AIGLE, Switzerland (BRAIN)—Bike suppliers seemed pleased with a new cost structure that reduces the price of the UCI’s labeling program by more than half, though some concerns linger over the tight time frame to gain approvals.
Manufacturers will now pay 5,000 CHF ($5,300) for the comprehensive procedure of approving monocoque time trial frame concepts for compliance with UCI regulations. The intermediate procedure for monocoque frames used during mass start road races and cyclocross, as well as monocoque models requesting backdated approval costs 3,000 CHF ($3,189). The simplified procedure for assembled tubular bikes costs 500 CHF ($531).
When the mandatory program was first announced late last year, the price structure ranged from 800 CHF to 12,000 CHF. But, after suppliers voiced concerns about the high costs during a meeting with the UCI last month, the UCI released a modified structure.
“The 12,000 in my eyes was really way overpriced,” said Armin van Hoogstraten, general manager of ASI Europe, who attended the mid-January meeting and came away feeling that the time with UCI president Pat McQuaid and Jan-Anders Mänson, who will head up the labeling program, was very productive.
“I believe the outcome now proposed as a second solution is really okay. I think everybody can live with that. I think we’ll still run into some problems, but I believe the UCI will be flexible enough to adjust the regulations once they see or figure out some points are causing problems. They will work with us,” van Hoogstraten said.
Van Hoogstraten said the main issue that remains is whether the UCI has the capacity to test all the frames, estimated to be anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 models per year, in a reasonable time frame. The UCI has guaranteed a schedule of one month for checking plans and two months for verifying prototypes for a new model frame or fork.
As of now, all testing will be done at the UCI to ensure confidentiality of brands’ intellectual property, although the UCI is studying the possibility of using independent labs to approve frames and forks. In that case, the lab would not be authorized to validate technical plans, only dimensional measurements of prototypes.
The UCI announced its labeling program late last year in response to a growing problem over the last two years of equipment at races not conforming with UCI regulations. The “UCI Approved” label aims to insure manufacturers that their designs conform to UCI regulations before entering the production stage, as well as make race day inspections easier for UCI race commissaires.
After publishing the protocol in late December, manufacturers, though appreciative of the UCI’s efforts to work with the industry, flinched at the costs and time frames associated with the program. More than 30 bike brands attended the two-day meeting in Aigle and Lausanne, Switzerland on Jan. 13 and 14 on behalf of the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry, to air those concerns.
To view the updated approval protocol on the UCI’s website, click the link above.