In its latest power move, the UCI has come out against the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) following the announcement that electric mountain bike racing will be added to its circuit, as reported by mxgp.com.
In a press release, President of the FIM, Jorge Viegas, said: “I am very happy that the FIM is starting to provide competitions for electric bikes. The first ever FIM E-XBike World Cup will allow a new generation of riders to take part in these exciting races.
“For the FIM it is a reoccurring (sic) story because the first motorcycles were based on a bike frame, with the addition of a motor. In recent years the electric technology has evolved considerably, and we are convinced that the FIM E-X Bike World Cup will offer the manufacturers a great platform for further development.”
According to a statement from the UCI, it believes e-MTB events fall under its umbrella.
“The UCI wishes to announce that events in domains under its exclusive jurisdiction that are registered on the FIM calendar or those of its member Federations will be considered ‘banned events’ in line with its Regulation. Consequently, any UCI-licensed rider participating in one of these events would risk disciplinary measures,” the UCI statement read.
UCI President David Lappartient continued: “I am delighted by the boom currently enjoyed by E-mountain bike, a specialty that enables a new public to take up mountain biking — a demanding discipline — and which is also appreciated by high-level riders. The UCI means to develop this activity which, as with other forms of cycling, comes under its exclusive jurisdiction.”
e-MTB racing is planned to begin this August at the motocross GP, which kicks off in Italy, and would include pedal assist e-MTBs (Class-1) which have a max 250 watts of assistance with the motor cutting out above 25kph.
For the record, this is not the first time the UCI has threatened riders with penalties for riding unsanctioned events. In 2013 there was a flare up when the governing body announced it would begin enforcing rule 1.2.019 — the section on ‘forbidden races’.
There was push back from the US MTB community because at the time many popular races were unsanctioned, causing the UCI to delay its decision about enforcement for three years. In this case though it’s a safe bet they’ll be handing out suspensions and fines.
Regardless of your opinion on electric mountain bikes, it’s clear both the UCI and FIM see value in e-MTB racing and neither is showing signs of backing down.