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View Poll Results: Computer controlled shifting.

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  • I want one on my bicycle!

    4 6.45%
  • Would you pay more than $500 for this system?

    1 1.61%
  • It's a stupid idea and I care nothing for it.

    57 91.94%
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  1. #1
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Bicycle computerized shifting system.

    I have developed a computer controlled shifting system for bicycle derailleur systems. This would be in the form of a kit that you would install on any bicycle and the manual shifters would be retained and still available for use if the computer operated shift system failed or the batteries died where replacements would be unavailable. Basic operation consists of a single toggle type switch where the rider would simply press the switch up or down for a gear change. Both front and rear derailleurs are automatically controlled from the single switch. An audible beep warns of an impending front derailleur shift change when required. Any number of toggle switches may be placed in any convenient places the rider would like them. You could even place a switch in a glove with wireless control so as to shift up or down wherever the hand is being used. The computer is programmable for any chain ring number and spacing as well as the cassette or freewheel. Any personal computer may be used to program the shift computer with supplied software. Please answer the following poll so as to inform me if I should spend the money to patent this device.

  2. #2
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    Sorry man, but this sounds exactly like my manual gears, which currently change at the touch of a lever, and are way more reliable, lightweight, and cost-effective than this system could ever hope to be.
    "I don't buy new frames, it just encourages them."

    -T.G.

  3. #3
    如果你能讀了這個你講中文 genericbikedude's Avatar
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    anybody who needs such a thing shouldn't be riding a bicycle. its like indexed shifting that way

  4. #4
    Dances a jig. Mchaz's Avatar
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    Yeah, what advantages does this system have over a mechanical index shifting system?

    By the way, you have a question in your poll. I'm guessing selecting it means "yes" to that question?
    Last edited by Mchaz; 06-11-06 at 05:27 PM.

  5. #5
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I was going to ask how much it weighs. But no, no thanks anyway.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  6. #6
    Easy like Sunday morning white lobster's Avatar
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    Electronic shifting would be fantastic, if it worked. Unfortunately, the problem of making a lightweight, reliable system has stumped Mavic since the early 90's, and they weren't even making a front shifter. Campy has a system that looks pretty close to prime-time, but they've been working on it for years and it's still probably a few years from general release.

    Shimano has an electronic version of their Nexus internal hub that's actually really cool. It works very well, and it's perfect for the casual rider. Unfortunately, it's also pricey.

    So I hate to rain on your parade, but unless you have a way that offers a genuinely novel way of approaching the problem, it's probably not worth the trouble, since you won't be able to patent it. Read up on the Mavic and Campy systems to get a sense of the problems they're wrestling with (weight, reliability, crappy front shifting) and if you can find solutions, go for it.

  7. #7
    Desert Rat
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    I would never buy one for a retro fit. I may some day buy a bike that has one. I certainly would not pay 500 bucks for it. That being said if you have the wherewithall to patent, research, develope, and market such a thing, I think there are probably lots of people who would want one.

    My wife stopped riding because she did not have the strength to shift. Now she doesn't ride for other reasons, but this would have solved her problem.
    Have I mentioned that I love riding my bikes?
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  8. #8
    bicyclist LandLuger's Avatar
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    I believe that Browning beat you to the punch.

    http://www.browningcomponent.com/about.php

  9. #9
    如果你能讀了這個你講中文 genericbikedude's Avatar
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    I could see electric shifting with a continuously variable transmission on a 4-wheeler recumbant in a carfree utopia for the general public. for sporty riding, I think its a nogo.

  10. #10
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    Shimano was working on something like this. How many pounds is this going to add to the weight of the bike? Would take all the fun out of things.

  11. #11
    Tom (ex)Builder twahl's Avatar
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    The closest answer I could give is the third, but I don't think it's a stupid idea, just impractical. There may at some point in the future be a market for such a system for a certain sect of the public, but that sect isn't likely to be found here. I like the tactile part of riding my bike.
    Tom

    "It hurts so good..."

  12. #12
    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    I would give ananswer to this topic very similar to that one of twahl. But I would like to add that every bike I get, I replace the indexed shifting system by the old friction shifters.
    Last edited by caotropheus; 06-11-06 at 10:47 PM.

  13. #13
    LF for the accentdeprived
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    I think the only way this would sell would be to combine it with a cyclocomputer speed sensor and offer automatic shifting. Otherwise, just the ability to operate the shifters electronically is not much of a revolution. But then, automatic shifting won't really work with derailleurs, so you'd need to go with internals, and Shimano has already patented that...
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  14. #14
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    i can shift my gears by my self thanks though

  15. #15
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    I like my index shifters, but the idea of being able to have microswitch controls at multiple locations is attractive. Just make it reliable. I wouldnt spend $500 on it though there are plenty of cyclists who would go for the Bling.

  16. #16
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    OK, I will describe the system and how it operates. I have obtained paperwork to prevent others from using the idea until I decide to spend money on it. A basic stamp computer drives two stepper motors that pull the cables and subsequently the derailleur mechanisms. This shift system may be placed between the normal shifters and derailleur so you may use your normal cable shifters as a backup system. Friction type shifters could be incorporated in the computer controlled shifter system if desired eliminating very expensive shifters combined with the brake levers or bar-con types and eliminating shifter cables on the handlebars. Using a programmable computer like the basic stamp* allows any length of cable pull for any derailleur system. You could even have the computer compensate for a worn or defective derailleur where one or two cogs never shift correctly or the manufacturer put differing spacer widths between the cogs so only there index shifter would operate correctly with there cassette. Using a computer also allows incorporating both front and rear derailleur into a single control and programming allows the computer to determine which chain ring to use for any particular ratio favoring the chain ring and cog combination used to keep the chain as straight as possible to prevent excessive chain deflection and ensuring swift and smooth shifting. Only three wires are used to connect the switches to the shift computer and only simple switches placed between the wires signal the computer to shift up or down. Any number of switches may be placed along this length of three-wire cable. A wireless shift control system would also be very easy to incorporate eliminating the cable. Two switches placed on the side of either the left or right glove index finger with a small transmitter on the backside of the glove allows up or down shifting by simply pressing the buttons with the thumb or pressing them ageist the brake lever, handlebar, or anything else for that matter. Batteries are not a big problem in weight or size. 5 Volts is all that is required for the stepper motors and a standard 9 Volt battery operates the computer for many weeks of constant use and all may be lightweight Ni-Cd or Ni-MH types. A hub generator could easily keep the batteries charged with very little drag for long distance touring and provide lighting as well. This system would be capable of using any manufactures components and infinitely updateable to any future changes made by any of them.

    I made a mistake on the poll so you may call me a human if you like! Ignore the middle choice about the price and if you would pay it. That was an estimate of the wireless "Time Trial" system combined with bar con shifters on the aero bars as backup.

    * Link for basic stamp computer information.
    http://www.parallax.com/html_pages/p...sic_stamps.asp

  17. #17
    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    Still, my friction shifters do exactly that

  18. #18
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    If you feel that you have a mechanism that would be reliable, then your should go ahead and patent it. People derided index shifting when it first came out (and still do today) as being unnecessary and unreliable, but it has become the standard.

    Considering that Shimano, and probably Campy and SRAM, are already working on electronic shifting, the idea certainly is perceived to have economic value. Once an electronic gear changer is available it opens up interesting possibilities for shifters that aren't constrained to variations on mechanical cable pullers.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    If you feel that you have a mechanism that would be reliable, then your should go ahead and patent it. People derided index shifting when it first came out (and still do today) as being unnecessary and unreliable, but it has become the standard.

    Considering that Shimano, and probably Campy and SRAM, are already working on electronic shifting, the idea certainly is perceived to have economic value. Once an electronic gear changer is available it opens up interesting possibilities for shifters that aren't constrained to variations on mechanical cable pullers.
    OP is actually talking about electro-mechanical combo, i.e. keeping the current cable-driven mechanical system, but controlling cable pull with stepper motors, so you can use easy-to-position switches to control the shifting. I would venture this is the worst of both worlds: You still keep the cables, you add the batteries and controller, and you have a setup/adjustment nightmare. If you go electrical actuation, go all the way - and follow SRAM and Campy, move the actuator into the derailleurs, get rid of the cables. Unfortunately this patent road is a lot more rocky, many big players have been through before.

  20. #20
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    Wow, that sounds about 3 times as jingus now that you describe it. Hate to tell you, but if you ride a decent bike for a while, you'll find that good cable shifting has a substantial operator skill component. When tensioning the cable (upshifting front, downshifting rear), the velocity with which you shift is as important as the correct cable uptake for getting a good, clean shift. A good rider instinctively adjusts to a huge number of conditions when doing this; temperature, where in the cassette you currently are and where you're going, cadence, and drive train condition all affect this. If you want to model all of that and program accordingly, have fun. It shouldn't take more than a few years and a few million $.
    "I don't buy new frames, it just encourages them."

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  21. #21
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Well, playing OP-advocate, keep in mind that this probably isn't aimed at someone riding a decent bike long enough to develop this feel. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing that this is intended for the casual, occasional rider. See the Landrider threads.
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  22. #22
    <>< SoonerBent's Avatar
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    If my memory is any good Mavic had an electronic shifting system a few years ago. It didn't go over very well.

    SB

  23. #23
    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    If you can make it lightweight, reliable, and reasonably affordable, I am sure that it would sell. Not to me though. This is the combination that no one has been able to come up with yet.

    I would like to address one thing:

    Quote Originally Posted by n4zou
    Using a computer also allows incorporating both front and rear derailleur into a single control and programming allows the computer to determine which chain ring to use for any particular ratio favoring the chain ring and cog combination used to keep the chain as straight as possible to prevent excessive chain deflection and ensuring swift and smooth shifting.
    This is a gross misconception of what multiple chainrings are for. We see this here time and time again. Two chainrings does not make a 10 speed cassette into 20 (or 30 for a triple) speed bike. You do not shift the chainrings to follow a sequential gear ratio pattern. The chainrings are not shifted to maintain chainline (not counting some of our more anal bretheren). The chainrings are shifted to provide different speed ranges. A double with a 10 speed cassette basically has two speed ranges. Low speed with 9 gears (some people limit to 8). And high speed with 9 gears (or 8). A triple has three speed ranges Low, Med, and High with 9, 10, 9 respectively. A front change, if using your gears correctly, is a relatively rare thing. You may want to think long and hard about auto shifting the front. An out of the saddle front shift could throw someone right over the handlebars. You may be addressing this with speed and cadence input.

  24. #24
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by n4zou
    I have developed a computer controlled shifting system........
    Just curious.......so who exactly are these folks who come on BF with these ideas and research polls from time to time and never hear from them again?
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  25. #25
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    I don't even like cars with automatic shifting. The more moving parts, the more often things break down. How big of a tool kit might you need to carry to fix this thing when (not if) it breaks?

    If I wanted something to do all the work for me - I would drive a car.

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