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'Approved by UCI' stickering program divides opinions - BikeBiz

'Approved by UCI' stickering program divides opinions

WFSGI: "We are not working for the UCI." Big bike makers: "Costs peanuts." Small bike makers: "How much? You're kidding!"
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At a meeting at Taipei Cycle, the secretary general of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry said his organisation was on the side of its members, and is not a proxy of the Union Cycliste Internationale.

While companies such as Scott and others are now promoting bikes which ship with the 'Approved by UCI' stickers, not all of the 80 or so industry members present at the meeting in Taipei were happy with the UCI's homologation program.

Steve Fenton of Pro-Lite said: "It is time people starting looking more closely at the UCI and what really goes on there. Here we have yet another money making scheme from the UCI run by someone who does not even know what an open mould is and truly thought that brands like Cervelo, Cannondale and Felt actually made their own products."

The meeting in Taipei was led by Jeroen Snijders Blok, COO of Accell Group and a WFSGI board member, helped by Dirk Bruynseraede, Chief Information Officer at Ridley Bikes and chairman for the WFSGI Bicycle Technical Committee. Also present was WFSGI secretary general Robbert De Kock, who said: "We represent the industry interest and are not working for the UCI. 

"Due to our close contact, we see the UCI change and this is positive. We are pleased that the UCI has brought some of our requests to its Equipment Committee for evaluation and this is a major step forward.” 

After the meeting, De Kock said:

"The meeting was a platform where the industry could exchange their experience and bring their problems and there was a good discussion from companies who have been mostly a couple of steps further away from the UCI then the major bicycle brands. We had mould makers, smaller brands and other interested companies.

"The comments and experience from these companies do not differ to the problems from the major bicycle brands and therefore we have been able to assure some people in their open issues with the UCI. It was also interesting to see the comments and emotions behind the problems and it was similar as the first meeting with the WFSGI bicycle group. On the other hand, and due to our close contact, we see the UCI change and this is positive, even if industry members wish for more and faster changes."

One of the changes wished for is a further reduction in the fees attached to the UCI's homologation program.

Bruynseraede intimated that the UCI's revised price could be revised downwards again.

“[The UCI is] are willing to review the situation,” said Bruynseraede at the meeting, explaining that the UCI was learning as it went along.

One of the issues not yet answered by the UCI is whether OE frame makers have to submit identical frames produced for multiple brands or whether they can submit a generic one, allowing brands to piggy-back on this single approval.

Josh Portner, technical director for Zipp Wheels, said he couldn't vouch for what the UCI would do for frames but for wheels the UCI allows approvals on generic wheels rather than having each brand submit identical wheels.

The UCI was gradually getting easier to deal with, said Portner: “It’s still painful, but now the UCI has appointed a technical person there has been a dramatic improvement."

The UCI is fighting on multiple fronts at the moment, including facing up to the possible prospect of a rival organisation, created by a number of pro teams and perhaps led by, among others, sports director Johan Bruyneel.

Of the UCI's president, Pat McQuaid, Bruyneel said: "His approach is to divide and conquer and that is very short sighted."

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