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November 24, 2017
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  • Senor Burns

    How possible would it be for CT to do a tech review of concealed motors in bicycles? I have money and am sick of being dropped on beach rd!!

    • Anto

      It could be cheaper and more effective than an expensive new wheelset?!?

      • Michele

        Cheaper to dope. :)

    • Nitro

      I already got this to work. Happy to sell you the technical drawings for an exorbitant price…

      One Black and Decker drill, my rusty hand-saw, some allen keys and a couple of hours in the shed is all you need…

      Instant Strava KOM on the segment from my house to the end of my street – I’m a genius…

      I just need to work out the (minor) technical issue of what happens when the 240 volt extension cord runs out of reach… Suspect the fluorescent yellow safety extension lead running from my house to the bottom bracket may be spotted by the UCI technical inspectors…

      • Gordon

        I don’t think you are taking this seriously Nitro…….and I commend you.
        It is potentially a serious issue but your KOM strava on your street is gold.

      • Dave

        The technical issue could be a problem for road racing, but should be okay for track cycling.

      • I attached the back of a dodgem to my bike and set untouchable KoMs on the train line to London.

    • It’s in the works!

    • Tommy_P

      Mate, you’re only cheating yourself, so why not just put on a pair of skinny jeans, a leather jacket and do it properly: http://www.vespa.com

  • Adam Fuller

    Has anyone demonstrated a working setup?

    • amr4121

      Someone didn’t read the article.

      • Robert Merkel

        In addition, five minutes of searching on the Internets gives you the Vivax Veloce.

        A machine shop, a soldering iron, a bit of time on the Internet sourcing parts, and possibly somebody who can put your carbon frame back together afterwards, and you’d have a much lighter, much stealthier version that would still be enough to give whoever rode it a race-winning advantage.

  • Steve G

    Wasn’t there a video of a garmin-sharp rider hitting the deck last year and his rear wheel spinning insanely fast doing the rounds, complete with people saying he had a motor hidden away?

    • JimmyM

      Ryder Hesjedal – Vuelta 2014 http://youtu.be/hIlmtQKLMUg

      • Hubbard

        After watching the above video this is worth watching…

        just saying…


        • JimmyM

          Interesting. Although I did note from the Hesjedal video that the rear tire of his bike hit the road surface at least twice before it did the strange spinning thing. Wondering if those two contacts with the road surface should have killed all the inertia from a freely spinning rear wheel.

          I don’t honesly think he had a motor in his bike but it does provide interesting conversation, if nothing else.

        • Dave

          I think I’ve seen that video published elsewhere under the alternative title “A. Rasmussen proves that he uses the same motors as Ryder Hesjedal” ;-)

    • SKINS Chairman

      pretty sure it was ryder hesjedal but don’t think there was any serious suggestion that it was the case.

      • Steve G

        Depends if you define social media as serious ;)

    • Michele

      Ryder definitely was def cheating and using a motor on his bike. Of course, you must also ask why he was using said motor whilst descending.

      Maybe he was trying to run the battery flat, resulting in a lighter bike to climb with?

      • Nitro

        Fair comment… However you’re missing a part of the equation…

        Just as we all know that flat batteries weigh less than full ones, any weight saving would surely be offset by the fact that as it accumulates data through the ride, his Garmin’s going to be getting heavier?

        • Michele

          Sorry, I should’ve explained it in a little more detail.

          I had already taken into account the Garmin being heavier and had offset the weight gain through extra data with the fact the bike would weigh less on account of each tyre being 2-3 PSI lighter by the end of the stage.

          • Nitro

            Don’t forget the other Garmin trick though – making your bike lighter by putting your Garmin in your jersey pocket as it fills up with data…

            • Michele

              And you can also get the added bonus of weight gains by standing out of your saddle.

              I know a guy who weighed 75 kilograms and could bench press 150 kgs. He used to stand in a bucket and then lift himself up off the ground.

              • Nitro

                I just tried this and couldn’t get it to work / Kept falling off…

                I’m clearly missing the technique of how you stand in the bucket and then balance the bucket on the pedals…

                I have tried filling my tyres with Helium though. At about a million psi my bike still “weighs” the same, but floats down the road – literally… This knowledge all available as a consultant to top Pro teams – bring me your chequebook…

                • Gordon

                  Behave yourself you two or I will make you turn off your computer and go outside

                  • Nitro

                    I promise I will behave

                    I dread to think what Wade and the rest of the CT team think of conversations like this.

                    I (almost) feel bad for Shane – A serious journalist writes a serious article on a serious topic and it gets hijacked by the Friday afternoon crowd…

                • So good!!

              • Guest

                Too good!

      • jules

        Ryder has lost a lot of weight and doesn’t descend as fast as the others anymore. the motor was for the downhills.

      • Steve G

        You may has misread my comment… I said that “people” were saying he had a motor, not me personally.
        If I tried to keep up with all the ways people accuse pro cyclists of cheating, I wouldn’t have a day job.

      • Love it!

    • Chris_E_Dub

      Yes, Ryder Hesjedal. But then there was another counter video of someone showing how it can happen naturally thanks to the momentum of a spinning wheel.

  • Matt

    Had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April fools day already. Ridculous.

  • Jul

    Concealed motors exist, but I would like to see a concealed battery that lasts long enough for at 250 km + race… What do you do once the battery is dead? Carry it all the way up the Poggio? Nowadays electric bike are heavy and last only few hour. I agree with Cancellara “so stupid I’m speechless”.
    All cars would be electric if such battery really excited.

    • jules

      it doesn’t need to last 250 km. if it has a switch you can activate it in the finale.

      • Jul

        You still have to carry it all the way to the finale…

        • jules

          doesn’t weigh much, doesn’t make much difference in a flat race like MSR, and you can still stay under the 6.8kg limit by using other lightweight components

    • Robert Merkel

      You don’t need it for the entire race. You activate it for your devastating attack on the Poggio – maybe 10 minutes, tops.

      The whole setup would probably only weigh a few hundred grams, and remember that many bikes are having ballast fitted to bring them up to minimum weight anyway.

      • Gus

        Having to carry a few hundred grams of extra weight would be nothing compared to the sweet ecstasy of blowing apart the peloton on the Col du Beaumaris…

        The weekend warriors are salivating.

    • Francisco

      I understand the weight and the limited autonomy of an electric assist would entail a net loss (for a professional cyclist) in a typical mountain stage but could bring net gains in the classics where selections tend to happen on short, steep climbs.

    • Herman Hanson

      It can re-charge on the downhills :)

  • Dave

    There is no way it would last the whole race. Even if it did, people would notice especially if it was a 2 stroke engine. 50 or 100 extra watts wouldn’t make any difference to the pros anyway.

    • jules

      do you know how hard 50 extra watts would be for a pro to gain?

      • Michele

        Having an 50 extra watts for 10-15 minutes starting from the Carrefour de l’Arbre sector of cobbles would probably be enough to allow you to solo away and win Paris Roubaix [if you’re a top 5 contender].

        Would one of these motors last that long though?

        You’d have to make sure the battery contact points are top-notch. That thing would be a rattling.

  • greatscott

    Trek E-monda…..its been infront of us the whole time!!

  • Michele

    I’m not doubting the genuineness of the UCI’s concerns, but in all seriousness, why would you bother?

    If a rider is looking for a marginal [illegal] gain in performance, wouldn’t it be easier [read: less likely for you to be caught out], by micro dosing on some PED then sticking a motor/battery in a bike?

    But what I would like to know is what the reaction would be from the peloton if they were suspicious of a rider using a motor. I still feel there’s an Omerta of sorts for PEDs. The peloton probably have doubts about the authenticity of certain riders. Heck they might even have evidence.

    But I wonder if a rider saw another rider using a motor whether their immediate reaction would be to dob them in, or ask ‘Where can I get myself some of that stuff?’

    • Whippet

      I think Cookson meant some riders were dobbing in others when he spoke of “rumours”, “intelligence’ and “tip offs”.

    • thsker

      I suppose any rider desperate enough to put a motor in his bike is probably already going the PED route in the first place. This would be for the one who couldn’t even win with one form of cheating and needed a second level.

    • Johnso

      Seems like a pointless distraction from what should be the real focus. Almost as if the UCI is waving a hanky around to distract us from the drug taking.

  • along

    If the motor was driving through the BB spindle you should be able tell if a motor is being used from the power meter data, it would be producing negative power as far as the power meter is concerned. So if the riders power output as read by the power meter is low compared to his speed something is up. Does the uci have access to all riders power data?

    • jules

      I’m fairly certain the UCI do not, and that teams/riders would already know if they have fitted a motor to their bikes.

    • Cyco

      This would only show up clearly if using multiple power meters.

      It would show reduced effort on the pedals compared to a spider/hub based unit.

      Too many other variables to control if just looking at speed/power anywhere away from solo on an indoor track.

    • Shane Stokes

      As far as I know, UCI doesn’t have any access to power data. Thing is, a motor wouldn’t replace all effort – would simply have to be able to add 30-50 watts, or whatever the desired figure is. Possibly higher for accelerations. It could be used sparingly – in other words, when making efforts on climbs, when trying to break clear, or even early on to save power and energy prior to switching to a ‘clean’ bike, thus evading any finish line tests.

  • Mark_Kelly

    For the doubters: http://www.maxonmotor.com/maxon/view/product/351144 is an easily available (though expensive) 250W motor that fits inside a seat tube. It weighs 250 g.

    A 50 W hour battery stick (enough to run the motor for ~10 minutes at full power) weighs another 260g:http://www.batteryspace.com/custom-ultra-high-energy-li-ion-18650-battery-18-5v-2800mah-51-8wh-4-2a-rate-battery-stick-with-pcb-4-2.aspx .

    A gearbox would add maybe another 100.

    If the UCI wants to get serious, there’s an easy fix: an infrared imaging camera on a motorbike. One of the serious problems with these ultra high power density units is shedding the heat generated, even though they are about 90% efficient they still get very warm very fast.

    BTW I used to design and build specialist motor drives in the audio world and used Maxons as my first choice, they are extremely well made.

    • winkybiker

      You’ve convinced me that it is possible to gain a significant advantage from a technical perspective. I am somewhat surprised, as I previously thought that carrying anything like enough useful energy would be prohibitively heavy.

      I still think that the likelihood of being caught and the “black and white” nature of the crime would make it unlikely that anyone would try. Agree that a mandatory and immediate lifetime ban for the rider and mechanic would solve this possible issue simply.

      Oh, and if I was doing it, I’d try to build the motor directly around the crank spindle and lose the gearbox. RPMs might be all wrong, though. The one you linked to runs at 62,000 rpm!

      • Mark_Kelly

        High power density motors always run fast: power = speed x torque and torque is determined by winding current x magnet strength. High current windings and high strength magnets increase weight so best power density is achieved with high speed, low torque motors and gearing. A 10: 1 planetary head and a 60:1 worm drive will get you 100 RPM and around 24 Nm.

        • winkybiker

          Thanks. I suspected as much. A small diameter motor would also require higher speeds as it doesn’t have the mechanical leverage of those large hub motors you see on real e-bikes. The planetary and worm drive would also be quite inefficient. Your 50 watt-hour motor’s time at full power would be affected by both the efficiency of the motor and gearing.

          • Mark_Kelly

            Umm… Diameter has very little to do with this.

            50 Watt hours is the rating of the battery, not the motor.

            The motor has about 94% efficiency. A good planetary gearhead has >99% efficiency. Worm drive is critically dependent on friction coefficient at the contact point but with modern materials 98% is achievable, so total system efficiency can be about 90%, the figure I used in my first comment.

            • winkybiker

              My bad. Of course I meant battery. 90% and 50 watt-hours – we get 250w for approx 10 minutes, as you said. Useful. I still don’t believe anybody is stupid enough to do it.

  • Dave

    I applaud Brian Cookson for taking this seriously when he could be resting on his laurels after single-handedly sorting out doping in cycling.

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    They should have banned electric motors of ANY kind, including the ones that move the chain around. No battery power should be used to replace ANY physical effort by the rider, no matter how slight. Sadly, they let this cat-out-of-the-bag years ago, so it would be tough to say this stuff can no longer be used.

    • sps12321

      Are you referring to electronic shifting for changing gears? I am confused otherwise because motors that make the chain spin are banned and would be pretty obvious.

  • Seth Adams

    Add an immediate, irreversible lifetime ban to the rider and mechanic to the rulebook clause and be done with it.

    • Shane Stokes

      Hi Seth, I tend to agree. Doping is competely wrong, but to add a motor seems to me to be a new level of cynical cheating.

      • Joe

        It will kill all sponsorships. Doping hurt it, but this will kill it.

  • Bones

    This seems to be a red herring/ diversion, take the spot light off PEDs and put it on a non-realistic issue.

    • Shane Stokes

      Bones, we have more quotes to come from Brian Cookson in relation to PEDs, etc. We didn’t just speak about motors.

  • I really enjoyed the hilarious commentary here re: the potential absurdity of concealed motors in bikes.

    Thanks to Gus, Jules, Nitro, Michele and Dave – especially Nitro’s conundrum of how to overcome the visible fluro extension cord to power his battery.

    Shane/Matt/Wade, surely that gave you a good laugh?

  • DJP

    Maybe the motors are the same as the ones in those tiny drones – mounted inside the jockey wheels of the rear derailleur? The rider wears an implant in his jaw and when he clicks his teeth together the motors fire. Batteries of course are in the bidon – discarded before the finish…

  • Paolo

    Did Sagan’s battery go flat in the last 5km of E3 Harelbeke?

  • JimmyM

    How far off are we that every competitor on the UCI World Tour will have to have a standardised UCI approved/installed power meter on their bike and that UCI will have access to all the riders power data after every race?

    Combine this data over time with bio-passport data to catch cheats. Any massive avg. power increases can be targeted for investigation.

  • Frank

    I agree with Cookson’s comments that technical doping would necessarily implicate a whole team and it would be very difficult for that team, and not just the rider, to remain on the tour.
    At the very least, the whole mechanical staff would need to be involved. And they don’t get paid enough to do something like that without the team management also being involved.

  • John Hawkins

    Having been passed once up a moderate hill in Sydney by a bike equipped with a seat tube motor, I can tell you that it is pretty easy to tell the bike has a motor.

    The transmission noise is really easy to pick, extremely difficult to damp, and if for the sake of argument one did succeed in silencing that, the motor itself will make a noticeable ringing noise even if it is brushless. All amplified by the frame, more so if it is carbon.

    This was around the time the accusations were being levelled at Cancellara. In that context I had a good laugh out loud to myself. Cookson has little to worry about.


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