On March 31st, Shimano also announced the next big step forward in the move to the road disc market – the first flat mount hydraulic disc brakes.
Shimano released their first generation post mount disc brakes to the road market in 2013 with the Di2 only R785 hydraulic disc brakes. In 2014, the company released the same brakes with mechanical shifters (R685). Both of these brake combinations work amazingly well – they’re the best road brakes I’ve ever used by some way.
However, on the downside they were:
- Really just an adaption of Shimano mountain bike technology.
But – they work fantastically well. I have a set of the R785 on my Stoemper Darrell Di2 disc (reviewed here: http://road.cc/content/review/138483-stoemper-darrell-disc-frame). They’re an absolutely joy to ride – particularly in the most expensive Di2 guise.
In a way the original disc brakes were a touch over engineered for the road market but completely reliable (unlike some others we could mention!) as Shimano’s not a company to take risks on product reliability or performance.
The game changer for disc brakes was always going to be when they slimmed them down for better packaging (and aesthetics), lighter weight and created something more specifically suited for road bikes.
This is where the new flat mount products announced come in. They’re designed for road bikes from the beginning and are going to help disc bikes (running smaller 140mm rotors) look a lot cleaner but still offer fantastic braking in a lighter package.
Here’s another thing, flat mount is neater for bike designers too – not more need for sticking out bits on the back of you carbon fork because the mounting is now ….. flat!
This also means that for some manufacturers (e.g. Kinesis as mentioned here: http://girodilento.com/core-bike-show-highlights-2015-kinesis-ale-tifosi-effetto-mariposa/) will be able to design a frameset that you can run either caliper or disc brakes on giving us as consumers maximum versatility.
Don’t worry about the differing standards either as in the short to medium term there’ll be plenty of adapters available to run 140 or 160mm rotors using either Flat Mount or Post mount disc brakes. However I expect the number of frames being made for post mount disc brakes will rapidly decrease over the next year.