The UCI has announced that from 1 January 2011 it will enter into greater collaboration with bicycle manufacturers in a bid to ensure that new frames and forks conform to UCI regulations before they undergo production.
A new procedure will see a label granted to new models of frames and forks to demonstrate that they comply with the UCI’s equipment regulations and a constantly updated list of these approved products is to be maintained on the UCI’s website. The full protocol for the approval of frames and forks will also be published on the website in due course.
According to a UCI press release, one of the principal advantages of the new procedure is that “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.”
Through the new system, the UCI is also hoping to eliminate the possibility of riders at all levels turning up at races only to find that their equipment does not conform to regulations. The labelling of new frames and forks will thus mean that “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” and “the work of commissaires who inspect equipment at the start of events will be made much easier.”
The UCI also envisages a closer collaboration and a freer exchange of information with manufacturers, and notes that “the label will provide added value to frames and forks which have obtained it, benefiting the concerned manufacturers.”
According to the press release, manufacturers were informed of the new procedure in a conference at the Eurobike Trade Show in Friedrichshafen, Germany in September. The approval of equipment will be carried out with the aid of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
“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,” the UCI statement reads. “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.”
For now, frames and forks are the only items of equipment that are covered by the new approval system, but it is understood that it will eventually extend to wheels, handlebars, saddles and clothing.
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Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.
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