Exclusive | Leaked UCI document reveals cost of cutting-edge Olympic track tech
UCI spreadsheet reveals the prices of Tokyo 2020 bikes and parts
A leaked spreadsheet, recently sent to national cycling federations around the world and provided to BikeRadar by an industry source, has revealed the cost of many of the track bikes and components registered with the UCI for use at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
As you might expect given the cutting-edge technology involved, there are some extremely expensive items on the list, including the Hope HB.T that Team GB riders are expected to use for all track events in Tokyo. Track bikes for many of the other leading cycling nations, including America, Germany, Italy, France and Australia, are also listed.
Hope revealed the price of the radical HB.T last week – a cool £15,500 for the standard frameset – but it’s far from the most expensive item on the list, despite its unusual design. That honour goes to the €28,000 Worx WX-R Vorteq Track.
The spreadsheet also includes details of the products currently registered, inspected and validated for use in competition by the UCI.
As usual, all of these prices are exclusive of VAT, so if you live in the UK and are thinking about an N+1 purchase, don’t forget to add 20 per cent to the listed prices.
The most expensive Olympic track cycling frames and forks
Worx Vorteq Track
- Worx WX-R Vorteq Track: €28,000
FES B20 & B16, as used by the German National Cycling Team
- FES B20 / B20-TT: €14,143.40
- FES B16 / B16-TT: €10,607.55
- FES B20 / B16 Fork: €6,920.33
BT Ultra, Edge and Blade
- BT Ultra: €10,000
- BT Edge: €6,000
- BT Blade (fork and seatpost included): €4,999
- BT Edge Fork: €1,000
Hope/Lotus HB.T, as used by the Great Britain Cycling Team
- Hope HB.T: £7,500 (frame only)
- Hope HTP01-0 Seatpost: £650
- Hope HTP02-0 Seatpost: £1,400
- Lotus Type 129 Pursuit Fork: £4,200
- Lotus Type 129 Sprint Fork: £4,800
The most expensive item on the list, the Worx Vorteq Track, is a frame made for the Malaysian sprint squad, according to our source.
Details are currently scant but more information is to be revealed on December 31st, according to the Worx website.
Any products to be ridden at the Tokyo Olympic must be cleared for use in international competition by the same date, according to UCI regulations.
We’ve already seen Great Britain’s new HB.T, which is set to replace the Cervelo track bike previously used by the team, at the Minsk and Glasgow rounds of the UCI Track World Cup.
The frameset takes full advantage of new UCI rules that allow forks and seat stays to be up to 8cm wide, creating a flared profile around each wheel said to significantly reduce drag.
Meanwhile, the FES B20 and FES B16 (pictured above), designed by Germany’s Institute for Research and Development of Sports Equipment, are priced at €14,143.40 and €10,607.55 respectively.
FES bikes are characterised by a compact frame matched with a hinged fork design. A modular direct-mount cockpit sits at the top of the fork.
The seat tube shrouds the rear wheel but, unlike the Hope HB.T, the clearances around the seat stays and fork are very tight, only kicking out slightly towards the bottom to make room for the drivetrain.
Not everything on the UCI document has been priced yet.
A significant number of items, including a new frame and fork from the French manufacturer, Look, called the T20 TR (and spotted at a recent Track World Cup), list the price as TBC.
The Italian team’s MAAT frame, unveiled in November, is also without a price, although Pinarello has previous stated the frame, which features a radically asymmetric design and squared-off chainstays, will cost £7,000.
According to UCI rules, however, these prices will have to be available by January 1st 2020 if any of the equipment is to be used at the upcoming Tokyo Games.
The most expensive Olympic track cycling components
Pinarello, as used by the Italian National Cycling Team
- Pinarello Bolide HR handlebar: €13,000
- Pentaxia handlebar: €6,000
- Titanium 3D Printed Sprint handlebars (low or high drop): €5,000
- Avanti Pista Pursuit Extensions: €4,650
Lotus, for the Hope/Lotus HB.T track bike, as used by the Great Britain Cycling Team
- Pursuit handlebar: £4,000
- Upright handlebar: £4,500
- Sprint handlebar: £5,900
FES, as used by the German National Cycling Team
- PL20 handlebar: €4,450.34
- SL16-Sprint handlebar: €4,450.34
- PL16 handlebar: €4,450.34
- SL 16 tailormade handlebar: €4,450.34
Askil, as used by the Australian Cycling Team
- Aero bike set (saddle and seatpost): €2,900
If you want to kit out your Olympic-ready track frame with similarly high-tech components, then you’ll need an even bigger budget. Cockpit components are among the most expensive – unsurprising given their complexity and impact on aerodynamics.
The Sprint, Upright and Pursuit handlebars designed by Lotus and featured on the Hope HB.T bike are priced at £5,900, £4,500 and £4,000 respectively. The FES components used by the German national team are similarly priced.
Frames and cockpit components aside, wheels are also among the most expensive items featured. The Campagnolo wheelset used by the Great Britain team is listed at €8,800, while the Ghibli front and rear wheels are priced at €3,800 and €5,900 respectively.
Meanwhile, the FES wheels used by the German squad are all more than €4,000 a piece.
However, the components made for Team GB by the UK Sports Institute and its production partner, Metron Additive Engineering, currently list the price as TBC.
The least expensive Olympic track components
- VP Components VP-R73 pedals: €32
- Hillbrick track handlebars, 34cm: €38
- Nitto B136 Touring handlebar: €40
It’s also worth noting that the UCI’s spreadsheet contains a number of rather ordinary and relatively cheap components, from budget clip-in pedals to aluminium stems, handlebars and parts. These include the budget VP Components VP-R73 pedals we reviewed and awarded four stars in December 2012.
It also includes saddles from big-name brands such as Specialized, Bontrager, Selle Italia and Fizik.
There’s obviously no UCI rule that says equipment for use at the Olympics must be incredibly expensive, simply that the extensive research and testing likely poured into such niche frames and components, as well as the materials used and the nature of such small production runs, means prices are always likely to be extremely high for many items.
Why does this list exist?
Previously, national federations only had to pay lip service to the spirit of commercial availability (with most simply building a basic website and listing items with a helpful ‘price on application’ note).
However, the UCI’s rules (specifically article 1.3.006 of the Technical Regulations) now assert that manufacturers must make their kit available to purchase by any member of the public, at a price that would not be considered beyond a “reasonable market value”.
The rules do allow for prototype equipment to be used in competition with the specific authorisation of the UCI, but prototype kit must then be brought to market within twelve months or it can no longer be used.
The intention is clearly to level the playing field by giving every competitor access to the same pool of commercially available bikes and components.
In theory, this is all very laudable, but it remains to be seen how it actually works in practice as you would need extremely deep pockets to purchase much of this equipment for a single rider, let alone kit out an entire team. And that’s before we even get to questions like lead time for ordering.
If prices and availability are announced by January 1st 2020, as per the rules, it will be fascinating to see if any riders or federations actually purchase any of this new equipment for use at the Tokyo Olympic Games in July. What are the odds on seeing riders from other nations on the Hope HB.T?