When news of the hidden motor discovered by the UCI emerged at the weekend, our thoughts immediately turned to the Vivax Assist as being the most likely sort of concealed motor that would be at the centre of the scandal.
We’re not for a minute suggesting that Femke Van Den Driessche had a Wilier equipped with the Austrian company’s compact motor. The Vivax just happens to be one of the few motorised systems available on the market that can be fitted to a regular road bike.
Since the weekend though, we’ve learned of other newer products such as the Typhoon. The Vivax Assist however is an aftermarket product and can be retrofitted to any compatible road bike frame, and it’s a lot cheaper than the €10,000 that Typhoon wants for one of its road bikes with its own motor pre-installed.
We contacted Vivax Assist to get their reaction to the mechanical doping events. They tell us they’re not sure if Femke Van Den Driessche used an Vivax Assist, and the company is keen to remind everyone that its system is not intended for use in competition, but to promote the benefits of exercise and sport.
The company exclusively provided road.cc with the following statement:
“It is very disappointing when a product that can bring great benefit to many customers is used in fraudulent intent. With the Vivax Assist, we launched a very light electric motor for bicycles on the market, which is intended to promote the joy of exercise and sport.
“The motor is installed in the seat tube, so the centre of gravity remains where it should and the bike provides that authentic feeling ride. The bike also retains the usual focus and the clean look of a conventional bicycle. The 110 Watt are optimal to pick up performance differences between couples, and groups
“None of the group find the riding too taxing and none find it too easy. On easy routes electric support isn't needed at all, conserving battery capacity and battery life. Longer and more challenging touring routes are also possible, motivating and giving the rider confidence. You keep the exuberance and enjoyment of riding, even on these longer, harder routes. That’s what the Vivax Assist is made for.
“The system is not intended for use in the competition - this is not in the mind of the inventor. We would like emphasis that we condemn the use of the Vivax Assist in competitions We welcome the inspections of the UCI and hope that a rethink in competitive sport takes place, and fairness is at the forefront again.
“The Vivax Assist is and remains the ideal solution for leisure cyclists who use an additional assistance if needed and on steep passages to avoid overexertion."
The UCI has yet to reveal details of its investigation into the detained bike, but hopefully we'll get some answers soon. We hope they reveal details of the motor they find.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.