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WFSGI announces UCI and Olympic Committee rule changes and its next steps

Published March 3, 2016
Good news for brands with less onerous carbon wheel test and relaxed rules for logos on Olympic equipment. Next target? The UCI's 3:1 and minimum bike weight rules.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (BRAIN) — The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry has made headway on the bike industry's behalf with the UCI and the International Olympic Committee, it announced at a public session at the Taipei Cycle Show on Thursday. 

With the UCI, the organization negotiated an overhaul of rules governing carbon wheels used in road racing, which had been criticized by many wheel makers. Under previous rules, the UCI had a destructive wheel test intended to prevent use of wheels that could lacerate racers in a crash. But many wheel makers said the test was bad science. Worse, the UCI required the test be performed at only one lab, in Belgium. 

But the WFSGI negotiated a new test that members see as more reasonable. And the test can now be conducted by the manufacturer or at a third-party lab. The new rules took effect Jan. 1 this year. 

The next step? The WFSGI is working to have the international standards group ISO adopt a similar wheel test, making the UCI's rule redundant and unnecessary. The UCI has also abandoned plans to develop a "UCI Approved" sticker program for wheels, similar to the sticker program for frames. 

Robbert de Kock, the WFSGI's secretary general, said the UCI has become much more cooperative with the industry since Brian Cookson took over as president two years ago. "It's been a very big change, it's been very positive," de Kock said.

Outside of wheels, the WFSGI is next looking to relax the UCI's rules governing aerodynamic shaping on frames and other components, and to take a new look at minimum weight rules for complete bikes. A WFSGI working group plans to spend the next year developing proposed changes to both rules.

The WFSGI also has made headway with the IOC ahead of this summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro , de Kock said. 

At Rio, cycling athletes will be able to use equipment with the manufacturer's branding normally used on the parts, including bikes, components, wheels, shoes and helmets. The only restriction is that third-party logos — such as trade team sponsors like Sky or Rabobank — can't appear on the equipment. Previously, even manufacturer logos were restricted to a certain size, forcing riders to switch equipment or cover up graphics with tape. Cycling clothing brand logos will generally be allowed as long as they are the same as what has been available on the market in recent months. 

Outside of competition rules, the WFSGI is largely staying out of the effort to modernize rules governing standards for rims and tires, which manufacturers say is needed (BRAIN wrote about the topic in our December 2015 issue). ISO is working on it, and the WFSGI has requested a liaison status with ISO so the organization can keep its members up to date on ISO's work. But the WFSGI is being careful to not duplicate ISO's standards development efforts. 


Topics associated with this article: Racing & Sponsorship, Taipei Cycle Show

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