For a bike to be raced in a UCI sanctioned event, it must first pass a basic set of standards and be approved by the governing body. Once a frame, fork or wheel has been approved, it's added to the UCI's list of approved gear.
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This list is available for anyone to see and is continuously updated with frames, forks and wheels as they’re approved. The UCI don't notify anyone except the brands when a design gets the green light and for the most part brands don't make a massive deal of it either. However, it’s a great way to find out what’s on the way in the coming year when it comes to new bikes and gear.
We’ve already seen riders aboard Cervelo’s new R5, Factor’s Slick and even Cannondale’s SuperSlice Disc — the designs for each have been approved since December 2016. But there are a few notable additions that are yet to be spotted under a pro rider or officially released by the brands themselves which have been on the list since the beginning of 2017.
Merida Reacto Disc
The current version of the Reacto has been around for a while now and it appears that the Taiwanese brand is about to give it a makeover, with two rim brake and two disc brake versions of the frame appearing on the list.
The new model will be called the Reacto 3, and both rim and disc versions appear to be available in two levels of carbon: the CF2 and CF4. In addition, Merida has had four wheels — the Expert SL, Expert SL Disc, Expert CW and Expert CC — approved since the beginning of the year too.
We’ve already seen the Merida adapt its Scultura to disc brakes, which even made a debut at last year’s Tour of Flanders under the Lampre-Merida team. With the 2017 race kicking off on 2 April, our eyes will be fixed on the Bahrain-Merida team to see what it's riding.
R5 rim brake version
Cervelo’s new R5 was spotted at this year’s Tour of Dubai ridden by Dimension Data riders Jay Thomson and Bernie Eisel. The bikes were wrapped in a camo vinyl that’s supposed to ‘hide tube shapes,’ though it’s up for debate how successful that was.
This bike itself is old news, but it's worth nothing that the listing explicitly says “R5 rim brake version,” suggesting that there will also be a disc version on the way too.
Norco Threshold Mk3
Canadian brand Norco has also quietly slipped an updated version of its Threshold CX frame onto the UCI approved frame list.
The current version was launched in the 2015 model year and its successor, the Threshold Mk3, was only approved in February. I'd guess there will be an evolution of the GIZMO internal cable routing that seals cable entry and export pots to keep the elements of the frame, front and rear thru-axles as well as more tyre clearance and a lower weight.
Stevens Super Prestige
German bike brand Stevens had only just revamped its Super Prestige CX bike in 2016, adding thru-axles and flat mount disc brakes to the frame. So we’re a bit surprised to see a new design which was approved in mid-February and explicitly listed for MY18, meaning the 2018 year model bike.
Listed just below the Super Prestige is the Arcalis Disc, which was introduced back in 2015 and interestingly before the rim brake version. Given both of these frames were updated at the same time last year, and their frame designs were also approved on the same day, we’re going to make an educated guess that the Arcalis Disc will also be new for next year.
SpeedX hit the market on Kickstarter raising an impressive $2,319,876 for its Leopard Smart Bike, though it's performance on the road didn't quite match the hype.
What’s more, the brand is yet to have one of its frames approved by the governing body, however it seems the brand has been able to pass a 50mm wheel.