The International Cycling Union (UCI) has published on its website further details of the protocol that will eventually see all bikes used in the professional ranks adorned with ‘UCI approved’ stickers.

The system, first proposed last year, is designed to ensure all bikes used in professional races adhere to the governing body’s technical regulations. The stickers will have to be displayed on bikes used in road, track and cycle cross races.

The stickers will be provided for frames (and forks) only when they have gone through the UCI’s new Approval Protocol that came in to action from January 1 this year. It will not be applied to frames that are already on sale or in production.

Frames made in moulds will have to go through the full Approval Protocol with initial drawings submitted for approval by the UCI before a prototype is again submitted. More traditional ‘tubular’ frames made by welding or glueing tubes together will go through a shorter protocol whereby they are approved by the UCI via the technical drawings alone.

The full Approval Protocol could add several months to a manufacturers production schedule, and threatens to limit the amount of new products seen at bike races through the season.

A manufacturer will have to get each of its models approved (the approval is limited to eight frame sizes) before they can be raced on, and a frame that undergoes design changes will have to go through the procedure each time.

The rules don’t stop there either:

The positioning of the sticker on the frame also has to be approved by the UCI. It will have its own identification code (paired with the certificate the manufacturer receives) and must be visible, indelible and inseparable from the frame.

Not only that but the manufacturers will have to pay for the privilege. The UCI claim the costs involved merely cover the expense of the procedure. The full Approval Protocol will cost £7,800 + VAT while the simplified procedure (for tubular frames) will cost just £500 + VAT.

A list of approved models will be available on the UCI’s website and they will be entitled to carry out random checks at the start of bikes races.

The approval system is set to be eventually rolled out to all parts of a bike, and restrictions on clothing have already been announced. A team must register a specimen of clothing with the UCI at the start of the year, and ‘riders clothing shall always be identical to the specimen lodged.’ Team Sky had several different jerseys last year, each one designed for different weather conditions.

The UCI claim, with no hint of irony, that ‘the approval for frames and forks is a service that the UCI has set up for manufacturers… and the sport in general.’

Several questions remain: The Approval Protocol states; ‘From this date, all new frames and forks used by licence holders in road, track and cyclo-cross events must be approved on the basis of this Protocol.’

Does this mean ‘all’ licence holders? British Cycling events are run under the rules and regulations of the UCI, and seeing as the technical regulations cover your average third category race, it seem  we all have to race on stickered up bikes as of 2012.

What if someon fancies getting a custom made Brian Rourke frame for a season? Will the sticker have to be displayed on that? Who would pay the UCI for the privilege?

Secondly, do all applications for a given year have to be approved before January 1 of that year, or is it a rolling system where an application can be submitted at any time and is then approved as soon as the UCI give it the all clear?

As is often the way, a new set of UCI rules leave more questions than they answer.

Related links
UCI introduces approved equipment scheme

  • Peter Goodwin

    It is about time that all cycling clubs and organisations withdrew from the UCI who are doing their best to destroy cycling. Why should we have to put up with their self centered ideas, no doubt they stand to make a tidy sum for themselves by pursuing this frame registration idea of theirs. The UCI has served it”s time and now the world of cycling needs to move on.

  • Charlie Dickson

    Lovely stickers…Any other colours available? Watch these appear on E-Bay soon being shipped from every 3rd world country you can think of.

  • Andy

    New stickers have just arrived from Geneva. Download yours FREE here:

  • VeloPhil

    This is all probably because of the rumor that there was a little motor hidden inside of Cancellera’s frame. This new bogus rule will kill innovation, ongoing development, and hurt the industry and sport in general. It reminds me of the movie Grahme Obree and his unconventional approach that the UCI had such problems with. He finally shows up to an event with training wheels mounted to his bike to ward off any UCI concerns about his bike/position not being stable or safe enough for an individual attempt at the hour record. Screw the UCI. We don’t need them. We can go back to grass roots run events by individual promoters. The fans, sponsors and teams can vote with their feet and boycott UCI events.

  • barry


    let me have 2 please, why not donate the money to the Dave Raynor fund ????
    change UCI to UIC and you should be ok ??

  • barry davies

    Graham Kane
    firstly the UCI is controlled by Pat Mcquaid, it is he who decides whose failed dopping results are covered up or released as in the case of Contador.
    It was he who tried to cover up the monies supplied by LA in return for his dopping to be dropped.
    it was he who has never answered the question asked by Cycling Weekly re the above.
    it is he who keeps telling lies concerning cycling matters re the spanish papers on the Contador case
    the sooner cycling gets ride of him and his cronnies then we can move on.
    I canot believe that the Pro teams dont set up there own association to run the races after all the UCI needs the riders and the races, the riders and races dont need the UCI.

  • Dick Turpin

    Graham K: It’s clearly not *all* McPat but singling him out seems reasonable enough, bearing in mind how enthusiastically he has spoken of his need for competitors to “only race on machines that anyone can buy” or whatever he’s been warbling on about. The Technical Commission might have dreamt the practicalities up, but the underlying idea is something the top man’s been espousing for years.

    There’s no “insinuation” that this is a £7K (plus VAT) sticker for your bike. That’s a simple factual statement. The UCI *are* “launching a sticker”, and it does cost over 7 grand for a frame builder to get one.

    And of course, the final bizarre thing about this idea is that the presence of the sticker on a bike does not, in itself, guarantee that any particular machine is compliant with UCI technical regulations at the moment a rider takes the start line of a race. Given the regs re., for example, weight, saddle and bar position, it is still easily possible to assemble an approved frame into a complete machine that is outside the rules in a number of different areas, and that’ll remain the case even if saddles, bars and stems need their own McPat.

    So, if you want to ensure that bikes are fully compliant before the race starts, you’ve still got to scrutineer them. Therefore, what on earth is the point of issuing them with a sticker?

    There are only two things this idea is likely to achieve aside from those that have been mentioned above – a load of pointless bureaucracy and an additional revenue stream for the UCI.

    Oh – it will also, again looking at motorsport, invariably spawn new forms of “cheating”. For example it will only be a matter of time before a frame is found to be non-compliant with the homologated prototype due to an entirely innocent and routine tooling or raw material change at the factory. At a stroke you could potentially find riders who’ve bought bikes in good faith being kicked out of races due to something they have no control or knowledge of. It’s probably also only a matter of time before pro teams start to protest competitors’ machines on the suspicion that they’ve been modified outside the homologated spec- whether via the use of different raw materials, carbon layup etc. etc.

    The problem with rules like this is that where technical regulations exist, people will naturally work to the edge of them and beyond to find a competitive advantage. The more you try and lock things down, the more work you need (your volunteer race organisers) to do to enforce them. Cycling isn’t F1, and these regulations appear to be fundamentally unworkable.

  • Graham Kane

    Graham S,

    You make a fair point, the UCI is a large union governing the enitre function of cycling GLOBALLY…. this is not 1 person making all the decisions for which we can start various hate campaigns. Just like Obama or David Cameron can’t be blamed for every political changes that adversely effects people, organisations of this size have “experts in fields”, advice boards, consultants, when you consider the scope of technology, doping, racing calendars, ProTour, Continental Tours, Europe, Asia etc . . .it’s not all just Pat McQuaid.

    I personally don’t agree with the UCI approved initiative, but even Cycling Weekly word this quite biased by insinuating it’s a £7k sticker for your bike??? Surely the UCI would prefer you calling this a “UCI Approved Equipment Scheme”, nice way to editorially rebrand the story in a ridiculous light by claiming the UCI are launching a “sticker”. This is a journalistic starting rifle on another UCI hate campaign, let’s be fair.

    As for people posting allegedly as Pat McQuaid, grow up, ….. as for IPC Media and Cycling Weekly leaving these comments on, you’re better than that and leaving them on the story mocks the integrity of all the other comments. Providing an monitored forum for cyclists to express genuine opinons is fine, providing an unmonitored forum for people to theive identity and hide behind mischievous avatar’s I don’t think is fair.

  • Ronnie

    Actually I’m surprised it’s taken them so long to do this after the Obree fiasco. More commercialised fascism from a sports governing body. They are supposed to be the International Union of Cyclists but I don’t see much evidence of that in these stupid new rules.

  • Graham S

    Although it’s very easy, and a bit of fun, to bash Pat, I think peoples anger should perhaps be directed at the UCI’s technical commission. I know Pat is the man in charge, but I don’t suppose any of these things were his idea, he’s just the front man.

  • Jane

    The solution for all of us is only to ride the Non Pat sanctioned events, The last two presidents of the UCI have screwed it up. For the younger readers it is worthwhile pointing out that our esteemed leader , Pat the Rat was once suspended for taking part in a non sanctioned race in South Africa.
    There has been a few members of the UCI whose past could not stand up to scrutiny.

  • Dick Turpin

    Right, because my last post wasn’t long enough, here are a couple more points that kept me up overnight:

    First of all, I note in the UCI blurb that scrutineers will be employed to check that bikes/parts carrying the McPat sticker haven’t been fiddled with in any way that takes them outside the approved spec. As such, any suggestion that this process will save time during bike checks and so-forth probably doesn’t hold too much water, at least at top level races. You still need to weigh them and if anything the process will probably become even more time-intensive, as it the documentation is serious about identifying any deviation from homologated spec, it will be necessary to comb over the entire bike with a pair of calipers, and probably disassemble it or x-ray it too (at least the latter one would check for the battery and motor at the same time). And, Andy makes a perfectly good point above. How long’s it going to be before kit is routinely fitted with fake stickers, and that’s even assuming your typical 3/4/J/V/W race organiser can find the manpower to run bike checks in the first place.

    Furthermore, given the text of Simon’s article it’s clear that they actually do want to extend this beyond frames as I feared. If so, where does it stop? How are you going to fit a McPat logo on a chainring bolt, for example? If you modify an item yourself in any way – for example cutting down the seat tower on an integrated frame, or chopping some excess tubing off your bars, does the approval disappear in the same way as having it resprayed by a third party?

    This idea’s nuts. And if the intention was to stop people talking about Contador, it clearly hasn’t worked.

    Incidentally, Andy, I’d be up for some stickers, but they need to be modified a bit. Can you replace the UCI logo with a picture of a two-fingered salute? If so, I’ll have a quid’s worth.

  • Tim


    Thanks for nudge on the link and comment.

    I read the detail but was surprised by how little there was from a manufacturer’s perspective. Talking about confidentiality and security is all well and good but there’s no contingency as there would be for a manufacturer within a NDA. Of course, they may well be on to that between themselves.

    Some super points by others too, particularly Dick Turpin. The ramifications of this initiative are far greater than the approval of an application, a certificate and a sticker.

    The directive is extremely concerning for the bicycle industry as a whole, whether or not manufacturers produce machines for racing. It may even come to the point where the UCI provide all equipment themselves for certain events; for example, pro road and cross events as well as world track meets plus the Olympics.

    I look forward to reading your article in next week’s CW.


  • Andy

    I own a printing company – anyone want a sticker? It will cost you 6p.

  • Mike

    I wonder why they bother calling themselves a union, it’s more like a dictatorship. The UCI is beginning to look more and more like a voracious parasite, than a ‘union’ of international cycling..

  • PeterLB

    it’s actually TV rights money that keeps the UCI in luxury. Standard levies paid for by your average racer account for only a tiny percent of their income.

  • Andy Jones

    A bit early for an April fools joke!!

    Perhaps the real fools are the UCI

  • Dick Turpin

    I work in the motorsport industry, and so I’m used to crazy edicts from the governing body, but this one really is an eye-opener. Makes me wonder if Pat is actually looking at the FIA as some sort of role model.

    I’ve just been through the UCI link Simon R mentioned earlier, and it makes interesting reading. A couple of things stand out.

    First of all, the cost of approving a new frame design via the full process is 12,000 swiss francs – the best part of £7900.

    Secondly, if the frame is “re-enamelled” by anyone other than “the manufacturer”, it instantly loses its UCI approval. So, you can forget getting a nice refinish down your local paint shop.

    Thirdly, it is stated early on that the purposes of this approval program is nothing to do with ensuring the bike’s safety, it is merely to ensure compliance with the UCI technical regulations. So, if your “UCI Approved” frame snaps on you, don’t blame them.

    Try as I might, I can’t see this initiative as anything other than the practical implementation of Pat’s desire to ban bikes he doesn’t like, and in the process stifle the sort of innovation that takes the sport forward. Its practical effect will be to make it impossible for someone like Dimitris Katsanis, or, come to that, any small frame builder, to exist in a competitive environment in future, as the costs necessary to go through the UCI approvals process before you can even get someone riding your frame in competition, let alone winning on it, will be utterly prohibitive.

    And of course, while the UCI has undertaken that any data and prototypes submitted to it will remain confidential, would you really want to bet your life and business model on such a promise, given, for example, McQuaid’s comments about the Contador case over the weekend, and the subsequent confirmation that he was, in fact, talking complete rubbish?

    I’m also somewhat concerned at the slippery slope aspect. Given that we know the UCI has had a bee in its bonnet about all aspects of the bike being in compliance with the regs – and seeing as there is now such a thing as “UCI Compliant” handlebars (and by definition, non-compliant ones too), how long is it going to be before other, or maybe even all aspects of your bike need a sticker or stamp on them if you want to ride in an event run under BC regs?

    This looks like a very poorly made sledgehammer to crack a non-existent nut. I’d like someone (here’s looking at you CW, and elsewhere in the media) to ask the UCI why the sport *needs* this approval scheme? Cycling has survived for a couple of hundred years without it so why, in these difficult economic times, is it now a good idea?

    The big manufacturers will (perhaps grudingly) live with it because the net effect will be to minimise competition from small competitors. However it’s the end users (i.e. riders who have to pay for their own gear) that’ll ultimately have to absorb the cost of it, and it’s us end users who will see a smaller selection of gear to choose from as a result, so what’s in it for us?

  • Pete

    Who’s going to be a first to submit a drawing to the UCI which details a ‘space for crank motor and battery’ and see if they notice or comment.

  • jane

    Looking at the comments on this article and various other articles where it is apparent that those of us who post have no faith in Pats merry band, do you think the UCI minions read these to keep in touch with the people whose affiliation fees keep them in luxury ??

  • Pat McQuaid

    What will we think of next?

  • dave

    what else do you expect rfom the bunch of Rectum Pieces that are called the UCI.

    Take dope and get caught and the UCI et al will pontificate for years instead of applying the rules.

    Little meesage to Pat, there would be no UCI or professional racing if people did not buy bikes due to the stupidity of the UCI.
    The reason Bike and Component manufacturers can support Pro teams is because the public buy these Pro level machines, we stop buying and !!!!

  • John

    How long will it take one of the big American or Chinese manufacturers to take the UCI to court over restriction of trade violations?

  • Simon Richardson


    Good point over the security of the manufacturers’ new designs. I decided not to cover this in the story (there are too many strands to cover all in one go) but the first few pages of the document do cover the thorny issue of secure transfer of information and how the manufacturers retain all intellectual property.

    Judging by the fact that this is the first thing covered in the document, I would imagine it was the first point raised by the industry when they had meetings with the UCI about all of this.

    It’s worth reading the document (first link in the story), but you’ll have to set aside an hour or so of your time and ready yourself for it!


  • Matt

    Is it going a bit too far? just think, its raining, you’re getting cold, shivering and an official says your sticker isn’t in the right place, it doesnt match the one on your New forks, you spent all last night driving to the race and you are not allowed to start! Cheer’s Pat! Has he actualy got a bike! I wish he’d get on it!

  • Andrew McQuaid

    I like this idea, I think it’s good.

  • Tim

    This is just plain potty. Manufacturers will be uncomfortable in sending patent or patent pending info. to the UCI. In return, manufacturers would at least need lifetime non disclosure agreements. It’s unworkable even if it goes through.

    This sticker thing means that bicycle design has ceased, development will stop and the sausage machine will take over. The sausage machine route at least guarantees a sticker.

    The weight limit parameter for a bicycle is more than enough but with these rules being dreamt up by lawyers and not engineers, it’s not surprising. As for the fees, it will cost an arm and a leg for different model designs by each manufacturer if they wish them to be destined for racing. That’s not going to happen so lines will no doubt become restricted to keep fees down as fewer models of race machines will be made and subsequently offered to the public for sale.

    Enjoy the next X thousand years of race bicycle development people, because what we see today is our lot. It reminds me of a certain famous Dead Parrot Sketch – It is dead, it ceases to exist, it is bereft of life, it is no more…

    That’s it, design and development of the thoroughbred bicycle has effectively stagnated. It’s all down to colour now. I like blue myself.

  • Dave hunt

    just another bureaucratic way of milking riders of their hard earned money and choking the life out of the sport

  • P. Plexed

    ‘in order to take some attention away from the embarrassing Contador doping case, the UCI came up with a clever plan; Introduce a new set of rules that will confuse the media/fans/industry so much that everyone will forget about the doping case’
    “What a great idea” – thought Pat, “roll it out immediately”

    Never occurs to them that they make themselves look more incompetent with almost every new regulation or press release does it? It’s only a few days since Pat said they’d never received the Contador documents….And now this. Oh dear.
    Oh dear.

  • Jon

    Is Pat even aware of these stickers or did they fall off his desk while he was binning selected EPO test results?