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Sunday night poll: keep UCI regaulations on frame design?(9 posts)

Sunday night poll: keep UCI regaulations on frame design?cyclist of all trades
Jan 18, 2004 6:25 PM
So the UCI has these design regulations on Bikes. Who thinks they are:

1. stupid and do not allow for design advancements to enhance racer speeds and let the industry evolve.

2. smart because they let us compare our current heros abilities against the heros from the past.

It is a tough one for me. I like the ability to compare racers on a fairly level playing field, but I would love to see bike racing and recreational riding evolve and not just get more refined. If going fastest is the object, why not lift all regulations on design and see how fast we can really go.

I have to go w/ number 1. But then again, I do ride a low-racer.
RollerballScot_Gore
Jan 18, 2004 7:49 PM
I can't see a total abandonment of requiried bike specifications in professional bike racing. An absoulutly wide open field would likely diminish it's appeal as a spectator sport.

You'd also get designs introduced that only work in the professional peleton. I can imagine a domestique bike design. A bike built not to be faster or enhance the riders performance levels, but simply a bike design to make life easier for the drafting rider tucked in the pocket. Not really all that useful or appealing to us weekend warriors.

Bents would take over as the main ride in most races. They would have full farings and you'd only be able to ID the rider by the label on the side of the bike. You can imagine the advertising footage that would come available and how it might be used. Professional bike racing would look much like a car race. The riders would disappear behind hi-tech plastic, just like race car drivers.

Heck even "must have 2 wheels" is a design limitation. If there were no guidlines at all it likely wouldn't be bike racing in a few years, but rather HPV racing.

There's actually nothing that prevents this from happening today. If someone wanted to form a new racing league for HPVs, they could. If it caught on, UCI standards wouldn't mean much to bike builders.

Find the short story "Rollerball" and read it. I don't think the movie (the old one, I never saw the one that came out last year) coveys the details of what the "league" is doing when they alter the rules of the game throughout Johnathan's season. Advocating the complete elimination of UCI designs rules has an element of Rollerball to it.

My thoughts.

Scot
RollerballMisJG
Jan 19, 2004 10:30 AM
I only saw the movie, but this is what I got from the rule changes in the original 'Rollerball' movie.

The games were designed to be a team sport, not individual. They were supposed to be so violent that no-one would survive more than a few seasons (if that long). There were supposed to be no individual heroes, just teams. The 'powers-that-be' wanted the general population to lose their individuality and become a 'cog-in-the-machine' of the corporate structure. When Johnathan excelled at the sport, it gave the people someone, an individual, to be a fan of rather than just the team. This was no good to the corporations that ran the world. The rules were changed to make the game even more violent in the hopes that Johnathan would be hurt or killed, proving that the individual was truly worthless and only the team would survive. When Johnathan continues to excell despite the rule changes, he becomes a threat to the corporation's doctrine of "working for the team"

How did I do?

PS. Not really sure how this relates to throwing out the UCI rule book, as cycling teams work to elevate the individual to the podium. The rules try to keep the playing field level and not give an advantage to anyone as the rule changes in Rollerball did. When they essentially threw out the rules for the game vs Japan, the advantage was supposed to be in Japan's favour as they were the superior hand-to-hand fighters (karate influenced play-style). Or was the last game against New York? I don't remember now. Wait, it was. It was the second-to-last game that was against Japan, 'cause that's when his friend got hurt. Ok, I have no idea what I am talking about. I need to see that movie again. It's been too long.

and I go on, and on, and on. . . .
RollerballScot_Gore
Jan 19, 2004 11:56 AM
You got it, but there's more than one leason in the story. As the rules changed or just plain disappeared Rollerball stopped being a sport or a game and just became a battlefield. One effect of the UCI rules is to provide a context in which to structure a sport. If you completely eliminate that structure it would soon cease to be a sport.
UCI rules are goodaOldMan
Jan 19, 2004 5:01 AM
Like car racing, bicycle racing needs rules or formula's. Without a set of rules on the equipment, the sport would quickly morph into something very different.

The rules are designed so that the competition is between the riders. The equipment becomes more similar than dis-similar. A good rider on one brand of bike will be a good rider on another bike. The rules keep the competition focused on the people and strategy. Put LA on a Colnago or a Giant, and he would still win. The rules keep everything focused.
Agree w/ thatOffTheBack
Jan 19, 2004 5:43 AM
The competition is supposed to be among athletes, not engineers. One of the risks of eliminating the rules is that competitive bikes might become so expensisve that no one could afford them unless they were on a team with a huge budget. I would hate to think a talented young athlete would not get started in cycling beacuse he couldn't afford a $25,000 bike to race on.

Also, I don't think the rules limit development that much. Car racing has all kinds of restrictive rules, but racers still develop technology that filters down to consumer cars.

Just my $.02.
Yes on road bikes, no on TT bikesbimini
Jan 19, 2004 6:43 AM
I'm an engineer by training so I enjoy watching technical inovations. The UCI rules for bikes seem a little too restrictive and arbitary. It seems that every time someone outside europe finds a way to to shave a few seconds off the clock, the UCI creates a new rule to ban it.

And the current rules state that any technical inovation must be approved by some euro god wantabe before it can be used in racing. I could understand a clear set of rules but to have a set of rules that can be followed to the letter, but still outlaw a bike design just because the euro God did not like it, is not right. If the true intent is to keep things constant so we can compare the old heros to the new we would be riding 40 pound single speeds in an upright position.

On road races, it makes a little more sense. I would hate to be in a fast moving pace line with a recumbent in front of me. Or some poor handling unstable stretched out bike that could easily bring the whole group down.

If the goal was to keep it a contest of only athletic ability they should create a "stock bike". A rigidly defined set of frame geometries or even everyone riding the same make and model of stock bikes. There are these classes of races in automobile racing.
I like 'em.Alex-in-Evanston
Jan 19, 2004 6:48 AM
I think the UCI does a good job of balancing the tradition of the sport with changing equipment.

For example, I really like the banning of discs in cross. All that unsullied braking power changes the essence of the sport. If you're riding a dually-suspended, disc-braked rig, hopping barriers and never getting off the bike, you're not riding cyclocross. Running, shouldering and falling are major aspects of the sport. New equipment can remove those aspects. I think the UCI wisely stepped in to stop that change.

Just my opinion,

Alex
Another Opinionasgelle
Jan 19, 2004 7:39 AM
Read Kraig Willett's experience with UCI and their wheel testing at:

http://www.biketechreview.com/archive/uci_n_me.htm