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December 13/10 10:55 am - UCI Introduces New Approval Process for Bicycle Technology


Posted by Editor on 12/13/10
 

Starting on January 1st of next year, the UCI will introduce a new approval system for bicycle design approval which, it is hoped, will remove some of the confusion in the process of determining which technology is allowed in competition.

The UCI has, in recent years, had a somewhat adversarial relationship with bicycle and equipment manufacturers, as they have banned certain designs on the start line of events after having allowed them in previous races. An example of this happened in Canada in 2010, when a bike was approved for a time trial in Gatineau one weekend, and disallowed a few days later at the Tour de Beauce.

In our five part video interview with UCI President Pat McQuaid last summer, Mr McQuaid pointed to somewhat lax enforcement of rules, and manufacturers pushing the boundaries of regulations, as the cause of the flurry of bans, and said that the UCI was merely enforcing the regulations.

Now, the UCI will have a 'pre-approved' process, whereby designs will be labelled as meeting regulations (as well as listed on the UCI website). Older models from 2009 and 2010 will be able to apply for back-dated approval. While the initial program will be for frames and forks, the intention is to expand it to cover other equipment, such as wheels, handlebars, clothing, etc.

Below is the text of the UCI statement on the new approval system:

The 1st January, 2011 will mark a new step in the collaboration between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and bicycle manufacturers: a new approval procedure for bike frames and forks will come into force on this date.

The main players of the bicycle industry (manufacturers of bicycles, components, accessories and clothing), welcomed this new initiative at a conference organised for them by the UCI on September 1st during the Eurobike Trade Show in Friedrichshafen (Germany). The conference was hosted by the UCI President Mr Pat McQuaid and the UCI's Equipment Consultant Professor Jan-Anders Månson, from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

The new approval procedure will result in the granting of a label certifying that new models of frames and forks comply with the requirements of the UCI Regulations (articles 1.3.001 to 1.3.025). The UCI's Equipment Regulation (part 1, chapter 3) is available in full on www.uci.ch.

A constantly updated list of approved products - mentioning the name of the model and that of its manufacturer - will be published on the UCI website.

The new approval procedure will resolve several problems encountered up until now as much by the manufacturers themselves as by the teams, their riders, or the Commissaires working at competitions:

• The manufacturers will be assured of the conformity of their products before they go into production phase; they will therefore be able to take maximum advantage of the most recent technologies, notably concerning composite materials, without running the risk of investing resources in equipment that may then be declared non-conform with the regulations;

• the collaboration between the UCI and the manufacturers, in particular concerning the exchange of information, will be easier, within a context of strict confidentiality;

• the controversies over the conformity or otherwise of a particular piece of equipment as well as the banning of equipment at the start of races will once and for all be in the past;

• the work of Commissaires who inspect equipment at the start of event will be made much easier;

• the riders - from the professional athlete to amateur sportsmen and sportswomen - will be assured that they have acquired a model that conforms to the UCI regulation in force at the time of purchase;

• in addition, the label will provide added value to frames and forks which have obtained it, benefitting the concerned manufacturers.

All the new models of frames and forks still at the conception stage on 1st January 2011 will be subjected to the new approval procedure. Older models will not be obliged to follow the approval procedure, even though they remain subject to the UCI Regulation in force. However, models produced in 2009 and 2010 will be able to obtain backdated approval.

The approval of equipment will be implemented in collaboration with the EPFL. Eventually, this will also apply to wheels, handlebars, seats and clothing.

The UCI will shortly publish more information (notably the protocol for the approval of frames and forks) on its website.

 


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