electronic shifting, does anyone care?



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D

Dave Silva

Guest
Greetings,

I'd like some input from this group on the desireability of electronic shifting. From what I've read
Mavic Zap was nearly dead on arrival with a propritary deraileur and a very high price tag.

There seems to be a lot of chatter on Shimano and the Italians developing a completely automatic
transmission that keeps cadence with sensors etc but I want to know if you think serious cyclists
would be interested in a device that just electrifies shifting (but does not automate it) by placing
something on the chain stay that pulls cable from an existing deraileur?

It would probably not be any lighter than the cables and shifters it replaces but it would allow for
multiple inputs on the handlebars. That being the biggest advantage.

I may have a solution looking for a problem and I'd like some feedback on its potential value.

Dave Silva

Frustrated inventor
 
P

Pete Biggs

Guest
"dave silva" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I may have a solution looking for a problem and I'd like some feedback on its potential value.

I'm not entirely happy with the reliability and precision of current road bike brifters, and like
the idea of something even easier to use, so I would be a potential customer come the day that
electronic shifters are affordable and reliable. Don't _need_ them but they might be nice.

I take it you're aware of Campagnolo's electronic developments?

~PB
 
R

Rob Campbell

Guest
I think electronic shifting will never catch on because it turns something cheap simple and reliable
into something much more complicated and expensive with no clear advantages. What happens if you
forgot to change the batteries? What if you ride under some powerlines and they trigger gear shifts?
Faulty electronics can't be fixed by 99% of people, but mechanical shifters can easily be put right
in most cases by almost anybody. The great thing about bikes is how simple they are. This makes it
almost impossible to make a significant improvement which will have lasting value. Why substitute a
gear cable with expensive electronics if both can do the same job?

Rob
 
R

Ryan Cousineau

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (dave
silva) wrote:

> Greetings,
>
> I'd like some input from this group on the desireability of electronic shifting. From what I've
> read Mavic Zap was nearly dead on arrival with a propritary deraileur and a very high price tag.

Mavic's Zap and Mektronic has such bad reputations for unreliablity that they fell to the ground
immediately.

> There seems to be a lot of chatter on Shimano and the Italians developing a completely automatic
> transmission that keeps cadence with sensors etc but I want to know if you think serious cyclists
> would be interested in a device that just electrifies shifting (but does not automate it) by
> placing something on the chain stay that pulls cable from an existing deraileur?
>
> It would probably not be any lighter than the cables and shifters it replaces but it would allow
> for multiple inputs on the handlebars. That being the biggest advantage.
>
> I may have a solution looking for a problem and I'd like some feedback on its potential value.

Dave: In my opinion, you would have to demonstrate that an electronic system was faster, lighter,
more precise, or do something clever with auto-shifting or some such that took advantage of the
electronics.

Multiple inputs on the bars are nice, but proper brifteurs can already be reached from the hoods and
the drops, so generally rider access isn't a problem. Maybe some tri-geeks would like it for their
aerobar controls.

electrifying shifting entails replacing a very sophisticated and pretty reliable mechanical system.
In exchange for having to add batteries to my bicycle, I'd want some serious benefits.

--
Ryan Cousineau, [email protected] http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
 
J

Jobst Brandt

Guest
Dave Silva writes:

> I'd like some input from this group on the desirability of electronic shifting. From what I've
> read Mavic Zap was nearly dead on arrival with a proprietary derailleur and a very high price tag.

> I may have a solution looking for a problem and I'd like some feedback on its potential value.

The same demand that gave us STI (brake grip shifting) could bring electronic shifting to the
bicycle but it's a difficult nut to crack considering cost, reliability both mechanical and
electrical, and interchangeability. The desire to give it mass appeal seems to hinge on race
worthiness (aka UCI approval) which is the biggest hurdle to overcome because shifting must be
accomplished with no external power. Apparently UCI was willing to allow electronic control but not
battery power for shifting. It is this mechanism that repeatedly failed.

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=mavic+zap&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&selm=6a5ei4%24o13%40hplntx.-
hpl.hp.com&rnum=1

Fear of riding with only one hand on the bars got us away from downtube shifters and the inability
to let up on power while continuing to pedal promoted synchronized, ramped sprockets. By replies to
the subject of shifting, it seems even these devices are not enough and that pushbutton shifting at
several locations on the handlebars is still on the wish list.

> Frustrated inventor

Inventor is not a good place to be. Best work for a company that produces the mechanisms that
interest you and find satisfaction and recognition for your ideas there. Manufacturers are famous
for ignoring inventors, no matter how clever and useful their inventions are.

Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
 
M

Matt O'Toole

Guest
"dave silva" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...

> I'd like some input from this group on the desireability of electronic shifting. From what I've
> read Mavic Zap was nearly dead on arrival with a propritary deraileur and a very high price tag.

That it didn't work and self-destructed probably had more to do with it.

> There seems to be a lot of chatter on Shimano and the Italians developing a completely automatic
> transmission that keeps cadence with sensors etc but I want to know if you think serious cyclists
> would be interested in a device that just electrifies shifting (but does not automate it) by
> placing something on the chain stay that pulls cable from an existing deraileur?
>
> It would probably not be any lighter than the cables and shifters it replaces but it would allow
> for multiple inputs on the handlebars. That being the biggest advantage.

Shimano already offers this with XTR -- auxiliary shifters that go on the barends. Even though it
works well, no one seems to have a use for it.

> I may have a solution looking for a problem

Yup.

> and I'd like some feedback on its potential value.

Utility, not much for most riders, but that doesn't mean other people won't buy it. After all,
Shimano still offers their "Airlines" for sale.

Matt O.
 
S

Spam Hater

Guest
Ryan Cousineau wrote:

> In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (dave
> silva) wrote:
>
>> Greetings,
>>
>> I'd like some input from this group on the desireability of electronic shifting. From what I've
>> read Mavic Zap was nearly dead on arrival with a propritary deraileur and a very high price tag.
>
> Mavic's Zap and Mektronic has such bad reputations for unreliablity that they fell to the ground
> immediately.
>
>> There seems to be a lot of chatter on Shimano and the Italians developing a completely automatic
>> transmission that keeps cadence with sensors etc but I want to know if you think serious cyclists
>> would be interested in a device that just electrifies shifting (but does not automate it) by
>> placing something on the chain stay that pulls cable from an existing deraileur?
>>
>> It would probably not be any lighter than the cables and shifters it replaces but it would allow
>> for multiple inputs on the handlebars. That being the biggest advantage.
>>
>> I may have a solution looking for a problem and I'd like some feedback on its potential value.
>
> Dave: In my opinion, you would have to demonstrate that an electronic system was faster, lighter,
> more precise, or do something clever with auto-shifting or some such that took advantage of the
> electronics.
>
> Multiple inputs on the bars are nice, but proper brifteurs can already be reached from the hoods
> and the drops, so generally rider access isn't a problem. Maybe some tri-geeks would like it for
> their aerobar controls.
>
> electrifying shifting entails replacing a very sophisticated and pretty reliable mechanical
> system. In exchange for having to add batteries to my bicycle, I'd want some serious benefits.
>

In all my years as not only an cycling enthusisat, but an an engineer (HW/SW). It is amazing to me
that something so 'simple' as a mechanically-linked shifting scheme as exists with a bicycle is not
only still in existence, but is also still functioning better than any electronic counterparts
thathave been developed over time.

This says a lot for the simplicty and eleagance of the mechanism, IMHO (Ocham's Razor and all that
stuff). I truly doubt that there will any new device that will repelace the tried and true scheme.
There may be more gears added, but the basic design will go unchanged.

Then again, who knows what backyard mechanic is cooking up at this moment.

Joe Cipale
--

Pursuant to U.S. code,title 47, Chapter 5, Subchapter II, Section 227, and consistent with Oregon
State Law, any and all unsolicited commercial E-mail sent to this address is subject to a consulting
fee of $500.00 U.S. E-Mailing denotes acceptance of these terms. Consult
<http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/47/227.html> for details.
 
A

A Muzi

Guest
"Rob Campbell" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> I think electronic shifting will never catch on because it turns something cheap simple and
> reliable into something much more complicated and
expensive
> with no clear advantages. What happens if you forgot to change the batteries? What if you ride
> under some powerlines and they trigger gear shifts? Faulty electronics can't be fixed by 99% of
> people, but mechanical shifters can easily be put right in most cases by almost anybody. The
great
> thing about bikes is how simple they are. This makes it almost impossible
to
> make a significant improvement which will have lasting value. Why
substitute
> a gear cable with expensive electronics if both can do the same job?

That's a well-considered paragraph that summarizes my feelings as a rider.

As someone in the business, however, I see manic demand for dysfunctional geegaws all day long. And
I forego some revenue by not jumping on some of those bandwagons ( such as wheels with not enough
spokes - which are silly, but sell very well, and for serious dollars, in serious volume). You
write, "The great thing about bikes is how simple they are". Look around on your next club ride. Not
everyone shares our appreciation for elegance of design.

My take on the Campagnolo project is that someone else will definitely try this again. And when they
do, Campagnolo has to be credibly competitive in the market. I bet the sting of their late arrival
to index is a big factor in the decision to spend developmental lire on electronic shifting.

I'm apprehensive about the day when Campagnolo actually delivers an e-shifter (shudder).

--
Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
 
A

Allen Foster

Guest
It's the same with a manual transmission in a car. I'm not sure about in the states but in the UK at
least manual transmissions (or gears as we like to them) are far more popular than automatics yet
the shifting system has not changed dramatically since the dawn of cars. I'm an electronics engineer
and love electronic control systems but I also understand the concept of appropriate technology and
that it is possible to over complicate things.

K.I.S.S. is a good strategy to design with.

Allen

On Wed, 08 Jan 2003 09:54:48 -0800, spam hater <[email protected]> wrote:

>Ryan Cousineau wrote:
>
>> In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (dave
>> silva) wrote:
>>
>>> Greetings,
>>>
>>> I'd like some input from this group on the desireability of electronic shifting. From what I've
>>> read Mavic Zap was nearly dead on arrival with a propritary deraileur and a very high price tag.
>>
>> Mavic's Zap and Mektronic has such bad reputations for unreliablity that they fell to the ground
>> immediately.
>>
>>> There seems to be a lot of chatter on Shimano and the Italians developing a completely automatic
>>> transmission that keeps cadence with sensors etc but I want to know if you think serious
>>> cyclists would be interested in a device that just electrifies shifting (but does not automate
>>> it) by placing something on the chain stay that pulls cable from an existing deraileur?
>>>
>>> It would probably not be any lighter than the cables and shifters it replaces but it would allow
>>> for multiple inputs on the handlebars. That being the biggest advantage.
>>>
>>> I may have a solution looking for a problem and I'd like some feedback on its potential value.
>>
>> Dave: In my opinion, you would have to demonstrate that an electronic system was faster, lighter,
>> more precise, or do something clever with auto-shifting or some such that took advantage of the
>> electronics.
>>
>> Multiple inputs on the bars are nice, but proper brifteurs can already be reached from the hoods
>> and the drops, so generally rider access isn't a problem. Maybe some tri-geeks would like it for
>> their aerobar controls.
>>
>> electrifying shifting entails replacing a very sophisticated and pretty reliable mechanical
>> system. In exchange for having to add batteries to my bicycle, I'd want some serious benefits.
>>
>
>In all my years as not only an cycling enthusisat, but an an engineer (HW/SW). It is amazing to me
>that something so 'simple' as a mechanically-linked shifting scheme as exists with a bicycle is not
>only still in existence, but is also still functioning better than any electronic counterparts
>thathave been developed over time.
>
>This says a lot for the simplicty and eleagance of the mechanism, IMHO (Ocham's Razor and all that
>stuff). I truly doubt that there will any new device that will repelace the tried and true scheme.
>There may be more gears added, but the basic design will go unchanged.
>
>Then again, who knows what backyard mechanic is cooking up at this moment.
>
>Joe Cipale
 
A

Alex Rodriguez

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
[email protected]_THISnewtownbreda.demANDTHISon.co.uk says...
>It's the same with a manual transmission in a car. I'm not sure about in the states but in the UK
>at least manual transmissions (or gears as we like to them) are far more popular than automatics
>yet the shifting system has not changed dramatically since the dawn of cars. I'm an electronics
>engineer and love electronic control systems but I also understand the concept of appropriate
>technology and that it is possible to over complicate things.
>K.I.S.S. is a good strategy to design with.

There are a limited number of cars currently available with electronic manual transmissions. That
is, manual transmissions with an eletronic brain controlling the mechanical linkage that activates
the clutch and changes the gears whenever you hit the up-shift or down-shift buttons. The same thing
is done in formula 1.
-----------------
Alex __O _-\<,_ (_)/ (_)
 
M

Mike S.

Guest
I watch the WRC on Speedvision. I WANT one of those shifter setups that they use! Then again, having
the 300hp engine wouldn't be a bad thing either...

Mike "Alex Rodriguez" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> In article <[email protected]>,
> [email protected]_THISnewtownbreda.demANDTHISon.co.uk says...
> >It's the same with a manual transmission in a car. I'm not sure about in the states but in the UK
> >at least manual transmissions (or gears as we like to them) are far more popular than automatics
> >yet the shifting system has not changed dramatically since the dawn of cars. I'm an electronics
> >engineer and love electronic control systems but I also understand the concept of appropriate
> >technology and that it is possible to over complicate things.
> >K.I.S.S. is a good strategy to design with.
>
> There are a limited number of cars currently available with electronic manual transmissions. That
> is, manual transmissions with an eletronic brain controlling the mechanical linkage that activates
> the clutch and changes the gears whenever you hit the up-shift or down-shift buttons. The same
> thing is done in formula 1.
> -----------------
> Alex __O _-\<,_ (_)/ (_)
 
D

David Kunz

Guest
Alex Rodriguez wrote:
> In article <[email protected]>,
> [email protected]_THISnewtownbreda.demANDTHISon.co.uk says...
>
>>It's the same with a manual transmission in a car. I'm not sure about in the states but in the UK
>>at least manual transmissions (or gears as we like to them) are far more popular than automatics
>>yet the shifting system has not changed dramatically since the dawn of cars. I'm an electronics
>>engineer and love electronic control systems but I also understand the concept of appropriate
>>technology and that it is possible to over complicate things.
>>K.I.S.S. is a good strategy to design with.
>
>
> There are a limited number of cars currently available with electronic manual transmissions. That
> is, manual transmissions with an eletronic brain controlling the mechanical linkage that activates
> the clutch and changes the gears whenever you hit the up-shift or down-shift buttons. The same
> thing is done in formula 1.
> -----------------
> Alex __O _-\<,_ (_)/ (_)

Actually, when I was in High School (a long time ago), I inherited an old Renault that had motors to
shift and passed an electric current through iron powder to form a clutch. When I had it working, it
was kinda cool and worked well. But a plastic part broke in the mechanical part of the controller
and I never could get it to work right again (at that time, I never bothered with manuals either :))
-- so I switched it over to a normal clutch and shift linkage using junkyard parts. And, VW had the
electric clutch for a while. You rested your hand on the shift lever and clutch disengaged for you
to shift. When you took your hand off, it engaged. I drove one once in College (still a long time
ago :)) and it seemed to work well.

David
 
W

William Burrow

Guest
On Wed, 08 Jan 2003 14:24:46 -0500 in <[email protected]lumbia.edu>, Alex Rodriguez
<[email protected]> wrote:
> In article <[email protected]>,
> [email protected]_THISnewtownbreda.demANDTHISon.co.uk says...
>>It's the same with a manual transmission in a car. I'm not sure about in the states but in the UK
>>at least manual transmissions (or gears as we like to them) are far more popular than automatics
>>yet the shifting system has not changed dramatically since the dawn of cars. I'm an electronics
>>engineer and love electronic control systems but I also understand the concept of appropriate
>>technology and that it is possible to over complicate things.
>>K.I.S.S. is a good strategy to design with.
>
> There are a limited number of cars currently available with electronic manual transmissions. That
> is, manual transmissions with an eletronic brain controlling the mechanical linkage that activates
> the clutch and changes the gears whenever you hit the up-shift or down-shift buttons. The same
> thing is done in formula 1.

F1 now uses fully automatic manual transmissions (nice oxymoron!). The computer does all the
shifting. There is much derision here on automated shifting for bicycles, but there may be a
correlation of gear selection to speed and inclination (either up or down hill). This may give
better automated shifting than those wheel weight based systems, at additional complexity and cost.

<Derision suit on>

--
William Burrow o Copyright 2002 William Burrow ~ /\ ~ ()>()
 
D

David L. Johnso

Guest
On Wed, 08 Jan 2003 09:14:44 -0500, dave silva wrote:

> Greetings,
>
> I'd like some input from this group on the desireability of electronic shifting. From what I've
> read Mavic Zap was nearly dead on arrival with a propritary deraileur and a very high price tag.
>

I find it hard to understand what advantage there would be. Having a longer memory than some -- and
older equipment, I had many years of friction shifting before I sprung for Ergo (never got the idea
of why someone would find indexed downtube shifters useful, either). But Ergo, and I imagine STI,
was a whole new thing. Functionally these are push-button shifting, and in my experience are
reliable and easy to set up.

What would electronic shifting offer on top of that?  Maybe you don't have to push the button as
far, but that doesn't matter. It would have to be as reliable as the mechanical systems, which
I find hard to believe would happen. Batteries, electrical contacts, wires, chips, circuit boards,
solenoids; all these things are less able to withstand shock, mud, rain, and grease than a cable
and ratchets.

It seems to me like no advantage, at twice the price. So, it ought to sell well.

--

David L. Johnson

__o | "Business!" cried the Ghost. "Mankind was my business. The _`\(,_ | common welfare was my
business; charity, mercy, forbearance, (_)/ (_) | and benevolence, were, all, my business. The
dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"
--Dickens, "A Christmas Carol"
 
O

One Of The Six

Guest
I think it might be possible that electronic shifting could be perfected to be as good or even
better than current mechanical shifting. I know that Campy has been working at it for awhile now and
has invested mega bucks towards it. I wouldn't be surprized if todays consumeristic, fashion
oriented, "techno is God" market were to gobble it up. But yuck! I find the aesthetics of it
appalling and I hope that mechanical shifting always stays available.

"dave silva" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Greetings,
>
> I'd like some input from this group on the desireability of electronic shifting. From what I've
> read Mavic Zap was nearly dead on arrival with a propritary deraileur and a very high price tag.
>
> There seems to be a lot of chatter on Shimano and the Italians developing a completely automatic
> transmission that keeps cadence with sensors etc but I want to know if you think serious cyclists
> would be interested in a device that just electrifies shifting (but does not automate it) by
> placing something on the chain stay that pulls cable from an existing deraileur?
>
> It would probably not be any lighter than the cables and shifters it replaces but it would allow
> for multiple inputs on the handlebars. That being the biggest advantage.
>
> I may have a solution looking for a problem and I'd like some feedback on its potential value.
>
> Dave Silva
>
> Frustrated inventor
 
J

JøRn Dahl-Stamn

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (dave
silva) wrote:
>Greetings,
>
>I'd like some input from this group on the desireability of electronic shifting. From what I've
>read Mavic Zap was nearly dead on arrival with a propritary deraileur and a very high price tag.
>
>There seems to be a lot of chatter on Shimano and the Italians developing a completely automatic
>transmission that keeps cadence with sensors etc but I want to know if you think serious cyclists
>would be interested in a device that just electrifies shifting (but does not automate it) by
>placing something on the chain stay that pulls cable from an existing deraileur?

All I need is a electronic shifting system running Windows... In case I bonk during a ride I can
always say: "- I got a blue screen and could not pedal anymore..." :cool:

Jørn Dahl-Stamnes, EDB Teamco AS e-mail: [email protected] (remove nospam first)
web: http://spiderman.novit.no/dahls/
 
P

Paul Kopit

Guest
The buttons are already part of the Ergobrain system that contains a battery and could house the
sending unit. The brake lever would be simpler than Ergopower brifter. Stepper motors are very
accurate. Nothing says that the motor cannot pull a cable.

I'm sure that the marketing people could influence the lemmings to embrace an electronic system.
 
P

Peter Vesel

Guest
I would like to have it on my racing bike. I have wide hands with very short fingers which make it
hard to position the ergo levers to be comfortable on the hoods, yet still be able to comfortably
change gears and brake on the drops. (I have tried a plethora of bar shapes and all are a
compromise)

With electronic shifter I would only need the old style brake lever and could mount buttons anywhere
on the bars. I could also see people with impaired hand function also benefiting as well.

Peter

"David L. Johnson >" <David L. Johnson <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> On Wed, 08 Jan 2003 09:14:44 -0500, dave silva wrote:
>
> > Greetings,
> >
> > I'd like some input from this group on the desireability of electronic shifting. From what I've
> > read Mavic Zap was nearly dead on arrival with a propritary deraileur and a very high price tag.
> >
>
> I find it hard to understand what advantage there would be. Having a longer memory than some --
> and older equipment, I had many years of friction shifting before I sprung for Ergo (never got the
> idea of why someone would find indexed downtube shifters useful, either). But Ergo, and I imagine
> STI, was a whole new thing. Functionally these are push-button shifting, and in my experience are
> reliable and easy to set up.
>
> What would electronic shifting offer on top of that? Maybe you don't have to push the button as
> far, but that doesn't matter. It would have to be as reliable as the mechanical systems, which I
> find hard to believe would happen. Batteries, electrical contacts, wires, chips, circuit boards,
> solenoids; all these things are less able to withstand shock, mud, rain, and grease than a cable
> and ratchets.
>
> It seems to me like no advantage, at twice the price. So, it ought to sell well.
>
> --
>
> David L. Johnson
>
> __o | "Business!" cried the Ghost. "Mankind was my business. The _`\(,_ | common welfare was my
> business; charity, mercy, forbearance, (_)/ (_) | and benevolence, were, all, my business. The
> dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"
> --Dickens, "A Christmas Carol"
 
M

Mark Janeba

Guest
[email protected] wrote:

> **** Durbin writes:
>>I saw Andy Hampsten riding away from Raul Alcala at the crest of a hill on his way to, if I am not
>>mistaken, a Tour de France win.
>
> I think the rest of your story is as inaccurate as the name of the race. It is true that one can
> shift standing but road races are won on strength, not tricks in shifting. That you saw Alcala
> fall back was not a shifting problem and Andy did not win the TdF:

My guess is that **** was referring to a *stage* win, Hampsten's win on the Alpe d'Huez in '92.

In digging up the date, I was reminded of something else: Both Hampsten and Alcala had been on the
7-Eleven team at one point, I think together. By '92, the 7-Eleven team had morphed into Motorola,
and Alcala had (I think) moved to PDM.

--
Mark Janeba remove antispam phrase in address to reply
 
D

Dick Durbin

Guest
[email protected] wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

> > I recall my initial reluctance to accept STI as an improvement until I saw Andy Hampsten riding
> > away from Raul Alcala at the crest of a hill on his way to, if I am not mistaken, a Tour de
> > France win. Hampsten had shifted and was riding away while Alcala was still fiddling with his
> > downtube shifter.
>
> I think the rest of your story is as inaccurate as the name of the race. It is true that one can
> shift standing but road races are won on strength, not tricks in shifting. That you saw Alcala
> fall back was not a shifting problem and Andy did not win the TdF:

I really should be more careful with my proofreading. I was referring to a stage win. My
recollection of the stage was the Hampsten and Alcala were pretty evenly matched on the climb and
that Alcala's delay in shifting allowed Hampsten to open up a lead that Alcala couldn't close.

**** Durbin
 
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