People don’t often realize it, but the design of every high-end bicycle is shaped, one way or another, by the governing body of bike racing, the Union Cycliste Internationale. This is what bikes might look like if their rulebook didn’t exist.
The UCI has a famously stringent set of rules about the design of bikes used in basically any bike race: two same-sized wheels, limits on aerodynamics and frame shape, for example. Those limits are ostensibly in place for safety, but really to make bike racing about the humans, not the machine.
That’s a noble enough cause, but it also means bikes are built around a stringent set of specs, rather than to challenge the laws of physics. Specialized engineer Richard Egger set out to change all that, with a concept machine he calls the fUCI.
It’s got a giant 33.3-inch rear wheel, which acts like a flywheel, complete with a small electric motor to spin up to speed from the traffic lights. There’s aerodynamic fairings, a motorbike-style windshield, new frame geometry, and even an (aerodynamic) luggage compartment out back.
It’s obviously hella illegal in the Tour de France, but there’s technically no reason you can’t buy one and ride it through the streets. Sadly, Specialized probably won’t be making a production model soon — the demand for super-fast, super-expensive road bikes tends to be from people who race said bikes, and thanks to the UCI, those people won’t want Specialized’s no-holds-barred speed machine.
Image credit: carsonblume.com