Commensurate with the launch of Campagnolo's TT group, the Italian component maker announcing, along with Felt, the launch of its triathlon-legal seat tube motor.
The worst kept secret in cycling has been the mythical, but never acknowledged, existence of seat tube motors in timed racing. The Gruber Assist has certainly not been a secret. The big news, however, is this: Campagnolo has introduced its own version of a seat tube motor, as an adjunct to its just-released TT brake levers, cranksets, bar-end shifters and U-brakes.
However, the seat tube motor won't be legal in UCI racing. It's only allowed in triathlons. Perhaps it's natural, then, that Campagnolo produced its motor in concert, and in strategic partnership with, Felt Bicycles.
"As most people are aware, we built our DA with placements for a pair of batteries," said Felt's road product manager Dave Koesel. "Yes, it's possible to place a battery for a Shimano electronic group either behind the seat post, or under the down tube. However, we did this for another reason: Whether it's Campy's anticipated or Shimano's existing electronic group, we only need one battery. The other battery is for Campy's seat tube motor."
"We're excited about this new introduction," said the head of Campagnolo USA's manager Tom Kattus, "because it signals our solidarity with the triathlon market. Furthermore, as we all know triathletes enjoy lining up next to, and racing with, the pros they admire. This new motor will produce peak power of 150 watts, so, an age-grouper's 150 watts plus our seat tube motor's power means a typical AGer can race alongside Jordan Rapp or Bjorn Andersson. How much fun is that?"
So far, USA Triathlon has not signaled any intention to render the seat tube motor illegal. WTC likewise is taking a wait and see approach. "Hey, I'm all for innovation," said WTC's head of officials Jimmy Riccitello. "But where I draw the line is when I'm chasing a bike to give him a yellow card for drafting and his bike's motor produces more power than my moped. So, we'll probably have to establish a maximum power output for these things."
Campagnolo said that it's new seat tube motor is the first component that, in conjunction with derailleurs, brakes and cranks, will comprise a new gruppo to be called Super Duper Record. It is slated to be introduced at Bike Dealer Camp in Park City this July.