Are electromagnetic wheels the leading form of ‘mechanical doping’?

Italian newspaper, Gazzetta dello Sport claims that motors in bikes are antiquated and the most sophisticated form of mechanical doping is coils of wire in 200,000 Euro wheels

Until this week, when the UCI confirmed they had discovered the first ever case of ‘technological fraud,’ many people in the cycling community thought that mechanical doping was ridiculous and akin to conspiracy theories like the royal family being alien lizards and David Icke is the son of God.

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Well now something even more ridiculous has emerged. The Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport has described hidden motors located in the seat tube and bottom bracket as ‘old doping’ proposing instead that special electromagnetic wheels costing 200,000 Euros (£152,000) are actually the most sophisticated form of mechanical doping.

Gazzetta's electromagnetic wheel diagram

Gazzetta’s electromagnetic wheel diagram

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).

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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.

The newspaper’s anonymous ‘Mr X’ source claimed he has sold over 1,200 units of the ‘old’ system, saying “I can only laugh when I read the Gran Fondo results, I could rewrite almost all of them,” and describes the new system as “perfect.”

Even if these wheels do exist and somehow work, with a price of 200,000 Euros, you are going to have win a lot of women’s cyclocross races to pay for the initial investment of your wheels.

Mr X also went on to suggest that riders had been using mechanical doping for some time, before the initial rumours in 2010, and that he had previously spoken to authorities at the UCI about it.

“Some time ago, I also spoke to people in Aigle,” he is reported as saying. “I think you only need to study the exploits of some riders to see who uses a motor. That’s why I suggested inserting power data in the Biological Passport.”