Flanders/Roubaix Tech: Disc brakes on Pro Continental Direct Énergie’s BH G7 Disc

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Leading up to Flanders last weekend, we had spoken with team reps at French Pro Continental outfit Direct Énergie (last year’s Europcar) about them racing Flanders on their new G7 aero road bike, which is now only available for disc brakes in their premium model. The team had just started training on the bikes in the week leading up to the Tour of Flanders, and they went back and forth from thinking that the whole team may ride the new bikes, then down to announcing two riders testing it out the day before the race. On the morning of the start in Brugge, a couple of the new G7 Disc bikes were found prepped and ready on the roof of team cars, but not seen rolling around in the team corral.

It seems that the weather was too nice in Flanders to bring out the disc brakes for Direct Énergie, but that certainly won’t be the issue this weekend in Northern France. The weather has taken a turn for the worse (or better for those who want to see a muddy race) and the rains are already on the way. P-R organizers have already talked about cutting at least one sector of pavé due to how muddy it is right now. And BH has assured us that the team is set up on the new bikes and ready to race with disc brakes come Sunday.

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As the riders rolled to sign in for the start for the Tour of Flanders, only their rim brake G6 Pro bikes were to be found, pretty much as we had seen them ride at Paris-Nice, only with slightly wider tires. Dry roads and just 20km total of cobbles meant that the team wasn’t quite ready to make the jump to the new bike. So the G7 Disc’s Classics debut got pushed back a week. Now the newest and most aero bike that BH has built will get raced first on the cobbles of Paris Roubaix led by captain Sylvain Chavanel.

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The G7 Disc was developed to be a light and quick bike to replace the previous G6 Pro. Besides the addition of flat mount disc brakes, the bike gets much more refined aerodynamics with thinned and dropped seatstays that also give it a more forgiving ride. At the same time as adding discs, BH pushed out the fork and stays to comfortably clear the new crop of light and wide road tires. The bike uses an all-new fork design that smoothly transitions into the large, aero section downtube, then to tall, boxy chainstays. The top of the bike keeps rather thin, and the seat is perched atop an integrated seatmast that holds a small seatpost in place with a long internal clamp based on two large set screws.

The team bikes we saw were all fitted with Ultegra Di2 and the same Vision Metron 40 Disk tubulars that we rode through cyclocross season, glued up here to Hutchinson Pro Tour tires and with 12mm thru-axles. They also got FSA K-Force Light cranks and FSA bars and stems, plus Prologo saddles.

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While we didn’t catch Direct Énergie riding the Belgian cobbles last week, we got out and rode them ourselves. In between zipping from one Flanders town to the next chasing pro teams, we took a BH G7 Disc that we have on test up and over some of the most classic cobbled climbs in the region, and across the tiny roads that connect them. We have a long-term, detailed review in the works, but suffice it to say that I personally have dropped my best times on several rough road and cobblestone segments. And with the ability to fit 30mm wide road tires, we’ve yet to find any road surface that this bike doesn’t welcome.

BHbikes.com

Comments

9 thoughts on “Flanders/Roubaix Tech: Disc brakes on Pro Continental Direct Énergie’s BH G7 Disc

  1. Shame that a wheel company like Vision who’s been around a few years now can’t muster up a proper rim meant for disc brakes. Repurposing rim brake rims for disc isn’t very “pro” or “tech” at all.

  2. I am curious how the thru axles will effect wheel changes. Shouldn’t make a huge impact, but definitely seems a bit slower.

  3. It’s been interesting watching discs make their way into peloton. At De Panne for example. Rompoort using discs one day, then switching back to rim for another day, etc. All DNF for Lampre when they used disc in Flanders, etc. It’s not so simple to make this transition. I am not anti disc at all, but it is interesting.

  4. With so many small groups and not enough team cars to go behind each ones, Roubaix would be my last choice for introducing discs as a Pro. They depend so much on neutral support at P-R, not that much in other races.

    Note: I did the P-R sportive on disc brakes last year but that’s another story as I carried my own spare tubulars.

  5. Lampre had ALL dnf’s because they have nobody for the Northern classics so they just used the Merida discs bikes and the Asian riders to get some press. Roompot and Direct Energie are the same……although Chavanel could have a good ride so I’m assuming he’ll be on rim brakes. Punctures are a part of Paris Roubaix with most big teams having lots of people moving around to sections of the course with wheels (some actually have friends of the team with personal wheelsets) because support vehicles can be minutes behind. Disc brakes would make this nearly impossible.

  6. I’ve seen the past 30 paris roubaix and watch all world tour and many conti races and know about the punctures. Maybe it’s not due to discs, and maybe it did have some effect in other ways like prone to causing crashes.

  7. Oh gee, new developments on this – UCI banned DIsc brakes in pro peloton after more crashes and injuries. Lots of pros speaking out confirming my stance on this. Yeah, so…

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