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Inner Bar Ends Banned & Other UCI Rule Changes for 2022

Dec 23, 2021 at 7:43
by James Smurthwaite  
The UCI has released its 2022 rule book and, while there are no significant changes, there are a few tweaks that come into force on January 1. these changes include new equipment regulations, a change to the points scale and some calendar admin too. Here are the most interesting bits we spotted:

1. Inner Bar Ends Banned

Cool thumb rests spotted. the idea here is to have some stability while resting your hand on the bars when climbing. Your thumbs come up over the bar and not under like a traditional grip.

Road style drop bars have long been banned by the UCI but now there's a new addition to Regulation 4.1.040, inner bar ends are banned too. "Inner bar ends" may sound like a bit of a contradiction (we prefer the term "bar middles") but they are handlebar extensions that are placed on the inward side of the grips to provide an alternative hand position when climbing on non-technical terrain. We've seen T.O.G.S (Thumb Over Grip System) on a number of racers' bikes in recent years but there are also options from SQLab and Spirgrips.

We're not sure why they have been banned and have reached out to the UCI for more information but traditional bar ends are still authorized if riders do need an alternate hand position.



2. Short Track Becomes Less Impactful on XCO

Loana Lecomte was back in action after missing out at World Champs.

Short Track got its own World Championships for 2021 and now it's set to have its own World Cup series winner too. The short track races will still run alongside the XCO events on a World Cup weekend but riders will now earn points for a Short Track overall series as well as towards their XCO standings.

The Short Track series points fall in line with the XCO points - with 250 points for a win, 200 for second etc, but there are now far fewer XCO overall points available from the Friday night race. A Short Track win used to give a rider 125 points towards the XCO overall but it now confers just 80 with 65 for second place and 50 for third. The new points table up to 20th place can be seen below:


The only other XCC change of note is that the maximum race time is now 30 minutes, down from 60.



3. Injured Riders Can Retain Protected Status

Finn Iles still trucking on with another top 10 today despite his injury.

The protected rider system is one of the most confusing mechanisms to get your head around when it comes to racing regulations and it has just got even more complicated. The UCI has added a clause for riders who spent most of the previous season injured to allow them to retain protected status at the first race of the following season. If a rider competed in fewer than 3 World Cups and performed well in the ones they did enter, they can return the next season and still benefit from protected status in XC or DH. The full wording of the rule is:

bigquotesIf due to injury a rider took part in less than three rounds of the UCI World Cup in a season, the National Federation or the Team may apply for recognition of injury status. An application must be received in writing no later than October 30th of the disrupted season.

A rider with injury status shall be integrated in the ranking that is used to determine the start list, with the number of points determined according to following calculation: the average points gained per round in which the rider took part multiplied by the number of rounds of the UCI World Cup season during which the rider was absent due to injury.

Such benefit shall be limited to the first round of the UCI World Cup in which the rider takes part during the following season.

This applies for the XCO start order according to article 4.9.015, or DHI start order as per articles 4.9.021 and 4.9.023.
4.9.038



The full 2022 regulations can be read, here.


118 Comments

  • 148 12
 Ahh yes...the UCI making more pointless rules. Nothing new under the sun.
  • 112 0
 The protected rider rule is actually pretty good. The points changes seem ok. inner bar ends thing is just weird.
  • 26 5
 @paulskibum: was talking about the bar ends specifically, don't have issues with the other one, but they shouldn't be meddling with bike design when it comes to mtb
  • 95 0
 SQlab inner bar ends are amazing for gravel road climbs on a trail bike but they get a lot of questions. Now when people ask what they’re for I can say “the UCI banned them” and have instant trailhead credibility.
  • 15 14
 @paulskibum: I can get the inner bar ends rule. Same as on the road: For safety reasons the UCI wants racers to grip the bars, not rest hands or arms on them. At least there's some consistency there across disciplines... I doubt there's ever been a crash because of odd hand positions in XC or marathon racing, but on the road there were, particularly in juniors and amateur races. Emulating pros without pro skills...
  • 18 3
 @jeroenk: But why are regular bar ends still allowed ?
  • 25 3
 At least the rules are published now rather than arbitrarily decided during the last lap of a championship determining race.
  • 7 0
 @paulskibum: I think the idea is, just like the "invisible aero bar" rule, hands need to be wrapped bars vs the over-grip the inner bar ends can allow.
  • 3 4
 Pointless is the wrong word..."un-nessissary" is the right word.
  • 30 0
 @JSW07: I don't think that is the right word either Smile
  • 17 2
 @Joecx: Cause you can wrap your hands around them, like @RadBartTaylor says.

For all the downvoters: Wow, you guys are equally as eager to downvote anything remotely pro-UCI as unable to read... I think the rule is as pointless as anything. What I meant with that I get it, is that I can imagine the reasoning behind it. What could possibly be wrong with explaining the thinking that could be behind the rule? Doesn't mean I support it. Might want to cut the non-native English speakers some slack.
  • 5 1
 We can't have progress, can we? Ultra Conservative International would prefer to still use the bikes of the glory days.
  • 8 1
 @jeroenk: total rubbish, using TOGS is no less of a grip than hanging a thumb around the hoods on a road bike. The whole point of TOGS is to provide an additional grip for the thumb so that one can have a slightly restful hand position whilst still maintaining grip/ control.
  • 12 0
 Just bought some! looking forward to now looking more rebel than wanker, thanks you UCI!
  • 2 0
 @RichieNotRude: I love the idea and feel of togs (esp in marathon races) but as someone who has ripped out both thumbs they are a solid "nope" out in the woods for me. Didn't occur to me that people were using them to puppy dog paw, but I get it.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: that got a laugh Smile
  • 2 0
 @Joecx: Because the UCI is a backward- thinking behemoth and likes to stick to old ideas.
Really: you’re not wrapping the hand around inner bar ends. Maybe they see a safety issue here (which is exaggerated)
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: nah, the problem with invisible aero bars is insufficient grip and no reach to the brakes. When you're at the hoods, you're not wrapped over the bar either.

With the inner bar ends, you can still reach the brakes, so I suspect this rule is something something protecting the sanctity of the sport.
  • 3 0
 @bmied31: I agree with you but sadly we live in a world where innovation in design/function is considered an "unfair" advantage. Therefore the cry babies of the world say "gotta ban that because I don't have it too", I think they've forgotten to consider that maybe their skills were just not good enough to come up with the idea, nor win
  • 1 0
 @paulskibum: Well if the inner Barends (thumb holder or how ever you might call that stuff) are banned, why not just go back to the good old bar tape that strechtes from the brake innward??? This will allow even more options and is damn light too. I'm using this since years on my enduro for long alpine climbs and it protects my carbon handlebar from getting buffed and scratched up.

And what is this UCI thing anyway
  • 2 0
 @x-rider: They're the governing body for events like this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGlYLVMV4mU
  • 4 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Just stupid cause people ride thumb over bar anyway, inner bar extensions just provide more security while doing so. So this rule is not going to stop people riding thumb over bar, it's just going to lead to some accidents/wrecks...
  • 1 0
 @randomvariable: the brake may be part of it, but you also can't reach brakes with both hands on top of bars or deep in drops.

I think the hoods can be consideted part of the bars, it's actually the safest place to be with most control
  • 2 0
 @paulskibum: I’m curious if the little thumb hooks in the picture are actually banned or only actual bar extensions as described. My guess is the intent is to ban inner aero style bars, which seems like a legit safety concern.
  • 3 0
 @dthomp325: good point, PB took a leap to those togs but may be something different
  • 2 0
 @stiingya: stupid people maybe, but also older riders (like me) who have a bit of arthritis in the thumb joint. I have used togs, but prefer to just ride with my thumb up as it's even easier on the joint for me than togs, and I just wrap my thumb below for roughest sections of the trail...
  • 1 0
 @wadeholiday: i wasnt saying thumb over bars was stupid. I was saying the rule was stupid!! Smile

I ride that way too sometimes, i move my hands all over the place!!
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: If you are referring to me mis-spelling, then I agree ‍♂️
  • 2 0
 @JSW07: I was, just having some fun buddy Smile
  • 62 3
 The UCI should just mandate a spec bike for everybody to ride to make things as fair as possible. Ohh wait nobody wants that, just let them ride whatever as long as there isn't a motor. Short track should just be one lap of the regular track, ridden the opposite direction and done simultaneously with the regular race. Have the riders line up 100 yards away from each other and do a joust start.
  • 19 0
 Add a offensive kicking while riding rule and mandatory pre race trash talk as well as mandatory post race rap battles
  • 7 0
 LANCE!!!
  • 1 0
 @ibishreddin: Basically just make it pro level Chardee-MacDennis on bikes
  • 1 0
 @ibishreddin: They should spray champagne at each other BEFORE the race and they aren't allowed to change clothes. We've all know what happens next.
  • 1 0
 Generally rules like this are (supposed to be) implemented with the aim of ensuring the safety of all the other riders.

Whether or not they actually achieve that aim is always debatable, but there does need to be some kind of regulation for this kind of thing.
  • 33 1
 "We're not sure why they have been banned by the UCI" pretty much sums up all of the UCI's rule book.
  • 29 0
 I’m glad James knows when to use fewer instead of less, even when the UCI statement he is quoting gets it wrong.
  • 26 0
 I’m glad you noticed
  • 25 3
 Inner bar ends out, regular bar ends still allowed?!

For safety??



UCI-clueless as usual.
  • 22 1
 Someone didn’t bribe the UCI in time for Christmas
  • 12 1
 UCI bans something with possibly the least impact, yet traditional bar ends that stick out more and are more likely to snag something and cause a crash are fine.. Yet, NICA has already gotten rid of traditional bar ends..
  • 9 0
 I imagine the inner bar end rule is an attempt to get ahead of the (eventual?) over-doing of the rule where XC riders on mellower tracks install areo-type bars. We've already seen it come into the gravel racing scene, and there's an absolute advantage to the aerodynamic position.
  • 2 0
 Finally! Someone gets it. We’re 6 months away from clip on aero bars all over again.
  • 11 0
 That's not a bar end - THIS is a bar end:

www.pinkbike.com/photo/21831401
  • 7 0
 Inner bar end? Like an outer bar end, but it doesn't end the bar?
Those thumb over grips are aweome, and doesn't count as bar ends at all.

If they are worried with safety about that, they sould ban those aluminium or carbon sticks right in front of riders fingers.
  • 3 1
 They’ve never been worried about safety, just looks. If it looks awkward or not like a bike should look, then it’ll be banned.
  • 6 0
 I love my TOGs when climbing non-techy stuff or cruising on gravel to another trailhead. Nice to have a change of hand position. Do get asked about them occasionally. Now, bring back the purple anodized Club Roost bar ends!
  • 5 0
 Good thing I don't race UCI sanctioned events. I love my TOGS for endurance events with long climbs. If riders rest their thumb over the bar without the "inner bar ends" isn't that less safe but it is not a banned position?
  • 7 0
 I'm buying some TOGS tomorrow! Don't know why, but they must be games changers for the illustrious UCI to ban them.
  • 2 0
 If they really wanted to make an impact on "safety" with regard to hand position a rule about where you actually place your hands would make sense. As in "Hands must be placed in the outer 25% of the handlebars". Now someone who wants that benefit for running their hands on the inner part of the bar s just going to run moto style grips with a flange that serves the same purpose of the Togs.
  • 1 0
 Just what we need. Another semi-arbitrary rule for the UCI to arbitrarily enforce at random times.
  • 3 0
 They should have allowed for one grip with barends, as long as the other is standard. It would be a good middle ground and totally in the spirit of uci
  • 6 0
 Bar Ins
  • 1 0
 Hey pinkbike, When you read all the rules, you can found this one :

The place 33rd to 40th will include any riders ranked in the top 10 of any individual
UCI world ranking of any cycling discipline.

the van der poel rule!!
No need no more to race mtb event to get a good place at the start, this is a big f*ck to all the rider that fight for their place every day.
  • 1 0
 I thought not getting injured was part of the sport? Riding beyond skill or fitness level can cause injuries
Also, it is an athletic competition so some people may genetically be superior to others so deserve to be rewarded for it. Maybe participation trophies for all, that's the future.
  • 2 0
 TOGS are very helpful for relieving pressure in certain parts of your hands so I see why they could be considered an advantage. Banning them seems a bit far though, it's like banning an ergo seat or grips.
  • 4 1
 Racing isn't dead, that's the smell of the UCI's rotting carcass permeating.
  • 4 0
 I really like the Short Track changes... a lot.
  • 2 0
 The second change seems a bit half assed. Why don’t they install an overall World Cup title and two „small“ World Cup titles like it’s usual in winter sports?
  • 2 2
 The injured rider thing doesn't make sense to me. Part of this sport is to be smart, be precise, calculate your chances, accept the risks. Those that have trained hard not just to win but to avoid injury, make strategic decisions around their race calendar and learn to say no to crazy requests from sponsors are getting the shaft here.
  • 6 0
 No one's getting the shaft, it's just a matter of proper order.
  • 1 0
 @DavidGuerra: Yea I always thought the protected riders are just added to the finals in addition to all the riders that qualified based in their finish. No one gets bumped out by letting the protected riders into the final.
  • 1 0
 @sino428: nope, there's 60 qualifers including the protected riders. If you are 60th while a protected rider dnf's in qualifying you get bumped.
  • 1 0
 After reading through the rule book I interpreted the change to NOT give an injured rider possibility for "protected" status, rather just the possibility to be a part of timed training/A practice and not start qualifying with the 3 digit number crowd.
  • 2 0
 @JamesR2026: I don’t think that’s correct. Look at the finals results from last years races and there is almost always more than 60 riders. Also looking back at some of the pinkbike articles with qualifying results last season they even say ‘Elite Men [Protected riders and those ranked 1-60 Qualify for the final]’
  • 4 0
 "You banned my inner bar end." is my new insult reply.
  • 4 0
 U C I = United Clueless Idiots
  • 4 0
 good work UCI! Thanks for making cycling safer, gods work!
  • 2 0
 Seems that throughout the year, everyone agrees that races are amazing, the bikes are amazing, and the riders are amazing. Mention the UCI, suddenly everything sucks.
  • 4 3
 Haha, the UCI should just ban itself! This is almost cringworthy as race director Masi did for the end season F1, in terms of FIA worthlessness
  • 2 0
 I bet the uci see inner bar ends allowing riders to go time trial aero with them. Nonsense.
  • 3 0
 In addendum, I would love a tog that functions as a grip locking ring. Do these exist?
  • 2 0
 Jumping looks dangerous. Ban it and create a rule that requires both tires to contact the ground at all times.
  • 3 0
 "Justify your existence"....UCI
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure the inner bar end ban was a ruse to see how many people Pinkbike could get to admit to using them.
  • 1 0
 I just want to see Downhill races turned into a best of 2 runs event so the weekend/season isn't blown due to a minor crash or mechanical.
  • 1 0
 Simple answer here. We’ve got big bar-end money in the mix. They can’t stand to have any competition. That and the lizard people running the world.
  • 2 0
 I would assume it has something to do with safety
  • 4 1
 Inner bar ends??
  • 2 0
 Will the XCC race still be used to decide start position for the XCO race?
  • 1 0
 AFAIK, Yes.
  • 2 0
 I hear they're already drafting a ban on wireless brakes. For reasons.
  • 7 0
 You mean hydraulic brakes?
  • 7 0
 @therealjoeleejr: I think you were the one on the wooshing end here
  • 2 0
 @DavidGuerra: Definite whoosh.
  • 1 0
 Okay, then I guess I just give up my professional - borderline World Tour- career, if I can't race with inner bar ends.
  • 1 0
 Never seen inner bar ends before? Have i been under a rock or something? What even are those?
  • 1 0
 I had no idea until the comments section educated me last year. I now use the SQ Lab inner bar ends. They’ve been a revelation when I’m grinding out lots of kms on my trail bike every morning.
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports:

What brakes do you have? I got a pair but I cannot get them to play nice with my Shimano's
  • 1 0
 @Ososmash: codes. I ran them inside of the brake levers initially but have settled on them being on the outside of the levers later. I had to drop the lever position a small amount but on my trail bike it’s not a big issue. I have big hands so maybe I’m used to having the lever in a bit further ?
  • 1 0
 @Ososmash: I will try them on my Shimano bike on Boxing Day and report.
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: I have been trying inside the levers (between grip and brake). Just doesn't work well. which is a bummer they are very useful. I'll keep trying to figure out where to place them.
  • 2 0
 @Ososmash: yeah I’m with you. I couldn’t find a comfortable way to set them up with shimano levers. A bit disappointing really because they’re great on my other bikes.
  • 1 0
 So is start position for xco still going to be decided by XCC result two days prior?
  • 2 0
 Time to buy some... FY UCi...
  • 1 0
 It would be better to scrap the short track altogether, it is just diluting the status of the main race / circuit.
  • 2 1
 What are inner bar ends???
  • 7 0
 The opposite of outer bar ends
  • 1 0
 Shouldn’t they be bar mids?
  • 1 0
 Does this grip law effect EWS? Quite handy on long climbs.
  • 1 0
 bar ends should be called end inner bars
  • 1 0
 Some business owner must have upset a UCI board.member.
  • 1 0
 I totally want some for my fixed gear lol!
  • 3 6
 I'm thinking the inside bar ends ban is still safety related. Having 4 inches of bar sticking out on both ends while you use these can't be safe with trees and other riders around you...
  • 12 0
 The rider's hands are still on the grips while using inner barends. Nothing sticking out.
  • 2 0
 @dannybob: imagine this going through your chest if you crash into one
  • 24 0
 I mean you just made an argument against traditional bar ends, which they still allow
  • 12 0
 @vemegen: I am trying to imagine it and I am struggling to figure out how
  • 10 0
 @vemegen: Look at the pic above. How is that 15mm blunt nub of rubber going to impale anyone? Definitely not even in the top 1000 dangerous things on a modern World Cup XC track.
  • 6 0
 I doubt it's safety related. Most probably is to avoid the rider positioning the bar ends quite inside and having an "aerodynamic" position on the MTB...classic UCI.
  • 5 0
 A brake lever will stab you before a inner bar end does. This rule is dumb.
  • 2 0
 @dannybob: It's not about the size. It's how you use it.
  • 1 0
 @dick-pound: UCI, more like FIA.
  • 1 0
 If someone can't navigate tight trails with bar ends (inner or regular) and riding a bike with a "false grip" is too dangerous, that person needs to find another hobby
  • 1 0
 Senseless banning UCI
  • 1 2
 Dick Pound did well

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