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UCI preparing to regulate “extreme” brake lever positions

#aeroisillegal ?

Photo by: Sirotti

After a year of ever-more extreme handlebar positions popping up in the pro peloton, the UCI appears to have had enough. Just weeks after announcing it would crack down on crimes of fashion, the notoriously stodgy governing body revealed it is looking to head off inventive ways riders are modifying equipment to get more aero on the bike.

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Following an annoual seminar for stakeholders in the Women’s WorldTour and WorldTour, a very self-congratulatory press release revealed the UCI’s intent. Deep in the text lay this paragraph:

“Still on the topic of safety, an explanation was given on the UCI’s work with the cycling industry to create a clear regulation concerning the extreme inward inclination of brake levers. Positioning the levers with an extreme inclination limits the braking capacity of the riders and constitutes a modification of the product beyond its intended use. Such positioning will be restricted in 2024. In 2025, new regulations will come into force requiring compliance with the installation guidelines established by brake lever manufacturers.”

There is not yet any clarity on what the regulations will be, or how the UCI will enforce this rule. The news does come just a year after the UCI targeted other means of getting aero on the bar, though. And slightly longer after UCI banned the now-infamous “puppy paws” riding position.

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While some riders are constantly pushing the limits of UCI’s existing rules in pursuit of the tiniest aero gains, others argue it is becoming unsafe. Some riders argue it limits riders control on the bars and ability to operate the brakes. As long as some riders are doing it, though, many more will feel pressured to adopt the aero position if they don’t want to get dropped.

At the very least, the extreme brake lever positions are unsightly.

How the UCI decides to word the regulation, and where it sets the limit, should prove interesting. Pro riders are committed to hunting for aero gains. Whatever the UCI decides, the athletes are going to try find a way to skirt the rules.

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