Oval Concepts Ltd. of Barbengo, Switzerland, has announced that the UCI has formally approved the Oval Concepts JetStream Aero and Road model forks for use in UCI events. The JetStream forks’ patented vertical slots and specially shaped blades are designed to channel airflow around the front wheel, reducing drag effects.
As “new technology” the forks required formal approval from the UCI technical committee.
Two of Simoni’s custom built Cannondale TT bikes were outfitted with Oval Concepts forks after Cannondale negotiated a last minute contract with Oval's Scot Nichol. Two hours before the start of the time trial, Saeco’s mechanics had toequip Simoni’s bike with a conventional fork. Simoni went on to win the Giro but finished 7th and 18th in the two time trials and lost over 2 minutes to the winner of each TT stage.
The fork meets all UCI dimensional requirements and Team Saeco received the approval of the head commissar at the Giro to use the fork. However, another team who wanted to use the fork called a second UCI commissar and got a negative ruling based on a telephone description of the fork’s “four blade design”. The UCI decided that the second commissar’s negative ruling meant neither team could use the fork and that the fork had to be submitted for “new technology” approval.
“While wind tunnel testing proves the JetStream is faster than any fork on the planet over 55kph, it is both simply shaped and commercially available – these are not $5000 prototypes for elite racers only.” said Nicol.
The JetStream fork is protected by European Patent 1 338 499 A2. U.S., Japan, Taiwan and China patents are pending.