The UCI regulations on racing equipment state: “The bicycle must be accessible to all participants. It must be marketed (ie. available for sale on the market) or marketable (ie. available for sale directly from the manufacturer, by subscription or through an alternative distribution network). Prototypes and the use of equipment specially designed for a particular athlete, event or performance is prohibited. ‘Special design’ means a bicycle with a technical added value when compared with other equipment.” (Find the full rule book here.)
Seems fair. That’s a step in making elite cycling more accessible to everyone. Great news.
It does, however, beg the question: how seriously is this rule being monitored?
Technology is helping to enhance many aspects of cycling – from the ride quality of bikes, to the price of equipment… and many things in between. But there are some innovations that, although apparently “available for sale on the market” carry a price tag that is out of the realm of most… even the ardent cycling fanatic with plenty of money to spent. Take, for example, the products used by British Cycling at the London Olympics. Yep, you can ride away on a pursuit bike like the ones the Brits used to win the gold medal in 2012 but it’s going to cost £100,790 – ±AUD$156,446!
Seem a little excessive? Well, there are options. You can get the equivalent road bike for just ±AUD$129,171… so you get brakes and gears and save over $26,000! Bargain. Below is a breakdown of the pricing from UK Cycling Equipment (issued in 2012).
|Item||Price (excl VAT)||Price (AUD)|
|Track Seat Post||£1,572.80||$2,447.53|
|Road Seat Post||£1,572.80||$2,447.53|
|Aero Road Bar||£23,247.88||$36,177.42|
|Total TP Bike – Complete||£100,790.91||$156,846.78|
|Total Sprint Bike – Complete||£105,678.44||$164,452.56|
|Total Road Bike – Complete||£83,006.56||$129,171.49|