More Industry Commentary on UCI Assault

We got this letter in response to our post about the UCI’s recent announcement that they would be severely cracking down on bicycle frame and component designs that don’t fall within their guidelines.  This is from Jason Rico of Rico Sports Group, a US agent for Control Tech and Alex Rims:

Hey Tyler,

Thanks for sending this.

I’ve said for the past 2 years that things are getting out of control.

I was at Fuji last July and Mark Smith showed me the new D-6 frame. I immediately told him “That’s not legal”! He didn’t know what I was referring to because he didn’t know the rules.

That’s a mistake that a lot of Product Managers seem to be making. In an effort to drive their marketing story and create ‘cool looking’ bikes or components they tend to focus on visual and aerodynamic properties that are WAY outside of the UCI regulations.

The only Product Manager that I’ve spoken to that is totally on top of the regulations is Dave Koesel at Felt. Although, having said that, their DA fork doesn’t fit the regulation either because it uses a standard steerer tube interface unlike the Look frames which have the fork actually mounted on the front of the frame. The Cervelo P4 that you show in your article IS legal. They grey area’d the rule because the big thing at the BB shell is actually a water bottle so it’s not part of the frame!

…continued after the break (hit ‘more’)

At ControlTech, over the last 10 months we’ve been working on 2 new designs for TT bars that we will introduce at Eurobike. One of my mandates on the new bars was that they MUST comply to the 3-1 ruling. Even though the rule has not been enforced on components, the UCI regulations do clearly state that components must adhere to the specifications. We actually came up with some really cool designs and shapes during the sketch phase but they didn’t fit the 3-1 rule so we couldn’t continue with them. I spent a lot of time working with and deciphering the UCI equipment regulations. We are also developing 2 new clip-on bars that fit within ITU regulations. We want to offer commercial products that are ‘race legal’ (I can’t imagine how the guy who shelled out $1,200 on his 3T Ventus LTD bars must feel right now!).

And the equipment rules seem to be very loosely adhered in regard to other aspects also. Look at British Cycling on the track. They have frames and bars that nobody else can get. It’s the same with Columbia Highroad and their TT bikes.

The Lugano Charter in 1996 (which started this whole thing) states that all equipment used must be “Commercially Available.”  Try to buy either of these bikes in a bike shop!

1.3.007 Bicycles and their accessories shall be of a type that is or could be sold for use by anyone practicing cycling as a sport. The use of equipment designed especially for the attainment of a particular performance (record or other) shall be not authorized.

However, I totally agree that the rules are silly, outdated and commercially harmful to the industry! There’s no ‘real’ reason to place such restrictions on equipment and it’s still a case of the biggest budgets getting the best gear.

Technology, manufacturing techniques and materials have advanced considerably in the past 13 years.
As an industry, we constantly need to introduce new products that give people a reason to buy them, Be that an aerodynamic, comfort or weight advantage over their existing equipment. Unfortunately, a bicycle is a product that lasts a long time. So without innovation, there will be no new products in the market and no reason for people to buy new equipment thus stifling the industry.

These advancements have led to lighter, stronger and more comfortable bike parts. In 1997 Mavic introduced the AMAZINGLY LIGHT Helium wheels weighing 1,650 grams. Now, there are wheels on the UCI approved list that weigh sub 1,000 grams yet the bicycle minimum weight is still 6.8kg.

I work with the New Zealand National Track Team at events. On the track, the 6.8kg minimum weight also applies. Do you know how many links of chain I need to stick down the seat tube of Joanne Kiesanowski’s STEEL track bike to get it to meet the 6.8kg weight???

The industry has advanced and I think the sport needs to advance with it. Yes, a Fuji D-6 or a 3T Ventus handlebar fit outside of the current regulations. But they are commercially available to everyone and they are required to pass EN testing standards for strength and durability.

Sorry I’ve ranted on here. But thanks for bringing this issue to the attention of the masses. We should all blame Graeme Obree anyway! He started this whole mess!

Cheers,
Jason

Comments

SuperDave - 05/20/09 - 1:58am

Sorry Jason, the DA only has one steerer tube, it is outside the frame. The Look has a hinged frame, the Bayonet is a seperate fork tha could be installed on a bike with a 1″ head tube. The fork is legal, the bike is legal and has been used in dozens of UCI regulated races including National Championships, three medals at World Championship level, and the track version capturing world records and even more UCI Elite Titles.

I’m on top of the regulations because it is my job, and it is the same reason the DA is UCI legal and will contest another ProTour TT in tomorrow’s Giro d’Italia.

Cheers,
-SD

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