Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes, Levers Spotted in the Wild?

prototype Shimano road bike hydraulic disc brakes spotted

Rabobank pro rider Michiel vd Heijden tweeted (and apparently quickly deleted) this image of his presumably prototype Giant TCX Cross bike adorned with what appear to be Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and levers.

While Shimano’s official comment is “no comment” for now, it looks very much like it could be a Dura-Ace level hydraulic road brake system, which is something we’ve heard rumor is coming. Based on appearances, the hood ends are barely if at all bulkier than standard Di2 levers, meaning the master cylinder is tucked inside the Di2 levers rather well. While the photo isn’t big enough to see details, you can make out the silver banjo leading into the calipers, indicating they are indeed hydraulic brakes. Rotors look like Shimano’s Ice Tech parts, but the wheels are blacked out, leaving us only to guess as to their true nature.

We find it quite entertaining to see this pop up on a Giant cross bike after being assured that they weren’t working on a disc brake cyclocross bike, but here it is.

Thanks to everyone that sent this in!


ChadQuest - 02/20/13 - 2:24pm


Canucklehead - 02/20/13 - 2:24pm

That should be nice for new bikes, but something like the Spyre doesn’t require me to get new lever-shifters/etc.

What I really look forward to is that Shimano can push discs on road rims more, so we can see some long overdue changes.

Marc - 02/20/13 - 2:27pm

Could all of the IceTech heat management work Shimano’s been doing over the past couple of years be driven by the road side of things? In any case, they’re killing it as far as off-road discs go- looking forward to giving these a go.

Steve - 02/20/13 - 2:34pm

“We find it quite entertaining to see this pop up on a Giant road bike…” Isn’t that a cyclocross bike??

Bazookasean - 02/20/13 - 2:38pm

I agree. looks like a cross bike with muddy cross tires.

Tyler (Editor) - 02/20/13 - 2:39pm

Steve – Actually, it could be the TCX, good eye!

Topmounter - 02/20/13 - 2:42pm

That looks like a city, not the wild.

Zach - 02/20/13 - 2:45pm

TCX….look at the size of the chainrings. Oh, and the knobbie tires?

Rob - 02/20/13 - 2:46pm

good post! it definitely looks like a cross bike–check out the chainstays with what appear to be a place for canti studs. Also, these tires look very crossy–like dugast 32 or 33 written on the sidewall? also, this dude appears to ride for the giant mtn bike team? Also, if this was a proto road bike for Blanco, wouldn’t it NOT have Rabobank on it? Also, the chainring spread is pretty tight… Could be a spring-classics special now that i think about it.

SL - 02/20/13 - 2:47pm

Definitely looks like a cyclocross bike to me. Still, nice find.

Bk - 02/20/13 - 2:53pm

I’ll start reading bike rumor again when they can distinguish a cross bike from a road bike…

Rich W. - 02/20/13 - 3:37pm

Isn’t the point of the article that Shimano has integrated hydraulic disc brakes into STI levers? Does it really matter, then, whether it is on a road bike or cross bike? Jeez, people, lighten up.

Gillis - 02/20/13 - 3:43pm

I see what look like brake post stubs on the seat stay.

DerHoggz - 02/20/13 - 4:00pm

Biggest clue is the mountain pedals.

Atganirider - 02/20/13 - 4:01pm

Slam the stem, then mount the levers high up. Finally, rotate the bars skywards…

Bog - 02/20/13 - 4:02pm

That’s definitely a TCX Advanced frame – no doubt about it.

Rob - 02/20/13 - 4:47pm

@atganirider… exactly spot on. and for the final touch–never ever ride in the drops. do your entire race on the hoods, only touching bar tape when dismounting and remounting

pmurf - 02/20/13 - 4:48pm

@Atganirider a lot of pro riders spend the majority of their time on the hoods. Many pro setups look a lot like that, despite the unorthodox bar/lever positioning.

Ergo rider - 02/20/13 - 5:41pm

So if CX riders don’t use drops, then why aren’t they using straight bars? Oh, that’s right, they’re outlawed. Why??? Tradition? They won’t LOOK like REAL bicycles? Why does the shape of a handlebar matter anyway? Do riders having better control/braking disturb the sanctity of CX?

If they were allowed the transition to disc brakes would have happened years ago. Even with hydraulic brakes the amount of force that can be exerted from the hoods is only a fraction of that with a straight bar-lever configuration.

Hydraulics for the road are a long overdue, but are still compromised ergonomically with road levers.

MaLóL - 02/20/13 - 9:08pm


well, it has ciclo cross tires, and even bosses for cantilever brakes on the seat stays. I’m sure it-s a track bike.

Ck - 02/20/13 - 10:02pm

Cross riders use the drops all the time.

Frank - 02/20/13 - 10:29pm

That is a TXC.

animallover - 02/20/13 - 10:41pm

Its a deer…with a huge rack of antlers

moskowe - 02/21/13 - 2:59am

Someone needs glasses.

bc - 02/21/13 - 8:31am

Please just fix the description of the bike now, so these idiots can stop correcting it and we can talk about something else.

Question - 02/21/13 - 10:29am

What hoops are on this bike?

Andy - 02/21/13 - 10:58am

Since this is a rabobank bike it’s plausible its a TCX set up for the spring classics.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.