Why everyone is hating on the UCI, again – GCN Tech Show

The UCI has drawn the ire of some brands after it recently banned more tech. Alex Paton and Manon Lloyd are in the studio to discuss whether it’s going too far

Clock10:34, Friday 15th March 2024

Ollie Bridgewood is away on a top-secret mission to Pirelli this week, so Manon Lloyd joins Alex Paton for the latest edition of the GCN Tech Show. There’s lots to discuss in this week’s show, including Prologo’s new 3D-printed saddle, Giant’s latest TCR and plenty of hot tech from the Taipei Cycle Show, but it’s the UCI which is the subject of our attention after another controversial week for cycling’s governing body.

It all started at the beginning of last week when Visma-Lease a Bike and Bahrain Victorious rocked up to Tirreno-Adriatico time trial with massive new helmets - if you’re unfamiliar with this story, check out last week’s episode of the Tech Show. The helmets proved to be controversial among cycling fans but they were seemingly here to stay having received UCI approval, except that could be about to change.

Since the last episode, the UCI has banned Specialized’s headsock helmet, even though it has been used in competitions for 18 months, while also firing a warning shot to Giro and Rudy for their time trial helmets. It seems, then, that they could also soon be victims of a ban.

This has riled up teams and brands, which is understandable considering the great expense they’ve gone through to design the helmets. Things would be much simpler if they hadn’t received UCI approval in the first place, but the retrospective bans mean that the rules are constantly shifting.

So, why is the UCI retrospectively banning things? Manon thinks the latest helmets could be victims of the huge social media buzz they created, which has unsettled the UCI. While that may be true, the question remains whether it is fair for the UCI to retrospectively ban equipment.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Hot and Spicy tech

The Taipei Cycle Show returned last week with nearly 1000 exhibitors and over 3,500 stalls. As you’d expect from such a large gathering, there were lots of new tech products on show, not to mention plenty that were on the weirder end of the scale.

Beyond Taipei, there were plenty of tech releases over the last week, and here’s a run through of the ones that caught our attention.

Evolution rather than revolution for the new Giant TCR

The Giant TCR actually broke cover in Taiwan where its unveiling stole the show on the opening day of the event.

At first, it was hard to tell too many differences between the new and outgoing model and that’s because Giant has favoured evolution rather than revolution, only making minor tweaks to the existing design. Even so, it’s still the lightest, fastest and most efficient version of the bike yet, according to the Taiwanese brand.

Prologo releases its first 3D-printed saddle

Prologo has unveiled its first fully 3D-printed saddle which is made up of 10 different sections with varying densities.

The new saddle is named the Nago R4 PAS 3DMSS and it tips the scales at only 149g, making it seriously lightweight.

Vision updates Metron 5D EVO handlebars

First launched back in 2017, Vision’s Metron 5D EVO handlebars have received an update.

It’s still a performance-orientated bar but has become a little more user-friendly through the addition of more sizes, plus the addition of 3D-printed spacers which improves compatibility with internally routed cables.

Bike vault

As always, we’ll end with Tech Show-favourite bike vault, where you have the opportunity to submit images of your bike for our presenters to critique. If you’re unsure how to join in, check out our guide to submitting images here. Please note we are currently having some technical issues with our uploader but we're working on a fix so please don't give up - we still want to see your bikes!

We’ll start with this Specialized Allez Sprint which is a seriously nice bike but has been blinged out even further with some very funky Supacaz bar tape. It earns a super nice vote from us.

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