The 2024 Women’s World Tour kicks off today at the Tour Down Under. With the race also doubling up as the first WorldTour event since the UCI announced plans to clamp down on extremely-inward lever angles in December, the stage 1 start town of Hahndorf was the scene of the UCI’s first lever angle checks.
Commissaires at the Tour Down Under were conducting lever angle checks prior to the start of stage one with a jig very similar to the CAD drawing of a similar-looking lever angle tool leaked in December.
Escape Collective understands the jig used today is still a prototype, allowing up to 10º of inward rotation as the UCI works with manufacturers and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) to finalise the permissible angle range.
The 10º afforded by this prototype jig is perhaps more generous than many were expecting, with most bikes tested today passing without issue. Where commissaires did identify lever angles above the legal 10º limit, team mechanics were simply asked to adjust them on the spot.
Escape Collective is aware of at least one rider within the men’s peloton refusing to change his non-compliant lever angles until forced to do so by the UCI. Today’s tests suggest said rider may well be forced to as soon as a few days from now when the men’s TDU rolls out of Tanunda on stage 1.
So-called extreme lever angles have been growing in popularity in recent years as riders sought out either the aero or comfort gains the setup is thought to offer, but the UCI is moving to regulate their use, having identified safety issues and potential evidence that such setups “inhibit a rider’s braking capacity” and “constitute a modification of the product beyond its intended use.”
It’s unknown if the 10º maximum imposed today will remain or if the UCI’s investigations will determine a lower safe limit. Commissaire Greg Griffiths was heard saying the lever angle jig will be available to teams once it has been finalised.
The UCI has now confirmed the exact wording on how it will restrict the extreme inward inclination of brake levers.
The lever angle wording was published in an update to the UCI’s Clarification Guide and now conclusively limits the inward inclination to a maximum of 10° relative to the centre plain of the handlebar drop.
The UCI has also confirmed the same 10° maximum permissible lever angle also applies to flared drops just as with straight drop handlebars.
Matt de Neef contributed reporting to this article.
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