Is the peloton actually taking the UCI’s lever position regulations seriously?

Regulations around the angle riders can have their levers look to be largely ignored across the professional peloton at Brugge-De Panne

Clock17:00, Wednesday 20th March 2024
A lot of team bikes at the start of Brugge-De Panne looked to have lever positions that exceeded the 10 degree regulation

© GCN

A lot of team bikes at the start of Brugge-De Panne looked to have lever positions that exceeded the 10 degree regulation

It was announced at the end of 2023 that the UCI would be implementing controls and regulations around the positions of riders' levers. Even though UCI officials were spotted conducting checks in the early season Australian races, teams look to largely be ignoring the regulations.

As far as the official regulation from the UCI is concerned riders' levers cannot be set at an angle greater than 10 degrees from parallel with the profile of the bars. This opens up some grey areas regarding flared bars and, if the start of Brugge-De Panne is anything to go by most teams don’t seem overly worried about getting caught out by the regulation.

When the UCI announced its clampdown it cited safety concerns as the levers had not been designed to be used at such an aggressive angle. It was also concerned about the reduction in control that the turned-in levers present.

"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," said the UCI.

Riders had begun to turn their levers inwards soon after the UCI outlawed the ‘puppy paws’ position that saw riders draping their hands in front of the stem, resting their forearms on the tops of the bars. This position was an attempt to reduce a rider's frontal area by mimicking a time trial position.

Once this position was banned and riders had to keep their hands in contact with the bars riders looked for the next best thing which was to use the narrowest bars they legally could (36cm) and point their levers inwards. This had the effect of making a narrower riding position that closely replicated the ‘puppy paws’ position whilst complying with the UCI regulations.

The latest workaround that most aero-obsessive riders are able to exploit is the use of flared bars. As the UCI’s regulations on lever position are based on a measurement from the drops a flared bar will naturally allow the levers to point inwards whilst still being parallel to the profile of the bar. We have seen brands such as Toot Engineering fully exploiting this loophole in the regulations.

With the UCI starting off the season with stringent lever checks it is interesting to see this move to relax the controls around riders' equipment considering the safety concerns.

Do you think the UCI should be doing more to clamp down on riders' lever positions? Let us know in the comments. For even more tech news make sure to head over to the dedicated tech section of the GCN website.

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