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UCI changes rules governing saddle tilt and saddle length

Published December 3, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. (BRAIN) — Racers who have long sought relaxation in the UCI's rigid rules governing saddle tilt and saddle length can breathe a sigh of relief. Time trial riders can now tilt their saddles as much as 10 degrees off plane and the 300-millimeter saddle-length rule has been given an additional 5 millimeters of wiggle room.

Dave Schindler, who chairs the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry saddle committee, praised UCI management for its quick action in making the changes, which take effect Jan. 1.

"From the time we created the recommendations and submitted them, and to have the UCI vote on them, is pretty speedy in the world of the UCI," said Schindler, technical commander at ISM Saddles.

The more significant change, he said, was saddle tilt. The old so-called "flatness rule" specified a saddle tilt of no more than 2.5 degrees with a half-degree margin of error either up or down. The new rule allows a tilt of 9 degrees with an additional 1-degree margin of error, he said.

The rule is effective across the board but is most important for time trials. "This allows riders to find their preferred optimal angle based on reason and data," Schindler said.

As for saddle length, the old rule specified saddles could be no longer than 300 millimeters (12 inches). While the 300-millimeter rule remains intact, the UCI will allow a 5-millimeter margin of error either on the front or back end of the saddle, Schindler said. The rule on minimum saddle length remains intact at 240 millimeters (9.6 inches).

Race commissars have declared saddles illegal that have exceed the 300-millimeter length by several millimeters, he said. "You train on a saddle for six months and it can flatten out. During the pre-race inspection one commissar will let it go, but during the final race inspection, sometimes minutes before a start, another commissar will rule it illegal. That has been a problem," he said.

While it doesn't happen often, this new rule offers some flexibility especially since two officials may be using slighlty different tape measures.

The WFSGI's Saddle Committee includes representatives from ISM, Selle Italia, Selle SMP, Selle San Marco, Giant, Scott Sports and others. The group met at Eurobike and submitted their proposal for the UCI's consideration after the show. The rule change was announced earlier this week, when the UCI also announced that it would allow disc brakes to be used in all pro road race categories next season.

 

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