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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 03-06-06, 11:10 PM   #1
Fix_me_up
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You think anyone would buy this hub?

For my mechanical engineering design class, I just came up with a hub that you can push a button on say your handlebars and it will convert between fixed and being able to coast while riding. I still have to come up with a safety feature that stops someone from clicking back into fixed when they are coasting unless they are pedaling with adequate cadence to match the wheel speed.

I have to prove there is a market for this hub to my professors. You think it would sell? Anyone know if there was any interest for this kind of product?

Thanks, I apologize to everyone for the sudden flurry in new threads from me.
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Old 03-06-06, 11:15 PM   #2
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Not your usual "search the forums" response, but I think you'll find lots of crazy similar ideas if you do. THe shear number of threads might help to support the idea that there is a market for that idea.
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Old 03-06-06, 11:17 PM   #3
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"There's a sucker born every minute"
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Old 03-06-06, 11:28 PM   #4
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The little safety feature you describe there is life-threateningly serious, no?
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Old 03-06-06, 11:31 PM   #5
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The little safety feature you describe there is life-threateningly serious, no?
I think more "face threatening" than life.
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Old 03-06-06, 11:32 PM   #6
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Sounds like a job for a centrifugal clutch.
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Old 03-07-06, 02:20 AM   #7
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you know, to be honest...i don't miss coasting at all...once people get used to the fixed function, they won't want to coast anyway.
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Old 03-07-06, 02:32 AM   #8
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There are a couple (read: <10) of hubs like that, 'cept for the safety feature. I dunno how they work in that sense. I guess you get a big jolt if you're fool enuf to switck back into fixed while coasting.
Anyway, these are 3-speed geared hubs, fixed by their respective owners. There's a description in Sheldonland, of course, and there are 2 or 3 bikes like that on FGG, of course.
Oh, coming to think of it, I seem to remember they have 2 fixed gears and a neutral, in which you can't pedal, i.e. the crank spins freely in both directions.

And what about the sturmey-archer fixed geared hubs? Did they have a neutral? Anyone knows?
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Old 03-07-06, 03:38 AM   #9
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Yes, people would buy that. Just go right to eBay. No. just design it, and do it well. *****, I wanna try it out. I wouldn't but it, but I'd love to check it out.
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Old 03-07-06, 05:20 AM   #10
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reviewing the OP, it seems as though safety measures to protect against riding fixed while coasting are important, but what about switching to fixed suddenlt? try to backpedal in an emergency and just skid like zeus' thunderbolt....
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Old 03-07-06, 08:11 AM   #11
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I'd be wary of it, as an engineer. Suddenly you have a ton of liability as a manufacturer in the event that something happens.

You'd also be targeting a niche segment of an already niche market. How much would you have to charge with such a small demand? What will be the retail price as a function of demand? How much extra will you have to charge to offset the liability concerns?
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Old 03-07-06, 08:34 AM   #12
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Just make it so you cannot go fixed unless the rear wheel is not moving forwards. In other words you have to stop the bike to lock the hubs like and old 4 wheel drive. I think there are enough people out there to be interested in it for the oddity that it is. I don't think your gonna get rich though. Of course it all depends on price too.
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Old 03-07-06, 08:38 AM   #13
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Flip/flop...
I'd hate like hell to be bombing a hill coasting and then have it lock back into fixed.
Wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.
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Old 03-07-06, 08:46 AM   #14
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are you guys nuts? no market...? essentialy this is a flipflop hub without the "flipping" and how many of us ride flipflops? i'd say a majority of us do and i think if it got the design down well it would sell like crazy.
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Old 03-07-06, 08:51 AM   #15
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The advantage of flip flop though is you can put a harder or easier gear on it.
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Old 03-07-06, 08:55 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humancongereel
once people get used to the fixed function, they won't want to coast anyway.
until they come to a downhill.
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Old 03-07-06, 09:01 AM   #17
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Hmm, from experience I am a little nervous about complicated new designs, especially ones that are likely to throw you from the bike.

I would suggest skipping the remote control and instead simply have a switch on the hub. This would eliminate the cadence problem and simplify the design to the point it might actually work.

New designs (no such thing really, every single thing in the world of bikes has already been invented, most having moved onto the point that you no longer recognize their bike roots), genrally come to the market through two pathways. Either from above (cannondale, specialized, independent fabricators (not the Boston frame company of the same name)), or from below (chinese manufacturers, who will make everyhting and see how it sells. If it works these designs get promoted to bike shop level bikes and begin to compete.

Throw it to Phil Wood, the guys at Level, etc.

And be aware, the torque on a fixed hub is the reason wny they are made to be so simple.
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Old 03-07-06, 09:06 AM   #18
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this idea could be applicable for fixed moutain biking. there are a few trails around here that i feel would be 80% fixed friendly, but the occasional jump or rock garden make me not want to even bother to try it fixed. however, most trails here that i like to ride would terrify me if fixed... blah blah blah boing boing boing
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Old 03-07-06, 10:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
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...New designs (no such thing really, every single thing in the world of bikes has already been invented...
That's exactly what they said about weaponry after the American Civil War.
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Old 03-07-06, 11:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamey
essentialy this is a flipflop hub without the "flipping" and how many of us ride flipflops? i'd say a majority of us do
How many of us never flip them unless we catastrophically strip one side?
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Old 03-07-06, 12:43 PM   #21
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I like the idea. You should make it two sided to accomodate different gearing. I also think you should have the switch on the hub and not the handlebar so you can't go back and forth while riding. This could be your safety feature.

I think there would be a market for this and do others. I also feel build quality would be my biggest concern. Just remember it's simple to make things complicated and complicated to make things simple.
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Old 03-07-06, 12:52 PM   #22
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I would totally buy one. I think remotely switchable is not necessary though. Why clutter up a fixed bike with extra cables? I think I could stop for 5 seconds at the top of a big hill to make the switch.

It would be better as a flip flop, allowing fixed and free options with two different cogs, and it would be great if it would work with a standard cog/lockring setup.
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Old 03-07-06, 01:43 PM   #23
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MacG's comments were right on the money in what I was doing for the safety measure. My only realy concern now is to adjust the design to work with standard cogs and lockrings. The final hurdle...

Thanks again everybody.
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Old 03-07-06, 01:54 PM   #24
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Can you also invent something which will enable me to coast AND switch gears?
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Old 03-07-06, 02:09 PM   #25
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It's easily doable, but I suspect the market wouldn't be nearly enough to justify building it.
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