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The plot thickens in the electronic age...

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

The plot thickens in the electronic age...

Old 01-16-14, 03:08 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
How would an automatic bicycle ever know which hill you want to power over, and which hill you want to spin? How would it know when you want to attack?
Same way a car with an electronically actuated dual clutch knows whether you want to hammer out of a curve or not. With enough data, and a sophisticate algorthym, it can basically read your mind.

My car has a 7 speed PDK transmission with paddle shifters. The programming on the transmission is amazing. 99% of the time, it gets exactly the right gear. Its to the point that the paddle shifters are really just there to play with; you can't improve the car's performance by using them.

Drive along at 80mph, and lift the accelerator lightly, it will shift to nuetral, and give you 7th gear when you get back on the gas lightly.

Drive along at 80mph, lift quickly, tap breaks to initiate turn in, get back on the gas at apex, and it gives you 2nd gear, with a perfect throttle blip to match revs.

With enough computing power, and data inputs, there's no reason that a bike transmission can't get to the point where it also reads your intentions.

You could also customize its programming the way cars do with sport, sport plus, and track modes.
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Old 01-16-14, 03:09 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
Mechanical cables are still the most reliable and cost effective way to shift gears on a bike, and I don't see that changing any time soon.
Just looked at Training Peaks, and I've ridden a total of 7,291.35 miles on Di2, not counting right under 41 hours on the trainer. Never dropped a chain, missed a shift, or made and adjustment of any kind other than charging the battery (rarely). Can shift under a load, FD trims itself, no barrel adjustments, no cables to stretch/break, and no worn out STI's. I have a 105 group on my other bike that I also love to ride, but it is no where near as reliable as the Di2.

With regards to cost, this is about as far from cost-effective sport as you will find.
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Old 01-16-14, 03:12 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
No matter how fancy the programming is that goes into automatic shifting bikes they will never be able to beat the data crunching of our own brains and bodies when it comes to when to shift and what gear to be in at any given time. It's a solution in search of a problem.
As I alluded to in the previous post, cars, crunching a ton of data, with sophisticated algorthyms, and capable of learing driver preferences already exceed what a driver can do. I see little reason to believe that you can't apply these same principles to a bike.
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Old 01-16-14, 03:17 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
I concur with all of this. I have met and ridden with several people who dread hills because they have no idea how to shift, or that a hill is an exercise in making a plan and following through. That is what an automatic could never do: if it's algorithm is simply "maintain cadence in range X", how does it know when you want to mash a small hill to put out crazy power, or when you want to crest hard. If you naturally fade at hill crests, this will simply exacerbate the fade.

I am not a car guy. However, it seems to me that part of why automatics work fine is that they are not running at max HP the overwhelming majority of the time. There is always torque and power available to apply more if a shift is less than optimal. Or if there isn't power, you preemptively drop out overdrive, or put it in "2" (disclaimer: I have never owned an automatic, but have driven them). On a bicycle, riding at FTP, if your tranny shifts a way that exceeds output either in rpm or torque, you have a limited band for recovery.

But if someone wants an automatic, just buy a single speed. I can say with absolute certainty that mine is always in the right gear, always anticipates what gear I wish to be in, and never jars me with an unexpected move. Flawless shifting guaranteed, or your money back.
In bold...false premise. At FTP an auto shifting bike will never shift to a gear that exceeds your output capability...or RPM.
All you have to do with an autoshifting bike is establish the programming based upon how you want to ride that day. A target watt output and a target cadence. The bike will sense both and adjust accordingly. If you try to climb a 50 degree grade, the bike will ultimately shift to 1st gear. There is no gear lower than 1st gear and that is all it can do. The rest will be up to you just like if you had a manual shifting bike. Cars have the same limitation only with higher hp and weight. A 200 hp car will likely not climb a 40 deg hill full throttle and maximum power any higher than 2nd gear with top speed of 70 mph or so. Btw, that can be calculated to within 10% if you care to dig out the formulas. Btw, I am a car guy, motorcycle guy and bicycle guy. I like it all.

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Old 01-16-14, 03:19 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
As I alluded to in the previous post, cars, crunching a ton of data, with sophisticated algorthyms, and capable of learing driver preferences already exceed what a driver can do. I see little reason to believe that you can't apply these same principles to a bike.
We agree. It comes down to technical capability, complexity which also portends weight and of course cost. Not here today, but I wouldn't rule it out in the future.
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Old 01-16-14, 03:19 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
Possibly. It would likely be an expensive set of "training wheels" though. I'm all for innovation I just don't see this as a worthwhile piece of technology. If they think it is and that they can turn a profit on it more power to them.
I, too, have no love of paying for unwanted features, but we already have GPS in place recording most of the necessary data. If all we need is a little more silicon power (which will come, regardless) and a bit of programming, I don't think that something like shifting recommendations would be terribly expensive to implement. At the same time, I'm sure that manufacturers would be all for anything that could potentially encourage new users that might have experienced a little trepidation, otherwise.
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Old 01-16-14, 03:27 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
I'm all for innovation I just don't see this as a worthwhile piece of technology.
Hahaha! Too late!
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Old 01-16-14, 03:27 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Same way a car with an electronically actuated dual clutch knows whether you want to hammer out of a curve or not. With enough data, and a sophisticate algorthym, it can basically read your mind.

My car has a 7 speed PDK transmission with paddle shifters. The programming on the transmission is amazing. 99% of the time, it gets exactly the right gear. Its to the point that the paddle shifters are really just there to play with; you can't improve the car's performance by using them.

Drive along at 80mph, and lift the accelerator lightly, it will shift to nuetral, and give you 7th gear when you get back on the gas lightly.

Drive along at 80mph, lift quickly, tap breaks to initiate turn in, get back on the gas at apex, and it gives you 2nd gear, with a perfect throttle blip to match revs.

With enough computing power, and data inputs, there's no reason that a bike transmission can't get to the point where it also reads your intentions.

You could also customize its programming the way cars do with sport, sport plus, and track modes.
Good post. In bold, would likely be the centerpiece of this technology and easily changed with a thumb wheel...gearing you want to cruise in and gearing you want to hammer in.
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Old 01-16-14, 03:33 PM
  #59  
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It just isn't difficult to hit a button (di2) to change gears. I see very little reason for something like this in a competitive setting....and that includes club rides.
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Old 01-16-14, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by RJM View Post
It just isn't difficult to hit a button (di2) to change gears. I see very little reason for something like this in a competitive setting....and that includes club rides.
NASCAR doesn't use automatic transmissions even.
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Old 01-16-14, 03:39 PM
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Neither does a jet plane.




so what?
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Old 01-16-14, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by RJM View Post
Neither does a jet plane.




so what?
Oh, sorry for agreeing with your post.
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Old 01-16-14, 03:42 PM
  #63  
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I should have read your previous posts.
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Old 01-16-14, 04:04 PM
  #64  
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I've put 285,000 miles on a Ford Escort without doing one thing to the transmission. If bicycles were like that, it'd be a big difference. When you have to keep tinkering with them to keep them shifting right, anything that complicates things is a step in the wrong direction.
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Old 01-16-14, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
I've put 285,000 miles on a Ford Escort without doing one thing to the transmission. If bicycles were like that, it'd be a big difference. When you have to keep tinkering with them to keep them shifting right, anything that complicates things is a step in the wrong direction.
I had to retire my Escort Zx2 (manual trans) at around 170k miles when it would no longer stay in 5th gear.
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Old 01-16-14, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
I've put 285,000 miles on a Ford Escort without doing one thing to the transmission. If bicycles were like that, it'd be a big difference. When you have to keep tinkering with them to keep them shifting right, anything that complicates things is a step in the wrong direction.
Your penance was enduring the Escort for that many miles.
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Old 01-16-14, 04:24 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by jmX View Post
This data can already be extrapolated given your cadence and speed, both of which are already saved in an ANT+ computer. The real issue is that I'm not sure there's any value in that data.
Hmm. Blatantly obvious but I never thought of that.

That would be interesting to look at inside cycling data if for no other reason than curiosity. You could enter your cassette range into TP, Strava, GC, whatever, and see what gear you were in anytime you were pedaling. Surprised no one has done that yet. Except for the fact that, like you said, it wouldn't be terribly useful. There would obviously be breaks in the stream if you were coasting, and the data would get sketchy if you pedaled slower than your rear wheel (not engaging the freehub) while coasting.
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Old 01-16-14, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by donrhummy View Post
One big benefit from this: if the Ant+ receiver records your gearing at every pedal stroke, training apps will be able to tell you which gearing allows you to put out the highest power with the lowest effort at different gradients.
I see where you were going with this, but it doesn't compute.
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Old 01-16-14, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jmX View Post
This data can already be extrapolated given your cadence and speed, both of which are already saved in an ANT+ computer. The real issue is that I'm not sure there's any value in that data.
only if you also know the wind speed/direction, temperature and feet above sea level.
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Old 01-16-14, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by donrhummy View Post
only if you also know the wind speed/direction, temperature and feet above sea level.
Don't forget the phase of the moon.
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Old 01-16-14, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
Don't forget the phase of the moon.
and the flap of the butterfly's wings.
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Old 01-16-14, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I don't disagree with your analogy, but I don't necessarily agree with your conclusion. Where you seem to think of a crutch as a permanent solution, I'll point out that they're often temporary aids. For people that are unsure of when and why to shift, I think that it could help them explore their potential and help dramatically shorten the learning curve.
So it seems to me like you are saying this might be more properly offered at the lower end of the group set lineup. I could see that.
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Old 01-16-14, 05:59 PM
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Next: automatic pedaling mode!
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Old 01-16-14, 05:59 PM
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Race cars have no resemblance to family cars.... or even sporty street legal go-fasters.

I think it's amazing that after over a hundred years of bicycles and bicycle racing... the race version of cycling has remained so true to its roots. I would guess it is the European influence in the racing regulations that has forced racing bicycles to change so little. Just imagine how light weight a bicycle we could find at the LBS if racing bicycles had no minimum weight limit.

We may be nearing that "fork in the road". That time when racing bicycles no longer have much in common with what any reasonable person would ride on a path or road. Or... be able to purchase without a corporate sponsorship.

I don't think.... it would be a completely awful change to see super race bicycles at the top pro levels.... with various levels of "stock" bicycles in local races.
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Old 01-16-14, 06:45 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Race cars have no resemblance to family cars.... or even sporty street legal go-fasters.

I think it's amazing that after over a hundred years of bicycles and bicycle racing... the race version of cycling has remained so true to its roots. I would guess it is the European influence in the racing regulations that has forced racing bicycles to change so little. Just imagine how light weight a bicycle we could find at the LBS if racing bicycles had no minimum weight limit.

We may be nearing that "fork in the road". That time when racing bicycles no longer have much in common with what any reasonable person would ride on a path or road. Or... be able to purchase without a corporate sponsorship.

I don't think.... it would be a completely awful change to see super race bicycles at the top pro levels.... with various levels of "stock" bicycles in local races.
I don't think I agreed with a single thing you said...lol.
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