The maximum tire width rule for UCI-sanctioned cyclocross events (as well as USA Cycling Nationals for age-groupers) infuriated many, especially the budget clincher racers hoping to compete with their tubular-dressed peers. The arbitrary 33mm (and 35mm for age groups at Nationals) maximum widths were essentially seen as a penalty on the big, tall and the poor, the exact racers who need the extra volume to avoid pinching their tubulars or inner tube at low pressure. After a barrage of complaints over the last few years, the UCI has agreed to reconsider the rule and create a new set of standards, albeit via a confusing, somewhat complicated formula.
Xmm [for maximum tire width] = ([Racer Weight in Pounds, “W”/2.2]) x (33/68)
Since the racers who have the most to lose with the narrow tire rule are the Clydesdale set (or even the taller, and therefore heavier, racers like Ryan Trebon), the UCI has announced a set of rules that will be based on racer weight.
Those of you familiar with the officials checking tire width pre-race should be prepared to step on a scale this race season, but for the bigger racer, now is your chance to break out tires like the 35 PSI Continental Cyclo X-King.
The average racer is 150 pounds, and for him or her, the 33c tire rule wil remain in effect. However, it is the lighter and heavier racers who will see changes.
The new rules:
We boiled it down and these are some of the new basic standards:
- 100 pound or lower racers will be forced to hunt down the oft-forgotten 28c tires that were once available.
- 101-125 pound racers will need 31c or lower
- 126-160 pound racers will remain at the 33c current ruling
- 160-190 pound racers can run up to 35c, the old standard
- 190+ pound racers have the highest limit at 40c
A source at the UCI told us that the goal here was to “level the playing field” for all racers, so that not just the mid-weight riders can benefit from the tire width ordinance.
Smaller racers are protesting the change, since they’ll be the most impacted by the ruling and will be forced to swap tires before next season. “I just think that this rule is going to be impossible to contend with,” ranted Donn Kellogg, the manager of the Raleigh-Clement Team and the owner of Clement tires. “We’ll have to make a whole new tread for Caroline Mani this season!”
Note: this story was published on April 1, 2014. We are not responsible for weight gains due incorrect facts in this article.