The UCI made headlines back in March for checking several dozen bikes for hidden motors at Milan-San Remo. Many fans laughed off the incident as a ridiculous waste of time, somewhat prematurely perhaps. Concealing a motor in the frame of a road bike isn’t just possible, there are products on the market already that cater specifically to this purpose.
Vivax Assist is an Austrian-based e-bike company that sells, among other things, crank-drive motors that can be hidden inside the seat tube of a road or mountain bike.
The basic vivax Assist package costs in the vicinity of $3,300 and comes with a battery pack, a saddle bag for housing the battery, a charger, a special seatpost for housing an electronic control unit, the motor itself and the adapters necessary to connect the motor to the crankshaft of the bike.
The motor, which measures 22cm in length, is fed into the seat tube and connects with the crankshaft via an interlocking gear — the gear on the bottom of the motor locks in to a gear ring which is placed over the crankshaft.
COULD HIDDEN MOTORS BE USED IN THE PELOTON?
The vivax Assist has been designed with the recreational market in mind, to “balance out the performance difference between riding partners” while ensuring “the bike’s aesthetics and an authentic feeling ride are preserved”.
But despite being designed for the recreational market, the key question here is: could the vivax Assist or a product like it be used in the professional peloton?