UCI set to scrap '3:1 rule' limiting aero race bike design

Cycling's governing body is poised to get rid of the rule that limits the shapes used in bike frames

(Image credit: Watson)

The UCI is set to scrap a rule limiting the aerodynamic design of bikes used in races, according a person familiar with the matter.

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The UCI code states that the ratio between the length and the width of equipment cannot exceed 3:1. This means that extreme aerodynamic tube shapes cannot be used in legal race bike frames, handlebars or other components and for years this rule has heavily influenced and restricted bike frame design.

However, it has emerged that the UCI is now poised to scrap this rule.

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Speaking to Cycling Weekly, cycling aerodynamics expert Paul Lew said: "The 3:1 tube rule is gone. At the [World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry] WFSGI committee meeting on Tuesday it was decided that the rule would be dropped."

The WFSGI is an independent association with no objective of economic character for its own gain. Lew said: "It has been an ongoing discussion in WFSGI committee meetings for two years. We have committee meetings typically four times a year."

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When asked why the UCI had decided to drop the 3:1 rule, Lew said: "The UCI has realised that there is a lot of goodwill from manufacturers to advance the sport but in a safe way. In the past there was a concern that manufacturers didn't also have safety at the forefront."

“As a manufacturer we love it and the fans love it and the athletes love it because speeds will increase,” he added. “It makes the sport better."


A UCI spokesperson provided the following statement: "The UCI Management Committee recently approved the removal of the specific clause in its Regulations relating to profiles in frame construction. The amendment, entering into force in January 2017, will have a marginal impact on frame design. But it is important that our sport embraces innovation and evolves with its times."

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