On the last trade day of Taipei Cycle there were fireworks in a meeting arranged by the WFSGI, the World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry.
Dirk Bruynseraede, chief information officer of Ridley explained how the bike committee members of the WFSGI – all are captains in the bike industry – had worked hard to open a discussion channel with the Union Cycliste Internationale. This channel was strengthened after the UCI appointed an engineer – Julian Carron – to oversee the UCI’s technical deliberations, including the new ‘approved by UCI’ labelling programme.
The UCI now certifies frames – making sure they’re race legal before going into production – and will soon start to certify wheels. Dirk said, unlike the frame homologation program, the one for wheels had been created with the input of the industry.
At this, Paul Farrel of X-Pace, an Australian wheel designer and sourcer, said this wasn’t the case. Not every wheel supplier had been consulted. "There are lots of companies who don’t know anything about this," he said. "And lots of engineers at companies don’t know about it either."
He added: "There’s been no discussion."
Victor Major of Velocite and Steve Fenton of Pro-Lite nodded their agreement with this statement.
Bruynseraede countered: "That’s why we called this meeting today. We want more bicycle companies to join the WFSGI. The more that belong to the WFSGI, the more representative we become."
He added that all the major wheel makers were now members of the WFSGI, including Shimano, SRAM and Mavic. A 48-page document on the new UCI regulations had been circulated to members and would be discussed at a meeting in April.
"Two years ago, it was always a fight with the UCI. Now the UCI is open to our ideas and to our input." Farrel said the WFSGI’s bicycle committee was a "club for the big boys. Smaller companies can’t afford to join or to attend the meetings."
Bruynseraede said the meetings were generally held just twice a year, at Taipei and Eurobike, and that the membership fees were based on turnover so small companies paid much less than larger companies. He added that news about WFSGI’s dealings with the UCI had been carried on websites such as BikeBiz.com.
Membership of the WFSGI – the biggest members of which are Nike, adidas and asics – costs from 1500 Swiss Francs.
Farrel said this was still too expensive, especially for Asian companies who "don’t read the English-language trade press and aren’t aware of the WFSGI. THose companies don’t realize there are new rules coming and that it will affect them."
Bruynseraede said the UCI didn’t want to deal with a plethora of companies, it wanted to deal with one organization, and that organization was now the WFSGI.
Steve Fenton of Pro-Lite and others joined the WFSGI at the end of the meeting.