Electronic Shifting - Fully Automatic Bikes?

speedymoto
speedymoto Posts: 30
edited April 2013 in Road general
Whilst doing my usual rounds today I was contemplating the benefits of electronic shifting & wondered how long it would be before you could enter a desired cadence into the equation et voila!, let some electronic brain take the strain. Maybe we could have Sport, Hilly, Fenland or Relaxed modes to choose from, or maybe just let a central computer take GPS, urine temperature & heart rate measurements and decide exactly what's best for us.

Just think about it; never again having to push a button or prod a lever whilst navigating that set of rolling hills, or racing your mate to the village signpost. Boring you say ??... maybe. Un-involving ???... definitely. Faster ???.... quite possibly.

I don't think it is something I would want, at least not just yet.....

Comments

  • lotus49
    lotus49 Posts: 763
    Automatic gearboxes in cars are horrible. I cannot see why that would be any less true on a bike.

    I vote against.
  • I agree, at least I don't like the automatic 'boxes found in 90s family saloons, but the semi automatic ones found on pretty much every sports car (not to mention F1) are nicer to use, and importantly they are faster than one requiring anything more than the flick of a little finger. And would you feel the same if you were able to cycle faster, for longer, with less effort (which seems to be the claim of every advancement I read about these days)??....
  • Gizmodo wrote:

    Thanks for that, shouldn't have stopped my subscription to New Scientist all those years ago!

    So I wonder how long before it becomes mainstream - in the article it said the tester "never felt like he was in the wrong gear" - isn't technology wonderful?!!
  • We build fully automatic shifting bikes using the Nuvinci N360 continuously variable hub and the ride is pretty awesome. It wasn't designed for the competitive or more hardcore riders like yourselves but it definitely hits the spots for casual and recreational riders who just went to get on a bike to get some exercise around the block or park and have fun.

    We let the rider choose their optimum cadence and it can also correct for going up or down a hill. You can also put it in a manual mode where you control either cadence directly or gear ratio directly. Pretty cool stuff. We are working on a commuter style bike right now to complement our recently launched line of cruiser/comfort bikes. Top it off with bluetooth connectivity that allows the rider to interact with the bike using their iOS or Android smartphones, either to monitor stats real-time, view ride history, or change the shifting settings and you have a pretty unique offering.

    You can check us out at www.evolvethebike.com
  • VTech
    VTech Posts: 4,736
    lotus49 wrote:
    Automatic gearboxes in cars are horrible. I cannot see why that would be any less true on a bike.

    I vote against.

    The very first time you drive a decent tip system you will never look back.
    Living MY dream.
  • bazzer2
    bazzer2 Posts: 189
    Shimano Nexus had automatic shifting maybe 10 years ago? I clearly remember the Halfords special it was attached to feeling 'odd' but allowing me to get up some hefty speed when you put the power in. Only had 4 gears, and the chainring had an elastomer around it to cushion the effect of shifting a little.
  • cookeeemonster
    cookeeemonster Posts: 1,991
    I've owned geared and automatic Vespas over the years and the difference is staggering - in favour of the automatics.

    dont see why it wouldnt work (and be good for many people) in the cycle world. There will always be a choice
  • lostboysaint
    lostboysaint Posts: 4,250
    lotus49 wrote:
    Automatic gearboxes in cars are horrible. I cannot see why that would be any less true on a bike.

    What a complete load of bollocks. Most auto gearboxes are now so smooth and efficient that the whole idea of wanking a gearstick and waggling your left foot around is just ridiculous, especially with most driving! (Urban or steady speed!)
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
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  • VTech
    VTech Posts: 4,736
    I couldnt imagine having to change a gear with the stick myself.
    If possible I go for tiptronic to have the best of both worlds but manuals to me are a pain.

    Having said that, to be fair to lotus49, there are plenty of people I know who prefer manual shift.
    I remember the first time I used egear on my car and was blown away by how smooth it was compared to the auto shift, all the main players seem to have built sweet systems with changes down to 7 hundredths per shift making driving super slick.
    Living MY dream.
  • Bar Shaker
    Bar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    Something like this would be good fun but would need the GPS deciding which chainring to use, in order to work away from the TT course.
    Boardman Elite SLR 9.2S
    Boardman FS Pro
  • I can see the logic of things like the aforementioned CV system when aimed at people out for a gentle ride (it looks quite fun, in fact), but I fail completely to see how automatic gears would be either practical or desirable on a bike that's going to get a bit more of a spanking, because...

    What's to stop the system shifting around the cassette, or even worse between chainrings, when under full load? Also, what's to stop it from shifting at the precise moment I decide to stop pedalling? Furthermore, how's the system going to know when I'm about to get out of the saddle? Then, how will it know whether I'm out the saddle to just change the muscles in use, or standing up to give it some beans?

    With my coder's hat, it sounds like one of those horrible "Can't it just work it out?" user requests.
    Mangeur
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,250
    You don't have to follow the trend. Unlike cars, bicycle innovations have had so little effect on performance and reliability that you can be be perfectly at ease with a 30 years old bicycle, if kept in good conditions.
    If you look at bicycle speed over the past 30 years, there is very little improvement at all, maybe 5% or so and where there is, is mostly due to more advanced blood doping or better training regimes
    left the forum March 2023
  • Bar Shaker
    Bar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    What's to stop the system shifting around the cassette, or even worse between chainrings, when under full load?

    Nothing, it is designed to be able to do just that.

    If you are still at the floor of your cadence range, a full power shift won't cause any damage. Full load shifting is one of the reasons it is on almost every non SRAM Tour bike.

    It is full power shifting at well below optimum cadence that will break stuff.
    Boardman Elite SLR 9.2S
    Boardman FS Pro
  • Bar Shaker wrote:
    What's to stop the system shifting around the cassette, or even worse between chainrings, when under full load?
    Nothing, it is designed to be able to do just that.

    If you are still at the floor of your cadence range, a full power shift won't cause any damage. Full load shifting is one of the reasons it is on almost every non SRAM Tour bike.

    It is full power shifting at well below optimum cadence that will break stuff.
    It's one thing having a system that shifts under full load when the rider's expecting it. IMHO, it's a different kind of cider altogether to have a system that does so without informing the rider first. I for one really don't like the sound of the bike deciding "you're going to the small ring and up two on the cassette now" without my input. That's going to feel odd to say the least.
    Mangeur
  • Bar Shaker
    Bar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    Bar Shaker wrote:
    What's to stop the system shifting around the cassette, or even worse between chainrings, when under full load?
    Nothing, it is designed to be able to do just that.

    If you are still at the floor of your cadence range, a full power shift won't cause any damage. Full load shifting is one of the reasons it is on almost every non SRAM Tour bike.

    It is full power shifting at well below optimum cadence that will break stuff.
    It's one thing having a system that shifts under full load when the rider's expecting it. IMHO, it's a different kind of cider altogether to have a system that does so without informing the rider first. I for one really don't like the sound of the bike deciding "you're going to the small ring and up two on the cassette now" without my input. That's going to feel odd to say the least.

    Agreed. It would need a manual over ride. For long gently roads it would be fun though.
    Boardman Elite SLR 9.2S
    Boardman FS Pro
  • VTech
    VTech Posts: 4,736
    Im not sure fully automatic shifting is whats needed, after all, on cars tip is better and always will be.
    Living MY dream.
  • Bar Shaker
    Bar Shaker Posts: 2,313
    VTech wrote:
    Im not sure fully automatic shifting is whats needed, after all, on cars tip is better and always will be.

    I have tip on my car but leave it in auto mode 99% of the time.
    Boardman Elite SLR 9.2S
    Boardman FS Pro
  • VTech
    VTech Posts: 4,736
    Bar Shaker wrote:
    VTech wrote:
    Im not sure fully automatic shifting is whats needed, after all, on cars tip is better and always will be.

    I have tip on my car but leave it in auto mode 99% of the time.

    If you were driving it on a track or putting it through its paces you be 100% tip.
    Living MY dream.
  • lotus49
    lotus49 Posts: 763
    VTech wrote:
    The very first time you drive a decent tip system you will never look back.
    When I wrote "automatic" I meant fully automatic. I don't particularly like clutches so I think semi-auto gearboxes are a good idea. What I don't like is having the car decide which gear I should be using.
    lotus49 wrote:
    Automatic gearboxes in cars are horrible. I cannot see why that would be any less true on a bike.

    What a complete load of ****. Most auto gearboxes are now so smooth and efficient that the whole idea of w*****g a gearstick and waggling your left foot around is just ridiculous, especially with most driving! (Urban or steady speed!)
    Who wants smooth and efficient? Smoothness and efficiency may be important to you but they aren't to me.

    I have driven a lot of cars with fully automatic gearboxes and I didn't like a single one of them. The Merc ones were the best but the whole experience is so utterly boring and uninvolving that it makes me want to fall asleep.

    I also do very little urban or steady speed driving because it's tedious. If I just need to get from A to B, I go on the train.
  • VTech
    VTech Posts: 4,736
    To answer the question then, the answer is no.
    I dont think fully automatic would work as there would be so many injuries due to change of delivery. Im no cycling expert but software and gearbox control is something I've worked on at the highest level for 20+ years and the change of delivery could seriously harm someone riding a bike, putting on the power then the gear shifting at the wrong moment.
    My opinion would be rider control.
    Living MY dream.