Following the general furore over the new approval protocol rushed in earlier this month, cycle racing’s international governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has reduced its fees. It claims it has been able to do so due to the economy of scale effect of a “high number of approval requests… as well as the simplification of certain steps in the procedures”.

According to a communiqué issued by the UCI after launching an emergency review of the protocol last week, the most a manufacturer will pay for getting a bike or frame approved for racing is 5,000 Swiss Francs (apx £3,330) per model for up to eight different sizes. This compares to the previous figure of approximately £7,800 + VAT.

This price for the comprehensive procedure is now only applicable to mould-manufactured time trial and track bikes – the two types of machine that have tended to flout technical regulations most frequently in the past.

New models of mould-manufactured road and cross bikes are now subject to a 3,000 Swiss Francs (apx £2,000) procedure if they are to be approved for racing.

Frames and bikes of a tubular design need only undergo the simplified procedure. This will cost 500 Swiss Francs (apx £333) compared to the apx £500+ VAT previously quoted.

The cost of a modification to the size of an approved frame or the approval of an additional size over the eight included in the initial approval cost will be 500, 250 or 50 Swiss Francs depending upon the procedure a model is subject to.

Other modifications to the UCI’s approval protocol are slightly more relaxed rules on how and where a new piece of equipment is labelled to say it is approved.

Removed from the label will the date of approval because commercially “it could disadvantage less recent models”.

Other points in the document reiterate a maximum time limit for UCI approval of a new model of equipment to three months. The UCI also reiterate the seriousness with which they are protecting intellectual property.

As reported in this week’s issue of Cycling Weekly magazine, the UCI have rushed through these modifications to the protocol so that they can be applicable in time for the 2012 Olympics – as had been promised by UCI president Pat McQuaid at the 2010 World Track Championships.

Under an agreement between international governing bodies and the International Olympic Committee, new rules governing a sport need to have been in force for 18 months prior to the games.

With the modification to the procedure being published yesterday, exactly a year and a half out from the London opening ceremony, it was just in the nick of time.

Despite there still being a number of grey areas in the approval procedure, there’s no time for any more changes now.

Related links

UCI suspends equipment approval scheme

UCI ‘approved’ stickers to adorn racing bikes

UCI introduces approved equipment scheme


  • Jane

    Wonderful !! but they can still stick their hair brained scheme where the sun does not shine, When will they realise that the rank and file are sick of their meddling and their inability to prevent doping or enforce the rules relating to it,

  • Dick Turpin

    Hmmmm, does the UCI really think the rest of the cycling world is stupid? Seems so. They are suddenly able to more than halve the approval fee due to “economies of scale”? Pull the other one, it’s got a bell on.

    If this was a professional, properly thought-out process, and one put together with the knowledge and input of the industry from early on, they’d already have a very good idea of the number of frames expected to go through it prior to announcing it, and therefore there should have been minimal opportunity to get caught out by “high numbers” of requests after the fact. This alone tells you that it was dreamt up over a few Guinnesses and that the industry had next to nothing to do with it.

    Secondly, exactly where is this “economy of scale” coming from? Again, if this was properly thought out, thorough scrutineering process, they would have already worked out the cost in terms of time/equipment/etc needed to qualify each frame and would have worked out how much to charge for it prior to the original announcement.

    Given that the amount of time/effort per frame wouldn’t materially change whether they’re doing one, or a thousand, there’s little if any opportunity for “economies of scale” to kick in here. If anything, a popular/oversubscribed setup would result in the UCI needing to recruit a greater number of approval staff (and order some more measuring kit). If anything this would have increased the net cost, rather than reduced it.

    So, if the UCI can magically afford to knock over £4k off the cost of frame approval, there’s a clear inference that all of that was actually profit – and you can bet that the overwhelming proportion of the new tariff *still* is.

    So it’s still a tax that us end users will end up paying, is still likely to be sufficient to put small frame builders out of business,, and still doesn’t eliminate the need for complete machines to be checked for compliance prior to the start of a race.

    Would still love to hear the UCI explain what this process is supposed to do, and exactly why their pricing model (certainly the original one, if not the revised version) appears to be blatant profiteering.