Silent electric derny bike replaced the traditional petrol-driven pace machine in London Track World Cup. Photos by Andy Jones

The keirin event was definitely lacking something at the UCI Track World Cup round in London at the weekend: the hum of the derny pace bike’s motor and accompanying smell of exhaust fumes.

To the upset of many track purists, the UCI unveiled its new electric derny bike in the Lee Valley velodrome over the weekend. The virtually silent, zero-emissions bike marks a break in a decades-old tradition of petrol-engined pace bikes, and some detractors have said its absence in London changed the atmosphere of the keirin races completely.

Of course, the commonsense of using an ageing, fume-belching bike in an enclosed space doesn’t sit well in a more health- and environmentally-conscious era – so in comes the German-made Elmoto HR-2 e-Derny bike.

Thankfully, one thing didn’t change – the derny was still piloted by the experienced pacer Peter Deary in his traditional black uniform.

electric-derny-Electric-Derney-2The Elmoto e-Derny is capable of going at 45kmh and has a range of 65km, and costs around £3800

electric-derny-Suspension-assemblyDouble shocks on the rear provide suspension over the, er, pan-flat, dead smooth track

electric-derny-Suspension-Assembly-2Battery compartment is a convenient place for the UCI logos

electric-derny-Rear-Disc-BrakeThe motor is encased in the rear hub. Some riders have said they prefer them for training as they can communicate with the pilot more easily without the petrol engine noise

electric-derny-Front-discMountain bike disc brakes

electric-derny-Electric-DerneyThe bike looks half-way between a downhill mountain bike and a motocross bike

electric-derny-DisplayDisplay gives you speed and battery level readouts, speed is adjusted via a motorbike-style twist throttle

electric-derny-Keirin-FinalThe Elmoto HR-2 e-Derny in action in London at the hands of Peter Deary

  • Jon Freeman

    It makes a lot of sense from the pollution point of view. However, the suspense created by the gradual acceleration of the Derny’s engine is sorely missed. I think they should simply add an “engine” sound effect to the e-Derny which is linked to its’ speed. It would be easy to do and could be turned off for training sessions to allow easy communication and turned on for racing to create the atmosphere.

  • Steven Carson

    A clothes peg and a bit of plastic from a yogurt carton attached to the frame and clicking in the spokes like when we were kids. One ‘motorbike’. Simples.

  • aThingOrTwo

    Is this the same one Cancellara used in Paris Roubaix a few years back?

  • Bogdan Chiţu

    Who is upset by this? This is good for everyone including the racers!! And seriously,who goes to a bicycle track to see the motorbike?
    I salute them for going electric!!

  • lechapps

    Great innovation, I guess they could just play a recording of a petrol engine to silence the nay sayers.

  • Bob

    Upset? some people just want something to moan about – some innovations are for the better and this has to be one of them – no downside as far as I can tell

  • Jonathan Abra

    Thought the derny pulled off at 50km/h??

  • Rollapaluza

    Not the first time in the UK, we trialled ebikes supplied by Team Hybrid at Keirin London back in the summer, they were well received by pacers, riders and the venue! but they did look a bit more normal….http://www.keirin.cc

  • Holden Flabcock

    I wonder who in the UCI has shares in Elmoto?

  • Dave2020

    I agree with Jeremy – it’s long overdue. Why would anybody want to be breathing in the fumes? Let’s get rid of the motorbikes that keep fouling up the road-racing too.

    But what a silly design and why the useless suspension? What were they thinking? The UCI can’t be planning to revive Bordeaux–Paris surely. With a range of only 65km they’d need dozens of them.

  • Jeremy Maccelari

    Brilliant innovation. Glad to see it!