Pikes Peak organisers clarify handlebar rule

Sports bikes not banned - as long as they were made with one-piece handlebar

THE organisers of the Pikes Peak hill climb have released a lengthy explanation of the reasoning behind the rule that bans all bikes not fitted with original-equipment one-piece handlebars as standard.

The rule change for the 2016 event reverts to an old system, used up to 2012, in which clip-ons were banned. It follows the deaths of two riders during the competition in the last two years.

According to the explanation, a key reason for the ban is that bikes with clip-ons give a low vantage point, reducing the ability to see far enough ahead, and that wider, one-piece bars also give better leverage and allow a quicker response to danger.

The 2,000-word explanation includes: 'One key reason the PPIHC Race Committee and Board of Directors are only comfortable allowing motorcycles originally produced by manufacturers with top mounted one-piece handlebars is the vertical riding position and high vantage point these bikes encourage; motorcycles equipped with clip-on style handles encourage a crouched, horizontal riding position and low vantage point in comparison. The Pikes Peak Highway is an extremely unique race course with many crests and the potential for wildlife like deer, big horn sheep, and even bear to also be on the race course while riders ascend to the mountain’s summit.  Due to limiting factors associated with a rider’s ability to see and react as early as possible to these and countless other unpredictable conditions found at Pikes Peak, the PPIHC is no longer comfortable with the riding position and vantage point associated with and encouraged by motorcycles equipped with two-piece clip-on style handles.'

The statement also says that competitors Bobby Goodin and Carl Sorensen died on bikes with two-piece clip-on bars.

Photographs from the 2014 event show that Goodin’s Triumph Daytona 675R was modified with wide, high bars, although it's not clear whether they were one or two-piece. 

The statement says: 'In 2013, a new rule was added to the PPIHC motorcycle program that would allow bikes with two-piece clip-on handles for the first time in the race’s 97 year history. The following two years, motorcycle competitors Bobby Goodin (2014) and Carl Sorensen (2015) died after crashes on bikes utilizing two-piece clip-on handles.'

The explanation is a response specifically to an article on the US website Roadracingworld.com and says the intention is to 'eliminate any confusion'.   

The organisers deny sports bikes have been banned, saying: 'To clarify, nowhere in the PPIHC Rule Book does it state that sportsbikes are not allowed to compete at the PPIHC. Competitors are more than welcome to apply for an invitation to compete in the PPIHC with a sportsbike as long as it was produced by the manufacturer with one-piece handlebars and the original handlebars are used.'

Read the whole statement. 

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