Yes . . . just think.
Read enough bike industry cheerleading blogs and bike magazines, you'll encounter some variation on that lament almost as often as you'll find the words laterally stiff and vertically compliant.
I found it today in a couple articles on BikeRadar about some new triathlon bike designs. One was on the new Diamondback Andean - a bike which is claimed (by its designer) to be "the fastest tri-bike on the market" today.
|Lookit me! No seatstays!|
As opposed to a standard stone-age-worthy UCI-compliant time trial bike, the Andean tri-bike sports a heavily faired carbon fiber frame with lots of storage compartments for integrated hydration packs (that's "water" to you and me), as well as energy bars, gel packets (sticky goop supposedly for "endurance"), and tools/spares. The tool storage strikes me as both superfluous and cruelly ironic for most of the bike's likely buyers. The bike also has disc brakes because as we all know, you'd have to have a death wish to ride a bike with rim brakes today.
Then there was this one: the Cervélo P5X:
|Lookit me! No seatstays and no seat-tube, either!|
Like the Diamondback Andean, the Cervélo P5X sports disc brakes, and has lots of integrated storage for "hydration" fluids and sticky goop packets. Cervélo has a bunch of different trademarked names for their various storage compartments: Smartpak, Stealthbox, and Speedcase - because one catchy name isn't enough. As for its radical frame design? Well . . . let's just say we've been here before.
To be honest, I don't actually know specifically what keeps these monstrosities from being UCI-compliant, nor do I care in the least. In fact, I am still trying to figure out exactly why so many people - from designers, to manufacturers, to cheerleading bloggers - care so much about the cycling governing body's supposedly archaic, arbitrary, and restrictive regulations in the first place.
You see, except for top-level road and track racing, which makes up only a small slice of the bicycling pie, UCI equipment regulations are a non-issue. The vast majority of cyclists don't race, and manufacturers have always been free to design, build, and sell anything they want. Most buyers are unaware of such "restrictions" because they are completely unaffected by them. The way I understand it, that goes for triathlon bikes as well, since the UCI has no bearing on that sport, and tri-bikes have long had features that would not have been permitted on, say, a time trial bike in the Tour de France. Go-fast freds who want the latest thing aren't necessarily restricted by the regulations, either, unless competing in a UCI-sanctioned event. Consider the marketing opportunity for manufacturers when they push the fact that their bizarre wünderbike is "too fast" for the UCI. It's enough to make a fred's knees get wobbly.
|While we're on the subject, remember this thing?|
When you get right down to it, the only people truly affected by "the rules" are the people who get their bikes for free anyhow. So, if manufacturers are free to make any bike they can market and sell, why the defensive attitude? C'mon folks - get a grip. Make your ugly wünderbikes. Make as many as you can sell. Most of us just don't care.