Joe’s Disc CX – Mudhoney SL
While he was at it, he thought he’d move to a tapered fork with a 44mm head tube, and finish it out with custom decals, silver with a red outline.
We can’t vouch for every one of Joe’s design decisions on this bike, it’s his bike and no one else’s. We will say that he’s finishing closer to the podium this year than he was last year. Draw what conclusions you may.
“I really wanted to race with disc brakes this season,” Joe says, “so most of my focus has been on how the braking is different and better from my cantilever brakes. You ride so many dramatically different surfaces during a single race, the way your brakes work, from surface to surface, is a big deal. I noticed with cantis that I got pretty unpredictable results from the road to the grass to the mud. I’d pull the lever and see what happened, and then react to that.”
Obviously, that’s part of the charm of racing cross, or at least it has been. After so much talk last season about the emergence of discs, still only about 10% of racers seem to be running them, versus more traditional cantilever set ups.
Joe says, “The main difference with the discs is that they’re predictable. You grab a fistful of lever, and you stop. If anything, I am finding I can roll faster into turns and technical sections, because I know better what it’s going to take to slow down.”
The counter argument, the reason to stay with cantis, is the weight penalty. Today’s discs with their heavy calipers and rotors can add as much as a pound to your race day rig. Joe still hasn’t decided what he thinks about the added weight.
“I know the bike is heavier,” he says, “but I’m not sure that’s a problem for me in race situations. Maybe, because I can carry more speed into the barriers or the run ups, I’m less aware of carrying more weight on my shoulder or pushing it around the course.”
Whatever the case, we are building a lot more disc CX bikes this season than last. Whether those are race bikes, gravel grinders, or all-weather commuters, it’s a set up that is working for Seven riders all over the world, and we expect to see a lot more, on the road, if not on the race course.