Hungarian claims speedy hidden electric motor

600 watts for an hour on one battery

A Hungarian engineer who claims to have developed an electric motor that can be hidden in a bicycle frame says it can propel a cyclist to 90 kilometres per hour (56 mph).

"You can't see anything, not even the battery," Istvan Varjas, a former cycle racer, told the Swiss weekly L'Illustre in its Wednesday edition.

"I can assure you that it can run to 90 kph," he added.

Olympic time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara earlier this month strongly denied claims that he used a bike with a concealed electric motor when winning this season's Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix classics.

A video featuring former professional cyclist Davide Cassani showed a bike operating with what he claimed was a hidden motor, with a button to operate the device hidden within the gear levers on the handlebars.

Varjas told the Swiss weekly he had never met Cancellara.

"I don't know him, I only saw him on television. He's a really strong world champion, why would he use my system? He doesn't need that," he said.

Road racers are lucky to hit up to 60 kph pedalling on the flat.

Varjas, who was tracked down to the southwestern Hungarian town of Pecs, told the Swiss weekly his motor could weigh up to one kilogramme, generate peak power of 600 watts and last 30 to 60 minutes on each battery charge.

"I didn't keep all the prototypes - about a dozen in all -- of the bicycle since 2004," he said. "I don't know where they are and if they're still around."

Varjas said he hoped to launch his bicycle in the autumn.

Since the video was shown, parallels were drawn with a cylindrical motor installed in a frame which is made and sold by an Austrian firm.

© AFP 2010

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