The new rules mark a return to regulations last featured in 2010, which only allow bikes with a one-piece handlebar. That essentially rules out all sportbikes, a move that makes sense after two deaths at the last two events. After crossing the finish line in 2014, Bobby Goodin was killed while riding his Triumph Daytona 675R. Last year, rider Carl Sorensen died after driving his Ducati 848 off a cliff, Lanesplitter reports.
If it seems weird to be banning bikes based purely on their handlebars, it is. The move has been attacked by within the racing community, including 2014 winner Jeremy Toye, who pointed out that the type of handlebars a bike has doesn't exactly correlate to its inherent safety.
"The handlebars didn't cause those deaths, and the handlebar isn't going to reduce speed," Toye told RoadRacingWorld.com. "A motorcycle produced with a one-piece handlebar isn't designed for optimum handling, shall we say, and the conditions at Pikes [Peak] are pretty intense so you need the best-handling situation you can get whether it's the handlebars or an air bag or a fuzzy seat. I think it's ridiculous. The handlebar has nothing to do with [safety]."
The official wording of the new rule states:
"Only motorcycles manufactured with one piece handle bars as original equipment will be permitted. Only OVM one-piece handlebars will be permitted. This Rule does not apply to bikes in the Pikes Peak Challenge Sidecar Class."