60 Minutes segment on "mechanical doping" tomorrow

JRA

Well-Known Member
Mechanical doping in the pro peloton is a joke. Riders at that level can put out big watts in short spurts on their own. I don't think that any pro rider is going to put additional weight that only adds a minimal amount of wattage, which anything small enough to not be detected by eye would have to be. That inside the seat tube motor would also make a significant amount of noise as it uses helical gears and you can't hide that. Where's the button that engages the system?

The idea of putting magnets on your wheels is crazy also as they are very anal about wheel weight as it is rotational and would be a big drag when the supposed motor effect wasn't on. Which would be a lot because you would still need a battery which once again if small enough to avoid detection would have hardly any Ah so there would be no potential benefit over the course of a pro level race which are pretty long, even criteriums.

Yes, they did find that one in that girl's CX bike but that is the ONLY one that has been found anywhere near a race to my knowledge. I am surprised that anyone that has ridden an e bike for any length of time would even entertain the notion that mechanical doping is an issue. Now PED's, there is another story that is not hard to believe.

There are already e bike races going on, mostly in the e mtb sector, and I can see it becoming a thing going forward even with more road oriented bikes. Whatever format that is come up with will also be tweaked for advantage no doubt. Seems like racing no matter what brings out the worst in some people.
 
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Alphbetadog

Active Member
I'm very sorry I mentioned it and offended you in doing so. I truly just thought it might be interesting to watch. Again, I am very sorry for being the OP, and my ignorance on this issue.
 
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JRA

Well-Known Member
You certainly didn't offend me A dog and you certainly are not ignorant. But I have been following this since it first hit the cycle news cycle 6 years ago and have had more time to see it for what it isn't. The UCI is just as much to blame for this as anyone but you can bet that when e bike racing becomes popular they will be there to become the "governing " body.

In case you haven't seen it here is a piece from Cycling News that I feel explains the situation but there are alternative facts in there for sure.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/mechanical-doping-a-brief-history/
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
You certainly didn't offend me A dog and you certainly are not ignorant. But I have been following this since it first hit the cycle news cycle 6 years ago and have had more time to see it for what it isn't. The UCI is just as much to blame for this as anyone but you can bet that when e bike racing becomes popular they will be there to become the "governing " body.

In case you haven't seen it here is a piece from Cycling News that I feel explains the situation but there are alternative facts in there for sure.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/mechanical-doping-a-brief-history/
More and more road cyclists are willing to pay top dollars just to pass the qualifying runs. They put a couple of doped bikes in the mix of their inventories and switch bikes on certain sections of the runs. Vivax used to be top secret but not anymore, their is the new electromagnetic wheel that I can't even find a photo on my internet search (only sketches).
http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news...-the-leading-form-of-mechanical-doping-209760
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
This is a pretty interesting bit of evidence:

I'm looking forward to this 60 Minutes piece, glad you brought it up. Who knows what's really going on out there!
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
The Vivax system was never top secret: (Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

Awhile ago it did get me thinking about the concept and how it could be adapted to have more power and range and what if the down tube instead of the seat tube was used to allow for a stronger motor and bigger battery. Shortly after I saw this: (Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

The Focus brand seems to have come up with such a system. This is not just another mid drive and appears to more closely imitate the Vivax one to my eyes. Still not a power house at only 400w peak and range is not that great either at 18km. But if you want the lightest e bike as I said before be ready to pay for it. A lot.

The whole wire in the rim and magnet theory still does not make sense especially if you think critically about this:

"The suggestion is that these wheels use electromagnetic coils hidden within a deep section wheel and are able to produce 20-60 watts. The Italian paper makes no attempt to explain the exact workings of the system, or how it is turned on or activated, but their anonymous source claims it could “transform an average level professional rider into a phenomenon.”

There is not attempt to explain the location of the magnets either, just that wire is in the wheel rim. If GCSE physics taught us anything, it is that electromagnetic induction requires magnets (the clue is in the name).

Perhaps this system requires an accomplice (Wile E Cayote) to sit at the top of Alpe D’Huez with a huge horseshoe shaped magnet pulling you up from the bottom."

A gain of 20-60 watts is nothing as anyone that has ridden an e bike should be able to realize. Especially at the expense of rotational mass increase which would affect the overall performance as wheel weight is a critical factor in the peloton. The anonymous source is probably the guy selling these wheels at 200k each.

So get on board with the drama if you must but the UCI is swatting at flys. Perhaps there have been/will be pro and amateur attempts at mechanical doping as there seems to be plenty of folks that have gone that route with PED's and continue to do so even with the amount of biological oversight that is in place.

One thing I have found with my own experience with mechanical doping is that riding my e bike consistently has improved my performance on my regular bike. It allows me to better understand where my my red line is and how to stay just below it. I may not be going as fast but I am more efficient overall. A friend of mine years ago called it "speed training".
 

_AleX_

New Member
A gain of 20-60 watts is nothing as anyone that has ridden an e bike should be able to realize. Especially at the expense of rotational mass increase which would affect the overall performance as wheel weight is a critical factor in the peloton. The anonymous source is probably the guy selling these wheels at 200k each.

I can follow you on most of your points, but this is simply not true. A pro cycler can sustain 450-460 Watts for about an hour in lets say a time trial. And then you are really among the best of the best. (6-6,5W/kg is the range that is often mentioned for the absolute top)

You can see that 50Watt extra is 10%, out of nowhere. That may not seem like a lot in the context of e-bikes where we throw around 500 watt here and 750 watt there, but that's huge. It would definitely make you almost superhuman. Don't forget that all pro cyclers are at the top of what is physically possibly, and all of them are (by selection in the field of racing) very closely matched at that top. 50 Watt on top of that would make a difference.

(arguments about rotational mass/bicycle mass notwithstanding of course)

As for widely used mechanical doping, I'm very very sceptical. It looks very implausible to me. But what could possible be the agenda for making such noise about it? I hope the documentary makers researched their stuff properly or they will make a fool of themselves. The magnet thing in the rims is clearly stupid for the reasons you mentioned.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
As a former road racer, I agree with _AleX_; a few percentage points of power increase is more than enough to make a difference between being at the middle or back of a pack or at the front of a race. And with a time trial, those few extra watts could make that rider a few seconds faster than another and change the outcome. These are elite riders whose power output can top 700 watts at a final sprint or climb at the Tour de France after averaging 150 to 300 watts for 5+ hours! There's a more recent study that did a comparison of average racing cyclists with 2016 Tour riders and found that at one finish line sprint, pro rider Marcel Kittel could output as much as 1500 watts. Bottom line, cheating is still cheating.
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
As for widely used mechanical doping, I'm very very sceptical. It looks very implausible to me. But what could possible be the agenda for making such noise about it? I hope the documentary makers researched their stuff properly or they will make a fool of themselves. The magnet thing in the rims is clearly stupid for the reasons you mentioned.
That's how people get away with cheating since the majority think it is stupid and cannot be done, and therefore it is not possible.
With our current era of rapidly advancing technologies in general, we cannot just ignore and overlook the reality that some are making there way in secret bicycle propulsion R&D's.
 
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JRA

Well-Known Member
I totally agree that from a strictly human standpoint any extra wattage is a performance gain. This is well illustrated in this study:

http://www.cyclingpowerlab.com/cyclingpoweroutput.aspx

There are so many factors involved as described in that article but power to weight ratio applies in many sports and seems to be the benchmark for performance? All I am saying is I highly doubt that 20-60 extra watts will not overcome the weight of any type of motor system and allow a mid pack rider to be at the point of the spear.

However if you want better performance from an e bike it stands to reason that the lightest possible combination of components will yield the best performance. That is the exercise that Focus has undertaken as noted above. From my experience having two bikes that are basically the same setups, but one that in the bicycle world is substantially lighter, even then the gains are minimal. But the way the lighter bike itself performs in regards to ride characteristics overall is noticeable, at least for my style of riding.

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Dave C

New Member
Tour bikes (UCI) must be 14.99 pounds or greater. Most of the top bikes have weights added to bring them up to this minimum. There are bikes that weigh under 10 pounds, then add a seatpost motor/battery setup weighing 4 pounds that can deliver up to 200 watts of power.
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Tour bikes (UCI) must be 14.99 pounds or greater. Most of the top bikes have weights added to bring them up to this minimum. There are bikes that weigh under 10 pounds, then add a seatpost motor/battery setup weighing 4 pounds that can deliver up to 200 watts of power.
That's a very important information.
 

Dave C

New Member
[ UPDATE by Court - here's the link to watch online: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-investigates-hidden-motors-and-pro-cycling/ ]

The television newsmagazine show CBS 60 Minutes will have a segment on an investigation into mechanical doping in cycling this Sunday evening. Should be an interesting segment for us ebike enthusiasts.
That was interesting, thanks for letting us know about it. Of course Lance Armstrong denying ever using electric motors, well, we know how that goes. Maybe Oprah will get a confession?
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Electric motor was top secret during that time when they were still focusing on chemical doping. That was the time when most people thought an electric motor is stupid and cannot be done, and therefore it's not possible.
 

Ann M.

Well-Known Member
One of Lance's longtime team mates, Tyler Hamilton spoke on the program last night and does not think any e bike motor was part of the team's cheating. He did know and had witnessed Lance injecting EPO, a performance enhancing substance. Let's focus on the teams & riders that Stefano Varhan sold to brokers & team connections and the UCI's unwillingness to do proper inspections that include weighing the rear wheels separately from the rest of the bike.
 

_AleX_

New Member

Interesting video ^^^ . I didn't see the documentary so I don't know what system was used according to them.

An electric engine in the down tube with a 90 degree cog at least is invisible to the eye. But I'm sure it would make some noise and it would have been heard in the peloton by the other riders.

I've also read that the engineer that supposedly introduced all of this in pro-cycling is a bit of a nutcase and attention seeker. Again, I have a hard time wrapping my head around it and imagining mechanical doping was used at all.