The International Cycling Union (UCI) have signed an agreement with The Framebuilders' Collective (TFC) that will make it cheaper for custom frames and forks to be submitted for official approval.
Previously, 'small builders' – defined as manufacturers who produce frames and forks to measure – had to pay a 500 Swiss franc fee (£350) to submit their designs under the UCI's new approval protocol.
Under the new agreement, small builders will be able to submit plans to TFC – a 14-strong group of framebuilders – who will contact the UCI on their behalf. The UCI will then grant a 20 percent discount, which is only available with TFC's involvement.
The new approval protocol came into effect on 1 January this year and requires all new frame and fork designs for road, track and cyclo-cross racing to meet UCI criteria and specifications. A sticker is awarded to all models that comply with the regulations. This needs to be gained for all frames and forks used in competition by licensed riders.
There are three levels to the UCI approval process: the comprehensive procedure (5,000 Swiss francs/£3,500) is used for time trial and track frames; the intermediate (3,000 Swiss francs/£2,100) for mass start races and cyclo-cross; and the simplified procedure (500 Swiss francs/£350) for welded frames, which applies to custom builds.
Members of the TFC include Crumpton Cycles, Richard Sachs Cycles and Strong Frames. Carl Strong, chairman of the board of directors, said: “Independent framebuilders wear a lot of hats as both craftsman and businessman. The Framebuilders’ Collective understands the limited time that framebuilders have to devote to all of the duties their trade requires of them. The UCI and TFC have developed an arrangement that will help streamline and simplify the UCI process for not only the Framebuilders’ Collective members but any other bespoke framebuilders that wish to participate through the Framebuilders’ Collective portal. We're very excited about our new partnership with the UCI.”