Is it crazy to buy a 2021 year model TT bike with rim brakes

Looking at the Trek Speed Concept and the 2021 bikes are listed on the website. Figure a disc brake version is in the works but no major updates this year. It is a fast bike, comes in my size (61/xl), and the complete build fits the budget.

Not in a big hurry but would like to find something for the 2021 race season, whatever that looks like.

Is it crazy to buy a new bike with rim brakes and a mechanical group set? Don’t need the latest/greatest and currently race on a mech Ultegra equipped bike and am really happy with it, just seems like that isn’t the direction things are headed.

My Tri / TT bike is a 2009 frame with mechanical 10spd and is still one of the fastest bikes out there.

That said, I’d be hard pressed to be buy a new bike right now that had rim brakes…unless you knew you were going to hold onto it for a very long time and could wring every penny out of it.


I’m in sort of a similar boat. I have a 2007 Cervelo P2C that I love, but I’m torn between making a major investment in new race wheels for it (disc/80) or save my money and get a new disc TT bike. A huge spend on wheels will get me a couple more years of use, but then I’m left with wheels that won’t transfer over to any new (disc brake) frame.

Absolutely not crazy. I just built up an old frame I had (mechanical/rim brake) and am planning on selling my disc/Di2 bike (may keep it, but the plan was to sell it). There is nothing wrong with a rim brake/mechanical bike. If you think you will ride a lot in the rain though, disc will be worth it.


Rim brakes are still lighter and more aero, so I wouldn’t have any concerns about performance. The only concern would be resale value if you think you’ll want to sell it in a few years. As you say, that’s the way the market is moving and rim brake stuff is going to be harder to sell.


I totally agree that its a good bike (and fast) and it will serve you well, work just fine, etc, etc. For me (totally my personal opinion) I wouldn’t want to invest in old tech. There’s no more debate about whether or not disc brakes are going to take over the market; that ship has sailed.

That’s just my two cents. If you’re feelin’ that new bike, go for it!


For road I’d say yes, for TT if the goal is to go fast, rim.brakes are still faster and more aero than disc so I’d personally go rim on the TT bike. Unless you’re doing some crazy dangerous descents on your TT save your money and go with the rim brake


I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say crazy, but I wouldn’t do it personally.

I don’t view discs as just the ‘latest and greatest,’ but honestly a pretty tangible and meaningful change. Of course, there are asterisks. Like other said, rim brakes are lighter and a tiny bit more aero. On the other hand, discs allow wheels to be built and designed in ways not beholden to braking performance. Have you ridden discs before? I don’t own a road discc bike, but I’ve ridden discs, and they really are tangibly different. My TT bike (with carbon rim brake wheels) is downright unfun in the rain. Confidence is fast. Even if we’re not talking actual race performance, it would be great to never feel so sketched out during wet rides.

So, crazy? Not crazy, but all things being equal, I’d take the discs.

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Yes, in 2020 I can’t recommend a bike with rim brakes, disc brakes are the future. Perhaps you don’t care about the better braking, but I reckon you do care about resale value.

If you don’t mind rim brakes, I’d say now is a great time to look for a deal on a used TT bike. Because of the switch to disc brakes, I reckon there are some good deals to be had. Ditto for wheels, I would not advise you to buy new rim brake wheels at this point, this is not a good investment. But the used market of rim brake wheels should be quite good at the moment.

A mechanical groupset on the other hand is still fine I’d say, if you have limited funds a >=105-level groupset will serve your purposes just fine. However, some newer frames are designed for electronic groupsets, though.

Yes, you used an old frame, and in that case I agree. But that’s different from investing $$$$ into a new frame and new components.


Interesting points, thank you all for the input. I like the hydraulic disc brakes on my road and CX. Wouldn’t buy a road bike now with rim brakes, for ease with using carbon wheels if nothing else.

Specifically for the TT application, some of the integrated rim brakes (Trek, Bianchi) look pretty nice, hard to imagine discs being more aero on a UCI legal TT bike but some of that stuff is counterintuitive.

Resale and forward compatibility are probably the key things for me to consider here. Will be interested to see more mfg bring their updated TT bikes to market.

I’d go Di2 FAR before the disc brakes if it’s a choice. Major reason on a tri bike is the ability to shift easily and perfectly from the basebar. I just bought a new road bike, and contrary to most here, went with rim brakes and Di2. It’s light, crazy responsive and fast. I work in a shop; talk to the mechanics ALL the time and IMO the disk brakes are still being perfected. We have one customer on a Cervelo P5 (appx $13k in his bike) and it’s in the shop constantly with brake rub. To me, the lack of spacing in the calipers, the various thru axle dimensions, and even thread pitch differences cause me to wait until standards are more equal across the board. If I could tell you how many we have in the shop with rubbing when the rim brake customers just keep on riding. Go for fit, find some crazy fast race wheels and have fun unless you are on crazy fast, twisty courses. For most of us, rim brakes have been more than great for what; 100 years? Save the cost, the weight and the very real possibility that your system of discs may be obsolete faster than rim brake bikes.


Just my 2 cents. Having just bought a new TT bike I went looking for a disc-brake frame. I want to be able to interchange wheels between my road bike and TT bike so it was a very easy choice.

There are good deals in rim-brake wheels and frames, no doubt. But those goods deals are representative of free-falling resale value. I didn’t want to make a sizeable investment in a new bike that will be worth half of what it should be because everybody is moving to disc-brakes. Good luck with your choice :slight_smile:

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The UCI forbids most aerodynamic devices that could make disc brakes as aero as e. g. hidden rim brakes. So you are right, disc brakes are at present less aero. How you weigh this against better braking performance and higher resale value is entirely your decision to make.

Have you had a look at used bikes, though?

Tri/TT bikes are generally ridden on moderate descents, solo (ie. no sudden and unanticipated braking in a bunch), in good weather conditions and on road surfaces that do not require 28+mm tires. In these situations there is little appreciable difference between rim braking and disk brakes. From the point of view of a braking system to stop the bike, there is little reason per se to go TT disc. If you are going to ride and race a TT bike with stock wheels, you might as well run rim brakes.

However, if you run a fleet of somewhat expensive mid and deep section wheels (and winter training wheels) that you swap between your road bike and TT bike depending on wind conditions, then when you transition that fleet of wheels to disc is something that bears thinking about.

The future (although not necessarily the present) of road bike frames is clearly disc, and most wheel manufacturers are putting almost all their research dollars in disc brakes. Don’t expect many major new releases of rim wheels into the future.

Any aero rim-braked wheel for your TT bike is probably going to be orphaned. If you are only going to use those wheels on the TT bike, then rim brakes make sense. If you are going to swap wheels, then going TT disc is better future proofing.

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Shifting on Ultegra mech is pretty good, and not a reason to go di2. But in the TT config, the ability to use satellite shifters to shift from the basebar with di2 is a significant plus.

I wouldn’t say so. It obviously depends on your circumstances and the sort of riding you’re going to do on it, if you are going to ride in the wet a lot or on steep/long descents then it’s probably worth going disc. If there aren’t any large descents then the benefits fall away a bit. Wheel compatibility (now and in the future) is another issue to consider.

I picked up a Canyon Speedmax back in February with rim brakes and absolutely love it. It was on the Canyon Outlet with a healthy discount and I decided that the money I’d save on it was worth not having disc brakes for the foreseeable future. Will I regret this in the future? Unlikely. I only take the TT out in nice weather and on the flat. I’m keeping an eye out for good deals on rim brake wheels too so I have a half decent set to train on it seems like the market for them if getting cheaper.

On a non TT basis I’m trying to justify a new “posh bike “ and its come to disks for me. I’m finding it hard - I’m not racing with the bike - to justify the cost of Di2 over Mechanical Ultegra though (Cervelo Caledonia).

My point was shifting from the basebar, NOT the extensions. Out of the saddle climbing and shifting is a no brainer for Di2. If you’re doing any climbing, it’s pretty sweet. Also, there is NO comparison between Mech and Di2 on front chainring shifts, especially under load.

I’ll go to another angle - how much time are you spending riding the TT bike vs you regular road bike? And as was mentioned above do you need to swap wheels on the TT bike at all?

Basically if your TT bike is your secondary bike and you’re okay with keeping the wheels on it alone, then sure. Should be fine.

If you want to swap wheels on the TT bike in the future I assume there will be a glut of carbon rim wheels in the near future too for cheap.

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I said the same, and totally get the logic. It won’t make you faster unless you’re doing TT or are at the real sharp end of races.

However, for me at least, when I rode Di2, I didn’t want to go back, and pretty much everyone I know says the same.

I personally wouldn’t choose mechanical Ultegra over 105; Ultegra for me no sits in a sort of no mans land. The only time I’d choose mechanical now( apart from a commuter/winter hack) would be if I was going 1x. Of course, if budget prevents, then budget prevents, but I’d personally look to save longer in that instance. But everyone is different.

Sorry for the thread derail!