UCI sets sights on drinking bottles next

They're also planning to enforce the saddle tilt rule 1st March 2012

by nick_rearden   December 22, 2011  


World cycle racing's governing body the UCI has announced a new rule on the shape, mounting location and capacity of drinking bottles starting 1st January 2013.

Julien Carron the UCI's 'Coordinateur Technologique' has told manufacturers in an email seen by BikeBiz that UCI race commissaires will be checking bidons from that date, commenting, "the positioning and dimensions of bottles used during competition are the subject of a change of the regulations that was approved by the Management Committee in September."

The new rule Article 1.3.024 will only allow bottles to be positioned on the down tube and seat tube. Mounting bottles behind the saddle, on the stem or in any other position will be prohibited and furthermore must not be integrated with frames, meaning that there must be a space between the bottle and the tube to which it is attached. The new rule specifies bottle dimensions to avoid empty bottles being added for aerodynamic reasons.

"The rule also improves the rider's ability to access and grasp the bottle," said Carron. "The capacity is also specified in order to guarantee that bottles are used for rehydration purposes and to prevent any deviations."

The wording of article 1.3.024 is as follows:

"Bottles shall not be integrated to the frame and may only be located on the down and seat tubes on the inside of the frame. The maximum dimensions of the cross-section of a bottle used in competition must not exceed 10 cm or be less than 4 cm and their capacity must be a minimum of 400 ml and a maximum of 800 ml."

Carron comments in his email, "Bottles have been increasingly moving away from their original function of allowing riders to rehydrate towards an alternative use as aerodynamic elements which are integrated into the design of frames in order to improve riders' performances. It has become essential to regulate the positioning and dimensions of bottles in order to avoid any future deviations and to return bottles to their principal function."


The Curse of Cadel Evans's Tilting Saddle

While they're about it, the UCI has also reminded manufacturers that they'll be enforcing the existing Article 1.3.014 from this coming March 1st. Surely you don't need reminding of last year's drama at the Tour de France where commissaires incurred the wrath of eventual winner Cadel Evans in criticised the angle of the saddle on his BMC time trial bike?

As with the forthcoming bottle rule, saddles will be checked for level at all WorldTour, World Cup events and World Championships for road, track and cyclocross and a measuring device will be issued to UCI commissaires for the purpose. There has, however, been an element of tolerance introduced.

According to Julien Carron, "As a result of many discussions and comments concerning Article 1.3.014 on the horizontality of the saddle, the UCI has decided to clarify the situation by introducing a tolerance to the measurement of the saddle angle. To determine the value of this tolerance, the UCI has taken into account many measurements recorded in competition, numerous scientific articles published on the subject describing biomechanical issues as well as discussions with several saddle manufacturers."

Carron wrote, "the concept is to grant the rider sufficient freedom to allow a comfortable position to be adopted, reducing the pressure on the perineum, while avoiding any deviation through an excessively sloping saddle that could improve sporting performance to an unacceptable degree by the addition of a lumbar support."

Citing safety concerns, Carron added, "If the saddle is inclined too severely, this reduces the quality of the rider’s position on the saddle, thus reducing its intrinsic function of providing a basic support for the rider on the bicycle."

Carron said the device would measure, "the angle of incline of the saddle, considering the plane passing through the highest points at the front and rear of the saddle. This angle must be less than 2.5 degrees with an error tolerance of 0.5 degree. This means that if the measurement taken during the check exceeds ±3 degrees, the saddle must be adjusted."

He concluded, "The measurement of the horizontality of saddles must be a simple, fair and repeatable process. The tolerance of 3 degrees gives the rider a lot more freedom to adjust his or her position on the bike compared to the previous interpretation of the rule."

23 user comments

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By the way, there have been some great comments on twitter this afternoon in response to Carlton Reid's piece on BikeBiz. Among the suggestions made for new and as-yet-untapped opportunities for UCI intervention were:

Shoes to be banned on the basis that it offers an unfair advantage.

Speed and we don't mean Performance Enhancing Drugs. Just speed.

And @bazzargh and @aslongasicycle had a good exchange including, "In response to crashes caused by steering across the racing line, UCI are banning handlebars with immediate effect."

posted by nick_rearden [864 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 18:39

1 Like

It all makes me glad I'm not a pro cyclist.

the_mikey's picture

posted by the_mikey [155 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 18:59


Un-Controllable Imbeciles

"Inside every car is a pedestrian, just Waiting to get out..." S.J.L.

scotter's picture

posted by scotter [64 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 19:25

1 Like

no tyres due to their grip advantage? UCI you muppets.

liam.cahill1's picture

posted by liam.cahill1 [42 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 19:29

1 Like

what a bunch of spanners

posted by mandy [94 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 19:37

1 Like

Nice to see the UCI focussing on the real issues affecting the sport...

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3723 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 19:44

1 Like

Width of cyclists ought to be considered. Those with narrower or angled shoulders have a definite advantage compared with those of a wider or more rectangular build.


posted by Edgeley [242 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 19:49

1 Like

Has this anything to do with the up coming 'fantasy cycling'.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 20:50


Anyone got any examples of bottles being used for aerodynamic reasons?

posted by paulfg42 [395 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 21:48

1 Like

I blame Wiggle Smile

Moda Forte - track
Orange Gringo - MTB
Specialized Roubaix - winter bike
Cervelo R3SL - race bike

posted by Colin Canski [14 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 21:53

1 Like

@paulfg42- Cervelo p4 has an integrated bottle possibility, bontrager make an aero bottle and stella italia (i think) have made a saddle with a bottle holder. Aero bottles are also used extensively in triathlon so it's not out the question that road teams might be interested.

posted by miffed [169 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 22:02

1 Like

paulfg42 wrote:
Anyone got any examples of bottles being used for aerodynamic reasons?

Some interesting reading here


But i've not seen them used so much for aerodynamic ability themselves, but when you have them mounted between your aero bars or behind the saddle, it reduces drag and also means you move less from your position to get at a bottle, although the saddle mounted ones are hard to get back into their holders

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9364 posts]
22nd December 2011 - 22:36

1 Like

We (in the industry) have just allowed ourselves to be dragged into this lunacy. Carlton Reid, Leonnard Zinn and myself (in a small way) have all commented on the ramifications of "UCI Approval" and the adverse effects that it will have on product development, the evolution of frames, components and clothing and the way that it will ultimately lead to reduced consumer choices at a higher retail price.

I have written to Julien Carron at the UCI and challenged him on the UCI's rationale and the likely long term effects - after his first anodyne answer which I replied to, having deconstructed his arguments line by line, I have heard no more - what a surprise ... no, that's not actually true, I got an E-Christmas card from them yesterday - so not off their list yet Smile

Check my blog at pimpmytoolbox.blogspot.com to see my take on it. It's two long-ish pieces but if you can stick it out, you'll see exactly what the long-term effects of the UCI's policies will be.

The industry should have stood up to it two, nearly three years ago when the UCI first started talking in these terms and circulated a discussion document. Carlton Reid was very prescient in the points he made at the time - now we are in a hole that'll be pretty darn difficult to dig ourselves out of.

This week I have mostly been riding a Mondiale in Deda V107 with Campagnolo Super Record 11 ...

posted by velotech_cycling [78 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 1:57

1 Like

I'm just grateful I have standard handlebars and I can use my "banned" Spinacci bars!
Stick that in your regulations, UCI.

Seriously, when is the average road rider going to get what they want - I can't believe hydraulic disc brakes haven't been around for years.

Meanwhile, what news on cleaning up drug use in the sport?

Gravity - it won't let you down.

bigmel's picture

posted by bigmel [105 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 12:33

1 Like

Draconian rules for bottles. Whatever next?

The only time non-standard aero bottles are used is in time trials. I'm not sure how that prevents one being used for hydration, though you don't really need a drink if you're racing for less than an hour.

If being aero is a problem then UCI time trials should be raced on standard road bikes, as they do in Qatar and Pat's Pet Project, the Tour of Beijing, or maybe on a 'dual suspension' £100 BSO from Argos.

The future of the sport would be better served by spending the money on testing athletes properly and not trying to cover up positive tests.

This must be such a headache for designers and manufacturers. The UCI's frame approval is a scam and we are already seeing both UCI-legal and triathlon (i.e. non-UCI) versions of time trial bikes appear on the market, notably the 2012 Specialized Shiv.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2415 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 12:50


My nose is more pointed than most people's. Perhaps I should be banned so as to prevent an unfair aero advantage.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3723 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 13:58


notfastenough wrote:
My nose is more pointed than most people's. Perhaps I should be banned so as to prevent an unfair aero advantage.

Where's the 'like' button?
Lots of people have more money than me to buy all this compliant kit. Surely that's an unfair advantage too?


posted by Michael5 [121 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 17:54

1 Like

Michael5 wrote:
Lots of people have more money than me to buy all this compliant kit. Surely that's an unfair advantage too?

Yep. Life is full of them.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2415 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 18:12


Yet another example of the UCI making up utterly pointless and stupid regulations that suit no-one. Road bikes with anything other than 700C wheels? Nope. Disc brakes? Nope. Pointless weight regulation allegedly to hold costs down (despite clear lack of results for decades)? Endlessly looking for more things to be pedantic about? Well, see above....

posted by StuAff [114 posts]
23rd December 2011 - 23:05


Jonathan Vaughters' recent comment on Twitter:

Killing bike sponsors' ability to innovate is not a business friendly decision.

For 'business friendly' read 'sport friendly'. There won't be much sport without the sponsors, just ask Bob Stapleton.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2415 posts]
24th December 2011 - 13:12

1 Like

Just you wait, Le tour 2013 will be ridden on penny farthings. Disc rear wheels will only be permitted if they are etched with Pat McQuaid face and the slogan "You're lucky we let you have round wheels."

Life behind bars.

Graham Howell's picture

posted by Graham Howell [56 posts]
24th December 2011 - 15:39

1 Like

I agree that bike makers should just have said no to the UCI and their new stickers. If they unified their voice (good grief...I sound like a Union Leader! The horror), what will the UCI have done. Provided their own bikes for trade teams? The UCI will have no teams as they will have no bikes and in the end, Pat will have no job. So Pat and the UCI, remember who pays your salary, the teams, sponsors and fans.

posted by Singletrackroadie [33 posts]
28th December 2011 - 18:27

1 Like

notfastenough wrote:
My nose is more pointed than most people's. Perhaps I should be banned so as to prevent an unfair aero advantage.

Have you seen that geezer riding around S. London with a bottle-shaped helmet on his head? Well that's me, and the helmet is in fact a drinking-bottle, which slowly drips Tizer down into the trepanned hole in the top of my scull, and on down my throat; no hands,see? Fair enough I'd say, but I suppose the rocketing effect of the gas, as it exits, will get me DQ'd one of these days....


posted by PhilRuss [332 posts]
7th January 2012 - 4:12

1 Like