April 01, 2022

Band of Climbers has this morning learned that bikes with rim brakes are to be completely banned from the Passo dello Stelvio. The new rule, which comes in place as of today, means only those riders with disc brake bikes are allowed to climb, and crucially descend Italy's most famous mountain road. 

Bormio AF Ltd, the regional development body responsible for cycling tourism in the Lombardy region of Italy spoke to Band of Climbers and explained their decision, and exactly how they are going to enforce this surprising new rule.

The Decision

Luca Scemo, Bormio AF Ltd's Commercial Director said, "We have been carefully studying the Strava data from riders on the Stelvio for many years, and it is clear that bikes with rim brakes descend the Stelvio far more recklessly than any disc brake bike. We see the speed of riders entering the 48 switchbacks of our descent far too fast, and this leads to issues with rider safety, poor cornering, and wide lines.

"We see that disc brake bikes simply don't have this same issue. The stopping power of disc brakes is just so far superior, and as a result, we have to put rider safety first, and this means making uncomfortable decisions. So, as of today, 1st April, we have banned all rim brake bikes from all three sides of the Stelvio."


When asked how on earth they were going to stop riders with rim brakes from riding the Stelvio, Luca adds, "At first we hoped riders would respect our decision and simply not bring a rim brake bike to Bormio. However, to ensure we have no rule breakers, we are employing 6 x 24hour 'Rim Guards' who will be stationed at the foot of each side of the climb. Our 'Rim Guards' will prevent any rider with rim brakes from starting the climb."

"We know this will disappoint a few people who have not yet made the swap to disc brakes, but, please understand this is for your own safety, and the safety of your fellow Stelvio riders."

Bike Rental

The good news, adds Luca, is that the 'Rim Guards' will also be able to provide a hire bike, with disc brakes, should you still wish to ride the climb. Bormio AF Ltd has invested in a fleet of disc brake bikes for rent. They cost €15 per hour, so the quicker you get up and down the Stelvio, the cheaper your rental is. Luca adds the bikes are a lightweight carbon fibre, with mechanical disc brakes. Claimed weight of each bike is 12kg. 


As you can imagine, when Luca gave us this news, we were taken aback. The new ruling leaves a lot of 'what if' questions to answer, and so, with your help, we've agreed to feed your questions to Luca and Bormio AF Ltd. Simply add your questions below in the comments, and we'll get the answers we know you need.