Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

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rmware
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Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby rmware » 15 Dec 2009, 7:57pm

I've heard lots of stories of why recumbents were banned from racing, wobbly starts or was it complete novice winning tour de france. But if recumbents were allowed in racing, then in turn everyone would need to have one because they are so much faster. Meaning the whole world would start riding recumbents and the prices would come down. And I think more people would cycle, at the moment people are put off by the pain of an upright, and put off recumbents because they'll be different.

Does anyone know the real reason recumbents were banned?

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byegad
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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby byegad » 16 Dec 2009, 9:29am

The reasons for the ban are complex.
In 1934 Mochet's recumbents had been used in some professional races and had proved to be fast. Among their given reasons were that they were harder to control. Mochet brought one into the UCI meeting and it was ridden around the room to demonstrate that this was wrong!
Remember the UCI had resisted gears for a good while prior to this and banned the Moulton small wheel bikes in the 1960s so this wasn't a one off.

I too feel the ban did recumbents a great disservice and in an alternative world where the UCI accepted recumbents there would be more and cheaper recumbents around in the alternative 2009.

Their main efforts seem to be aligned to make it about the man and not about the bike. The fact that bike manufacturers continue to try to make their bike faster than the opposition's is only natural and from time to time the UCI bans certain advances, like Boardmans Lotus bike, in order to try to make it all about the man.

This would be a great idea if only it worked. After all Eddy Merckx had fewer gears than today's Road racing bikes and he would have been even faster had he had a bike like Lance Armstong's last racer. In the first Tour de France bikes had one gear (Well OK two but you had to take the rear wheel out and flip it for the other gear!) nowadays they have twenty and soon it will be 22, or has that already happened? Anyway the UCI have tried and failed to stop development but they have put a brake on it as far as road bikes go.

Why does this affect Joe Public riding to work or for fun? Well fashion is everything, if we get a couple of popular films showing cool (Is that still a cool word to use?) kids blasting around on recumbents and sales will take off. Until then they will remain the toy of wealthier, older riders who are looking for comfort and/or speed.
"I thought of that while riding my bike." -Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity

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rmware
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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby rmware » 16 Dec 2009, 1:04pm

Has the ban ever been contested?

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EdinburghFixed
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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby EdinburghFixed » 16 Dec 2009, 1:43pm

The UCI doesn't even like tri-bars and aero wheels. They also recently stamped on mountain bike racers who didn't wear baggy clothes, while cyclo-cross riders churning through the mud are not permitted disc brakes.

There must be big financial incentives in retarding progress, although for the life of me I can't imagine what they must be (and who it is that lobbies against improvements).

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squeaker
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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby squeaker » 16 Dec 2009, 4:10pm

A few clues here?
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.
.
.
Probably not :lol:
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vorsprung
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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby vorsprung » 16 Dec 2009, 4:45pm

rmware wrote:I've heard lots of stories of why recumbents were banned from racing, wobbly starts or was it complete novice winning tour de france. But if recumbents were allowed in racing, then in turn everyone would need to have one because they are so much faster. Meaning the whole world would start riding recumbents and the prices would come down. And I think more people would cycle, at the moment people are put off by the pain of an upright, and put off recumbents because they'll be different.

Does anyone know the real reason recumbents were banned?


"The pain of an upright"?

Being killed by careless motorists is probably more of a factor

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Si
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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby Si » 16 Dec 2009, 4:55pm

Being killed by careless motorists is probably more of a factor


me thinks that someone is setting a trap there :wink:

the obvious argument being that 'bents are given more room and treated better by cars, to which you'd answer "but if everyone as on a 'bent then they wouldn't be such an oddity, but they would be harder to see". :?:

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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby rmware » 16 Dec 2009, 5:21pm

Fair enough some of the lowracers are harder to see. I've never had this problem on mine, in fact like si says I often find cars give me alot more room. But not really an argument to stop them from racing.

However I'd be interested to see a crash test, no cars involved for a recumbent and DF. I would take a bet that the recumbent rider would be far better of.

"the pain of the upright"
fair enough when i was riding my DF 100 miles a week I didn't think I was in pain, I probably just got used to it.
I recently went back on my DF after a year on my recumbent. Let me tell you, you feel the pain. Mainly in my back, and I am getting on a bit, so that could be a factor. But I put it down to the bike. Hunching over a bike like that it's just not natural.

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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby rmware » 16 Dec 2009, 5:41pm

I think we've all fallen into a trap. Vorsprung is just saying thats why people don't cycle full stop.
I need to learn to read better.
However I stick by the point DF's are painful.

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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Dec 2009, 5:42pm

vorsprung wrote:... Being killed by careless motorists is probably more of a factor


I've heard all sorts of reasons given for the UCI's attitude from their being Luddites to being in the pay of vested interests but I cannot imagine this was anything to do with it (although they may put it forward now 70+ years after they formed the policy.)

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squeaker
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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby squeaker » 16 Dec 2009, 5:53pm

For those new to all this, a short synopsis can be found in the section headed 'The hour world record'. Better still, buy the book ;)
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vorsprung
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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby vorsprung » 17 Dec 2009, 9:34am

Si wrote:
Being killed by careless motorists is probably more of a factor


me thinks that someone is setting a trap there :wink:

the obvious argument being that 'bents are given more room and treated better by cars, to which you'd answer "but if everyone as on a 'bent then they wouldn't be such an oddity, but they would be harder to see". :?:


no trap

if Halfords started selling a cheap-yet-serviceable recumbent tomorrow people won't start cycling in droves as they would still be worried about the traffic

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byegad
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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby byegad » 17 Dec 2009, 12:32pm

vorsprung wrote:
Si wrote:
Being killed by careless motorists is probably more of a factor


me thinks that someone is setting a trap there :wink:

the obvious argument being that 'bents are given more room and treated better by cars, to which you'd answer "but if everyone as on a 'bent then they wouldn't be such an oddity, but they would be harder to see". :?:


no trap

if Halfords started selling a cheap-yet-serviceable recumbent tomorrow people won't start cycling in droves as they would still be worried about the traffic


How reassuring that you are so certain.

As a long time cyclist when I rode a DF non cyclists tried to tell me how dangerous it was to ride a bike.

Now as a 'bent rider I've got cyclists telling me how dangerous they are being so low.

Plus ca change...........
"I thought of that while riding my bike." -Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity

2007 ICE QNT
2008 Hase Kettwiesel AL27
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EdinburghFixed
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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby EdinburghFixed » 17 Dec 2009, 12:50pm

I get far more aggro from other cyclists than I do from everyone else. They seem convinced that I am certain to die in the next five minutes unless they can suddenly enlighten me ("oh, my bike is low? I hadn't noticed!" :roll: )

Quite why they feel that they'll be better off piling into the side of a car with their face, compared with my feet, isn't always clear. They also have pathetic brakes and no recumbent bubble/mirror combo with which to control following traffic. I know, because we have four normal bikes to compare it with.

At night the lowness argument makes even less sense, because both front and back lights are at the same height as they would be on the fork/crown and rack mounts of an ordinary bike.

I think it's fair to say that you benefit from riding a recumbent with more skill (or to put it more succinctly, you can get away with more gutter hugging on an upright) but I don't see it as any more risky.

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Re: Why did the UCI ban recumbents?

Postby swscotland bentrider » 6 Jan 2010, 2:22pm

Being a bit perverse... If you were to invent an organisation designed to cause subtle but real damage to cycling what would it look like? I think it may end up looking remarkably like the UCI!

It is not recumbents per se but more like a culture within the organisation. Yes, recumbents (too innovative) Graeme Obree (not one of us) The hour record (think how attractive it would be to see someone on a bike designed in the last century ride round a track slower than everyone else!) the kilometre , the individual pursuit - it just goes on....

All the really classic, easily understood and enjoyed events gone.

Meantime during this same era the drugs issue was destroying the sport but sshhh the UCI were asleep.

I'm being a bit perverse - I'm no fan of theirs and I'm not going to hold my breath re the inclusion of 'bents!