Bicycles

fUCI concept bike flips the bird at racing rules

The fUCI concept bike – for speed freaks who don't necessarily race
The fUCI concept bike – for speed freaks who don't necessarily race
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Tell us what you really think, Robert
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Tell us what you really think, Robert
Egger with a model of the fUCI
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Egger with a model of the fUCI
It took Egger about six months to build the one-off fUCI
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It took Egger about six months to build the one-off fUCI
The fUCI's motor is located in the bottom bracket, and is intended mainly for assistance in getting the bike going from a stop
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The fUCI's motor is located in the bottom bracket, and is intended mainly for assistance in getting the bike going from a stop
The fUCI's lithium battery can be removed for charging, although it can also be left in place and juiced up by placing the whole bike in an accompanying charging stand
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The fUCI's lithium battery can be removed for charging, although it can also be left in place and juiced up by placing the whole bike in an accompanying charging stand
The fUCI's brake lights are built into a magnetically-latched mini cargo compartment, suitable for carrying things like a jacket or a spare tube
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The fUCI's brake lights are built into a magnetically-latched mini cargo compartment, suitable for carrying things like a jacket or a spare tube
Another electronic feature of the fUCI is the option of smartphone integration with onboard sensors
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Another electronic feature of the fUCI is the option of smartphone integration with onboard sensors
The fUCI has a matching aerodynamic helmet
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The fUCI has a matching aerodynamic helmet
One of the fUCI's most noticeable features is its big 33.3-inch rear wheel
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One of the fUCI's most noticeable features is its big 33.3-inch rear wheel
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The fUCI concept bike – for speed freaks who don't necessarily race
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The fUCI concept bike – for speed freaks who don't necessarily race
The fUCI's frame design – which isn't the usual main triangle and rear triangle – is another rule-breaker
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The fUCI's frame design – which isn't the usual main triangle and rear triangle – is another rule-breaker
Aerodynamic fairings are also not allowed by the UCI, so naturally the fUCI has one
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Aerodynamic fairings are also not allowed by the UCI, so naturally the fUCI has one

Ever wonder why you don't see things like recumbents in the Tour de France? Well, it's because of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), which is the world governing body for bicycle racing. Among other things, the UCI places unwavering restrictions on the design of racing bikes. While this is intended to keep some racers from having an unfair advantage, many people feel that it also holds back the evolution of bikes designed for non-racers. That's why Specialized’s Creative Director, Robert Egger, created the fUCI concept bike. It's a speed bike designed without UCI restrictions in mind ... and we'll let you figure out what the F in its name stands for.

One of the fUCI's most noticeable features is its big 33.3-inch rear wheel – different-sized front and rear wheels are a UCI no-no. It actually works as a flywheel, allowing the bike to maintain speed more easily. Getting that wheel moving in the first place, however, could take some effort. That's why the fUCI has another feature that might cause the UCI folks to go into conniptions: a motor.

That motor is located in the bottom bracket, and is intended mainly for assistance in getting the bike going from a stop. Its lithium battery can be removed for charging, although it can also be left in place and juiced up by placing the whole bike in an accompanying charging stand. For off-grid use, that stand is equipped with a solar panel.

Another electronic feature of the fUCI is the option of smartphone integration with onboard sensors. By placing their phone in its docking area, users can do things like disabling the bike when leaving it parked; planning and following routes; receiving warnings of approaching cars; monitoring tire pressure; and, setting the lights to automatically come on when it gets dark outside – yep, the fUCI also has front and rear lights. In fact, the brake lights are built into a magnetically-latched mini cargo compartment, suitable for carrying things like a jacket or a spare tube.

Aerodynamic fairings are also not allowed by the UCI, so naturally the fUCI has one, in the form of a motorcycle-like windscreen. To top things off, the bike's frame design – which isn't the usual main triangle and rear triangle – is yet another rule-breaker.

"The UCI really caters to a very small population, but there’s so many other people out there who couldn’t care less about the UCI," says Egger. "They don’t follow the racing and they don’t even know all the limitations that are put on bikes for the UCI riders. So, my feeling was let’s design a bike for someone who really just wants to go fast on a road bike."

Source: Very Special Things (Specialized) via Bicycle Design

19 comments
sk8dad
Pretty good concept. Why not also fair the bars/brake levers, chain ring, and rear mech?
Milton
minus the motor, I would welcome bikes like this into competitions. (I might even watch people compete if if weren't for UCI rules)
minivini
I would totally love to log some miles on that!!
bhtooefr
So, it's "designed without UCI restrictions in mind", yet it's still an upright? And it's intentionally not a diamond frame just to shirk UCI restrictions, even though that would actually make it stronger and lighter most likely (unless they're trying to get some sort of suspension effect, but then there would be better ways to do that, I believe). Then again, it's Specialized, and they make their money off of uprights, not recumbents, so they can't exactly make a recumbent concept if they're not going to make recumbents.
kurtjens
I love the idea of "flipping off" the UCI since, as the article says, very few bicyclists compete in UCI sanctioned events.
Timelord
Come on, Specialized. You're one of the biggest bike companies in the US. Show some chutzpah. Instead of this baby step of an unrideable one-off show bike, let's see a full Specialized streamliner at the IHPVA Speed Challenge at Battle Mountain. With your R&D, you should be able to smash the land speed record with 85mph. Or a practical production velomobile, designed better than the handbuilt ones made by garage inventors and tiny manufacturers, at less than $3000 since you can leverage economies of scale and promotional resources that they can't.
Ent
That radically new, and nicely finished, design was done by one man in 6 months? Incredible!
zevulon
they are trying to make a streamliner that one person can ride without a crew to help that person get into the streamliner. what is the point here? nothing every practical comes out of this. no practical vehicle can routinely travel up 30mph without suspension of any kind. why? bumps and speed do not get along together well, that's why. if they design a rigid suspension into this system, i would say they were being serious aout making something practical. this DOES look awesome though.
Bob Stuart
On a standard frame, the most highly stressed spot is just above the bottom bracket. I see that Specialized has provided air there to resist the pedal forces. A Zipper front fairing, covering the hands and arms is much more effective, too. This is a sculpture for rich bike nuts.
b2p
Why all the animosity toward UCI? Why not just present a new design and discuss its merits and possibilities in their own right. Not very professional of Specialized to whine and be vulgar about it.