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Old 12-12-07, 03:48 PM   #1
Okiegonian
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Continuously Variable Transmission

A co-worker showed me this bike with a sealed hub, continuously-variable transmission based on Leonardo DaVinci's sketches. WOW - is this really new, or have I just never heard of it before? I know Audi's have had variable trannies, and my old lawn tractor has one, but I've never seen one small/light enough for a bike. Now my brain is flashing with images of a fixed version for a unicycle!!

More here: http://www.ellsworthride.com/
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Old 12-12-07, 03:52 PM   #2
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That sounds pretty awesome, but sounds like a ***** to maintain/repair.
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Old 12-12-07, 03:54 PM   #3
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Popular science had an article on this invention in their last issue. They gave it one of their innovations of the year award. They had it on their beach cruiser "like" bike because it is too heavy for a road bike.
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Old 12-12-07, 04:02 PM   #4
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Search the forums for nuvinci and you'll find other discussions about it.

There are cheaper options on the market than the Ellsworth bike. None are currently listed, but there have been bikes on ebay with the hub for around $500.
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Old 12-12-07, 04:32 PM   #5
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http://www.fallbrooktech.com/NuVinci.asp

It's huge, weighs a ton, and is a hell of a work horse of a hub. For utility applications it's close to ideal.
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Old 12-12-07, 06:11 PM   #6
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that sucker is a work of art. WOW
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Old 12-12-07, 06:20 PM   #7
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That sounds pretty awesome, but sounds like a ***** to maintain/repair.
It shouldn't need much of anything. By all accounts (and from appearances), the hub is wicked robust. Pretty cool system!
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Old 12-12-07, 06:28 PM   #8
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Bicycle chains and toothed gears have been around for a long time, for a reason.
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Old 12-12-07, 06:33 PM   #9
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http://www.fallbrooktech.com/NuVinci.asp

It's huge, weighs a ton, and is a hell of a work horse of a hub. For utility applications it's close to ideal.
I've been looking at this thing for some time and I have heard that it weighs a lot but how much is a lot. I haven't seen any numbers. My idea of heavy is HEAVY and not measured in grams. I leave the yard at about 250 pounds. I am more concerned with the cost. This sucker ain't cheap..
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Old 12-12-07, 06:41 PM   #10
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that sucker is a work of art. WOW
I understand it's based on a drawing by da Vinci so it has to be art. When I was much younger and thought that someday I would be a great inventor or at least a useful engineer I thought that the only art was da Vinci.
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Old 12-12-07, 08:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Fallbrook Technology Website
What is the ratio range and efficiency of the NuVinci CVP hub?
From bench and road testing by potential consumers and industry experts, the NuVinci CVP compares favorably with the internally geared hubs on the market today and has the same or better ratio range.
Uh-huh. Verrrry specific.
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Old 12-13-07, 02:07 PM   #12
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I've been looking at this thing for some time and I have heard that it weighs a lot but how much is a lot. I haven't seen any numbers. My idea of heavy is HEAVY and not measured in grams. I leave the yard at about 250 pounds. I am more concerned with the cost. This sucker ain't cheap..
CE has it right. Mine weighs something like 10 pounds, and my rear wheel built up is over 12 pounds. Costs are around the $300 price point. I'm using it on a XtraCycle and it has preformed very well.

Originally Posted by Fallbrook Technology Website
What is the ratio range and efficiency of the NuVinci CVP hub?
From bench and road testing by potential consumers and industry experts, the NuVinci CVP compares favorably with the internally geared hubs on the market today and has the same or better ratio range.
Uh-huh. Verrrry specific.


Gear range is 250%. Don't know about the efficiency, but by the way it rides it feels no more or less draggy than the SRAM, S-A, Rohloff and other internal hubs I've owned.
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Old 12-13-07, 04:58 PM   #13
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Wired had an article on this some months back. It's a gorgeous bike, but I dunno about those handlebars.
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Old 12-13-07, 05:58 PM   #14
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Sounds heavy.

What's wrong with cables, cassettes and derailleurs?
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Old 12-14-07, 01:32 AM   #15
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Sounds heavy.

What's wrong with cables, cassettes and derailleurs?
They don't provide enough ballast. Thats important in the snow.
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Old 12-14-07, 07:43 AM   #16
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I keep wondering whether the wider gear range of the Rohloff would provide more of a benefit than the NuVinci CVT. The Speedhub 36 500/14 has a gear range of 526%, so over the entire range, shifts increase or decrease in even increments of 13.6%. That seems almost as good as a CVT, plus the total gear range is 50% larger.

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Old 12-14-07, 07:55 AM   #17
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Wow, unicycle application FTW !!!!!!
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Old 12-14-07, 01:50 PM   #18
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They don't provide enough ballast. Thats important in the snow.
What is this snow of which ye speak?
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Old 12-14-07, 06:23 PM   #19
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SRAM iMotion9: ~40% of the weight, ~2/3 cost, ~x1.4 range.
S-A XRF-8: ~30% of the weight, ~1/3 cost, ~x1.2 range.

TCS
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Old 12-14-07, 06:40 PM   #20
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Sounds heavy.

What's wrong with cables, cassettes and derailleurs?
15 years ago: "internet? what's wrong with the telephone? who can type anyways?"

No technology is perfect, especially not a new one. The point is to make progress and constantly evolve, hopefully towards something better. Maybe it'll be race ready in 10 years? Who knows?
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Old 12-14-07, 07:13 PM   #21
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That looks really awesome. The only thing I can think of that may be a problem down the road is when the fluid ages, will it start to slip? Is there a way to replace the fluid?

Also, If you leave it in a particular gear range for a long time, I can see ruts developing on the balls. Then it will always want to go to that spot. But that's pretty far down the road.
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Old 12-14-07, 07:18 PM   #22
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$4K for a 30 lb bike? Oooooooh, sign me up!
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Old 12-14-07, 09:25 PM   #23
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My motorcycle has a CVT, best thing since sliced bread. No clutch to worry with, engine always running at it's most efficient speed, fast, smooth, and has the feel of effortless power. As for fitting one on a bicycle.... can't say it's ready for real world use at this time for that service. As others have commented it's heavy, complicated, and will it slip under high torque conditions when hill climbing under a professional cyclist when it has a few thousand miles of use. It's going to be very hard to show an improvement over current chain drive and dérailleur systems.
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Old 12-15-07, 11:48 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fattyfatskinny View Post
15 years ago: "internet? what's wrong with the telephone? who can type anyways?"

No technology is perfect, especially not a new one. The point is to make progress and constantly evolve, hopefully towards something better. Maybe it'll be race ready in 10 years? Who knows?
Well, it's not as though this is new technology... And I've driven a few vehicles with CVT tranmissions and a slushier drive you'll never have.
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Old 12-16-07, 12:37 AM   #25
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In addition to the weight, I'd bet this thing has quite a bit of friction and parasitic losses. These may be tolerable on a powered vehicle, but when you're dealing with the 1/4 hp or so of a human being, it may be intolerable. And judging by the (excellent) animation, it appears that overall gear range might be fairly narrow, much narrowere than even the current internal gear hub systems.

Neat idea, more power to them, but better inventions for this particular application have come and gone before.

- Mark
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