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Frame with integrated sensors, dream of the future?

Old 06-08-20, 09:22 PM
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vane171
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Frame with integrated sensors, dream of the future?

I would like to get bike computer that has cadence readout and I guess, speed too, besides maybe heart rate. What I see are cumbersome sensors you attach with plastic ties around your bike and if that wasn't enough, you either need cables or wifi, where the later increases the sensor size even more.

To complicate things even more in my particular case, I got this older Trek Equinox TTX9 with a frame that is not exactly mounting points friendly. What I would really want to have is the cadence sensor. For speed I use my phone mounted on handlebars that reads speed off GPS, but I think that gives only a very rough speed readout, with some delay too. I think speed sensor would be so much better, it would actually mean something to be looked at. But again, cadence and maybe heart rate readout would be good. I don't need GPS mapping, it can be handy at times but if I ride out of my usual roads, I look it up beforehand on desktop computer at home.

Now as to post title, I dream of time when frame and crank makers will settle on some standard and build sensors in, right during manufacture of the bike parts. If not bike computers, then at least sensors could be standardized, so they could built into frames, cranks, wheel rims, right at the manufacture. BTW what is used in pro racing? Do they have wifi connection or cabling inside frames or what.


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Old 06-08-20, 10:51 PM
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Standards within the cycling industry is not a thing. There's like 30 different bottom brackets, even more headsets, and probably 250 derailleur hangers. Standardized electronics? Never!

You can acheive what you want with a Wahoo speed/cadence sensor combo. No magnets, just a couple rubber bands, and they will BT to your phone.
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Old 06-08-20, 11:44 PM
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Looks interesting. For cadence, it has three sensors, both cranks and one shoe? I guess just one sensor and that illustration is an option where you put it. Wonder how that works... will have to research it. I would probably clip it to shoe since my Bontrager cranks are not flat on the inside, although I believe I would manage that somehow. Probably works best on crank.
Thanks.
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Old 06-09-20, 03:39 AM
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The future is now. Trek has been making bikes with the integrated DuoTrap sensor in the non-drive chainstay for years. The bikes usually come with a cover plate installed and you have to purchase the sensor separately.
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Old 06-09-20, 08:03 AM
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Sort of. Trek makes two different DuoTraps. Even they can't decide on their own proprietary standard.
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Old 06-09-20, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Sort of. Trek makes two different DuoTraps. Even they can't decide on their own proprietary standard.
Plus you still have to attach magnets to crank arm and spoke.
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Old 06-09-20, 09:41 AM
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My prediction: Integrated sensors will become common in the next few years. Advances in Mems technology and super high efficiency processors with built-in communications will make them so inexpensive, it won't be a big deal. In 10 years, they will likely be so efficient, there will be no battery to replace or charge. Just power themselves from kinetic energy.
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Old 06-09-20, 10:11 AM
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I liked my Shimano Flight Deck, 20 years ago.

Speed, gearing, virtual cadence as a function of the two, and the ability to toggle it from the hoods.

Campy had something like it too, my 10 speed Ergo's have a molded button on the hoods.
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Old 06-09-20, 10:16 AM
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If nothing else, integrated sensors would guarantee that your bike will go obsolete in 3 years.
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Old 06-09-20, 10:33 AM
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The only problem I see with integrated sensors is they'd lock you into a particular set of components or at least the same product line. What if you chose to use a different crank set or change wheels? I've been using the newer Garmin speed and cadence sensors. They are completely wireless using either BT or ANT+ and are a snap to switch from wheel to wheel of crank to crank. They pair easily to just about any bike computer or cell phone you're likely to encounter and are both accurate and reliable. And there's no magnet to mount.

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Old 06-09-20, 12:37 PM
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You’re in luck my friend. SpeedX has the bike you dream of, the Leopard. Too bad the future has not only arrived, but already passed.
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Old 06-09-20, 01:04 PM
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I think cadence could be determined by a tiny camera that can see any part of your legs or feet/pedals/crank, and speed could be determined by camera that can see any part of the spokes. Maybe a camera could read the motion of a smooth tire. Maybe it could read the ground. So a single head unit with built-in cameras might be able to handle those 2 data gathering tasks without any extra devices or wiring or radios. Need some AI processing of the camera output, so not sure how physically small that amount of processing can be packaged right now. If it not now, soon.
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Old 06-09-20, 01:16 PM
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Garmin makes sensors for speed and cadence that do not need magnets.
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Old 06-09-20, 02:10 PM
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Or-----------you could just get on a simple bike and ride for the enjoyment and exercise.
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Old 06-09-20, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Or-----------you could just get on a simple bike and ride for the enjoyment and exercise.
Without sensors you won't know how much fun you're having.
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Old 06-09-20, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Or-----------you could just get on a simple bike and ride for the enjoyment and exercise.
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Old 06-09-20, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Or-----------you could just get on a simple bike and ride for the enjoyment and exercise.
Yes, attach some wheels to an easy chair and enjoy the ride for crying out loud!
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Old 06-09-20, 06:19 PM
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I call it the nightmare of the future. Cycling philosophy is about simplicity transportation, and the world seems to have forgotten that. I've been riding bikes for over 50 years and NEVER EVER have I wished for sensors to be built into the bike, all that will do is increase the cost of purchasing a bike, and the cost to repair.
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Old 06-09-20, 06:38 PM
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The current standard for speed sensors is a small thing that wraps around the hub. No extra magnet or alignment necessary.

There's a similar sensor for cadence. It's a little bit less convenient than the hub sensor.

Integrated sensors for speed would need a magnet. They also require extra work in building the frame. They'd probably always be more expensive to replace.

I don't see how a integrated sensor would really be better.
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Old 06-09-20, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I think cadence could be determined by a tiny camera that can see any part of your legs or feet/pedals/crank, and speed could be determined by camera that can see any part of the spokes. Maybe a camera could read the motion of a smooth tire. Maybe it could read the ground. So a single head unit with built-in cameras might be able to handle those 2 data gathering tasks without any extra devices or wiring or radios. Need some AI processing of the camera output, so not sure how physically small that amount of processing can be packaged right now. If it not now, soon.
This scheme seems an overly-complicated way to deal with something that already has a proven solution.

The magnet-less sensors are small and reliable. They don't require power-sucking "AI processing" and they don't need to have clean lenses.

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-09-20 at 09:53 PM.
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Old 06-09-20, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
This scheme seems an overly-complicated way to deal with something that already has a proven solution.

The magnet-less sensors are small and reliable. They don't require power-sucking "AI processing" and they don't need to have clean lenses,.
It's more complicated engineering, less complicated for daily use.
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Old 06-09-20, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
It's more complicated engineering, less complicated for daily use.
I agree with njkayake...
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It would be far more expensive to design, undoubtedly heavier, less durable, have worse battery life, and be less accurate.

Most current sensors are cheap, less than ten grams, waterproof, can last over a year on one set of batteries, and don't have to worry about rain/mud/dust etc., obstructing the lense or field of view.
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Old 06-09-20, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
The future is now. Trek has been making bikes with the integrated DuoTrap sensor in the non-drive chainstay for years. The bikes usually come with a cover plate installed and you have to purchase the sensor separately.
I have this chrome plate on on my chainstay but it is on DS, I believe it is there to protect the frame when chain slips off the rings... Or is that actually to place magnetic sensor on it or just create a metal point since CF frame is non-magnetic.
It is glued on with silicone and coming off at one side, I think that was installed by prior owner of the bike since it doesn't look attached professionally.



BTW love the discussion. I can understand the no frills approach, just ride the bike... BUT, well, I did that for the last 30 years now on a classic steel tubes bike with shifts on DT and no indexing whatever, simple friction levers. I think I had my share of it.
Also, long time after everybody and his cat had mobile phones, I finally got one too and I put it on bracket on handlebars to see GPS tracking my ride, display not too exact speed and all those things it can do when you don't have any sensors on the bike.

After the novelty wore off, I stopped using it, just kept the phone in my pocket so when I got back home, I could look at the ride I did on map with some readouts, incl. elevation, max and average this and that... But now that I got 'new' bike that is fairly modern, up to date sort of, it would be nice to get some data while riding that my phone never gave me, the cadence and heart rate.

Those would actually be useful for adjusting the exertion while riding. I ride primarily for pleasure, not health, but that means (like for many here) always going at near maximum exertion, I am one of those that can't just go easy once on a bike, even if years are advancing... and to know what heart is doing would be good, combined with cadence readout. I observed that if I make myself spin more (I tend to slip into mashing it in heavier gears if I don't watch it), it is more aerobically demanding and heart rate goes up, so it might be useful to have the real time readout on these two data, cadence and heart rate. Speed sensor I might throw in while at it.

Problem is, I don't really know if I spin 70 or 100 rpms, since I never measured it and going by what you see on TV in pro racing (where you know they mostly spin about 90?) is quite not enough since you don't see yourself ride. I suppose if you do group riding, you ride behind somebody and he tells you, this is what 90 rpm looks like. But when I rarely get to ride with somebody else, they don't have a clue how they are spinning either. I am not fortunate to do my bike riding in a region where the biking is the thing.

Last edited by vane171; 06-09-20 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 06-09-20, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
It's more complicated engineering, less complicated for daily use.
For "daily use", the current sensors are not complicated at all.

The cost of engineering such an overly-complicated solution has a poor pay-back considering how cheap existing sensors that work well are.

It would also likely require more power, which would mean a larger head-unit or shorter run times. Neither of which is well-favored by the people who it would be marketed to.

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With current sensors, you don't have to worry about keeping a camera lens clean.

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Last edited by njkayaker; 06-09-20 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 06-09-20, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by vane171 View Post
I have this chrome plate on on my chainstay but it is on DS, I believe it is there to protect the frame when chain slips off the rings... Or is that actually to place magnetic sensor on it or just create a metal point since CF frame is non-magnetic.
It's a frame protector.

There's no place on the drive side to put a sensor and the magnet would probably shift.
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