Friday, June 18, 2010

Big Changes to UCI Cyclocross rules

Todd sent me the link to cyclingnews' article on the UCI's changes to cyclocross rules, in effect 2010/11. 
Up until now, a common question that has come up in conversations about cyclocross bike technology has been about braking: why use rim brakes when disc brakes are widely available? People tend to have responded with reference to the UCI's rule against disc brakes for competition. The tide has now turned. It will be very interesting to see who adopts discs this season, and which, if any, of the major drivetrain component manufacturers release a brake for this application. Will we see a hydraulic integrated shifter.brake lever assembly? Or perhaps manufacturers will prefer to use cable operated systems? I can see companies creating components designed to be used for both cross and touring type applications. BTW, disc brakes will all but eliminate fork chatter.

The other major tech change pertains to tire size, down to 33mm from 35max. This is bad news in my opinion. As a rider who already feels like there are too few good options in the 35-38c range for offroad riding, I'm concerned manufacturers might discontinue producing tires above 33mm for cross. I hope this is an unfounded concern. If anything, it seems more and more people are getting into riding cross bikes on trails, monster cross style, so I hope manufacturers have their fingers on the pulse and keep the fat treads coming. I'm just glad I don't have a stack of 34c tubulars in the basement! 
What do you think about the changes? Would you be into running discs on a cross bike? Are 33c tires big enough around here?
Read the cyclingnews article below.
Other 'cross rules changed by Management Committee
The UCI will allow disc brakes on in cyclo-cross races effective at the beginning of the 2010-2011 'cross season. The organization's management committee approved the change upon the recommendation of its Cyclo-cross Commission.
At the same time, other changes to 'cross rules were approved. The maximum tire width has been reduced from 35mm to 33mm.
The six-obstacle limit on courses has been changed to refer to man-made obstacles. The plank-type obstacles can be up to 40cm tall instead of having to be 40cm tall, and they must be four to six meters apart.
Man-made sand pits are also now allowed and feeding will also be permitted if temperatures exceed 20 degrees Celsius; however, the feeding is limited to pits and can happen only after the first two laps but before the last two laps.
Similarly to mountain biking, commissaires may now invoke the "80 percent rule" and remove a rider who is behind the leader by 80 percent of the leader's lap time. Thus, riders can be pulled before they are lapped.
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Pascii said...

Will all these rules apply at OBC races?

Matt Surch said...

No, the OBC series doesn't enforce the UCI rules. For example, mtbs are allowed.

rob.parniak said...

I bet a lot of pro racers -- probably mostly Americans -- will have at least one disc bike in their arsenal. I doubt it will be their primary bike though. More like the extreme weather bike... I don't think the top pros on real Euro courses use their brakes a whole lot anyway!

I read a quote from Jeremy Powers saying something along the lines of "50 year old brakes are dead!" and Tim Johnson said something like "I can't wait to see all the crashes when people suddenly realize they have real functioning brakes on their bikes now!"

I would like discs. And 135mm rear wheel spacing for interchangeability with my MTB wheels. Being a non-Pro I think this option was always legal to me just not readily available. This might help change that.

Then again, I just "upgraded" to V-brakes in an effort to stop brake chatter. I find it bad enough to ruin my commute to work let alone a 'cross race! Good bye cantis.