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Slack Randoms: Motor Doping Ruminations, Harley Davidson's $14,000 eChopper & Sebastian Vettel Keeping it Real

Aug 13, 2021 at 6:51
by James Smurthwaite  
We use Slack as our workplace communication tool at Pinkbike and we have a #randoms channel which we use to share an assortment of videos and stories from all corners of the cycling world and beyond... We thought a couple of the moments from the past week were too good not to share with a wider audience, so here are some of the highlights.

Motor Doping Ruminations

Does this footage show professional motor doping or is it (more likely) just a wacky quirk of physics following a crash? This crash happened at the Tour of Denmark this week and afterwards Martin Toft Madsen of the BHS-PL Beton Bornholm, the rider who crashed into the bike as it moved across the road, tweeted "This is why I don't like eBikes" along with a winking emoji.

Of course, his comment is tongue in cheek but it did start some healthy debate on social media. So, was a motor spinning the wheel as the bike skittered over the tarmac? We think it's more likely that it's simply a case of a fast-spinning wheel having enough energy stored in it to propel a very light bike across the road. A very similar incident happened to Ryder Hesjedal in 2014 and that clip went viral for the same reasons.

Suspicions can be further dispelled by the fact that the UCI also carries out checks on bikes for motors and of the 720 undertaken at the Tour de France this year, none came back positive. For more information on motor doping and why it's almost certainly not happening in the pro peloton, check out this deep dive from Cycling Tips.

Harley Davidson's $14,000 eChopper

We talked about Harley Davidson's ebike spin-off Series 1 last year in Slack Randoms, and now the brand is back with the first in a series of one-off, custom ebikes that will be auctioned online. The bike was a Schwinn Sting-Ray-inspired Chopper that Serial 1 described as "combining the silhouette of a ’60s-era wheelie bike with psychedelic paint and loads of chopper style."

The bike was fitted with a Gates Carbon Drive belt, a Brose mid-mount motor, TRP disc brakes, internally routed cables and integrated lighting, and it was finished in "a '60s-style 'Street Freak' paint job, consisting of silver micro-flake basecoat covered in House of Kolor Oriental Blue Kandy."

The auction is now finished and the bike sold for an eye-watering $14,200. Don't worry if you missed out though, Serial 1 is running a number of these one-off auctions through the rest of the year. More info, here.

Sebastian Vettel

Ferraris, BMWs, Aston Martins, F1 athletes are definitely spoiled when it comes to their day-to-day transport. Sebastian Vettel does things differently though, here's footage of him turning up to the Grand Prix on a humble bicycle.

Terrible Trail Crossings

bigquotesHappy to walk away from it in one piece. Is it the worst trail crossing ever?Adrian Scieszka

A Shredding Wedding


Congrats to Trevor and Marguerite who sent us some photos of themselves getting hitched at a shredding wedding earlier this week!

Trevor said, "We are of course, mountain bikers, and love riding together. We also love the community that this lifestyle brings along with it, and when we got engaged, we wanted to find a way to incorporate that into our new life together.

"We sent out invitations for a two stage wedding day. Show up at 10am at the Alsea Falls, Oregon parking lot, and be ready to ride 6 miles and 1,900’ up to the top of the trail system. There, in the middle of the woods, we’ll have a short ceremony, followed by a wedding party train down some epic trails, built by Team Dirt, our local trail organization. We’ll ride to the bottom, where our non-riding family and friends will be waiting to celebrate with us! A finish was held by our two kids, for us to cross as we enter back into the parking lot. There we partied with music, food and beer. We asked that gifts be donations to Team Dirt, and they raised a bunch of money for their mission of more trails.


"Turn out was awesome and it showed how amazing this community can be. We even had people that just showed up to ride that day asking what was going on, and we just invited them in for a beer and food, and to celebrate with us. It was truly an amazing day!"


Author Info:
jamessmurthwaite avatar

Member since Nov 14, 2018
1,770 articles

  • 71 2
 1. Physics will always be amazing;
2. The stingray inspired eBike looks awesome...the $14k price tag makes me lose faith in humanity;
3. Guy going perpendicular is 75% at fault....25% goes to the bike park for even allowing this;
4. Congratulations.
  • 31 8
 3. 100% fault of the bike park
  • 6 15
flag fisc2307 (Aug 13, 2021 at 14:47) (Below Threshold)
 @mi-bike: i know right?! Like every road, sidewalk, and trail should run parallel to each other. All intersections should be made illegal.
  • 14 0
 @mi-bike: Always look uphill when crossing or entering a MTB trail.... because otherwise you might die. (doesn't matter who is at fault when you can't ride your bike for 6 to 8 weeks or worse...) Law says I have the right of way on a crosswalk, but common sense tells me to look both ways before crossing a road with cars.
  • 5 2
 @jgainey: If you take the Hierarchy of Controls analogy, all what was done here were some Administrative Controls (a sign and some warning netting); the riders took care of the PPE by wearing a helmet.

The best the bike park could have done was to Eliminate the hazard by removing the crossing or building a bridge or Substitute the hazard by moving it to a different place. They should also have used Engineering controls, making it a requirement for one of the two to stop / dismount before crossing.
  • 1 1
 @mi-bike: building a bridge would be an engineering control, making it a requirement to stop would be an administrative control
  • 4 1
 @catweasel: Mate, building a bridge is of course an *act of* engineering. However, in the Hierarchy of Controls it is considered Elimination (the most effective form of the 5 forms of control) because the hazard is completely removed.

Installing a physical barrier requiring riders stop before the crossing (e.g., a gate or posts that require dismounting) is an Engineering Control of the hazard.
(A stop *sign* is an Administrative Control.)
  • 1 4
 @mi-bike: I understand it well. You worded it poorly in your original post. A requirement to stop is an administrative control, a physical barrier is an engineering control.
  • 42 0
 PB should do a field test where they drop road bikes at speed with high RPM to see if they can get a non-motor bike to behave similarly.
  • 8 2
 with how light professional road bikes are versus the momentum a wheel spinning at 30+ mph has, the result shouldn't come as a shock. Note that in both videos the bikes land in such a way that the front wheel is turned at 90 degrees (propping up the bike) and the only main contact points with the ground are the front and rear tires. Since the front wheel is free to move, there isn't much preventing the bike from shooting across the road once the rear tire grips.
  • 8 0
 @SATN-XC: that was my initial thought but it almost seems like the bike accelerates when it makes contact with the ground, or rather it's momentum isn't interrupted at all. So the second the tire touches on a non motor set up I'd expect to jump some then slow down, not haul off seemingly without slowdown.
  • 8 2
 @SATN-XC: its also how light the wheels are too, they do not have much intertia even though they are spinning fast. The wheel would most likely lose all of it’s momentum when it contacts the pavement initially. The bike would jerk a bit the opposite direction of the wheel spin. But there should be no continuous spin of that wheel if it is in solid contact with the ground. It does not have enough mass. It will lose all force on impact with the ground. It cannot act like a big heavy flywheel. It is too light relative to the bike. It will stop spinning nearly immediatly after contact with the ground. . But the video makes it very hard to tell. The clip shows the bike slowing to a stop and then continuing off of the wheel spin. But there really should not be enough intertia there to keep the wheel spinning while its pushing the bike sideways on the ground. At least not for long. However, maybe it could be the wheel jus barely touching the road. Not enough to lose all momentum on impact. But enough contact for the the wheel to have some friction on the ground but also maintain a decent rpm, thus able to push the bike a few feet. Either ways, looks like a motor! Lol
  • 7 0
 This must be very heavy wheel to carry so much energy
  • 3 0
 @SATN-XC: except for the fact the second bike rolled out from under the guys foot after he'd come to a complete stop...
  • 20 0
 i really enjoyed the wedding story, skip the glitz and glam, have an awesome day with friends and family and they got to incorporate their favourite hobby into the entire ceremony.. sounds pretty unbeatable
  • 10 1
 My wife and I did a ceremony for $200 at the top of Tamarack Resort during the pandemic and then rented a chalet to have an after party with friends. It was a safe event (everyone was tested) and ended up being the perfect size.
  • 5 9
flag gnarlysipes (Aug 13, 2021 at 21:22) (Below Threshold)
 @HB208: Thanks for confirming the event was safe. The COVID police are monitoring this forum.

Seriously though, that sounds awesome. Congrats!
  • 3 0
 @gnarlysipes: Yeah man, I get it though. I had mixed feelings about it on the front end. If someone died or was hospitalize because they came to our wedding, I would have felt pretty f*cking bad for the rest of my life. I wasn't worried for most people (our friends are late 20s and early 30s), but my wife's elderly grandparents came. They both would have had a rough time if they caught covid before getting the vaccine.
  • 2 3

Good on you mate. Getting everyone tested is a really great approach to stop the spread of STD's.
  • 2 0
 I got to go to the shredding wedding. It was a blast. Highlight of the summer for sure. Trevor and Marguerite rode down ahead of the entire pack on the last segment out to the lot where the non-biker families were waiting to cheer for them at the finish line. Was a really rad event.
  • 17 2
 I remember when I was practicing for the Mini Downhill race at Forest of Dean. Upun landing a jump someone's out of control dog was messing about on the down slope and I hit it. Luckily I didn't crash and dog was OK. No apology from owner either. That bloke crossing the trail kinda reminded me of that.
  • 17 1
 It wouldn't surprise me if motor doping did eventually come out like Icarus style, "the UCI checks" does not inspire confidence
  • 3 0
 pretty sure I read somewhere they simply use a thermal camera on the bikes, the heat signature of a motor easily stands out
  • 3 0
 @SATN-XC: they also X-Ray the frames to see everything g inside long with weight checks
  • 3 2
 @SATN-XC: thermal cameras have a much lower resolution than visual cameras. the thermal cameras that they have access to wouldn’t be able to distinguish a motor from brake heat dissipation through the hub on such small moving targets. At work we use thermal cameras that have capabilities far beyond anything available to civilian organisations and they would not be able to distinguish between 100W motor and a disc hub that has had some braking applied before it rides by the camera >20kph
  • 2 0
 @Afterschoolsports: true...I guess the recent popularity of disc brakes complicates the thermal method. x-ray seems more viable as @Jules15 points out
  • 4 0
 @SATN-XC: without Parc ferme procedures, random x-rays won’t find anything. It would be very easy to create a completely hidden system. The UCI need to white hat the problem and give prizes to teams that can circumvent their testing methods. That’s the only way they will understand what testing they will need to do.
  • 5 0
 @Afterschoolsports: all the discovered doped bikes have had their motors in the frames driving the cranks. Therefore hub heat is kind of irrelevant.

In neither of those crashes were the cranks spinning.
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: because control point is probably just after a braking zone with enough climb to make the motor heat up?
  • 1 0
 @Afterschoolsports: a hand held Flir gun ($600 Canadian pesos) would easily have the capacity to pick up the heat signature coming from a hub mounted motor (this seems unlikely on a road race bike) or frame (more likely). We use them regularly in the HVAC industry to find hot spots, inslab hydronic leaks, etc.
  • 1 0
 @cypher74: I address hub heat as the CTips article talks directly about the motor being in the hub.

@onawalk as great as they may be for hvac, we had motors that were hidden from mid IR in both operations and in a static test environment 6-7 years ago. With disc brake heat to aid in the masking, and 6-7 years of development, an ir invisible solution is easy.
  • 11 1
 I feel like that trail crossing was designed by someone who has never really ridden a bike park before. On paper, and in their mind, it would seem like a crash is pretty easy to avoid since the crosser (the guy on the XC bike in this case) would have plenty of time to see the other rider coming off of the jump.

In reality it doesn't matter how obvious another rider's presence may be, trail crossings never work.
  • 11 3
 it would be fine 6 years ago but now with so many oblivious stupid kooks riding in parks, no amount of stop signs and merge signs will make a joey actually stop, think, and be aware of their surroundings. It's getting harder and harder to build bike parks because of the mass amounts of physically uncoordinated people entering them. I have no idea how people like that survive and function in real life. He didn't even look up before crossing the trail.
  • 1 0
 "Trails Merge" signs at bike parks make nervous enough as is. Why not raise the level of difficulty and add an un-marked intersection? One fast trail, one slow trail? No objections? OK, then.
  • 10 0
 Congratulations Trevor & Marguerite! What a great way to start a life, I hope to ride with you soon Smile
  • 11 1
  • 2 0
 The great Ferrari master plan finally complete
  • 9 5
 The uci checks for motors are a joke. As an electrical engineer, I wouldn’t even consider the iPad magnetometer option when coming up with a test for motor doping. It’s the equivalent of water divining.

Plus I also believe that the best way to mechanically dope would be a pneumatic system, by pressurising the frame and having a sort of turbine in the bb or hubs. It would be near impossible to detect and easy to explain away as some cycling woo.
  • 67 0
 how can you tell someone is an engineer?
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: excellent call.
  • 32 1
 @jaydawg69: they're on pinkbike in the middle of the day
  • 14 7
 @jaydawg69: how can you tell someone is vegan?

They will tell you
  • 3 1
 @BigShralp: middle of the night in Australia. Just off a conference call with US clients, whilst stuck in hotel quarantine.
  • 2 0
 I guess the question of motor doping is "what is it for"? Clearly you'll never be able to hide enough energy to assist on a full stage. Even the biggest eeb batteries won't last a full day on the saddle. So I guess you need something small and light for a sprint or breakaway. Maybe an oversize di2 battery, and something on a jockey wheel, as the wire is going there anyway? Perhaps that's why Shimano haven't followed SRAM in going fully wireless? Tin foil hat time!!
  • 1 0

youtu.be/vKgJ_Uhwfno. and that was 7-8 years ago.
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: the lack of a sense of humor?
  • 3 0
 @jaydawg69: As a Mechanical Engineer, I think @Afterschoolsports bringing up them being an EE as it shows their credentials.

Did I mention I'm an Engineer?
  • 2 0
 @mountainsofsussex: This. The reason I highly doubt there's any motor here is because riding toward the back of a bunched up peloton would be a stupid place to deploy what little energy there could be in such a potential system. A rider wouldn't be wasting it where they can already soft-pedal thanks to the draft of the peloton. It would be saved for an attack or a sprint or a chase from the back or something like that.

Ergo no motor.
  • 1 0
 @jaydawg69: Usually they use their personality for birth control.
  • 5 0
 Engineers aren't boring people, they just get excited by boring things.
  • 11 4
 F#@k ebikes and the bike wedding is dope
  • 8 0
 But wait! There is an E bike in one of the wedding photos!
  • 7 2
 Me: Watches video about $14,000 ugly ass e-chopper
Also me: *facepalms through skull*
  • 1 0
 14K for a bike with a kickstand
  • 1 0
 @Jules15: and we thought mountain bikes were expensive...
  • 5 1
 It's a factory concept vehicle. A one-off made by an OEM, with documentation. It's a truely one of a kind so its value is almost impossible to pin down. Its worth whatever anyone wants to pay. I wouldn't be surprised if it winds up at a Barrett Jackson auction one day. Harley Davidson fans typically have deep pockets, so I'm not all that surprised.
  • 4 0
 What a special day Trevor & Margurites wedding was. So cool to have so many of the tribe together to celebrate their love for Randall...I mean each other.
  • 4 2
 Well that can't be a Harley because the rider is wearing a helmet. Also, remember when the e-bike kool-aid crew was like "they are not motorcycles, they are bicycles, stop calling them that!", but now harley and yamaha and husqvarna are all making "bicycles". Ha! Good times.
  • 5 4
 I can see how the momentum from a wheel spinning at such a velocity could easily come across as electric, or how Doping could come across as momentum... kind of torn in a sense, because it looks like it could be doping - but at the same time how could someone fit a motor onto a bike without getting caught, with enough power to throw the bike up in the air once crashed? What do you guys think?
  • 5 2
 I would argue cars crossing intersections against the right of way in front of cyclists will out trump any trail crossing unless an actual sasquatch is involved.
  • 5 0
 I'll stick with an Original Schwinn Stingray thank you
  • 3 0
 I’m just gonna go ahead and sell my Harley after watching that… Any Ducati’s for sale?
  • 2 0
 I think Ducati's on the eBike program now, too. You might have better luck with Royal Enfield and the extended warranty
  • 2 1
 What athlete has satisfaction from cheating? Gotta feel like a POS doping and still getting beat.
  • 1 0
 Consider the paycheck difference.
  • 1 5
flag recon311 (Aug 13, 2021 at 12:40) (Below Threshold)
 Amateurs are motivated by satisfaction
Professionals are motivated by pay

don’t blame riders for doping
  • 1 0
 @recon311: doping in all sports is down to the high school level if there is money to be made or a patch to money. It's tragic but true sport is dead.
  • 4 0
 @Cyberhatter: kids using PEDs often think they are gonna do it just to get to the next level.

FWIW I don’t have a problem with dude bro in the gym juicing to get his bench stats up, but turning competition in to who can fake it better is a little silly. Even in cycling, If everyone was clean, LA still would have mopped up, the dude beat them all with old school prep and grit and a scrappy team with a hell of a creative director.

My intent behind the comment was more along the lines that the age group triathlete on the juice is ridiculous, but any pro that’s on a program has lots of reasons… ask anyone with a quickly diminishing hyper specialized skill set what another year or two at the next level means for their time-limited career.

It’s probably not about satisfaction when you’re on a time limited career path and your next career move will probably be outside of the industry you’ve been fully committed to since your early school days.

I’m a proponent of the clean teams and hope they truly are, and have a feeling that with the massive rise of the extremely young riders taking over the peloton that they won’t need to extend beyond what’s reasonable for the human body… and then there’s Alejandro valverde….!
  • 2 0
 It wasn't my water bottle er um I mean bike.
  • 5 0
 What's this in your pocket? Oh, I don't know officer. These aren't my pants.
  • 2 0
 I see HD learned a thing or 2 from Specialized pricing schemes.
  • 3 0
 Harley has plenty of experience in ripping people off. It’s bad on the bikes but it’s egregious on the “lifestyle brand” merch.
  • 1 0
 Road bikes rear wheels's inertia is damn crazy nowadays. I want rhe same!!!!!!
  • 2 0
 Best wedding EVER!
  • 1 0
 The Harley Davidson has a kickstand…
I hate it already.
  • 1 0
 So close , Nosh Chopper would have been the perfect name for that Harley .
  • 2 2
 Alberto contador used those mini motors in his road bike with steroids
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