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Old 09-27-05, 11:55 AM   #1
HillWalker
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Auto Transmission Bikes

Has Any one tried those bikes wth the auto shift transmissions?

Curious if they are as good as they are cracked up to be. I am wondering if the cost factor balances out in the long run?
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Old 09-27-05, 12:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillWalker
Has Any one tried those bikes wth the auto shift transmissions?

Curious if they are as good as they are cracked up to be. I am wondering if the cost factor balances out in the long run?
What would the cost factor balance out?

By that, I guess I mean, what advantage would an AT have over manual shifting, in your opinion?

Never tried one, but anxious to get some feedback from someone who has.

Like driving cars, I enjoy a stick shift.
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Old 09-27-05, 12:44 PM   #3
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I've ridden a couple of crude versions--one of my neighbors is an engineer who got interested in them, and he designed one similar to the CVT (continuously variable transmission) in some cars, belt drive with self-adjusting pulleys. Theoretically the number of gears was infinite. I rode another one at Interbike years ago when it was in Reno, but I don't remember any details about that.
They both worked just OK, maybe suitable for a casual rider (but maybe not--I've been riding for a long time, so I don't really know what a novice would want).
The question that came to my mind, and still does, is Who's it FOR? Assuming you ride enough that you need gears, how much simpler can shifting be than it already is? With indexing or internally-geared hubs, all you have to do now is move the lever.
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Old 09-27-05, 02:26 PM   #4
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Rode one recently while on vacation on flat road. They're certainly heavy. They do shift as advertised but maybe not when you'd want them to shift if you had a choice. For a casual rider doing short, relatively flat rides they seem fine. The owner bought it at least 4 years ago and didn't remember if they come in various sizes (they did come in men's and women's), but there certainly wouldn't have been enough stem length or seatpost length to set it up properly for a tall rider and possibly not the ability to lower them enough fo a short rider.

All in alll, they shift as advertised and with the big balloon tires are comfortable although I didn't particularly like the feel of the very wider handlebars. Would I want to ride one training or just riding for hours, no.
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Old 09-27-05, 02:58 PM   #5
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Can see a big problem here. Unless you can set up the sensitivity , and pre-adjust where the gears will come in, How can you set it up for your cadence?
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Old 09-27-05, 03:14 PM   #6
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I've never tried one, but, unfortunately, I've really heard little that is positive about them. If I recall, they are very heavy and the lack of control over shifting takes away many of the advantages of doing it yourself.

If you do a search in the General section of the forum, I seem to recall a thread about them a couple of months back.
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Old 09-27-05, 03:19 PM   #7
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Here's the thread I was talking about. At least I think this is what you're referring to.

Here ya go.
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Old 09-27-05, 03:45 PM   #8
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There is no doubt a market for them. I am not part of the demographic to which they appeal however. I haven't seen one on sale yet in either of the two LBS serving this town, though I suppose something that niche-related might be a special order.

In the car-bike comparison, the only reason I'd consider a switch from manual to automatic is to avoid taking my hand from the handle bar which is not an issue. I use automatic in the vehicle so as not to interfere with eating, drinking, radio tuning or handling a cell phone while driving. Adding standard transmission to that mix would be hazardous.

Warning: The above post conatins some sarcasm which is intended in jest.
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Old 09-27-05, 08:16 PM   #9
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On a car, my preferred transmission is a manual mode automatic, such as the tiptronic on my VW Passat. (On two occasions, my left knee has been temporarily immobilized following kneecap dislocation. This made all but short distance bicycling (on my mountain bike with the left crank removed) impossible, but at least I could still drive.)

I definitely would not want a bicycle transmission to shift for me, particularly during an out-of-saddle climb or sprint. In old-school fashion, I anticipate downshifts and always pedal gently while changing gears. Auto-shifting bicycles sound like a poorly conceived technology in search of a problem. My wife has no interest in things mechanical, and she always drives the Passat in "Drive," but she can adeptly shift a 21-speed nonindexed bicycle transmission. I cannot figure out who the target autobike audience is.
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Old 09-28-05, 02:52 PM   #10
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Thanks for the Advice. Although changing gears is simple to some one who knows how to do it. Remember that people like me who started out on single speed bikes fourty years ago are looking for a simple alternative to get healthy and get around. I Purchsed my bike at a store and thought that I received good advice and was surprised when I got my bike home and had to learn how to shift gears. For those who know how to shift, good for you . I don't and if I hadn't seen this forum I would have bought a land rider because I still am having trouble figuring out how to use all those gears. The area I live in is Coasal which means lots of hills and very curvy roads and I dont ride the bike because it is a lot to think about while trying to learn how to ride again. Yes I have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time! I will never be able to pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time.

I am open to any one who can explain how and when to change gears and basically getting a bike road worthy.

Last edited by HillWalker; 09-28-05 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 09-28-05, 03:37 PM   #11
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Please see this thread:

Gear Shifting Help
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Old 09-28-05, 04:46 PM   #12
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Any "AUTO" vehicle assumes a wide band of power be available
to draw from to work it's best. However, since you are the "engine"
on a bicycle that power band is very dependant on your ability
to maintain a "constant" power supply which as you know varies
greatly from person to person.

All that to me makes "auto" bicycles an impractical vehicle.

If you really don't like shifting buy a 3 speed hub bike as they
are VERY under rated on what they can do.
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Old 09-28-05, 05:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillWalker
Thanks for the Advice. Although changing gears is simple to some one who knows how to do it. Remember that people like me who started out on single speed bikes fourty years ago are looking for a simple alternative to get healthy and get around. I Purchsed my bike at a store and thought that I received good advice and was surprised when I got my bike home and had to learn how to shift gears. For those who know how to shift, good for you . I don't and if I hadn't seen this forum I would have bought a land rider because I still am having trouble figuring out how to use all those gears. The area I live in is Coasal which means lots of hills and very curvy roads and I dont ride the bike because it is a lot to think about while trying to learn how to ride again. Yes I have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time! I will never be able to pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time.

I am open to any one who can explain how and when to change gears and basically getting a bike road worthy.
Well worth the effort and time to learn the art of changing gears so dive in and get your feet wet, LBS should be a useful source of info and advice.
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Old 09-29-05, 03:07 PM   #14
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I'm still trying to find the clutch on my bike.
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Old 09-29-05, 07:23 PM   #15
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Dont Bother trying to put peoplr onto ol;d threads . I was basically told i should read it and not try to get further information then the thread was locked . If thats the idea of a helpful bunch from people on that thread there are problems.
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Old 09-29-05, 07:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al1943
I'm still trying to find the clutch on my bike.
I sort of got one by controlling a 3-speed Sturmey coaster hub with a friction downtube lever. The gear positions were 1 - 2- N - 3; N was VERY handy for repositioning the cranks at stoplights, since the coaster brake prevented free backpedaling.

Another option for those who dread gear changing is the 7-speed Shimano Nexus hub.
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Old 09-29-05, 08:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillWalker
Dont Bother trying to put peoplr onto ol;d threads . I was basically told i should read it and not try to get further information then the thread was locked . If thats the idea of a helpful bunch from people on that thread there are problems.
Excuse me, what are you talking about?
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Old 10-07-05, 06:45 PM   #18
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With grip shifters, what's so tough about shifting? Also, you don't know when to ease off the pedal to smooth out the gear change. Every shift would be a hard one, taking a toll on the equipment. bk
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Old 10-07-05, 08:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillWalker
Has Any one tried those bikes wth the auto shift transmissions?

Curious if they are as good as they are cracked up to be. I am wondering if the cost factor balances out in the long run?
Try searching the forums for "Landrider". They have all sorts of problems. One big one is they don't come from bike shops and it is hard, if not impossible, to get parts from a bike shop.

Find a local bike club, ask around at a bike shop,not a department store. Find someone who will spend some time with you about learning shifting.
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Old 10-08-05, 10:57 AM   #20
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Auto shift bikes are for riders who aren't paying attention and don't intend to. Like tourists riding around a beach town on rental bikes. They are there for the scenery nad little else. Serious bikers do their own shifting. bk
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Old 10-11-05, 09:28 PM   #21
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I know a lady who has owned since new a Schwinn with an automatic transmission. The bike is more than 50 years old. The transmission is in the bottom bracket area and appears to be a case full of gears. Shifting is relative to the amount of pressure on the pedals. The bike weighs a ton and rattles constantly but it sure is interesting.

Al
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Old 10-26-05, 01:59 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillWalker
Thanks for the Advice. Although changing gears is simple to some one who knows how to do it. Remember that people like me who started out on single speed bikes fourty years ago are looking for a simple alternative to get healthy and get around. I Purchsed my bike at a store and thought that I received good advice and was surprised when I got my bike home and had to learn how to shift gears. For those who know how to shift, good for you . I don't and if I hadn't seen this forum I would have bought a land rider because I still am having trouble figuring out how to use all those gears. The area I live in is Coasal which means lots of hills and very curvy roads and I dont ride the bike because it is a lot to think about while trying to learn how to ride again. Yes I have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time! I will never be able to pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time.

I am open to any one who can explain how and when to change gears and basically getting a bike road worthy.
I've had coworkers complain about not liking to manually shift the gears on bikes and decide when to shift. I think there is a market for them with the non-avid cyclist.
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Old 10-26-05, 02:30 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John E
I sort of got one by controlling a 3-speed Sturmey coaster hub with a friction downtube lever. The gear positions were 1 - 2- N - 3; N was VERY handy for repositioning the cranks at stoplights, since the coaster brake prevented free backpedaling.

Another option for those who dread gear changing is the 7-speed Shimano Nexus hub.
The Nexus-7 still needs to be shifted manually. The Nexus-3 and Nexus-4 have been available in an automatic mode, microprocessor control, wheel speed sensing to control the shifting, LCD gear display and manual mode or overide. I just checked the Shimano website and the Nexus Auto-4 may have been discontinued. A couple of bikes were originally equiped with the Auto-4 including a Raleigh comfort bike.
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Old 10-26-05, 09:48 AM   #24
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Shifting gears is easy to learn. The biggest problem is people THINKING that it's hard. Do an internet search for bicycle clubs in your area. If you're in my area, I'll help you. Find a club that does social type ride also, not just a racing club. Find someone with a trainer. They can put your bike in the trainer and you can pedal along practicing with no worries. If you buy a bike at a bike shop, they should have a trainer to show you how to do it. When they put it in there, ask them if they can leave it in there and go do something else for a while, as you play around with the shifters.
The smaller the gear in the front, the slower you go, and the easier it is to pedal. The larger the gear in the back, that slower you go and the easier it is to pedal. For hills, small in front, big in back.
Are there any industrial areas near you that are empty on Sunday? Go over there and have a ball palying with shifting. Remember to pedal while you shift. Start out with the small gear in front and play around shifting just the back. Then shift into the middle gear in front, and play around shifting with the back. Allow some time between shifts to get used to the feel of that gear ratio. Then use the big gear in front.
After that, put it in the middle gear in the back, and parctice shifting the three in front.

Last edited by Dchiefransom; 10-26-05 at 09:54 AM.
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