Having covered the bikes ridden by the pros and the subtle geometric differences on Monday comes the news from the UCI that it is pushing ahead with its approval scheme for bikes. It was first announced, then put on hold, the reviewed and now we have the third version. Third time lucky?
To summarise, every licence holder competing in a race will no longer have to have a bike that complies with the regulations, they’ll have to have a bike with a sticker to prove it complies with the rules. More detail is on a previous post, Is Your Bike Banned? In the meantime, don’t buy that new bike yet in case it doesn’t have a magic sticker.
Now the scheme is to go ahead, albeit with substantially reduced costs. I was concerned the scheme was a money spinner but the latest UCI press release states the fees are only to cover the costs. Good to see this point finally addressed but it’s not the end of the matter. For as things stand if a company wants to take an OEM or generic frame and spray it in its own colours then the frame will require approval by the ultimate re-seller as opposed to the original manufacturer. So a generic Taiwanese time trial frame could get approved ten separate times. Maybe no one gets rich but it’s bordering on bureaucracy.
Nevertheless, reduced costs or not, this is still a compulsory scheme. I don’t get why it has to be obligatory. Yes offer it to manufacturers so they can be sure their products conform to the regulations on frame design but saying to a racer that they can’t compete on their shiny new bike because it’s missing a sticker is a sure-fire way to send them straight into the world of cyclosportives, gran fondo rides and centuries.
With shrinking budgets, rising traffic and fast-growing substitutes for racing, surely the last thing the sport needs is an additional barrier?