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Hydraulic Gears?

KiblamsKiblams Posts: 2,423
edited November 2009 in MTB general
Just had an odd thought, why do't we have hydraulic gears in the same way as brakes? :?

Or is this something that was tried and didn't take off during my break from biking?

Posts

  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    We do ;-)

    Not very common though.
  • SarnianSarnian Posts: 1,451
    I can't remember who brought It out but there was a air shifter and gears around In the mid 90's
    It's not a ornament, so ride It
  • ramemtbersramemtbers Posts: 1,562
    clever ideas but i guess it costs a tonne.
  • There are systems available (I remember thinking the same thing 5 years ago), but they cost a fortune, there is also an electrically operated system by shimano.
  • blakef111blakef111 Posts: 374
    edited November 2009
    Sarnian wrote:
    I can't remember who brought It out but there was a air shifter and gears around In the mid 90's
    shimano airlines, DH specific though 2038980300_dc4abefec5_b.jpg
    There are systems available (I remember thinking the same thing 5 years ago), but they cost a fortune, there is also an electrically operated system by shimano.
    shimano dura ace di2 hincapie_drivetrain.jpg
  • jay12jay12 Posts: 6,306
    There are systems available (I remember thinking the same thing 5 years ago), but they cost a fortune, there is also an electrically operated system by shimano.
    that dura ace though and the front mech costs over £500 and rear something like £800
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,922
    Shimano did the air shifters called Airlines. Pic on Flickr

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cycleologist/2038980300/

    Can't find no tech docs though.

    IIRC Hope did hydraulic shifting, a normal shifter pulling cable through a hydraulic acuator and the reverse set-up at the rear mech.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • Kiblams wrote:
    Just had an odd thought, why do't we have hydraulic gears in the same way as brakes? :?

    Or is this something that was tried and didn't take off during my break from biking?

    a german company i believe 5rot_schaltwerk_1.jpg
  • jairajjairaj Posts: 3,009
    So how come hydraulic gears aren't popular then? Did they not offer many pro's over a easier to maintain cable system?

    Also, does that rear mech above only have one jockey wheel or am I missing out on something?

    :?
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    it has 2.

    why would you want hydro gears?


    the ROT5 set up is very expensive.

    a wire and a spring works very well and weighs less.

    there have also been cable activated hydro builds but they did not take off.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • R+P+KR+P+K Posts: 49
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it?
  • bomberesquebomberesque Posts: 1,701
    nicklouse wrote:
    why would you want hydro gears?

    why would we want any new product? It's an eternal question, 20 years ago when a 35mm suspension fork weighed >2kg and cost 500 quid we wondered why we want suspension on a mountainbike, today front suspension is all but ubiquitous.

    That said, I doubt that the evolution of gearing systems will lay down the path of the rear and front deurallier and even if I'm wrong about that I doubt that hydraulic would be the way. There would have to be so much R&D behind it to get it to a level where it could compete cost and weight wise (as you point out nick) with current spring/cable systems and the fact that the big boys don't seem interested (as you also point out, something hand hewn in some German guy's shed will always be bloody expensive) I suggest means that theyve either got a better idea (Gboxes) or they've looked, thought "nahhh" and plan to stick with cable gearing systems.

    The motor actuated electronic shifting of the new Shimano group reminds me of the experiment Mavic did with RF shifters about 15 years back. That didn't take off and I kinda doubt that this will either. It's too expensive (OK that will change if they ramp up production) and I can't think that it competes weight wise with an equivalent cable actuated road group (although I've not looked)

    I did see an article somewhere about a hydraulic drivetrain though (replacing the chain with a hydraulic pump), that was a bonkers idea

    Personally I rekon frame mounted gearbox based on Alfine type tech with belt drive but then gain maybe we'll continue using Deore till the sun implodes, they're built well enough to last that long
    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • nicklouse wrote:
    why would you want hydro gears?

    why would we want any new product?

    I agree.

    I'm extremely grateful for those who do continually look to new ways to improve existing products. If we all took the view that what we have at the moment can't be improved, innovation and progress would skid to a rather unattractive halt.

    I get to work alongside some hugely talented people from various fields of engineering and I'm always staggered by the amount of energy they have to continually improve something that they only just finished improving the day before.

    MTB is a very competitive market (although still not as competitive as it could be) and companies spend a heck of a lot of time and money improving existing products and developing new technologies just to retain market share and see a return on all that R&D.

    I don't for one minute imagine the response from the lead innovators at Shimano/SRAM was "why would you want hydro gears?" when the potential of such a product was discussed. It would more likely be "well, let's see if it can work and if the benefits are worth the additional cost/weight/silly colour etc".

    I agree that the absence of hydro gears in the mainstream tells us a lot about the likely results of those studies/tests.........they don't offer much better performance over cable given the additional cost/maintenance/weight/reliability etc. But we can only guess, unless of course you happen to be on the board of Shimano or SRAM :D

    I remember thinking that V brakes were mindblowing when they came out. My old canit's suddenly looked positively stupid. Then when disc brakes became available to the masses, I thought, "what was the point in having a rim brake at all! What a silly idea when you could have something connected to your hub!"

    But even disc brakes in their current incarnation have evolved over time. The same will happen with most components on our bikes over the next decade.

    Perhaps hydro gears will never be a viable solution to shifting, but the culmination of all the efforts of the engineers trying (and failing to a certain degree) to develop those ideas will generally lead to the best solution, or lend its technolgy to other areas of the sport.

    The big one for me is when someone will get their greasy finger out and develop a decent remote dropping post!!! :D Then I'm sure we will all be laughing at the likes of the Joplin/Command Post/KS etc when we see how useless they really are. Oh wait a minute, we are laughing at their inability to work now! :lol:
  • The only advantage I could ever see in hydraulic gears is if they could make it lighter than cables.

    Brakes are generally better hydraulic because of the increased modulation of the force exerted on the lever. A gear shift is a more finite and simple movement, which can be transmitted quite easily by a cable.
    Orange Crush 2010
    Trek 1.5c
  • Paul 8vPaul 8v Posts: 5,458
    Mavic did an electric system called Zap years ago, I think Chris Boardman used it in one of the Tour De France's
  • Could this forum really handle the extra traffic caused by "my gears are spongy" posts?

    It's bad enough with brakes :lol:

    Cable is fine, electric would be a luxury, hydraulic would be a PITA for the everyday mtb'er

    Plus poor Nicklouse having to wade through endless posts......
    Scott Scale Custom
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    Kona Coilair 2007 Dark Peak Destroyer
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    "BOCD - If it aint perfect it aint good enough"
  • The lack of cable stretch when using hydraulic gears would surely be an advantage?
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    The lack of cable stretch when using hydraulic gears would surely be an advantage?

    maybe but would it out weigh the problems inherent with a two way hydraulic system?

    the problems most users seem to have with hydro brakes says no.

    this idea has been around for circa 5 years now has there been a rush to buy it? like there is with the XTR and X0 kit?

    bust a hose and you have problems with a "standard" mech there are trail fixes.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • If you store your bike correctly (i.e. in the right gear combo), how often does cable stretch really become an issue?

    At most I think I give my barrels a quarter turn once a month (400-500 miles).
    Scott Scale Custom
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v496/ ... C09729.jpg

    Kona Coilair 2007 Dark Peak Destroyer
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v496/ ... C09727.jpg

    "BOCD - If it aint perfect it aint good enough"
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,804
    Hydraulic would be heavier, theer is no need for the effort multiplication that is desireable with brakes, and as all have said, trail fixes would be all but impossible.

    Always leave in 'cable relaxed' gear when not riding to reduce cable stretch (pain on my 1x9 non RR as to make life sensible I have to shift down by hand before getting on!)

    Simon
    Current steed - Whyte T129, 2013 frame, mongrel Revelations, Giant dropper, Stans S1 wheelset. 12, Magura Trail Sport brakes, 1x11. 12.8Kg
  • Gears and brakes operated by cables are a good solution and were a significant advance over earlier systems operated by rods and cranks, but they do have inherent mechanical characteristics that limit the amount of force they can transmit and their efficiency deteriorates quite quickly with use. Hydraulic systems overcome some of these problems; they are good for brakes in particular, but for derailleur gear systems I think controlling the forces required would be more difficult to implement, which is presumably why they never caught on. Electrical gear changing is a logical alternative to hydraulics and with modern components is relatively easy to produce. It allows very fine control of the derailleur and could be programmed to respond to changes in the characteristics of the transmission as it wears. I would expect most 'serious' road bikes to have it fitted within 3-5 years.
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