In the wake of Matej Mohoric’s daredevil descent to drop everyone en route to Milan Sanremo victory, the UCI has dropped a post on its website clarifying the use of dropper posts in road racing. The shorter version of a very short statement is: dropper posts are legal.
In fact, the UCI equipment commission approved the use of dropper posts in road racing as far back as 2014. The only slight caveat is that the setup must comply with article 1.3.013 of the UCI regulations governing saddle setback in relation to the bottom bracket.
Article 1.3.013: The peak of the saddle shall be a minimum of 5 cm to the rear of a vertical plane passing through the bottom bracket spindle.
While riders can apply for morphological exemptions, and modern short nose saddles can circumvent it, the rule is intended to keep the rider’s knees behind a vertical line through the pedal spindle when the cranks are horizontal. Today’s statement clarifies the same rule applies in all dropper positions. “Their [dropper posts] use is subject to the minimum 5cm setback rule of article 1.3.013 of the UCI Regulations, i.e., when the dropper seat post is set to its highest or lowest setting, the saddle setback must be in full compliance with article 1.3.013” the statement read.
The short statement, just 58 words in total, clarifies any confusion arising from Mohoric’s use of a dropper post on his way to victory in Sanremo. It also seems to indicate the UCI has no intentions to ban droppers.
Whether this opens the flood gates for dropper posts everywhere is debatable. Dropper posts, in their current form, only work with the decreasing number of frames featuring round seat tubes. Brands would need to develop proprietary dropper posts for their aero frames or revert to round seat posts in new frames. Neither scenario looks particularly likely in the short term.