The engineer behind Team GB’s all-conquering matt-black track bikes, Dimitris Katsanis, is to be appointed as a consultant to the UCI’s Equipment Commission.

Katsanis is well known for innovation in bike design, and his appointment signals a major change of approach for cycling’s governing body, which has often been criticised for a highly reactionary approach to bike and equipment rules.

Martin Gibbs, the UCI Chief of Staff, said, ‘We’d really like to get back to the kind of levels of interest in this area that we saw with riders like Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree in the 1990s. Not necessarily quite that level of anarchy, but certainly we’d like to see that sort of excitement.

‘I think in the past the UCI has been guilty of regulating things it shouldn’t have, and not regulating the things it should. We want Dimitris to look at everything, all the regulations, across the board. With his current knowledge, he’ll be able to take an intelligent approach to regulating what we need to, and leaving the rest alone.’

Katsanis’s remit will include looking at the Lugano Charter, the 1997 document that brought to an end the innovations of the 1980s and 1990s by spelling out the approach that the rider must always be more important than the bike.

‘A lot has happened in development since then,’ says Gibbs. ‘Its philosophical basis is fine, but in the past actually translating it into rules has been a challenge. So we want to see if it needs re-written or refreshed.’

The UCI also hopes that the appointment will help address accusations that in the past the Equipment Commission was out of touch. ‘The only way to regulate well in this area is to get someone who’s really current. That’s the only way to balance the obligations we have towards the athletes to keep things fair, but allow development. Otherwise you end up with people having to ride bikes like Fausto Coppi rode. You get issues over electronics, you get issues over disc brakes. You have to allow a modernisation process,’ says Gibbs.

Gibbs confirmed that looking at the current ‘retro’ regulations governing the Hour record would also be part of Katsanis’s remit.

There are plans to look at how the regulations are implemented on the ground as well. ‘We can take tips away from other sports like F1 that have equipment regulations, and have trained technical scrutineers with the ability to consistently apply the rules,’ says Gibb. ‘This is something that’s really heartfelt here, from [UCI President] Brian Cookson downwards. We feel we have an opportunity to do something really positive in this area, and we want to be remembered for getting it right.’

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  • michael bennett

    Let’s hope they spend more time dealing with the safety factor of frame and component design rather than setting up quirky ratio’s and saddle positions rules. If it passes safety stardards set by iso or the EU then it’s ridable. If there is no set safety standard then there is no point. I just hope they reconsider the spinaci’s. i loved those things

  • Dimitris Konstantopoulos

    Katsanis is very accurate in his job. Well done Dimitris! Make Greeks proud to be one of us.

  • Graeme Freestone King

    I’d like to see a removal of any association between the UCI and “partners” involved in cycle equipment or clothing manufacture, and the rolling back of the “UCI Approved” programme – in any other field of endeavour these types of cross-overs are conflicts of interest.

    How can an organisation be seen to be making impartial judgements about new strands in equipment development when it has a major developer of equipment and a major developer of clothing as “official partners”?

  • Bob Cross

    Finally a step forward. Let’s get rid of the silly saddle angle thing and the overall length of reach and the non-removal of front wheel tabs.

    I loved the hour record and the new technology it brought in. We have move forward, embrace technology, it is the only way to advance.

  • Regis Chapman

    At last. Some modern thinking finally comes to cycling governance. Thank goodness for Brian Cookson.

  • lee

    The ‘Lugano Charter’ has basically killed development to stagnated levels in cycling… As the MTB’ing force changed cycling for the better, the UCI is holding back development of the road bike to do its share of developing the bike even further. This will result in an even better design of cycle/s for all whatever the interest as it always trickles to other types of cycle. Also, the UCI approved frame scheme totally needs scrapping !

  • KAMPAGIANNIS KOSTAS

    Modernization is part of innovation and the difference between those two lines can be identified only by experts where they know very well both sides of the game. For sure the bike industry wants to sell more, no matter what the results could be for the image of the sport and the future “product” evolution.

    I am sure Dimitris Katsanis will help to keep a balance because he knows both sides very well.

    The sport of cycling is a huge industry contributing in many sectors of our daily activity no matter if we are professional cyclists or just cycle users.

    After one year we will be better aware if UCI’s direction is toward the cycling development.

  • Nigel Rue

    Brian Cookson has only been at the helm a short time, but it looks like the UCI has already got it`s head out of the sand and is looking at the world we live in.

  • Ken Evans

    6.8 KG is out of date. Pro team mechanics know their bikes very well, their opinions should be sought. An early season meeting (eg at races) could be useful. The recent bike show season was another opportunity that could have been used.