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  1. #1
    Cyclist- Bike 'n a half
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    New Technology- Future Tandem Application?

    Another thread discussing the "persnickety" nature of derailleur and cable adjustment prompts me to post this link;
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech/2006...ts/eurobike067

    "The idea has been tried before, but upstart company 5 Red has introduced what is easily the most over the top, yet completely refined, hydraulic shifter and derailleur setup yet offered. Yup, that's right, I said hydraulic, as in no conventional cables or housing. Instead, tiny master cylinders in the shifter actuate slave cylinders in the derailleurs for a fully weatherproof system that won't stretch, corrode, or fray."

    The photos appear to show the the system on a mountain bike, and that's probably where they'll get a big enough market to bring the product mainstream. I think the whole different set of variables for MTB's just might share the same potential solution that hydraulics could offer for road tandems.

    I like the simplicity of the trigger mechanism with the up/ down levers. I could easily think of two or three ways that this could be incorporated into road style hoods that would be much easier and efficient than either Campy or Shimano methods if they can get around the patents.

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Hmmmm. I'm reminded of Shimano's foray into the air-powered "Airlines" shifting system
    http://www.edgereview.com/print.cfm?Type=Review&ID=7


  3. #3
    Cyclist- Bike 'n a half
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek
    Hmmmm. I'm reminded of Shimano's foray into the air-powered "Airlines" shifting system
    Air compresses, much more than steel cables stretch. It's good for go/ no go with some adjustment to how much pressure is applied. Obviously it works well for brakes on larger vehicles. It's also used to shift transmission systems on some yachts, ferries and commercial fishing boats, where the choices are only forward neutral and reverse. I can easily understand why this system failed with more than those three choices.

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    The bicycle is a simple creature. I like to keep it that way.

  5. #5
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Yeah, this fills a much needed void in the cycling industry.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Innovation is always great; but more road testing will need to be accomplished. Then mass production could follow, as will a drop in price.
    Now get rid of the chain using either a shaft-type drive or belt drive to really get things changed!
    Similar innovations have died on the vine . . .

  7. #7
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    If you take the time to read the article, you will find that hydraulic actuation is not the only item of interest. The derailleurs also pivot on bearings, not bushings and are quite heavily built. The derailleurs will out-live standard parts many fold.

    I like the idea. You could place the shifters anywhere you wont. Also shifting accuracy would not deteriorate with length of the shifters away from the derailleur like cables do.

  8. #8
    Avatar out of order. MarkS's Avatar
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    Won't you just be replacing one set of problems with another? I lead a mechanically disenchanted life ... anything that can leak, will.

    Even though 1500 EUR ($2000) would be a fortune for me, its not hard to imagine that there's at least a couple thousand cyclists worldwide willing to shell out for it. Surprising that he's ramping up so slowly (5 sets a month??).
    Cars kill 45,000 Americans every year.
    This is like losing a war every year, except without the parades.

  9. #9
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Remember Mavic's 'electronic shifting' a few years ago?
    Saw exactly one set in real life usage . . .

  10. #10
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    The derailleurs also pivot on bearings, not bushings and are quite heavily built. The derailleurs will out-live standard parts many fold.
    Anyone here ever seen a derailleur wear out at the bushings? I had 100,000 miles on a set of deraileurs when I gave the bike they were on to my brother in law. The things still shifted crisply.

  11. #11
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets
    Anyone here ever seen a derailleur wear out at the bushings? I had 100,000 miles on a set of deraileurs when I gave the bike they were on to my brother in law. The things still shifted crisply.
    I wear out a rear derailleur about every 2 years on my single. 10 speed is a little more precise than 8/9 speed so won't tolerate as much wear.

  12. #12
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem
    Remember Mavic's 'electronic shifting' a few years ago?
    Saw exactly one set in real life usage . . .
    Shimano has an electronic shift D/A prototype. Haven't heard much about it lately, so it maybe being put on the shelf.

  13. #13
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    I wear out a rear derailleur about every 2 years on my single. 10 speed is a little more precise than 8/9 speed so won't tolerate as much wear.

    My experience has been pretty different. My current 10 speed D/A group has seen approximately 6000 miles ( and one wreck on the derailleur side) and it still shifts perfectly.

    The only rear derailleur I've ever had that I thought was worn out, was a 7 speed D/A that I gave up on after 15 years, and Lord knows how many miles. My experience, fresh chain and cassette, and even an old Derailleur shifts sharply.

  14. #14
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Oh, what the hell…

    Is the "persnickety nature of derailleur and cable adjustment” a euphemism for what happens when someone who isn’t a bicycle mechanic or who hasn’t taken a few minutes to read the technical cut sheets attempts to work on a bicycle drive train? Or, worse yet, works on a drive train that has never been properly cleaned or serviced? IMHO, anyone who has the aptitude and takes the time to learn how to properly adjust and routinely service their drive train will have few if any problems... and those that do crop up can usually be dealt with on the fly using the in-line barrel adjusters.

    $2,000 for a set of one-off, hand-made shifters and derailleurs? Yeah, I’m thinking that’s a small market. While $7k - $11k road tandems continue to become more prevalent at rallies, last time I checked (Jan '06) only two of Santana’s $11k+ full-suspension, titanium and carbon “Dual Moto” off-road tandems have been built since they were introduced some two or three years ago and one of those was the prototype. The low number is not for want of tandem enthusiasts with the wherewithal to buy these machines but, rather, it’s simply not $5k - $7k “better’ than the $4k - $6k alternatives.

    As for wearing out derailleurs… I’ve smashed a few riding off-road and had a few that were damaged by chain suck and road debris that was sucked into the pulleys (which the $2k hydraulic system won't be immune to), but I can’t ever recall wearing one out just through routine use with good preventative maintenance. I can’t comment on how the lack of periodic cleaning or lubrication might effect the service life of a derailleur or, for that matter, how some of the more economical models hold up: I’ve put thousands of miles on SunTour Superbe Pro (25k easy), Shimano Ultegra/600 (20k), XT and XTR (10k in the dirt), as well as Campy Racing-T (20k) and Chorus (5k-28k x 4) front & rear derailleurs. I have replaced a few pulley wheels and a spring or two, but I've never worn through a bushing. Now, if you want to talk about shifter longevity, that’s another story.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 09-14-06 at 03:52 PM.

  15. #15
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    I think we've got these mechanical and automotive engineers looking at the extensive use of Bowden cables (invented about the same time as the pneumatic tire) on bikes and gravitating towards change just because a 100+ year-old technology just seems to be an easy and inviting target.

    Perhaps a better approach would be "wireless shifting." This would merely be electronic shifting, but using telemetry instead of wires. The advantages:

    Shifter position - this would be ideal for time trial and triathlon bikes. You could put one set of shifters on the aero bars and another set on the brake levers, so you could shift gears in either position. And the shifters could be anything - push buttons, triggers, anything that would activate a switch.

    Maintenance cost - a wireless system is way simpler and faster to install than a wired system, which is easier to install than Bowden cables.

    The only downside would be reliability. I use a Sigma wireless computer on my track bike, the new model that does wireless cadence as well as speed. Sometimes the cadence just goes to zero. I would imagine a wireless shifting system could result in missed shifts or non-shifting.

    Not only this, but in races, I often find it useful to have a heartrate monitor strapped to my handlebars, except I don't wear a belt. I just use the monitor to see if I can get a reading on the guy next to me, who is using a belt. Could be useful information, heh, heh. In the same way, I could imagine a rider with cable-activated derailleurs carrying an electronic shifter for the sole purpose of messing up the shifts of those in the peleton with wireless-activated derailleurs. As we hit the steep part of the hill, he shifts the guy next to him up three cogs...

    Sometimes the old, reliable methods are still the best. I think the North Vietnamese proved this in Viet Nam, and Hezbollah seemed to prove this again in Lebanon. The race doesn't necessarily go to those with the fanciest technology.

    - L.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    I don't understand why wireless shifting would be better than wired electronic shifting. Installation costs may be important when wiring up a home network, but they're not an issue on a bike. And you can run wires just about anywhere, check Chris Boardman's time trial bikes - he had Mektronic shifters on his handlebars and aero bars. Whether electronic shifting is anything more than an expensive, unreliable gimmick remains to be seen.

    On the subject of deraileurs, I nearly wore out a Shimano 105 deraileur's pivots. It took five years of using my bike as my only bike, then using it for winter training only while I was racing and doing lots of long rides. When I'd finished with it you could waggle it about 1cm left / right by hand, mainly from play on the main deraileur bolt. Shift on 8spd with friction thumbshifters at the end could only be called marginal. To put that into perspective, during the time I got through about ten chains, many brake blocks, five sets of wheels, two seatposts, three handlebars, four bottom brackets and at least three sets of pedals. By that point the only original bits on the bike were the brake calipers and the whole lot was only good for the rubbish tip. If you don't smash it by falling off, deraileur pivots are very hardy!

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