Flat handlebar against regulations?

ducan Posts: 3
edited October 2007 in Road beginners
I would like to challenge myself next year with a some competitive riding at the lowest of levels. I understand at the highest of levels there rules and regulations about bike setup, e.g. no time trial handlebars, so do these apply at CAT4 or at Cyclosportive events?

Would having a flat handlebar bike be a barrier to any of these events, I don't mind converting if it is.

Also are there any targets that one should be able to attain to be worthy of entering a CAT 4 race?




  • The UCI does have strict rules on the bike that can be ridden in races, such as double diamond frame layout, minimum weight, no v brakes or disc brakes. However I'm not sure about flat bars, or if UCI rules apply to BFC events.

    One thing I will say though is that drop bars and a more aerodynamic position will probably make you faster and more competitive. You will also feel faster riding on dropped bars it completely changes things from the relaxed upright position of flat bars.

    Cat 4 races are designed to give you a taster into racing, its difficult to say how fit you need to be but a circuit race for Cat 4 will typically be 30 miles. Most circuits have beginners classes and I stand by the fact that if you want to ride at a certain level then try to ride with people who are at that level.

    Convert your bike find a local circuit race at the weekend, enter, pedal as hard as you possibly can until the race is over and feel bloody proud that you did it no mater what your position. Now you will have an idea of the pace, and learnt a little technique for racing.

    If you find you can't keep up, ride as hard as you can. The race you have ridden will make you stronger. Next week you might be a little faster, and the week after that a little faster again.

    Its not easy, its certainly disheartening at times, but remember one thing the fast chaps were not fast from birth. They are fast because of hard work, patients, training and determination.

    Another tip is join a local club, its a great way to train and get support.

    Good luck,

  • Bronzie
    Bronzie Posts: 4,927
    BC Rules do not allow bikes with flat or tri-bars to be used at any level of bunch racing. You will not be allowed to start the race by the commissaire if you turn up with either.

    3.2.6 Machines with dropped handlebars shall be used. Tri-bars, arm extensions and/or arm pads shall be prohibited

    Cyclosportives in the UK are not races - they are therefore not governed by BC race rules. Some (but not all) events are run under BC's rules for sportives which state:
    The use of triathlon handlebars is discouraged in such events. However, where riders do have them fitted they are not to be used when riding in a group. This statement should be printed on literature for participants taking part in the event.
    Flat bars should be fine though.

    As to how fit you need to be to race.................well, let's just say I thought I was fit until I actually tried riding an entry-level road race! Depends on the course and which other riders are there, but generally even to ride 4th Cat events, you have to be pretty fit.

    Try and find out if a club local to you organises a training "chain gang" where you can train at "through and off" with other riders that race to get a feel for how fit you are compared to them.
  • ducan
    ducan Posts: 3
    Thank you both for the comprehensive replies.

    I got myself a hammer from B&Q and managed to shape my flat bars into drops and now look forward to this weekend to try my new bike setup.

    I live about 10 miles from the Hillingdon circuit and may do one of their winter series races.


  • Best of luck with the racing, I m going to be doing a few of those races as well before the end of the year It looks like a lot of fun.

    Club promotion bit:
    If you are looking for a club check out the London Dynamo www.londondynamo.co.uk we ride on 9am Saturday mornings (4 laps of Richmond park) Sundays (50 ish mile to box hilll) and Wednesday evenings (28 mile to Chertsey and back leaving richmond)

    So far riding with these guys has taught me a lot and my fitness has come along leaps and bounds.
  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    ducan wrote:
    I got myself a hammer from B&Q and managed to shape my flat bars into drops

    I like bikes...

  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    ducan wrote:
    I got myself a hammer from B&Q and managed to shape my flat bars into drops


    Duncan must be joking with us...surely :?

    I would love to see a photo of the result...please Duncan???

    If you're serious, are you happy that the bars will be structurally sound?

    (no, he's joking)