The Spokesmen 38 – May 9, 2009

The Spokesmen 38
May 9, 2009

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This episode of The Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable included:

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  1. Scott B
    May 12, 2009

    Just finished listening to this podcast – as usual, great show. With regards to the UCI regulations about aerodynamic frames and extensions (aerobars, etc…) there were many comments about these being “new” rules imposed on a whim which would affect sales of recently released TT bikes. Also, these new frames would not be permitted for use in UCI events, such as the Giro. I looked into these rules and according to another cycling website, these specific UCI rules had already been on the books (It’s UCI rule 1.3.023 and 1.3.024…). The only thing that seems to be different is that they are *enforcing* the rules more strictly. Apparently, the UCI felt that manufacturers had been breaking the rules about aero frame tube profiles (a 3:1 profile ratio) and so they have begun enforcing the rules. I am not a huge fan of any governing body making up rules as they go along, but in this particular instance that does not appear to be the case. I also do give some credence to conspiracy theories about certain lobbying groups or manufacturers having some say in the rules that go on the books, but again I’m not sure that’s the case here.

    I do believe that as the governing body the UCI does have some right to make sure that all the pro riders are on similar bikes – within reason. Look at Forumula 1 0r NASCAR, for example. The governing bodies for car racing have extremely strict rules about what constitutes a proper racing car, so as to make sure the best DRIVER wins the race and not the best CAR. I would also make the observation that despite all of the strict rules about engine capacity, turbo pressure, chassis weight, etc… this has not stopped the continued development of amazing technology in these cars. This is because the governing bodies have continuously worked with builders, team managers, and drivers to change the rules over the years so as to not interfere too much with advancements in technology. Anyone would reach the same conclusion by looking at a F1 car in 1960 as compared to one today.

    Similarly, if you look at a bike in 1960 compared to one today it’s not even close! Ignoring the current controversy, look at what technologies we have today that have been embraced by the UCI and the peleton: clipless pedals, integrated brake/shift levers, aero bars for time trials, titanium frames, carbon fiber, helmets, etc… All of things were considered “way out there” initially. Sure, the 14lb weight limit is a little crazy in 2009, but in 1989 maybe it wasn’t so crazy based on the technology available at that time. The UCI could have forbid the use of anything except steel to make a bike frame – but they didn’t. I have no doubt that eventually the weight limit will be lowered, but the UCI is a very conservative organization – perhaps more than we’d like – they WILL change. I’m sure 20 years from now all the pros will be riding 6lb carbon fiber bikes with paper-thin tubing and razor-blade-like leading edges – but I don’t think the UCI is ready for that tomorrow.

    In the meantime, I’ll stick to racing triathlon were my super-aero time trial bike is welcomed with open arms…

  2. Murchball
    May 22, 2009

    When you were talking about the Tour of the Gila, you mentioned LA being sponsored by SRAM. I had thought that Shimano was his sponsor.

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