Has dropping the 3:1 rule made any difference to bike design?

It’s over two years since the UCI quietly scrapped its 3:1 rule for frame tube profiles. So what’s changed since?

In 2000, the UCI implemented a series of rules governing the design parameters for bikes used in competitions sanctioned by cycling’s governing body. Amongst them were stipulations that bikes must weigh a minimum of 6.8kg, that they should not have non-structural components and that tube profiles should not exceed a ratio of 3:1 between their height and width.

The first two of these rules still stand, but the UCI quietly dropped the 3:1 rule over two years ago. Not much has changed in bike design since though. In part this reflects the lead time to develop and test new aero framesets. But are more radical road bike designs likely to appear in future?

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Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.