It turns out that Femke Van den Driessche’s motorized Wilier cyclocross bike may not have been a marvel of engineering by her team, mechanics or father.
It turns out that online retailer salden.nl offers the Wilier cyclocross bike already equipped with a pedal assist motor starting at €4,990 or about $5500 USD.
Or the salden.nl folks have a sick sense of humor and have added this option to get some free attention from this disturbing “technological fraud” development we saw at the 2016 Cyclocross World Championships’ Women’s U23 bike race.
(Update: It’s back up.
30 minutes after we published this story, the retailer took down the product offering, and offers the Vivax pedal assist system, as well as a Vivax-equipped road bike said to offer 200 watts of extra power).
If you trust Google Translate, the bike offered by salden.nl is described as below:
This bike is equipped with the invisible Vivax drive system which gives you 150 watts of extra power. Accept no bike with standard specifications! Buy a custom built racing bike in Math Salden and enjoy all the benefits of a specially built racing bike for you that you could wish for. -www.salden.nl
Vivax was formerly known as Gruber.
While selling a pedal-assist bike certainly isn’t illegal, perhaps “mechanical doping” isn’t so difficult for amateur or professional cyclocrossers everywhere.
The retailer also offers the pedal-assist motor drive system separately:
The Vivax system’s components are revealed in this image.
Will we need to bike checks at local races in the States? Or will we need standard-issue bikes as we see in the Little 500 bike race made famous by the movie Breaking Away?
Stay tuned to Cyclocross Magazine as we bring you updates to this constantly-changing, mind-boggling issue.
H/t to Kees van Dalsem and Jason Bye for the tip.