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What would you improve?

Old 04-14-15, 09:44 AM
  #1  
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What would you improve?

If you could improve one component on a bicycle, what would it be?

I might like to see a truly functional continuously variable automatic transmission. You could "set" it and ride with the same amount of effort up and down hills all day. Maybe an override could allow you to sprint or climb hills more quickly or just ride faster. I see it as having the benefits of "click shifting" without the drawback of continuously adding rear cogs and narrower chains. What do you think?

Anybody have other ideas?
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Old 04-14-15, 11:19 AM
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With a car, they slap a transmission in it at the factory, and you go drive 100,000 miles with it. They put brakes in at the factory, you replace pads every 50,000 or however many miles.
With a bicycle, brakes and transmission seem to require constant maintenance, lubrication, adjustment, etc.
So my opinion, stuff works fine as it is, but the biggest improvement would be getting stuff where it just doesn't need to be adjusted or maintained to work right.
Coaster brakes and geared hubs were kind of a step in that direction, but they have their own issues.

On my Raleigh Sojourn, with 9-speed drivetrain, more often than not, I'll be shifting up or down 2 gears at a time anyway. So the "continuously variable" doesn't do anything for em.
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Old 04-14-15, 12:53 PM
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Wheels. Now that I've had cartridge bearing wheel hubs for a few years, I'll never go back to cup & cones. Wheel upgrades make a lot of difference in how nice your bike is. bk
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Old 04-14-15, 12:59 PM
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The disc pad material is the same stuff, the bikes come with 3 mm and the cars have 15 mm of the stuff. Who gets 50,000 miles out of a bike?
OP's point? I would love to see a good commuter tire set up tubeless, 40- 75 psi. We are almost there, but not yet.
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Old 04-14-15, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
With a car, they slap a transmission in it at the factory, and you go drive 100,000 miles with it. They put brakes in at the factory, you replace pads every 50,000 or however many miles.
With a bicycle, brakes and transmission seem to require constant maintenance, lubrication, adjustment, etc.
So my opinion, stuff works fine as it is, but the biggest improvement would be getting stuff where it just doesn't need to be adjusted or maintained to work right.
Coaster brakes and geared hubs were kind of a step in that direction, but they have their own issues.
With the cars, weight is often ignored, and manufactures have been struggling with bloating cars as they have added thousands of pounds of weight, then are trying to maintain decent fuel efficiency. My old Fiat 500 tipped the scales at about 1000 pounds. The new ones are quite light at about 2,500 pounds.

In the bike world, weight is a premium as more people target 20 pound bikes. Manufactures get beat up when they build 50 pounds bikes.

Schwinn might be a company that mass produced moderate quality bikes, innovative in some things, but they ignored weight and I believe that contributed to their bankruptcy.

I do think part of the MTB boom was as a response to the flimsy racing bikes (although most of the public never had true racing bikes anyway). But a lot of people dislike things like flat tires and the need to always have a pump and tubes with the bike.

Nobody wants a bike that rides like a Harley with pedals.

Several companies have experimented with sealed cartridge bearings, but at least in hubs they have never been widely accepted in the bike world. Even so, the seals for traditional bearings have been improving over the years.
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Old 04-14-15, 01:34 PM
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Anyway, what innovation would I add?

Flat-Free Tires
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Old 04-15-15, 09:40 AM
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I'm perfectly happy with bikes the way they are. If anything, I think we could use some "downgrades"- like a return to downtube shifters. Further complicating bikes and adding more crap, will not improve the riding experience; it will hinder it. Keeping things as simple and light as possible, while having what you need to make riding efficient, is the key to the cycling experience. Bikes are already to that point- and beyond. Less is more.
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Old 04-15-15, 09:54 AM
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Old 04-15-15, 09:59 AM
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Weight to strength/durability ratios.
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Old 04-15-15, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Anyway, what innovation would I add?

Flat-Free Tires
This would be my vote also provided the tires were still pretty light; were comfortable to ride; and handled well in the dry and rain. Plus they didn't cost much more.

Might as well shoot for the moon!
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Old 04-15-15, 10:15 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Stucky View Post
.....Further complicating bikes and adding more crap, will not improve the riding experience; it will hinder it. Keeping things as simple and light as possible, while having what you need to make riding efficient, is the key to the cycling experience. Bikes are already to that point- and beyond. Less is more.
This is one of the reasons that I have gone fixed, and am not looking back. Tired of derailleurs, extra cables, extra levers, gummy shifters, cassettes, etc. Get on the bike, pedal, and go.

For me, it would be flat free tires. That is the one thing that bugs the heck out of me, getting a flat, changing it, the spare tube, the pump, all the stuff you need to carry with you unless you feel like walking it home.
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Old 04-15-15, 11:27 AM
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The rider (me).

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Old 04-15-15, 12:07 PM
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The engine (electric) for when I'm in a real hurry and to drive itself home if someone steals it.

I'd like a rear view display on the handlebars or heads-up in the sunglasses. Almost there now, but not quite with functionality and price. I'd also like it to have intelligence to warn me if an approaching vehicle is erratic, distracted, or aggressive.

Tires that last as long as auto tires but soft enough to be worth riding.

Body air bags, but only unobtrusive. Less bulky than that Hövding for example.

If I bought into electronic shifting, I'd want it smart enough to decide when to shift. There are enough clues in body positioning and power output IMO, so what's the holdup?

Hologram tech to make my bike look at least massive enough to damage a motor vehicle.

Improved drag coefficient.
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Old 04-15-15, 12:30 PM
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You know a very small webcam mounted to the back, and a small display on the handle bars (i.e. 2.5" similar setup to a bike computer), to serve as an onboard review system. More expensive than mirrors, but more aerodynamic, and certainly more cool. Could even combine it with a standard bike computer or GPS. Oh, and wireless.

QT
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Old 04-15-15, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
The engine (electric) for when I'm in a real hurry and to drive itself home if someone steals it.
Not sure about a self driving bike.

But I've long thought that one could "trap" thieves by setting up an unlocked nice bike with surveillance, and some kind of a tracker in the main tubes. Let the thief take it and bring it home to their stash where you could follow them home and snag the whole stash for a bust.

The technology is pretty much here. Add video, continuous GPS tracking, tracking and notification when the bike moves. Ultra High resolution.
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Old 04-15-15, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by quicktrigger View Post
You know a very small webcam mounted to the back, and a small display on the handle bars (i.e. 2.5" similar setup to a bike computer), to serve as an onboard review system. More expensive than mirrors, but more aerodynamic, and certainly more cool. Could even combine it with a standard bike computer or GPS. Oh, and wireless.

QT
Garmin actually has a model with a camera. But it's just not quite there yet for usability in all conditions IMO. I also tried once with a backup camera/display like you find in AutoZone, but the picture wasn't good enough. Someone needs to do better!
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Old 04-15-15, 02:33 PM
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A psychic transmitter so the guys in the cars and trucks think you are Godzilla and its they that are vulnerable in traffic, not You.
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Old 04-15-15, 03:51 PM
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i would like to see smooth, effortless shifting on all levels of bikes, and to not throw chains.
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Old 04-15-15, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TenSpeedV2 View Post
This is one of the reasons that I have gone fixed, and am not looking back. Tired of derailleurs, extra cables, extra levers, gummy shifters, cassettes, etc. Get on the bike, pedal, and go.
I really admire you fixie/single-speed riders. To my way of looking at it, that is the true spirit of cycling- having the most minimal interface between the rider and road, that accomplishes what you need to do. (Unfortunately, with me being a weak and old fred, and living in the hills, derailers are a necessary evil. No wonder I loved cycling so much as a kid, though- I had nothing but single-speeds till I was 13. The less crap you have on your bike to occupy your thoughts, the more you think about riding, and stop thinking about the bike. With all the technological junk and electronics some have on their bikes today, I'd guess that their cycling experiences are so different than ours as to be in a different universe.

Originally Posted by TenSpeedV2 View Post
For me, it would be flat free tires. That is the one thing that bugs the heck out of me, getting a flat, changing it, the spare tube, the pump, all the stuff you need to carry with you unless you feel like walking it home.
They have those already- they're called Gatorskins. I know I should not say this [Not even THINK it, really.... ] but, I haven't gotten a flat since I switched to Gators a few years ago.
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Old 04-15-15, 05:19 PM
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I just upgraded to the Spurcycle bell. Not for everyone, but a major improvement for me.
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Old 04-15-15, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
If you could improve one component on a bicycle, what would it be?

I might like to see a truly functional continuously variable automatic transmission. You could "set" it and ride with the same amount of effort up and down hills all day. Maybe an override could allow you to sprint or climb hills more quickly or just ride faster. I see it as having the benefits of "click shifting" without the drawback of continuously adding rear cogs and narrower chains. What do you think?

Anybody have other ideas?
CVT transmissions for bikes do exist, but they are not automatic, yet. The technology to make that happen will come, but it will be weight and cost dependant, I would love to have a lightweight bicycle transmission that would sense how I am feeling that day and adjust to compensate to every combination of slope, temperature, and wind condition, but forgive me if I don't hold my breath waiting for that to happen
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Old 04-15-15, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Garmin actually has a model with a camera. But it's just not quite there yet for usability in all conditions IMO. I also tried once with a backup camera/display like you find in AutoZone, but the picture wasn't good enough. Someone needs to do better!
You can get a taillight cam.
Cycliq Fly6 HD Camera and Rear Bike Light - REI.com


You would just need to hook up your real-time monitor. I find that I don't like looking at my handlebars much, so I'm not sure how much it would be used instead of a rear view mirror.
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Old 04-15-15, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by TenSpeedV2 View Post
This is one of the reasons that I have gone fixed, and am not looking back. Tired of derailleurs, extra cables, extra levers, gummy shifters, cassettes, etc. Get on the bike, pedal, and go.

For me, it would be flat free tires. That is the one thing that bugs the heck out of me, getting a flat, changing it, the spare tube, the pump, all the stuff you need to carry with you unless you feel like walking it home.
Well, you are missing a lot by not being able to ride your bike in the mountains.
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Old 04-15-15, 06:38 PM
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Weight matters in race cars and they rebuild after every race.

In bikes, I would change the geometry, not for medium bikes, but for small and big ones, to make them truely proportional.
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Old 04-15-15, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
I would love to have a lightweight bicycle transmission that would sense how I am feeling that day and adjust to compensate to every combination of slope, temperature, and wind condition, but forgive me if I don't hold my breath waiting for that to happen
With electronic shifting you could set it up for constant cadence and have a bias dial to make it a little harder or easier to pedal.
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