the UCI’s disc brake trial continuing into a second season, there is still plenty of nervousness among the pros about the possible dangers of the new technology. And this nervousness was certainly shown in the response to this photo of Andre Cardoso’s close-call at the Tour de San Luis.

>>> Chris Froome wary of disc brakes in the peloton in 2016

Posted on Twitter by fellow Cannondale rider Alex Howes, the photo shows a nasty injury on the inside of Cardoso’s thigh where he had got tangled up with a chainring in a crash. However despite there being no disc brakes involved in the crash, a number of pro riders picked up on the photo as highlighting the possible dangers of disc brakes during mass pile-ups.

Dimension Data‘s Nathan Haas retweeted the photo with the caption “why we probs don’t need disc brakes”, but received criticism from some users for trying to use an injury caused by a chainring to highlight the dangers of disc brakes.

Alex Dowsett was amongst those to leap to Haas’ defence, saying that “in a bunch pileup there’s bodies and bikes literally everywhere and in every position.”

However, as nasty as Andre Cardoso’s injuries look, this was far from the worst crash we’ve seen in recent days, with Adriano Malori in a medically-induced coma following a seperate crash at the Tour de San Luis, while six Giant-Alpecin riders were seriously injured in a crash at a training camp at the weekend.

  • mcrobbj

    More a problem with clipless!

  • Mark Hyde

    So, if a formula 1 driver gets better brakes, they go faster and they crash more, really? The same way that they adapt to better handling and more power, they adapt to better brakes, surely cyclists are not beyond adapting to better performance in whatever form? That’s of course if you believe disc brakes give you better performance. ?

  • Peter Green

    FFS. If you take that luddite approach,
    – Back to single speed speed. That eliminates the risk from pointy chain rings with no chain on them. Or hobby horses.
    – Get rid of anything carbon. It splinters in a crash, ratherbthan bending like steel.

    – No aluminium. It age hardens, becoming brittle and always has a Limited fatigue life. Steel everything instead.

    Carbon rims. Death written all over them. Carp braking, overheat on downhills causinf tyre to burst, brittle, yahdeyahdeyah.

    Discs are not a problem.
    If realy concerned by these make believe hazards from discs, put a shroud around the disc to protect from all the false scaremongering cobblers. SIMPLES.

  • josh

    u can’t argue with a fool..especially with a nickname who can’t decide whether he is pass or fail

  • josh

    don’t get drag down by experienced fool. he can’t listen to you ..his brain got kidnapped.

  • josh

    did your car uses rim brakes ? so stupid comment from a cyclist ..

  • davewyman

    They look hideous because you aren’t used to them, Andrew. I’m 68 and I think they look good on road bikes, now that I’ve seen so many bikes with them. However, for now disks aren’t for me because they weigh more than rim brakes, and I like to spend my money on bikes to make them as light as possible, not as trendy as possible.

  • Liam Pino

    Hahaha We’d rather have deep cuts than use any type of guard on our bikes

  • ruisliptiger


  • Bob Higgins

    Since the use of carbon tubulars is the strongest and lightest wheelset to use the rain has made stopping near to impossible without discs.

  • MrHaematocrit

    I run Kettle SiCCC discs which cost £120 Im yet to have a need to replace these or a set of my Zipp firecrest wheels with carbon brake tracks and hydro rim brakes, not that either of this matters. My point was referring to the suggestion that ‘when’ my wheels fail due to wear from rim brakes I would perhaps have a different view to the one I currently hold.
    To suggest that disc brakes are better because the rim is not a braking surface as some people in this thread have is a weak argument. Nobody would reccomend the use of spoon brakes or drum brakes because they don’t wear the rim.
    All brake systems have good and bad points, at this time I find hydraulic rim brakes to be the best compromise on a road bike for my requirements in all conditions

  • Lukas

    The maximum braking force on a bicycle is completely limited by the friction you can get from your wheels. As soon as you can get your wheels to skid you have as much braking force as you can get out of your wheels (well, the maximum breaking force is of course when just not skidding) and stronger brakes won’t help anything. As far as I know, you can perfectly get that maximum braking force with rim brakes. The insufficiency of braking force on downhills is entirely due to the thin wheels which have a very small contact area with the road and consequently offer very limited friction.

  • Lukas

    I agree, but that is mostly the hydraulics which do such a fine job.

    Disc brakes in MTBing are so usefull because they don’t get so much mud between the diskpads, which is often a problem with rim brakes. Also riding in the sand and braking with rim brakes will ruin your brake pads and in the long run your rims; much less so (or not at all?) with disk brakes.

  • harry

    I agree that disc brakes will take over in the end but was very surprised to see on Youtube “top 5 road bikes 2016” , some very nice caliper installations on a Trek Madone and a Specialized for new top end bikes.

  • harry

    How much are rims and a wheel build? Because replacement discs are less than £20 each.

  • harry

    I ride a road bike with traditional 105 caliper brakes on 700×23 tyres, they work fine with a good feel, I also have a 29er mtb on which I use to commute on with 700×28 g/skins and it has hydraulic discs, the feel is considerably better and I appreciate my discs are bigger (Rear=160mm Frt=180mm) than those on a roadie, but I would go as far as to say that maybe they are too powerful for roadie tyres, on a damp road the back can lock up quite easily, with big off-tyres they are ample.
    I don’t think they are essential for road bikes, but I think it’s inevitable that in time all road bikes will have them.
    So there you go, someone with experience of both and no hang ups about either.
    The biggest difference I’d suggest, is that when riding on the hoods of your disc brake levers, you wouldn’t need to get on the bar drops to apply strong braking power, which would be beneficial, but the headline here is nonsense, as the discs on roadbikes are very small and as the picture shows, it’s the chainset that was the real hazard.

  • MrHaematocrit

    The rims I use have a wear indicator at which point you replace them. If you are the type to ignore that you are likely the type to ignore disk wear also.(or bike maintenance completely). You also do not escape the possibility of failure with disc brakes. Every form of braking has limitations, disc brakes impact hub design and spoke configuration.
    Having ridden hydraulic disc bikes for the past three years as well as traditional braked bikes I’m simply not convinced. The biggest advantage for me is the large hoods on SRAM hydraulic which are real nice to hold.

  • Richard Austin

    Only the surface changes.
    All other performance aspects are the same.

  • Richard Austin

    But you wear out your rims.
    When one fails for that reason you’ll understand.
    Keep buying new wheels. Brakes and wheels should work together, but not be the same thing.

  • Richard Austin

    Discs require less effort, resist fading on descents,do not heat your wheels, are not dependent on wheel trueness , do not wear rims out and are away from mud, sand and water that your rims go through. That makes them a better all around system.

  • Richard Austin

    Discs require less effort, resist fading on descents,do not heat your wheels, are not dependent on wheel trueness , do not wear rims out and are away from mud, sand and water that your rims go through.
    They may not have more braking power, but are just all around better brakes.

  • Richard Austin

    Rim brakes ARE obsolete.
    Discs require less effort, resist fading on descents,do not heat your wheels, are not dependent on wheel trueness , do not wear rims out and are away from mud, sand and water that your rims go through.

  • bābā ghanūj

    so many up there from you, brah

  • passorfail

    One up there now, why don’t you go and try to find it. Good Luck

  • passorfail

    Hey, just what I was going to say about you.
    Come back when you have an answer for one of those questions above.
    I’ll be back when I see a road disk rider on the podium.

  • bābā ghanūj

    Sure am, so I know when you post asinine comments on the Freeman.

  • No there isn’t one single fact in any of my replies

    Anyway as stated elsewhere you seem to be trolling, so no point wasting time with you. It’s like using reason to debate with someone who believes in religion, because they responded to reason then they wouldn’t be religious.

  • passorfail

    You haven’t provided one fact. You just keep spewing your opinion.
    I’m just asking a few questions that you brought up. I figure that your facts could easily answer them.

  • Not big on logic or common sense are you?
    You’re the sort of person that confuses correlation with causality it would seem and facts are a pesky inconvenience that get dismissed if they get in the way of your opinions.

  • passorfail

    So, disk brakes are better, but the pros won’t be using them?
    Disk brakes are only for people who ride on open roads, as those that are on closed roads never need to brake?
    People who get KOM on Strava downhills have better brakes?
    I await your next wonderful fun-fact about disk brakes.

  • haplezz

    nah. They’ll just go faster and deeper into corners thinking that the new brake tech will be able to stop them. After all, these are racers pushing the limits, and every second counts. If anything, don’t be surprise if crash rate goes up.

  • No, they can use whatever they want. People justifying not using them on spurious grounds however is simply nonsense.

    If there were road downhill races, then they’d all be using discs, no question. But braking is less of a concern in a pro peloton than it is to the 99.9999% of real world cyclists who don’t have closed roads to race on. It may that in a few years only pro/elite riders won’t be using discs as they would be more bothered about the fact that discs weigh 20g more.

  • Matt Stokwisz

    Formula1 lets one industry innovate, and then forces all others to match it, it seems cycling shuns innovation lately

    let me remind you, some odd years ago we bragged about our carbon frame technology coming from NASA bla bla bla…. we are never too far from this: sport…

    note the glowing hot discs,

    and if you argue lack of traction with 2x430mm discs coupled with 8 pot calipers, just start a blog with Continental on why they don’t put as much technology into the GP4000S as they do in the ContiRACEattak

    BTW i ride continental tires on all my machines and love them, not hating on Conti, just making an example

  • Rawb Spear

    proper use of discs will allow higher speeds and more control. Just like they did in motorcycle. They are superior and that is why they are necessary. Discs are protected by the wheels as well whereas, the rings are exposed. Not a fair comparison in the first place.

  • passorfail

    So based on what you say we should see all professional racers using disk brakes in every race in 2016?

  • Chris Baillie

    Hydraulic discs feel awesome. They stop way faster than rim brakes, resist fade on long descents and are just unbelievable in the wet. However, they add hundreds to the cost of your bike, especially if you want comparable weight wheels. For Pro’s? Let’s remember they’re given them by people who want you to buy into another technology, not for any other reason….

  • Dave Faff

    I dont think any pros are arguing that discs don’t provide the better braking it is simply to do with the risk of injury and in a pile up you really have no idea what you will land on – though having landed on most parts of disc-equipped mountain bikes it has generally been the pedals, chainrings or handlebar accoutrements that have caused the injuries (though this is not the same as being tangled up in multiple road bikes!).

  • So they are road bikes with discs then, are they as that is what we are talking about?
    Despite your wonderful reports of rim brakes awesomeness, they don’t tally with real world use where they struggle in the wet and are not consistent in behaviour when weather changes. They also blow tyres off rims on long descents and wear rims if trails or roads are mucky. You also seem to be obsessed with locking wheels as you fail to grasp modulation which has been mentioned numerous times and that is the main reason why disc brakes are superior.

    As for the mass graves nonsense, the reality is people stay within the limits of their set up. I simply ride far slower downhill when I’m on a bike with rim brakes, so if I want to get Strava PBs or or try [and fail] to get a KOM on a downhill, discs are a big advantage. Not that I have any downhill KOMs.

  • passorfail

    OH, so are you still following, pusstroll?

  • passorfail

    I have two bikes with disc brakes, so I do have experience.
    As far as controlling, I do believe I can squeeze my lever half way to get half the stopping power, quarter to get quarter the stopping power… from my rim brakes which gives me all the consistent control without locking up the wheel that I need (even at 60mph). I mention skid, because that would represent the greatest clamping force.
    While your writing back, maybe you can point out one or two of those mass graves along the side of the road in the Alps where the hundreds of racers have died due to their rim brakes not providing enough consistent control and the racers flying off the cliffs into the canyons below.

  • Of course not! It would only break into nasty sharp bits and take out an entire peloton on one fell swoop.

  • Le fig roll

    Is there another way to make bikes?

  • At least they are still making bikes out of metal!!!

  • bābā ghanūj

    You didn’t block me, old man.

  • As I said, you have zero experience of DISC brakes.
    Unlike yourself, myself and many others have and because we have first hand experience of both systems we understand exactly how much better they are.
    Being able to consistently control your more powerful braking and NOT skid/lock wheel up is the key thing.

  • passorfail

    Funny how people think others have NO expeience. I have never had any braking situation on a road bike where my braking power was insufficient. Even in the wet, I can (if I choose) lock up my wheel and produce a skid. My question is, If I can produce 100% braking power with my rim caliper brake, how is a disk brake going to stop me better?

  • passorfail

    Are you sore because I blocked you from following me or just because you now know you are truly a puss?

  • Simon Baxter

    I think depicus meant he shat himself on the road bike in the wet due to insufficient braking power. I presume they were joking, hence the 😉

  • Two chain injury pics. There another in the comments section as well.

  • Don’t knock something you have not tried.

    Better braking most certainly does increase how fast you can go. Better brakes have more control and consistency and that is why disc brakes are superior.
    I descended Col de la Madone recently and had to keep my speed down on my [otherwise very nice] hire bike on the way back down. All because the brakes were so poor compared to the discs on my own bike and that was in the dry. I would have been terrified if it had rained. Riding more locally on my girlfriend’s [much lighter] bike with rim brakes, I’m again far more cautious on the steep descents around here, because I cannot slow down nearly as well as I can on my disc brake equipped bike. I leave her for dust on any descents.

  • It’s funny how those with zero experience of disc brakes have so much more knowledge about their efficacy than those who actually use them.

    I find descending on a road bike with rims brakes a scary experience. I go a heck of a lot slower because I cannot brake as well as I can with discs. And that’s in the dry.
    Add a bit of rain and the difference is huge. Luckily it drizzled when I was testing new road bikes recently as it reminded me how awful rim brakes can be in the wet. The one with disc brakes had no problem stopping however.

  • hans

    This is why we should use discs!

  • bābā ghanūj

    Good for you, but nobody cares about your opinion. Asshole!

  • passorfail

    IThe only time I have seen a bike go through the mud in the Tour DeFrance is when a rider leaves the roadway. Sorry, it is not standard practice.
    BTW – you forgot to mention how you stay so clean on your mountain bike but get filthy on the road bike.

  • passorfail

    My definition of TROLL is someone who follows another to a discussion board only to leave a message that has nothing to do with the discussion, only to do with inflamming that person. BTW – that is also my definition of a puss!

  • Craig Pickersgill

    Well field and road motorcycles both use disc brakes? So on or off road no difference, they do have more power (cos no flex in the frame think v brake) there is a risk of injury but that’s the game we play. Imagine the arguments when someone invents a magnetic or pulse drive system?!? Wonder when we will use Carbon discs? In the meantime take care and don’t get oil on your leg off that chain now.. How about wireless to avoid strangulation with cables? Hehe if you don’t like the idea try tennis or jogging it was only the same when carbon frames came out… In a crash sharp shards of 3k flying about. Ride safe everyone.

  • Max Smith

    Presenting a chain ring injury picture whilst commenting on disc brakes is hardly honest IMO.

  • Le fig roll

    It all started to go wrong when we moved from centre pull to side pull. A good cantilever brake should be all any discerning cyclist needs if they must depart from the standard calliper design. Even then, best saved for the touring or cyclo cross iron. They’ll be making bike frames out of aluminium next!

  • wenchiana

    So Cardoso’s thigh was scraped by chainring. Chainring is in the middle of the bike and in quite open space. Brake discs would be in the center of the ring and surrounded by spokes. I find teeth of the chainring a lot more dangerous than brake discs.
    Wanna eliminate chainring tooth injuries? Switch to belt drive and internal transmissions. Won’t happen of course and probably even shouldn’t. Belt and internal or hub gears are for maintenance free commuter bikes.
    Stopping disc brakes from coming to the sport based on these fears is silly. Loosening the technical regulations lighted the hour record up. Why should road cycling stick to old methods.

  • whobiggs

    For what it’s worth I know of two people that have lost the end of their finger through a disc although it was a maintenance issue not riding.

  • flogtun

    I agree – this is a RIDICULOUS click bait type article.
    The photo has absolutely nothing to do with disc brakes. Just trying to stoke a silly debate and maybe generate some google ad revenue. The author should be a bit more mature and judicious

  • bābā ghanūj

    thank you for proving my point.

  • “A road bike doesn’t go through mud” yes I’m sure a road bike has never been used in anything but dry roads.

  • passorfail

    Nope, not a snob, love all types of cyclists. I wasn’t talking about the rider, I was talking about the bike. You seem to be the one that wants to put a stereotype with a person and drive a wedge between the groups.
    Road bikes are not ridden under the same conditions as mountain bikes. They don’t go through mud, they aren’t descending 20% grades over rocks and logs. Disc brake were made for a purpose, and road bikes don’t meet that purpose. Off road or gravel bikes do meet more of the demand and therefore disc brakes make sense on those.
    Can you also tell me how you can ride your mountain bike on a wet country lane and your pants stay clean, but they get wet/dirty form a road bike?

  • passorfail

    and there is the troll that follows people…. and look, he brought his internet muscles

  • Butty

    Yeah, I’d forgotten how disc brake haters blamed a chainring injury on a disc…….

  • bābā ghanūj

    you are just feeding the troll…

  • Why ? I ride my mountain bike on the ROAD. Are you one of these bike snobs who still thinks changing gears should be down on the frame ?

  • passorfail

    I believe the article is about disc brakes on ROAD bikes. Let’s keep the discussion to road bikes.

  • J1

    You’re on to something there…..

  • Nigel Rue

    Try looking at the cycle race scene in the old French film “Jour de Fate”.

  • Andrew Bairsto

    They are being honest ,I am nearly 70 have ridden and raced all my life never found that better braking would improve my performance one little bit ,I am not going to go down a col in the rain any quicker no matter what sort of brakes I have the tyre grip is the deciding factor and so is loose gravel and potholes on the road.One more thing they look hideous.

  • Rich Wake

    I just had a lovely mental image of the whole elite peloton riding sit-up-and-beg town bikes, a few with baskets on front, struggling up the big cols. It made me smile =P

  • Jay

    Of course everything we used has a commercial value but it doesn’t mean they are bad products and the manufacturers are just out there to reap you off. Rim brakes won’t stay for long. Don’t forget to stock up spare parts from those manufacturers that’s making money out of ya.

  • Conor Salisbury

    6.8kgs weight limit is set to me abolished

  • Max Smith

    I’m always surprised to see that riders are so against discs. Shame this guy didn’t choose a more honest way to offer his opinion.

  • James

    Disc brakes are good for those that want to sell disc brakes. That’s the bottom line

  • Chris Herring

    Have people forgotten Ryan Trebon’s injury at the cross worlds a few years ago?

  • Dennis Ong

    what a load of bullsh*t! the disc is the least part of your bike that can harm you if you experience a crash. it is surrounded by a big ring called the “rim” and hold tightly in the centre by the “spokes” the rim is also protected by the “tyre” so those 3 parts of the wheels must be totally destroyed first before the disc even touches your body. if you dont like to use disc brakes thats fair enough but stop using a stupid accident which wasnt even cause by a disc brake to tell us “This is why we don’t need disc brakes” because THAT IS JUST PLAIN STUPID!

  • Surprises

    the guards would act as fairings for aerodynamics – or at least sold that way.

  • WDG

    Before you go slagging it off, think of this. If you lock your brakes in a car, you skid in a straight line. If you lock your front wheel on a bike, chances are you’re hitting the deck. So ABS on bikes is actually a very good idea.

    I think you’re wrong about the stopping power too. Using your argument two bikes with everything the same apart from one has good pads and one has blu-tack would stop the same, which is patently untrue. Where do you think the tyre friction comes from? Rim/disc and pads of course.

  • MrHaematocrit

    I have a disc bike and don’t see what all the fuss is about, in the dry they offer minimal advantages, in the wet they clear water better, but I’m a bigger fan of my Hydraulic rim braked bike which stops and modulates just as well as any disc braked bike I have ever ridden.

  • Dean Penfold

    With that logic, wouldn’t it make even less sense to use disc brakes on mtbs given that friction between tyre and dirt is generally less than tyre and pavement?

  • justinslc

    Is there a concern about coming into contact with a hot rotor in mass pile-up? I have brushed my leg against the rotor on my mountain bike, after a long descent, and burned the pattern into my calf. But, that was after a descent of more than 1000 meters, and the heat dissipates rather quickly. It seems like most pile-ups happen on sprints and starts, when nobody is likely to be riding the brakes.

  • Dean Penfold

    Honestly, I think I would struggle to put it accurately into words but I’m sure someone, somewhere has spent the time doing so. Admittedly, a quality rim calliper offers excellent braking but until you really spend some time with a full hydraulic setup (Shimano, in my opinion, feel better than Sram), particularly on a steep, technical descent, it’s difficult to appreciate the improvement they offer. Please do, like Nigel below, keep an open mind. As it is, all signs point towards discs whether we want them or not.

  • My guess is 1. the rim on a wheel is closer to mud and water so more likely to be contaminated than a disk 2. disks are going to be a flat surface whereas rims are not – nor are they always perfectly round whereas disks can be flatter 3. The material used would allow for greater friction so rubber on steel or carbon would not create as much friction as disc pads on steel.

    Having ridden to and from work on both a mountain bike and a road along country lanes in the wet I’d take the heavy mountain bike and clean pants any day 🙂

  • Gordon Wordsworth

    Exactly right, stopping power is about friction between tryre and surface, not rim or disc and pads. Would have thought more stopping power equals more chance of skidding? Makes sense for mtbs with all the mud etc but not race bikes. The pro peleton does not need more nervousness. Its why ABS was introdeced on cars to automatically control the too powerful braking force and skidding. Oh good, now the parts companies can sell us ABS for bikes, to control the disc brakes…….!

  • Nigel Rue

    Well I used to race mountain bikes with rim brakes and they were just fine. Then after a few years away from the sport I got a mtn bike with disc brakes and was blown away by how much better they were.
    My current road bikes have rim brakes, but I look forward to trying discs to find out if they are better. Until then I will keep an open mind.

  • passorfail

    I’ll let that stand as, you have no facts, just your opinion and can not present any information to back up your claim.

  • Dean Penfold

    I’ve made my point, Google it. Then go to a bike shop and find out for yourself.

  • passorfail

    “modulate”… My rim brakes modulate just fine from anywhere between 0% pressure up to 100% pressure.
    Maybe we don’t understad because no one explained to us how you can apply disk brakes half way but not do that with rim brakes. You’re up, go ahead and explain.

  • Dean Penfold

    Discs offer increased modulation, NOT stopping power! Why don’t people understand this…

  • Nigel Rue

    Weight wouldn’t be an issue as the current 6.8kgs can easily be achieved. As for wheel changes, well I’m sure designing guards that don’t interfere wouldn’t tax designers minds too much.

  • passorfail

    IF I apply my rim brake and can stop the wheel from spinning, HOW can a disk brake have more stopping power than that??? Does a dic brake magically deploy better friction between the tire and the road surface?
    Disc brakes on road bike are just a marketing ploy to make everyone think their old rim brake bike is obsolete.

  • As far as I know the vast majority of deaths in cycling are caused in downhill crashes where speed and insufficient braking are factors so I’d have thought disk brakes would save more lives.

  • wheelchaser

    I guess the question would then be, would they be ready to except the increase in weight and added restrictions when doing quick repairs during a race.

  • rct

    The point is why add to the risk with two additional potential sources of injury?

  • Nigel Rue

    If the pro’s are serious about eliminating these type of injuries, they should insist on guards for chain rings and discs.