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Favorite drivetrain features

Old 11-07-20, 09:41 PM
  #1  
BaneJ
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Favorite drivetrain features

Hi fellow cyclists!

Since the COVID started, Iíve been riding significantly more. I now go around 4 times a week for a few hours. Iíve started experiencing a lot of annoying problems, primarily related to my drivetrain and brakes. The bike has been in the shop every month!

All this got me thinking - why is the bike technology stuck in the late 1800s? Hence, I dusted off my electrical machine textbook from college and called some friends to zoom-storm on the idea of an electro-mechanical drivetrain. Note that we are not talking about an electric bike - no battery.

Early calculations seem to work, though there are always tradeoffs - so we thought weíd ask people to weigh in. What would be the three (3) most desirable/exciting features of a novel drivetrain for your style of riding:
  1. Lower maintenance/tuning overhead (less than once a year)?
  2. Lower weight than the mechanical (both derailleurs, back cassette, crankgroup)?
  3. Higher gearing range for the same weight?
  4. Power transmission efficiency?
  5. Ability to measure your actual power output (performance)?
  6. A companion app with training logs & performance reporting?
  7. Ability to act as the rear-wheel ABS (automatic braking system)?
  8. Something else (fill in the blanks)?
Cheers!
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Old 11-08-20, 02:35 AM
  #2  
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Welcome to BF!

We already have drivetrains that don't require monthly repairs. There is an issue with your shop or what you do.

Many of your features add unnecessary complexity. That likely increases shop time.

I would separate brake and drivetrain. And if you add electronics, you add more potential issues like battery charge, aging or low temperature performance.

Maybe you tell us what your problems are and we can advise.

Here is my idea or prediction: With increased e-bike use they add the transmission to the mid-drive motor and use a belt or single speed chain. With motor, transmission weight and inefficiency matters less and you don't need so many gears. Such trannies exist, but are not widespread due to cost, weight and inefficiency.

For very little money a bike can have M6000 hydraulic brakes, 1x12 XT shifter and a Deore RD (OR XT if fancy). That is dead reliable for years with minimum work and extremely efficient. Works at -30įF. Any new system would have to be better. Only downside is potential RD damage.

Last edited by HerrKaLeun; 11-08-20 at 02:44 AM.
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Old 11-08-20, 05:17 AM
  #3  
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Sorry to inform you that Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo beat you to the electro-mechanical drivetrain with their Di2, Etap and EPS drivetrains. Get a better mechanic or learn to work on the bike yourself. My bikes need zero tuning after the initial setup.
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Old 11-08-20, 06:15 AM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
Hi fellow cyclists!

Since the COVID started, I’ve been riding significantly more. I now go around 4 times a week for a few hours. I’ve started experiencing a lot of annoying problems, primarily related to my drivetrain and brakes. The bike has been in the shop every month!
Definitely find a new shop.

Bikes are simple. That is part of the appeal. There are not a lot of things to adjust and once adjusted, they tend to stay adjusted.

If your shop is worth visiting, you shouldn't go more than once after buying the bike, to get the brakes and derailleurs readjusted after initial cable stretch. After than .... not until the cable need replacing a few years down the road.

This post---please don't take offense, I am blunt but honest---doesn't seem to be quite real. There is no way your bike needs maintenance every month unless you are always fiddling with it, hit things, or the shop is cheating you.

Three hundred miles a week is a fair bit of riding. Might I ask how it is you have built the fitness to ride 300 miles a week and still cannot tune a derailleur or adjust brakes? How man years have you been riding? (Or ... did you mean a few hours' riding over three or four rides---say, 30-50 miles per week? Either way ... go to YouTube and learn how to turn a barrel adjuster.))

How far did you ride before the virus, and how often did you need to get the bike serviced?

Seriously---I pick a bike off the rack in my garage, I shake it, bounce it a couple times, (to check for loose bolts, BB, headset, etc.,) check the brakes by pushing it and braking. I check the tires and add air as needed. Then I ride it. Stuff just doesn't go out of adjustment that frequently or that easily.

Maybe you need to learn to clean and lube the chain? No special skills or tools needed. Changing a chain is also very simple. YouTube it.
Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
All this got me thinking - why is the bike technology stuck in the late 1800s?
Yeah ... why are wheels still round?

Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
Hence, I dusted off my electrical machine textbook from college and called some friends to zoom-storm on the idea of an electro-mechanical drivetrain. Note that we are not talking about an electric bike - no battery.
Now we get to the nut of it. The rest of your post was advertisement (to be generous) intended to set up this portion.

Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
Early calculations seem to work, though there are always tradeoffs - so we thought we’d ask people to weigh in. What would be the three (3) most desirable/exciting features of a novel drivetrain for your style of riding:
It's "we" now? Sounds more like a business venture or a college class project and less like an honest post with each paragraph .... )
Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
  1. Lower maintenance/tuning overhead (less than once a year)?
  2. Lower weight than the mechanical (both derailleurs, back cassette, crankgroup)?
  3. Higher gearing range for the same weight?
  4. Power transmission efficiency?
  5. Ability to measure your actual power output (performance)?
  6. A companion app with training logs & performance reporting?
  7. Ability to act as the rear-wheel ABS (automatic braking system)?
  8. Something else (fill in the blanks)?
Okay .... what a load ....

First off, bikes don't need much maintenance. You used the classic "Accept my fake premise and then be thrilled by my imaginary solution!" sales technique. Bikes need very little maintenance. And your imaginary system is totally imaginary. You have no idea how durable it might be, because it is not real.

Second ..... Lower weight? Show me. Don't make the claims, show me.

You still need a transmission capable of withstanding many hundreds watts of continuous power over a long period of time, plus peaks a few times that .... and you still need pedals and cranks, which are a lot of the weight. You still need a bottom bracket.

You need some way of modifying a limited range of input speeds (say, 50-110 rpm minimum at the pedals) to a wide range of output speeds. Most bikes have a high gear of 53 to 50 teeth and 11 teeth in the back, and a low of 36 to 34 with 28 to 34 teeth in back--pretty wide range of ratios (5:1 to 1:1). Show me your transmission which weighs less than a couple chain rings and 11 cogs and still gives the same range. Do you think there is a reason why there isn't one on the market yet?

Also ... sort of nitpicking but actually not. You say "(both derailleurs, back cassette, crankgroup)?" Seems to me if you have been part of the cycling community for years and have actually researched bicycles, anent to inventing the next generation of drivetrains, you might know that actual words used by cyclists to describe bicycle parts.

This seems like some guy who was getting high with his room mates at college, saw some guys cycling on TV, and said, "I can design something better than those ... uh ... what are they called?"

Higher efficiency? Direct chain drive isn't wasting all that much. Given the need to operate over a wide range of gears and still be low weight .... yeah? You have something? Belts and shafts are already out there. You know that .... right?

Power meters and apps included? Wow ... that was ground-breaking a decade ago.

Again, this makes me think that you just decided on a project for university or something, and haven't done any research. You don't know about the variety of power meters, the plethora of training apps, and you don't know about electronic shifting. You think you need to specify "rear cassette" as though there might be a front cassette? How many years have you been riding? Three hundred miles a week is a lot for some guy who has never heard of Strava, Quark, or DI2.

Are you riding a bike built in the 18th century and have never seen a modern bike? That might explain a lot.

"Ability to act as the rear-wheel ABS (automatic braking system)?" Yeah ... you can build ABS into the system and still weigh less? Let's see it.

Of course, 70 percent of the braking is done with the front wheel .... Maybe that's why there hasn't been a huge outcry for rear-wheel ABS on bikes. Also, look at why bikes wreck. Front-wheel lockup is Very rare. Usually bikes crash because of hitting obstacles, or the front wheel washes out due to speed (too much lateral acceleration) speed on a corner. When the rear wheel washes out, it is not generally due to lockup, but also excessive speed.

In situations where the rider needs to make a panic stop, rear-wheel lockup is rarely an issue---the real limit to braking force is the small front contact patch, not skidding. There is only so much rubber on the road through which to react braking forces. The rider either can or cannot get the bike stopped in time. Lockup is not a problem,.

Rear-wheel lock-up can happen, particularly if the cyclist tries to panic-stop while leaning, or on wet pavement. It is rare, but in my more than fifty years of riding I have seen it happen a few times. In every case a quick pulse on the brakes solves it, and in extreme cases, a tiny steering correction. I have crashed a lot---I used to commute in a city where cyclists were considered in season for hunting year-round---and I have never crashed due to front- or rear-wheel lockup. Your mileage may vary .... but in fact I doubt your mileage ..... whatever.

Obviously you are throwing in ABS on the rear because you imagine it would just be a computer circuit and the sensor would already be there---but it isn't a benefit because it isn't needed. Sure, if you have all the rest, why not? But I don't think you are going to have all the rest anyway.

Here is the Biggest single reason you are not likely to design the next commercially successful generation of bicycle drive trains----Cost.

It might be possible using space-age material (of course the Space Age is 40 years out of date ) and modern miniaturized electronics to build a direct-drive/magnetorheological drivetrain with a viscous fluid transmission which stiffens as current is applied---I think the shock absorbers in the C7 Corvette used something like that. Maybe there is something else like a CVT belt which could be made to be more efficient, lighter, and more durable. And maybe, using the latest most advanced materials, you could get the package to be small enough and light enough to fit on a bike.

But could you make it both significantly better than and cost-comparable to a modern bike transmission?

Obviously you have never checked out electronic transmission, which have been the top of the bike drive-train food-chain for several years now (where have you been these past several years?) These electronic units need minimal adjustment, are vastly more precise, and are programable to provide optimal gear selection with minimal rider input.

Battery weight and batter life are big issue .... actually there are no Big issues ... pretty much the entire pro peleton has been riding on electronics for a coupe seasons, as far as I know----No big issues----but for a casual rider, making sure the unit is charged is about the Only issue.

Are you going to produce a lighter, more efficient, cost-effective battery than Shimano, which has about a huge budget for it? I kind of doubt it.

Are you going to be able to produce a strong, light, durable fully electronic drive train, with a gear range at least equivalent to modern systems, complete with batteries, for the same cost as modern systems?

Take your shot.

You can come back here in a few years and say, "I told you so" and if you have done it, I will eat my serving of crow.

But seriously .... when a person tells me s/he plans to design and manufacture the next generation of bicycle drive trains ... and yet that person cannot even adjust a modern mechanical drivetrain .... yeah, I have my doubts.

Last edited by Maelochs; 11-08-20 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 11-08-20, 06:41 AM
  #5  
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you are incapable of adjusting your own drivetrain and brakes and now you want to redesign a bike?

Looks like Maelochs got to the same point at the end of his diatribe.
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Old 11-08-20, 06:44 AM
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Light Durable Cheap - pick any 2
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Old 11-08-20, 06:49 AM
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tl;dr version of the above rant---

"But seriously .... when a person tells me s/he plans to design and manufacture the next generation of bicycle drive trains ... and yet that person cannot even adjust a modern mechanical drivetrain .... yeah, I have my doubts."

Sorry, I haven't had any coffee yet,. I will try to control myselff better in future.
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Old 11-08-20, 07:44 AM
  #8  
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I have a non-electronic ROhloff IGH with a belt. It's less maintenance than a derailleur system. I use Cinq shifters with it, so not electronic. I don't think it gets much less maintenance free than that (except, I want hydraulic shifters).
I notice that Rohloff now has an electronic shifter box:

https://www.rohloff.de/en/products/speedhub/e-14

I don't think Maeloch's post was a rant. I enjoyed reading all of it.
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Old 11-08-20, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
tl;dr version of the above rant---

"But seriously .... when a person tells me s/he plans to design and manufacture the next generation of bicycle drive trains ... and yet that person cannot even adjust a modern mechanical drivetrain .... yeah, I have my doubts."

Sorry, I haven't had any coffee yet,. I will try to control myselff better in future.
You wrote that rant without coffee??!!! I couldn't even think of some of those words without coffee.

It took two cups and an edit just to write this post.

And you nailed it.

Last edited by Wileyrat; 11-08-20 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 11-08-20, 07:53 AM
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Maelochs - your response was more well thought out than the original post.
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Old 11-08-20, 08:16 AM
  #11  
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OP doesn't realize that most of the so-called "problems" have already been solved...And then proposes to solve them.

Even if these were problems for most cyclists, I doubt they'd be solved by a person who can't tune his own drivetrain and brakes.
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Old 11-08-20, 08:35 AM
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Oh, and welcome to BFs.
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Old 11-08-20, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
Sorry to inform you that Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo beat you to the electro-mechanical drivetrain with their Di2, Etap and EPS drivetrains.
Not to mention, Mavic "Zap," nearly 30 years ago now.
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Old 11-08-20, 09:22 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
OP doesn't realize that most of the so-called "problems" have already been solved...And then proposes to solve them.

Even if these were problems for most cyclists, I doubt they'd be solved by a person who can't tune his own drivetrain and brakes.
Solved is the wrong word. Improved upon or refined makes sense, I think we'll continue to see drivetrain changes in the future.

You can test ride everything the OP was worried about already at the LBS.
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Old 11-08-20, 12:31 PM
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  1. Lower maintenance/tuning overhead (less than once a year)? Fixed gear
  2. Lower weight than the mechanical (both derailleurs, back cassette, crankgroup)? Fixed gear
  3. Higher gearing range for the same weight? For what? If you’re not racing, not hauling the kitchen sink up some mountains, or over 65, fixed gear is fine
  4. Power transmission efficiency? Fixed gear.
  5. Ability to measure your actual power output (performance)? What?
  6. A companion app with training logs & performance reporting? Are you high?
  7. Ability to act as the rear-wheel ABS (automatic braking system)? You’re high on jenkum, but... fixed gear.
  8. Something else (fill in the blanks)? Maybe you can design a handlebar with a built in bong/hookah with an integrated electric plasma lazer lighter and usb rechargeable headlights?
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Old 11-08-20, 01:28 PM
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My friction shifting drivetrains NEVER need adjustment. But that design has been around a while.
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Old 11-08-20, 01:30 PM
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rosefarts
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
My friction shifting drivetrains NEVER need adjustment.
Neither does my framing hammer.
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Old 11-08-20, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
Neither does my framing hammer.
Pics of you riding that hammer - or it isn't true and never happened.
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Old 11-08-20, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
Hi fellow cyclists!

Since the COVID started, Iíve been riding significantly more. I now go around 4 times a week for a few hours. Iíve started experiencing a lot of annoying problems, primarily related to my drivetrain and brakes. The bike has been in the shop every month!
Either you or the shop is doing something wrong. Or youíre riding a department store bike. Which - with only a tiny stretch - would qualify as you Ēdoing something wrongĒ.
Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post

All this got me thinking - why is the bike technology stuck in the late 1800s?
While Iíd be happy to rant and whine about bike design features that seems to have been made by the intern, while hung over, and distracted, Ēbeing stuck in the late 1800sĒ is not a phrase Iíd use.

Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
...there are always tradeoffs...
How do you expect us to be able to rate or prioritize between options w/o knowing the tradeoffs?
Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
  1. Lower maintenance/tuning overhead

not much of an issue for me. I do the work myself. Alternating between two chains, it mainly consists of chain wash & lube and the occasional set of brake pads. And a pedal rebuild. I could already push this lower. Belt-drive IGH, roller brakes, another brand of pedals would reduce maintenance considerably. I know what trade odds this would bring using current tech. What would your tech offer?
Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
Lower weight...
Most of my rides are commutes. If Iím dragging laptop, lunch and change of clothes, saving 1-2 lbs of bike weight isnít hugely important. Maybe on the road bike or the MTB.
Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
Higher gearing range for the same weight?
No, Iím good. See above. Iíve set up my bikes for what I can use for decades. Same range for less weight is a tad interesting for the road bike and MTB.
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Old 11-08-20, 03:38 PM
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dabac
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Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
Power transmission efficiency?
Thing is, a current bike in decent condition already does this fairly well. Improvements are of course welcome by definition, but for derailer gear bikes, I really doubt that tech would have potential for an improvement readily obvious outside a race setting.
Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
Ability to measure your actual power output (performance)?
On the commuter - not at all. The only number thatís acceptable to ride against on a commute is the ETA. Maybe on the road bike - for which I already can get it if Iíd want it bad enough.
Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
A companion app with training logs & performance reporting?
No, see above.
Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
Ability to act as the rear-wheel ABS (automatic braking system)
Do you actually mean ĒautomaticĒ, or do you mean Ēanti-lockĒ? Either way Iím not hugely interested. Explanation is too long for me to start typing in at a whim.
Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
Something else (fill in the blanks)?
Iíd like to see a bike with single-sided fork and rear, and wheels where the hub shells are easily detectable from the hub cores, that stays on the bike. With that, I could have one bike with several different wheels shod with different kinds of tires. Swapping in the right. set for the dayís riding conditions would be fast and easy.

Last edited by dabac; 11-09-20 at 12:47 AM.
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Old 11-08-20, 03:45 PM
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I'm surprised the popcorn post hasnt appeared yet
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Old 11-08-20, 04:02 PM
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Does it slice?
Will it dice?
Can I set it and forget it?
If I've fallen, will it get me up?
Will it ever need sharpening?
Is it safe for the kids?
Pet friendly?
Can I pay in five easy installments?
If I call now, do I get the free tote bag?
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Old 11-08-20, 05:24 PM
  #23  
ofajen
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Light Durable Cheap - pick any 2
Actually I can pick two that are all three: SS and fixed gear. 😊

Otto
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Old 11-09-20, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by BaneJ View Post
... Iíve been riding significantly more. I now go around 4 times a week for a few hours. Iíve started experiencing a lot of annoying problems, primarily related to my drivetrain and brakes. The bike has been in the shop every month..
You are in San Diego? Take a photo of your bike, and list the "annoying problems" in specific detail, so that they can be diagnosed. After your 10th post, you can share that photo. There are experienced mechanics here (particularly in the bicycle mechanics sub-forum). You do not need to re-conceive a new form of bicycle. You need to learn to take care of your own, and likely to find a new bike shop where the mechanic technicians are skilled.
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Old 11-09-20, 01:16 PM
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Yeah I got the "Kickstarter" "Indiegogo" impression as well. OP would have gotten better feedback if it didn't sound like a lead in from Vince and ShamWow.
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