Wednesday, June 2, 2010

GRUBER Assist Made No Sale To Cancellara

GRUBER Assist, an e-bike drive train company in Austra, has (fortunately or unfortunately) found itself at the center of rumors regarding illegal motor use among the peloton.

I covered the story two days back and wrote about my feelings of what a motor should be capable of to help someone win the Paris Roubaix or the Tour of Flanders. We took for granted that this motor could be the GRUBER Assist. In the comments section of that blog post, I agreed with posters that at high cadences and power outputs such as Cancellara's (see Anatomy of a Cancellara Attack), the rider can "dilute" this motor, if you will.

Don't get me wrong. I'm also very impressed about the product's capabilities. I suppose one good thing that has emerged out of this controversy is that it is showing people a neat little technology for use in bicycling and potential use in bike racing.

BikeBiz already reported that the motor involved in the controversy in fact comes from Hungary, not Austria where GRUBER is based in. But hey, Hungary and Austria share a border.

Just to get the record straight about the product and its alleged use in the peloton, I had a chat with Julia Timmerer, a representative for the company. The following is what she told me in reply. I quote her :

"We are pleased about your interest in our product.

GRUBER Assist is an ultra-light drive for bicycles, invisible and built into the seat tube of the bicycle. The auxiliary drive supports with 200 Watt engine power (100 Watt Output) and weighs just 900 grams (plus 1 kg battery).

You can store the frequency of the pedals between 30 and 90 rpm. And so it gives the difference to your frequency. For example: You pedal 60 rpm, the motor is stored to 80 rpm, he supports the 20 (as far as it’s possible with it’s 100 Watts). BUT, if you pedal faster than the motor (you pedal 80, motor is stored 60) you overrun the motor and have no support.
For installing the GRUBER Assist into your bicycle, please note the requirements for the bicycle frame:
  • - Aluminium or steel bicycle frame
  • - Straight, continuous seat tube
  • - Seat tube inner diameter of 31,6 or NEW 30,9 mm
  • - Shimano Hollowtech II crankset – with outer bearing shells
  • - Seat tube should be as central as possible on the bottom bracket
  • - Minimum length of 62 cm from the middle of the crank to the saddle or 57 cm at a shorten seat post
  • - Installation by a certified GRUBER Assist dealer
On our homepage you can find 3 spots which explains the GRUBER Assist exactly:

Please note, that neither the GRUBER Assist, nor the battery is admitted in the USA.

Please note, that the GRUBER Assist has not installed a blocking. For example in Austria an E-Bike needs a blocking at 25 km/h, otherwise you cannot drive legal on a public street. If one wants this blocking, the customer should let us know with their order. A later installation is very complicated and more expensive.

We never sold the GRUBER Assist to Fabian Cancellara and we don’t think that one of our dealers did this. And I don’t know anything about the using of our product in any races. At the moment our product is unique and we also have the patent for it. I don’t know anything about a similar product. There are many other E-Bikes (hub dive, bottom bracket motor,…) but those bicycles are not only very heavy but you can also see the motor."

Fabian's race winning bike posted by Jered Gruber. Where's the motor?

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