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Old 01-21-05, 05:34 PM   #1
Lovin' my Fixie
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Major Contest for Bike Hydraulics

Bike Hydraulics Contest

Saw this notice on the my cities' web site about an local corporation that has started a contest for University Engineering students to improve bike design using hydraulics. At least a large corporate manufacturer thought of bikes instead of cars. That's refreshing.

I know that this has been tried before and I've even heard of a start-up company that has patented a hydraulic bike drivetrain to be used by military and police. Lack of needed maintenance and durability are the main advantages. Don't know anymore about it or anything ever came of it.

So what do you think? Is Shimano worried? Doubt it. I still think that the current technology is so simple, direct and long-lived that it would take a major discovery and a ton of marketing and research money to make it happen.But you never know. Call me a semi-retro-grouch.

Talk amongst yourselves.
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Old 01-21-05, 05:43 PM   #2
eert a ekil yzarc
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I am with you on the "old tried and true"

Now if they find a way to make the brakes themselves better... then wooohooo.

I seriously doubt that anyone of those in the contest will use a brazed frame.
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Old 01-21-05, 06:30 PM   #3
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-- I used to work in physical rehabilitation in Prosthetics and Orthotics. The controls for upper artificial limbs use cables and housings similar to those used on bicycles. The amputee uses shoulder motions transmitted through the cables to control the elbow joint and open or close the "hook" or prosthetic hand.

Anyway, rehab engineers have been trying to create hydraulic controls to replace the cables, but they have not succeeded yet. After all these years, the cables still work better... for now.
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Old 01-21-05, 10:17 PM   #4
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If you want to see one reason why hydraulics don't get much play on the bicycle world, look up "swash plate pump" on google. You would need to use something like this to vary output/speed. The smallest/cheapest ones i have ever seen weigh a couple of pounds and are over a grand
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Old 01-22-05, 06:49 AM   #5
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It might be fun to see what they come up with but I doubt Shimano is very worried.

The thing about a bicycle that makes it an interesting design challenge is the wimpy motor. You simply don't have ANY power to spare so internal friction losses and added weight are huge drawbacks. Efficiency trumps everything else.

While people like to skoff that the power transmission of a bicycle hasn't changed much since the 19th century, that also means that it's had over 100 years of development time to optomise it's efficiency. Whatever replaces our chain and derailleur transmission systems will have to start by being 95% efficient or something like that. Modern internally geared hubs, for example, simply don't cut it.
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