UCI rules have a LOT to do with this, as well. They essentially made the template into a double diamond, both wheels same sized with no obvious aero advantage. So frames like the boomerang-shaped ones were banned. Their objection was to make time trial and road bikes affordable (I wish I were kidding!) for Third World countries! I call it a crock of excrement... There was some credence to their argument as the Pinarello pictured was “supposed” to be a production bike that never was. It was in the catalogue, but had a TBA price and availability. Moser never offered any of his crazy TT bikes to the public, so the UCI DID have a point there.No and yes. The ones today are more refined and subtle.
I was on a one-man crusade to save the Softride. I felt it was no more an unfair advantage than the bikes that were getting into the 14 pound range (I think the UCI minimum weight settled in at 15 pounds). My main objection to it being banned was that it could extend careers of older athletes suffering from extreme back problems. Duathlons were done for me as my knees and body couldn’t take running any longer. I was trying to restart my cycling career and the Softride was the ONLY bike that didn’t kill me over 50 miles and I felt 50 miles fresh at 100 miles. In the end, I couldn’t use that bike and my cycling career was officially DONE.
I was going to enter a race on my bike and if they didn’t let me enter, I was going to hand them a summons that I was going to sue for discrimination, blah blah blah. When supporters of the lawsuit started becoming more tepid with financial support as well as feared possible ramifications of such action, I bowed out. And besides- I really thought about what it would do to everyone else who paid their entry fees with all that preparation. It was sensible to bow out.
Francesco Moser kind of went crazy on the bikes bearing his name with a 30” rear wheel, faired-in seat and the like. Essentially when the bikes stopped looking like bikes, that’s when the UCI stepped in. When guys put themselves into bizarre body positions on the spaceships on two wheels, that was the last straw. Granted, some of those Hour Record bikes had hundreds of thousands of dollars in them trying to beat Graeme Obree and his bike he made in his garage with a washing machine bearing for the bottom bracket. I think he had all of $1500 USD in that bike.