Adam Hansen backs UCI’s turned-in brake lever ban

CPA president in support of new rule to curb dangerous positions, saying ‘this is a valid rule’

Clock11:35, Saturday 16th December 2023
Many riders in the peloton have been spotted with a turned-in brake lever set up

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Many riders in the peloton have been spotted with a turned-in brake lever set up

Adam Hansen, the president of the riders’ association (CPA), is in favour of the UCI’s decision to ban turned-in brake levers in the professional peloton, with restrictions beginning in 2024.

Following the news on Thursday that the sport’s governing body has another position on their radar for regulation - after already banning the ‘puppy paws’ position and the ‘super tuck’, as popularised by Matej Mohorič - Hansen told Cyclingnews that he is in favour of the new regulations.

Flaring one’s brake levers outwards, so that the tops come inwards, has become one of the latest trends in the peloton, as it can narrow the riders front profile and therefore bring aerodynamic benefits - similarly to the banned puppy paws position.

Read more: UCI has turned-in brake levers in its sights with new regulations set for 2025

As president of the CPA, Hansen has made rider safety one of his key concerns, and worked with riders and Michael Rogers, a retired pro and now the Head of Road Cycling and Innovation at the UCI, to make the decision around brake lever positioning.

"I surveyed the riders, I wanted to know their feedback because some riders were concerned and some riders in the peloton saw crashes. Some riders were going pretty extreme with it,” Hansen told Cyclingnews.

More so than the rider’s position or control, the main danger of turned-in levers, Hansen identified, is the added pressure it puts on the components, which can lead to cracks.

"There's a lot of extra stress when they're not put in the correct position designed by the manufacturer,” he explained. “Manufacturers design the levers in a sense where they're meant to sit straight on the handlebars. It was never the manufacturers' idea that they'd be put at an incline."

According to Hansen, Michael Rogers received research from lever manufacturers that an incline of just 10-15 degrees will place added stress onto handlebars which, as the components are often made of carbon fibre in the pro peloton, can lead to cracking.

Hansen said Rogers has seen evidence of this happening, and there are concerns around what the consequences of an undetected crack in the cockpit could be.

"What they're actually trying to do is making sure that riders and mechanics are not putting the brake levers past the stress point recommendations,” Hansen said. “It's done from a safety point of view. It's not just another stupid UCI rule. This is a valid rule.”

Read more: UCI introduces harsher fines for non-compliant clothing for 2024

The specifics of the rule - such as the exact limit of the flare that riders are or aren’t allowed to implement - are yet to be confirmed but Hansen said that, as this is a question of stress and equipment rather than position and control, there may be a possibility for specifically-designed flared set-ups to be used.

What Hansen envisages is perhaps flared handlebars, with the brake levers turned at the same angle, so the pressure is more evenly spread. According to Hansen, the UCI is listening to component manufacturers to work towards a safe solution.

“Which they should, because the manufacturer knows the failing point of their handlebars more than anyone else," he said.

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