I'm poking around the internets this evening and what should I find on Bicycling.com but an article about a new product from Shimano targeting the "I rode a bike when I was a kid but I don't have a bicycle now and I don't intend on getting one" demographic. The system, called Coasting, is described in conjunction with a whole bicycle:
http://www.bicycling.com/article/1,6...55-1-P,00.htmlThis new type of bike most resembles a singlespeed cruiser: The upright, sweeping handlebar holds no gear shifters or brake levers. The seat is wide, and positioned low and far back so riders can plant their feet firmly on the ground while seated.
The most interesting technology of the bicycle is hidden. A dyno-hub powered by the front wheel provides juice to a small computer chip that automatically shifts between the bike's three gears.
This whole system-and-bike is being offered (eventually) by Giant, Trek, and Raleigh according to Bicycling.com. And, as far as I can tell, is an implementation of the Auto-3 (repeated link) shift computer (read automatic transmission) and internal hub made by Shimano.
What I'm wondering is: has anyone here actually gotten a chance to see and or work on these bikes? If so, what were your impressions and what should a mechanic do when confronted with one of these? Is it any more or less difficult than working on a bicycle where chain tension is applied at the drop-outs or is it like working on an alien artifact?
Sheldon is quoted on the bottom of the article:
Mr. Brown, if you've got more to add; please by all means give us the goods!One skeptic is Sheldon Brown, technical manager at Harris Cyclery, in West Newton, Massachusetts, a self-described Shimano fan who nevertheless calls Coasting "a wrong-headed exercise in form over function." His objection: "Making the bike look simple is not the same as making it be simple. The hubcaps over the wheels cover up the stuff you need to get at to fix a flat tire." He also points out that in hilly terrain, like that of suburban Boston, coaster brakes can be a challenge in stop-and-go traffic.
I kinda wish we had a "New in the Bicycle World" section in Bikeforums where we could get insider info on stuff like this. I'm sure I could have posted this in "Recreational & Family" or "General Discussion" but I'm more looking for a wrench's perspective on this subject.
happy hunting folks.