Climate for innovation:

This industry does sporn innovation, competition ensures that companies get their designers to work. Recently there have been some big names attempting the HOUR again.  These bikes are very simple and in their purist form... or are they.
In the 1990's When Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman dualled to get the hour record, this battle between 2 riders intern promoted innovation.
Obree making his own frame to get the narrowest Q-factor and most aero-dynamic riding position.
Boardman backed by British Cycling and riding the best Burrows asymmetric carbon monocoque frame.
Multiple assaults and riding positions.
Unfortunately the UCI banned some of Obrees positions and ultimately killed the momentumn of innovation.
The UCI could be described as the Cyclings FIFA, with it's rules and regulations made by people who wear suits, don't cycle much and cover up the antics of people that seemed to be superhuman.  UCI did a good job of making a "bike shaped" window that requires companies to get approved before it can be raced.  There are now different "bike shapes" for Triathlons, Road, Time trail and Track events.

The frame that Wiggo raced on to do his "hour" was not a huge technology leap over the past 20 years, from the UCI banning the Lotus bike.  Effectively the industry (and public interest) caught up with what was being pioneered by Graeme Obree and Mike Burrows.  
Competition with athletes creates news and excitement.  Competition also creates the need for innovation, all of which assists in the marginal gains that athletes take for granted today.  

I cannot help but think, that British cycling would have had more public interest a generation earlier if the UCI had not imposed some restrictive rules. Without realising the UCI managed to squash both the innovation and the will of athletes, effectively taking the excitement out of the purist of all events, "the Hour".  Human against Machine against the Clock against Human.

Steven OlsenComment