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UCI ‘3:1’ Rule Could Impact Product Design

Published June 23, 2009

SAN CARLOS, CA (BRAIN)—The International Cycling Union’s (UCI) stricter enforcement of the “3:1” bicycle design regulation could mean a change on how top-level road components are designed going forward.

“The mood seems to be the UCI is getting serious about this,” said Steve Parke, general manager of Ritchey Design.

The 3:1 rule, a series of UCI cycling regulations, stipulates that all bicycle parts and components must be built with measurements that do not exceed a three-to-one ratio. Created in 2000, but not actively enforced until now, bicycle teams, riders and manufacturers had widely interpreted the rule to apply only to bicycle frame tubes. Parke said the UCI will get even more serious about the 3:1 rule at this year’s Tour de France, which starts on July 4.

According to Parke, there is a lot of product out there “that doesn’t meet within the UCI’s guidelines.”

This could not only have huge implications going forward for race teams, but also manufacturers and consumers.

“We, like all the other brands, have all this tooling investment,” Parke said. Consumers could ultimately be the ones who lose out if the UCI starts banning teams and racers for having equipment that doesn’t meet regulations. “Consumers want to use what the pros use,” Parke said.

One of the movements afoot to create a more collaborative process with the UCI regarding 3:1 is the formation of the Bicycle Industry Association [working title], spearheaded by Phil White of Cervélo and Claudio Marra of FSA Europe. Ritchey joined this organization believing in the wisdom of a collective industry voice approaching the UCI prior to their process of rule adoption, so the industry can be certain that final product designs will fall within UCI guidelines and still offer cyclist true innovation.

—Jason Norman

Topics associated with this article: Racing & Sponsorship

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