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Old 05-29-06, 10:02 AM   #1
PhattTyre
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LandRider auto-shift, who's tried it?

So here I sit Sunday morning; I got my coffee, checking email, bikeforums, and watching tv. There's nothing on, so I'm watching this LandRider auto-shift bike infomercial that I've seen before. It's kind of funny to hear people that aren't all gung-ho bike talk bike and to see all the "real people" with really crooked helmets talking about how great it is. I know this bike isn't for me, but assuming the quality is better than department store, it seems like a good bike for most people. It uses small weights and centrifugal force to move the deraileur. In theory, you're always in the appropriate gear for your speed. Most of the new riders I deal with at work just don't get shifting, so they might be on to something. What are your thoughts, especially those who have ridden a LandRider or had to work on one?
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Old 05-29-06, 10:06 AM   #2
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Seems to me there was a thread about the same bike a couple months ago. In fact I just looked and there are pages of threads to answer your question.
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Old 05-29-06, 10:12 AM   #3
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Seems to me there was a thread about the same bike a couple months ago. In fact I just looked and there are pages of threads to answer your question.
Yeah that's true, but I like this thread better.
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Old 05-29-06, 10:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhattTyre
but assuming the quality is better than department store,
Bad assumption. It's low end for even a department store quality bike and has sliding weights on the rear spokes. If you actually ride it there'll be some additional rear wheel maintenance at some point down the line.

I think that it might be significant that I've worked on some brand new ones that were misadjusted or had defective parts from the factory but I've never had someone bring one in that had any miles on it. I guess you could take that fact a couple of different ways.

Modern indexed derailleur bikes, even at the low end, are pretty darn easy to ride. Push the button or twist the shifter and it shifts. Best of all, you get to decide when that happens so you can either sprint or loaf if you choose. Honestly, I don't understand the attraction but then I'm a bike guy.
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Old 05-29-06, 10:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
Bad assumption. It's low end for even a department store quality bike and has sliding weights on the rear spokes. If you actually ride it there'll be some additional rear wheel maintenance at some point down the line.

I think that it might be significant that I've worked on some brand new ones that were misadjusted or had defective parts from the factory but I've never had someone bring one in that had any miles on it. I guess you could take that fact a couple of different ways.

Modern indexed derailleur bikes, even at the low end, are pretty darn easy to ride. Push the button or twist the shifter and it shifts. Best of all, you get to decide when that happens so you can either sprint or loaf if you choose. Honestly, I don't understand the attraction but then I'm a bike guy.
Not the one with the weights on the spokes. I remember seeing that one a few years back. What happens when the spokes get bent or dirty or you need a new rear wheel? This one uses a pulley/belt system that attaches the rear wheel (just behind the freewheel) to a centrifugal weight that's actually on the deraileur itself. It looks like a better system than the weights on the wheels. I don't think any bike folk would be a fan of such a system, but those who spend 3-4 days a year on their bike and never learn how to shift might.
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Old 05-29-06, 10:39 AM   #6
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The system with weights can put the derailler between gears. It doesnt know what speed you want to pedal, so it will just as likely always be in the wrong gear. It could have been useful to some people before indexed shifters were introduced.
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Old 05-29-06, 12:07 PM   #7
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Hoooo boy, here we go.

First, repeat after me: "I will never buy anything I see in an informercial." (Unless Ron whatsisname is selling that chicken rotisserie...guy must be using a Jedi mind trick!) Having said that, don't you feel better?

Why are all the people in the informercial smiling? Because they never had to ride that bike...but they're getting paid a lot to talk you into it.

Why no audio to go with the serene scenes of bike cruising through well laid out and beautiful routes? Where did all the birds go? The answer to both of those questions is that the "auto-shifter" sounds like a grinding clutch.

I've seen and heard this bike, but have declined to ride it. My friend's was way too big for me, plus I was being a snob. However, perhaps I should rectify this situation, so that I can poo poo it some more.

The way I understand that the autoshift works is that it is somehow based on RPM, and poorly at that, so that you can never get a solid "spin" going, you can never anticipate and select the correct gearing, and it shifts at the most hilariously inconvenient times...i.e. uphill, into a "taller" gear that stops you dead in your tracks with a gasp for air.

It's also made of the same quality of steel as you will find in "rebar". The weight parallels the material accordingly. And I'm not a weight weenie either.

If one is either incapable of or unwilling to learn how to shift, one should strongly consider a single speed or fixed gear bike. Very proven riding platforms with many adherents on this board and out on the roads.
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Old 05-29-06, 08:16 PM   #8
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I think if someone wants to ride a bike with multiple gears, shifting is a kind of minimum inteligence requirement for it.
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Old 05-29-06, 08:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by banzai_f16
... Ron whatsisname ...
Ron Popeil. the m-f man. anybody who can sell that much crap over the years is a true example of the superiority of the American system. heck, he pretty much invented the infomercial. who could pass up gems like the Ronco Pocket Fisherman and the Ronco Inside-The-Egg Scrambler?
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Old 05-29-06, 10:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch

I think that it might be significant that I've worked on some brand new ones that were misadjusted or had defective parts from the factory but I've never had someone bring one in that had any miles on it. I guess you could take that fact a couple of different ways.
That is exactly what happens here too.
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Old 05-30-06, 05:55 AM   #11
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Someone abondoned two at the resort I work at. The bikes sat there for 5 months unlocked, as no one would even steal them.
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Old 05-30-06, 07:48 AM   #12
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They should sell Strida on infomercials. Cheap to make, gimicky.
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Old 05-30-06, 08:20 AM   #13
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Bikes no one wants to steal........

1) Landrider

2) Strida

3) _________
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Old 05-30-06, 02:15 PM   #14
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Now, let me tell you about a really cute shifting mechanism, circa 1955, and I believe it was on a Huffy. It was two speed, and you made the shift by kicking the pedals first backwards, and then forward. Continued backpressure, of course, applied the coaster brake. Two speeds wasn't a lot, but it seemed to work pretty well.
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Old 05-30-06, 03:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch

Modern indexed derailleur bikes, even at the low end, are pretty darn easy to ride. Push the button or twist the shifter and it shifts. Best of all, you get to decide when that happens so you can either sprint or loaf if you choose. Honestly, I don't understand the attraction but then I'm a bike guy.
Yeah, I have a hard time finding the attraction of the cheezy little number displays some index shifters have... who cares what the number of the gear is...
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Old 05-30-06, 03:25 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Nermal
Now, let me tell you about a really cute shifting mechanism, circa 1955, and I believe it was on a Huffy. It was two speed, and you made the shift by kicking the pedals first backwards, and then forward. Continued backpressure, of course, applied the coaster brake. Two speeds wasn't a lot, but it seemed to work pretty well.
I have one of those old Sturmy Archer hubs and one of these days I'm gonna build a great fat tire wheel around it... it was made for cruising. But then again I never ride that bike around more than about 10 miles at a time... probably the entire distance those TV folks ride in a year.
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Old 05-30-06, 09:42 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by PhattTyre
Most of the new riders I deal with at work just don't get shifting, so they might be on to something.
Don't people drive stick-shift anymore? Maybe the STI shifters are too complex. My first 10-speed bike back in the day had down tube friction shifters. Up, down - change gear. That's simpler than push in the little tab to go to a little gear, push in the big tab to go to a bigger gear.
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Old 05-30-06, 10:22 PM   #18
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I had an elderly male client for a while who said he had gotten one. He said it was great, really sold on it.
As he was physically and mentally incapable of riding I smiled and said "Verrry interesting" and changed the subject.
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Old 05-30-06, 10:43 PM   #19
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Oddly, about 2 years ago I too was sitting at computer and watching Sunday TV with coffee in hand. I watched the LandRyder info commercial and thought that riding a bike just might be the exercize I was looking for. Those fat tires looked safe, and auto shifting, that has to be better then the friction shifting I operated 20 years earlier and didn't care for. I should have gone to a LBS, but I had some dollars burning a hole in pocket. At least I checked ebay and bought a reconditioned one for only $300, freight included. I would sell it a year later on ebay for $255.

For the time I had it, the bike rode fine. My only minor complaint is at times I wanted to cruise at a certain cadence, but the autoshifter hadn't upshifted to permit that. So I had to speed up a bit till shifter moved, then settle back to my desired cruise. The centrifugal weights spun with the rear wheels. The weights were connected at one end to a sliding cam. The same design as the early centrifugal governors you see on those old one cylinder engines. So as speed picked up, weights spun faster and flatened out, and there by sliding the derailer. You had 7 speeds on rear and a convential dual sprocket, with twist shifter on front. I put 382 miles on bike. My bike weighed 40 pounds. The seat was nice. I miss the seat.

Anyway the son in laws thought it was good I was riding, but pointed out that they have index shifting now. How hard is it to push a button? So while the Tour of France was in progress I finally checked a real bike shop that had Treks on sale. Bought a 7200FX for $329. And of course the index shifting was a piece of cake, there is a much greater range of gearing available (24 sp) and about 10 pounds lighter. Needless to say for the price I could not recommend the LandRyder. There is so much more bike to be had at a LBS.
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Old 06-02-06, 01:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak
I think if someone wants to ride a bike with multiple gears, shifting is a kind of minimum inteligence requirement for it.
What about cars? At one time, everyone knew how to drive stick and shifting gears was a minimum inteligence test also, now how may new drivers know how? I think eventually, someone will develop a good automatic transmission for a bike and shifting will no longer be needed just as what happened with cars.
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Old 06-02-06, 01:17 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by PhattTyre
So here I sit Sunday morning; I got my coffee, checking email, bikeforums, and watching tv. There's nothing on, so I'm watching this LandRider auto-shift bike infomercial that I've seen before. It's kind of funny to hear people that aren't all gung-ho bike talk bike and to see all the "real people" with really crooked helmets talking about how great it is. I know this bike isn't for me, but assuming the quality is better than department store, it seems like a good bike for most people. It uses small weights and centrifugal force to move the deraileur. In theory, you're always in the appropriate gear for your speed. Most of the new riders I deal with at work just don't get shifting, so they might be on to something. What are your thoughts, especially those who have ridden a LandRider or had to work on one?
I love that infomercial. Not that I'd ever want one, but it's genuinely entertaining... I love it when they show the three way comparison... landrider, random cruiser, random roadie... they get to this hill, the roadie is show fumbling with his down tube shifters, the three speed cruiser is having difficulties because there's not enough gears apparently, but the land rider just cruises right on up...

I especially like, how in the same sentence basically, they say what a hassle it is to switch gears, and that the land rider is fully automatic... with both a high-gear and low-gear setting (which, in our terms might be referred to as the big and small ring on the crank.) So, it's automatic... but the front der is still manual.
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Old 06-02-06, 02:22 PM   #22
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What about cars? At one time, everyone knew how to drive stick and shifting gears was a minimum inteligence test also, now how may new drivers know how? I think eventually, someone will develop a good automatic transmission for a bike and shifting will no longer be needed just as what happened with cars.
Ever notice that most of the manual transmission cars out there fall into one of two classes? Either underpowered or performance? There is a reason, when it makes a difference if you get everything you can out of the engine it pays to have a manual transmission, even today. Most comercial trucks are manual for the same reason.

Guess what, that reason applies to bikes. It is well worth it to have to work a little more with your fingers than a lot more with your legs.
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Old 06-02-06, 03:40 PM   #23
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When you are training (or relaxing) you might want to grind (or spin). An automatic gear-shifting bike, just like an automatic transmission car, wouldn't allow you to do that.
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Old 06-03-06, 03:47 PM   #24
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When I was going to PT, my physical therapist told me he had one and that he liked it. I was more than a little surprised--but you know, we live in flat-as-a-pancake Florida, so maybe that's why it works fine for him.

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