It sounded so far-out at first. Then, a few years ago it starting seeming possible, and now it is confirmed. Inside the bikes of one of the top contenders at the world cyclocross championships, no less.
I’m glad that a cheater didn’t get away with it, but how much help would it actually be? The motor would have to be pretty damn small to fit in the frame, and there are the batteries to consider, all of which is going to add weight. Doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference; maybe if it regenerated power under braking.
Apparently it is a 200 watt motor that delivers what testers say feels like about 100 watts of power to the wheels, and lasts up to 90 minutes. A typical pro cyclist can only sustain a few hundred watts, on average, for the distance of a typical race.
The apparatus weighs about one kilo, so not even all that noticeable. And pro cyclists switch bikes all the time, especially in cyclocross. The motored bike could just be used in strategic stretches of a race.
Turn it on for the uphills to gain just a little more speed, could be the difference for some cyclists. Not sure how this worked as described, something hidden under the seat, how did it power the wheels?
Here is the article I posted in the other thread on this subject - includes some videos showing the motor in action, and alleged use by professional cyclists.
It is pretty clever - the battery and motor mechanism are slid down the seat post tube, then there is a gear at the bottom of that which engages the pedals (see this page), which are also built with a gear to receive the other gear from the motor. The frame needs to be modified to accommodate this, but all is hidden from view with the exception of a wire or two for controlling the power (on/off).
I watched that race at the weekend - it was a superb win for Evie Richards, a rare victory for a British rider at world level (the sport is dominated by Belgian and Dutch riders). So a bit of a shame her ride is overshadowed by this bullshit - although I doubt it would have been written up in the mainstream press at all, tbh, so at least she gets some recognition.
Trying to understand the mindset of a cheater is probably a fool’s errand - but how the fuck can you race with a motor in your bike and stand the sight of your own self? With drugs you can sort of imagine the process of rationalisation that athletes use - maybe they think everyone’s using them, or it’s an incremental step from permitted supplements to banned, or there’s implausible deniability as they just trust what the team doctor gives them - whatever. But sticking a motor in your bike - that just makes you a gigantic cheating cunt and there’s no hiding from it.
Yeah, at least with drugs, you can say that it’s still your own body doing it, even if the body wouldn’t do it naturally. And it is sort of biologically interesting to know just what an organic system can do, in the extreme. But this? I mean, it’s not exactly interesting to know that a motorized vehicle can outrace a human.
A Dutch tv show (Bureau Sport) did an item on this, you can find it online but probably only if you are in the Netherlands. They show how small the engine is (fits in the upright bar under the saddle) and it produces 200 watt, with about 150 effective extra power. The presenter Erik then proceeds to easily leave behind former Pro Michael Boogerd on the Koppenberg (multiple TdF mountain stages and a classics specialist).