UCI weight restrictions may be relaxed in the future. But – and it’s a big but – the relaxation will only come about after bike companies get their bikes and components tested in UCI-sanctioned independent labs.
Manufacturers, pro teams and consumers have long wanted bikes to be made lighter than 6.8kg, but the Union Cycliste Internationale has hitherto prevented such bikes being allowed to race in UCI-sanctioned races.
With the widespread use of composite materials for frames and forks it is now easily possible to make bicycles that weigh much less than 6.8kg.
The UCI has long held that bikes lighter than 6.8kg are prone to failure, and are ‘exotic’ and expensive so disadvantage athletes from developing countries.
In a meeting with journalists yesterday UCI president Pat McQuaid stressed that safety of riders was of paramount concern and lighter bikes were "skippy" and potentially unsafe.
He was talking to trade and consumer journalists flown in to the UCI HQ in Switzerland from around the world to report on the progress of the UCI’s homologation process for frames and forks.
In a continuation of the meeting today, the UCI’s technical coordinator Julien Carron said the weight issue was an important one for companies selling bicycles. In a departure from the normal UCI line on the 6.8kg limit, Carron said the limit could be dropped if manufacturers could prove their frames and components were safe.
Proof would need to be supplied by independent labs rather than from self-certification from in-house testing. The testing protocols would need to be far in advance of the current CEN safety standards, said Carron.