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Video shows UCI checking for hidden motors using a tablet

This Instagram video reveals how the UCI is scanning bikes for hidden motors

How does the UCI scan for hidden motors in race bikes? This video posted to Instagram by Claudio Cucinotta reveals the process of scanning a bike, in which a small tablet is used to check the frame for a hidden motor.

Controlli @uci_cycling per verifica presenza #motorini in telai e ruote @bardiani_csf #greenteam #rideclean

A video posted by Claudio Cucinotta (@claudio.cucinotta82) on

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We believe the UCI is using the magnetometer sensor built into a tablet to scan for the magnetic fields produced by the magnets in a motor. It could be using a dedicated app to do this, but it could just as simply be using the compass. 

The bike being scanned belongs to a rider on the Italian Bardiani - CSF Pro Team.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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tonylemesmer | 8 years ago

In motorsport the vehicles are inspected thoroughly and then a seal is placed on there. For instance on the engine cylinder head a metal tag is placed on the bolts to ensure that the engine has not been dismantled throughout the season.

This method of checking looks like it could be subverted by some teams.

giff77 | 8 years ago

Or simply taking the time to remove the bottom bracket where the drive shaft would be. 

zanf replied to giff77 | 8 years ago
giff77 wrote:

Or simply taking the time to remove the bottom bracket where the drive shaft would be.

Which is what they did to Van den Driessche's bike after the iPad gave suspicious readings, and apparnetly they had trouble dismantelling it.

As an initial check, its far too time consuming to do this to a selection of bikes prior to racing.

kevinmorice | 8 years ago
1 like

Very high tech looking, but not likely to be any more effective than tapping the tubes and listening for hollow noises, or lack of them. Or simply sticking a magnet on the frame and watching if it falls off (unless anyone at testing level is still riding alloy frames?).

DaveE128 | 8 years ago

Not all motors have magnets.

I think that eventually they'll have to x-ray bikes.

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