IUF-Slalom - changing the cone dimensions (change 2B.8) (Closed for comments)
Comments about this discussion:
The dimensions of the cones for the IUF Slalom are defined in rule 2B.8 as follows:
"For official competition, cones must be between 45 and 60 cm tall, with bases no more than 30 cm square."
The dimensions of normal road traffic cones in Europe are specified in the standard EN 13422:2004+A1:2009. This standard stipulates that "If the thickness of the footplate at the outer edges of ≤ is 15 mm, the base shall be within a circle 0,9 H in diameter of the cone". For the 50 cm high cones normally used in road traffic, this means that the outer edges of a square base shall not exceed 31,8 cm.
The problem is that many manufacturers (I can only speak for Germany at this point) use these dimensions and the usually available cones have an outer edge about 1.5 - 1.8 cm too long to be used for competitions according to the IUF rules. In my opinion, this circumstance makes it unnecessarily complicated and it would be a simplification for the organisers of competitions if the cones usually available could be used. I am therefore in favour of raising the dimensions of the base plate to a maximum of 32 cm square.
In training we use almost exclusively the normal road traffic cones and the minimally larger base size has never been noticed negatively until now.
I'm not even sure if the current rule requires the basis to be square, or if it means that the basis can be any shape but should fit in a square of 30x30 cm max.
Regardless of the above suggestion, the rule could be clearer on this.
What would it mean for the resulting times if the basis of the cones is larger? I can imagine that you have to take the corners wider, especially with cones 3 - 7, which takes some more time. On the other hand, there is less risk of a cone falling over if you touch it, so you can ride more aggressively and gain some time. Maybe these effects more or less cancel out?
I don't have an opinion on this, and I think we should hear from a Slalom rider, but I wanted to provide some information that the cones we commonly use in the US (where the original dimensions probably came from) are 18 inches (45.72cm) tall with a 10.8, 10-13/16, or 11 inch square base (~27cm).
Mirjam is the female world record holder, and a member of this committee. She will probably chime in.
Gert-Jan De Vleeschouwer is the male world record holder. I know him personally and can ask him about this but it may not be needed if Mirjam has a solid answer.
I just went and measured my cones (which are by the way the same which Swiss Timing team uses) and they are exactly 30x30 and 48high.
Result if the cones are 2cm wider: As Klaas says correctly cones 3-7 would be closer together. Their distance is from middle point to middle point exactly 1m (with cones 30x30 the acutal distance is 70cm). With the new rule it would only be 66 (as we have 2cm more for each cone). I don't agree that there is less risk of a cone falling even if it is wider. Our speed is pretty high and even with 70cm distance we often touch the cones 3-7 when riding trough them. It would make this part of the slalom more difficult.
Also for cone 10 (which is the one that has to be circled completely) there would be a slightly bigger distance to do.
I therefore disagree to adapt this rule, also because it doesn't exclude the possibilty of using smaller cones.
Yes, there are still some cones according to the old standard, which have a slightly smaller base area. It may also be that in Switzerland other cones are used, which are slightly smaller - here in Germany I noticed however already several times that the standard road trafic cones do not fit into the 30 x 30cm, because they are minimally larger.
The distance between the cones would not decrease by 4cm, but only by 2cm, so that the minimum distance would be 68cm ;) And according to my experience, the distance of the pedal to the upper part of the cone is the limiting element of how close you can get to a cone and not primarily the size of the base. Of course, the base must not become too big, but as I said during our training and commpetitions, the larger base has not yet attracted any negative attention. Probably, because you still hit the cone with the pedal first and not the tire touches the baseplate first.
The current rule also doesn't exclude the possibilty of using smaller cones in any way and as Scott has written, smaller cones are used in the USA because there exists a different standard. So what's the problem with that?
Jan, do the German cones with a 32cm base also have a slightly larger bottom circle diameter in the cone itself?
The bottom circle diameter in the cone itself is unfortunately not fixed in the corresponding norm and I cannot make a generally valid statement about it. What I can say, however, is that the current cones, which I have and which correspond to the current norm and which are used in Germany by default in road traffic have an approx 1cm smaller bottom circle diameter in the cone itself than some old cones I also have at home an which have a base area which complies with the IUF regulations. I would therefore say that the German cones with a base length of about 31.x cm (31.8 is the maximum allowed by the standard) do not represent a disadvantage for the rider with regard to the bottom circle diameter in the cone itself.
History: In the early Unicons we learned, with some surprise, that the world does not all use the same cones(!). I remember some giant cones somewhere, possibly China (Unicon X), and so our rules got more specific. The idea is to make it possible for hosts to provide cones within their country (or region) and not have to have them transported to be valid.
Mirjam wrote: "I just went and measured my cones (which are by the way the same which Swiss Timing team uses) and they are exactly 30x30 and 48high." Why does that not surprise me at all? Swiss precision! :-)
There are two ways to approach this question. Because the (known) country with a potential problem is in the middle of Europe, it's probably not too difficult for a competition host to acquire at least 10 cones of regulation size. Of course at least 20 would be better, though I would not mind practicing on cones that were slightly larger. So no need to worry.
But if the next Unicon is held in Wakanda, for example, and Wakanda has cones that are either too big or too small, what do we do? I'd rather not have a top competition with extra-small cones (something we should perhaps also address), but I also don't want someone to have to fly in a set of heavy cones. Hmm. I guess the hosts could also make their own, out of some material (not vibranium), but those probably would not have the same "falling down" characteristics we expect from traffic cones. We could use a rough survey of traffic cone dimensions around the world.
Also, if our rules don't state what the cones are made of, this could have a big effect on how they react to being hit by pedals. At least once, I remember racing around hard plastic cones with round bases. Round bases are better for riding around, and those had similar falling behavior to the cones we are used to, so I didn't worry about it. Also, whatever cones are used, they will be the same for everyone competing. So perhaps the material isn't important, only the dimensions.
I am also a Slalom expert. I had the speed record on it from its first official use in 1989 (USA convention) through Unicon X. Then I was bested by Marc Hafliger at Unicon 11. In my opinion, the base size is less important than the cone width; it's rare for top riders to roll over a cone base; almost all hits come from the pedals.
I am not averse to this proposal, but I don't think we should pass it without a more thorough survey of traffic cone standards/regulations around the world (or at least in the unicycling countries). In other words, do a larger study, and revisit this idea on a future round of Rulebook Committee. Every time one country ups their size, should not direct us to change ours as well; we want to use something that's accessible, and relatively easy to obtain.
Thanks for that history John, interesting.
I can just mention the example from Korea: They wanted to give me cones 42x42 and 75 high and were completely (but really completely) amazed when I told them it's not possible to ride slalom with these cones. Then I got some plastic cones which were much smaller but tended to fall very easily. I was also not happy with these but it was the best they could give me within 24 hours.
I agree that the main reason that the cones fall is when we touch them with the pedal. However, it actually does happen to me sometimes that I roll over the cone base (and I am so cheeky now to call myself toprider, as I've got the world record for almost 10years now...). Furthermore I think the same as John: Now the problem turned up in Germany, but what about the other countries? I guess "collecting" the cone sizes would actually make sense and I'm sure that for bigger conventions cones with the right size can be found.
By the way Jan: Sorry for my maths skills - of course it's only 2cm. I've always been so bad at this :-(
Status of this discussion? Proposal? or let the idea go away?
I would really like to make a proposal, because in Germany right now some competitions can only use cones which comply with the European standard and are therefore not approved for competitions according to IUF. But the majority seems to be against an adjustment as long as it is not known which dimensions are possibly used/standardized in other countries. An adjustment would be possible at earliest in the next Rulebook Committee.
Unfortunately, I don't think that I am really able to approach other standards than those of the European Union, so that I would definitely have to rely on unicyclists from countries outside the European Union for further research.
I think we should leave it for the moment and focus on more important things.
I think in Germany this is an important thing, because some competitions should not be announced as competitions according to IUF rules anymore. However, I am not sure how many competitions really abstain from the "according to IUF rules" - also because the sense might not be strong enough.