The bike industry is in the doldrums? Forget about it, some suppliers are rolling in it by selling "electromagnetic wheels" to wanna-go-faster punters for €200,000 a pop. That is if you believe the Deep Throat bike mechanic trusted by Gazzetta dello Sport. As reported on Cyclingnews.com the Italian newspaper claims it has evidence teams are spending big bucks on wheels powered by perpetual motion or somesuch.
If such technology exists it seems rather strange it hasn't already been on Kickstarter or appeared at any of the trade shows, where e-bike technology is all the rage. Heck, even the Copenhagen Wheel isn't yet on the market despite many stuttering starts.
But in these feverish times, when a 19-year old cyclo cross racer appears to have been caught pedalling – or not pedalling, maybe – on a bike with a motor, battery and tell-tale wires poking out of it, anything goes.
The Vivax-style in-frame motor is described as "old doping" by the mechanic interviewed by Gazzetta dello Sport. The Italian newspaper said electromagnetic wheels, which are claimed to be able to produce 20-60 watts, cost an eye-watering €200,000 even though an almost standard bottom-bracket motor can easily pump out 250 watts for a few minutes.
Mind you, before we scoff too hard there are some magnetic wheels already on the market. Zipp's 808 NSW wheelset has a magnet-based Cognition hubset – but the magnets aren't for propulsion they are said to reduce friction.
But if anybody did want some €200,000 homeopathic wheels I have a set, and am open to offers. I also have a genuine London bridge for sale.