What happens if you ditch the UCI’s rules governing road race bicycle design and let your imagination go wild? Well, back in 2015, Specialized creative director Robert Egger, came up with the spectacular fUCI (eff you see eye) concept bike shown here. Specialized called it an “appetiser for what could be.”
“The UCI [cycle sport's world governing body] really caters to a very small population, but there’s so many other people out there who couldn’t care less about the UCI,” said Egger at the time. “They don’t follow the racing and they don’t even know all the limitations that are put on bikes for the UCI riders. So, my feeling was, let’s design a bike for someone who really just wants to go fast on a road bike.”
So what did Egger do after hurling the UCI rulebook at the bin? Well, he actually came up with an e-bike; there was a motor concealed in the bottom bracket shell to help turn the huge rear wheel. At 33.3in, the rear wheel was bigger than the front wheel and was meant to act as a flywheel. Yes, he threw conventional wheel sizes out the window.
“I didn’t look at every UCI limitation per se,” Egger said. “I just started with the fact that I’m not going to be limited by wheel size, I’m not going to be limited by tubing diameter or tubing shape, I’m not going to be limited by aerodynamic advantage, and I’m not going to be limited by, you know, not being able to have a cargo area where I can carry stuff. So really, there were no rules.”
The fUCI also used smartphone integration. The motorbike-style front-end fairing housed a docking station for a smartphone which could do smart stuff like monitor tyre pressure, show warnings of approaching cars, set the lights to switch on automatically - yes, of course the fUCI had front and rear lights built into the frame. It even had brake lights.
As well as the moto-style front fairing and windscreen, the whole bike was wrapped up with aerodynamic fairings designed to help it slip through the air more cleanly, as well as cutting straight through the UCI rulebook.
It’s clear that Robert Egger took a lot of inspiration from motorbikes when designing this bicycle. It looked more like a motorbike than a conventional bicycle. The fUCI even had a rear storage compartment.
The fUCI was only intended to be a concept bike to demonstrate ideas, so it's no surprise that it has never gone into full production. What do you think, though: was it ahead of its time or just plain crazy?
Photos by Carson Blume