Electric gear shifting?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Dave W
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby Dave W » 15 Jul 2015, 6:45pm

You do know the meaning of fuddy duddy don't you Brucey?

samsbike
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby samsbike » 15 Jul 2015, 7:56pm

I cant see why they can do some sort of regeneration for charging the battery on the move. :D

I like the idea of Di2 but then I like toys.

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RickH
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby RickH » 15 Jul 2015, 11:02pm

samsbike wrote:I cant see why they can do some sort of regeneration for charging the battery on the move. :D

Probably overkill as the claimed battery life is around 1000 miles per charge.

Having said that, you could probably do away with the battery altogether and run it from a dynamo with a small power cache & still have power to spare most of the time.

Rick.

Milfred Cubicle
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby Milfred Cubicle » 15 Jul 2015, 11:03pm

If I was paid to use it, or it meant the 0.05 second advantage that secured my next contract then yes, I'd use it. Similarly if I had a condition that meant electronics could keep me cycling, I'd embrace it. Otherwise, it does rather seem like a sledghammer to crack a nut. It's a bit like high definition television-very clever, but only if you have good eyesight and enjoy television. Otherwise it's just wasted.
I've recently started riding with a few different folks, one of whom has R2D2 or whatever on his bike. Guess who's bike keeps developing 'odd' shifting symptoms? He's a decent bike fettler, as is his local bike shop, but can they diagnose and fix the problem? Sadly for him, no.

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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby Samuel D » 15 Jul 2015, 11:39pm

RickH wrote:Probably overkill as the claimed battery life is around 1000 miles per charge.

A meaningless figure that accidentally reveals the technical nous of the target market!

Incidentally, I am fussy about my cadence. I change gear maybe five times more often than the typical cyclist I observe on group rides and 20 times more often than some of them.

Battery anxiety on long rides is another thing I can do without.

But it all boils down to there being no upside in exchange for this tremendous increase in cost and complexity. My gears are usually perfectly adjusted and work so well any improvement would be meaningless. My Shimano 2300/Claris/SunXCD/Stronglight mishmash derails the chain practically immediately – within a fraction of a second. Any improvement there would be irrelevant to me even if I were racing. And the time taken for the chain to fully wrap itself around the next cog is fixed by chain speed – electric shifting can’t improve that.

I have never dropped the chain in a couple of years of riding this bike. A combination of precise adjustment and sympathetic shifting technique means that just doesn’t happen to me.

So what would be the benefit?

If Shimano and the others cared a wit about improving people’s cycling experience they would concentrate on the many serious problems still afflicting new bikes. For example, the 34T/50T compact double, now ubiquitous on road bikes, suits only the strongest riders. Pro racers with twice the power, often drafting in a peloton, frequently use 36T/52T these days. That’s just two teeth larger!

And if you want to go all high-tech and electric, how about introducing ABS brakes? Now that might offer worthwhile benefits to a large swathe of cyclists!

By comparison, electric shifting is a pointless gimmick – pointless, that is, except for making its maker money.

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horizon
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby horizon » 24 Jul 2015, 12:23pm

horizon wrote:
Dave W wrote:Nobody has to buy it. It could disappear overnight but I doubt, it it's an option that's available for anyone who wants it. We could after all be scuttling around with rod brakes and leather pads fitted to our bikes but very few do.


No we couldn't. In fact, not buying electric shifting means we would be using stone wheels with wooden cranks. All human beings at every period of history have always embraced the latest technology no matter how spurious or useless. And that's because every invention and every technological advance is of use to us and is better than what went before. Because that is in the nature of things. And those who enthusiastically embrace every change have never been wrong, starting with:

The safety bicycle
Derailleur gears
Aheadsets
LED lights
Bowden cables
Pneumatic tyres
Disc brakes
Carbon frames

And those who are sceptical about change and question its utility are wrong.


Just to confirm that this was meant ironically. But there is also a bit of truth in in it. There really is no reply to the argument that there is no magical point at which technological innovation was worthwhile up to that point but no further.

It's quite well known that we become technologically conservative as we grow older for all the obvious reasons. So it's an easy pot-shot on this forum to throw in issues like carbon frames, disc brakes and indeed electronic gear shifting. EGS may be amazing but in the real world it's about as relevant as a electric comb to a bald man.

But that may just be us on here (and not just the bald ones). Looking back at index shifting and the little boxes telling you what gear you were in - people went for that. So who knows? Anything that stands between people and their machines is often gratefully received with open arms. Goodness knows where EGS might go but I don't think it's over yet. And your LBS might be the place you'll find it next- on a £250 BSO.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Mark1978
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby Mark1978 » 24 Jul 2015, 12:26pm

It's the evolutionary process. An innovation - like electronic shifting comes along and we adopt it, and either it gets accepted and we keep it, or eventually it gets dropped and we move on.

I can't see electronic shifting going away any time soon.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 24 Jul 2015, 12:29pm

I don't see Bowden cables away either - for a utility bike there isn't much advantage. Better to make an indexed dérailleur (similar to the in hub indexing of a rolhoff), but friction works well as a backup
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Brucey
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby Brucey » 24 Jul 2015, 1:23pm

horizon wrote: ....Just to confirm that this was meant ironically. But there is also a bit of truth in in it. There really is no reply to the argument that there is no magical point at which technological innovation was worthwhile up to that point but no further. .....


I think you have missed the point. Look back and you will find many new products that the market rejected and many thousands of patents for 'progressive inventions' that were just pointless junk.

Not everything that is new is better...

The jury is still out on many of the items on your list, too.... :roll:

BTW looking at the TdeF it is striking how many teams are equipping their riders with mechanical groupsets on mountain stages, presumably because service 'may not be timely' on such stages. Just like for the rest of us, all the time... :roll:

Please don't confuse 'novelty' with 'improvement' or 'progress'; to do so smacks of sloppy thinking.

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Mick F
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby Mick F » 24 Jul 2015, 1:44pm

Dunno about other folk, but I change gear without thinking about it. Sort of sub-conciously.

I wonder if the next generation of electrical gear shifting could be connected via a bluetooth device in contact your scalp under your helmet. Sort of mental telepathy gear changing.
Mick F. Cornwall

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horizon
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby horizon » 24 Jul 2015, 1:53pm

Brucey wrote:
I think you have missed the point. Look back and you will find many new products that the market rejected and many thousands of patents for 'progressive inventions' that were just pointless junk.

Not everything that is new is better...

cheers


The OP has the advantage of cherry picking relatively successful innovations and throwing them at people who are technologically conservative for all the right reasons.

But my own argument falls down if I make a sweeping generalisation that further progress is unnecessary and undesirable: it's very simple for the OP simply to pot-shot with retorts like "In that case we would all be in the Stone Age".

But it's also very tiring: you have to constantly add terms and conditions to your posts along the lines of "Yes, EGS will be fine for top end racers, wannabes and kids, just not for tourers (yawn)". Innovation is obviously a good thing. But not all innovations are good. And judged against other criteria (ability to fix by the roadside for instance), some are frighteningly bad.

The problem with this thread is that OP insists on dragging the obvious out tooth by tooth. It's painful. It also means there isn't a coherent debate about an innovation that is already it seems affecting the availability of groupsets.

AFAICS Brucey we agree 100% on this.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Brucey
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby Brucey » 24 Jul 2015, 2:11pm

I see what you mean now....sorry, I thought you might be coming at it from another direction for a moment.

Actually it is quite instructive to take any hobby or interest that you might have, and then search the patent databases to see what kinds of nonsense people come up with. I am told that some of the largest numbers of patents (at times outstripping all other patent applications put together) have been in the fields of improvements to bicycles and golfing equipment. Some patents (often from major manufacturers) are deliberately obscure, but many, most even, of the private applications are just bonkers.

Those with long memories may recall the 'itera' plastic bicycle. People would say to me, 'isn't it new and wonderful?' and I would say ' I'm not at all sure about that; they are not really very nice to ride and they will have repairability issues'. It didn't take that long for those chickens to come home to roost....

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Mick F
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby Mick F » 24 Jul 2015, 2:18pm

Whatever happened to that magnesium bicycle?
Very "modern" shaped frame.
1980s(?)

Just found a ref in Wiki
Magnesium
A handful of bicycle frames are made from magnesium which has around 64% the density of aluminum. In the 1980s, an engineer, Frank Kirk, devised a novel form of frame that was die cast in one piece and composed of I beams rather than tubes. A company, Kirk Precision Ltd, was established in Britain to manufacture both road bike and mountain bike frames with this technology. However, despite some early commercial success, there were problems with reliability and manufacture stopped in 1992. The small number of modern magnesium frames in production are constructed conventionally using tubes.
kirk_precision.jpg
kirk_precision.jpg (33.78 KiB) Viewed 282 times
Mick F. Cornwall

Brucey
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby Brucey » 24 Jul 2015, 2:37pm

All credit for 'having a go' like that but when all was said and done it just wasn't that good an idea. The use of injection moulding technology should have made the frames cost-effective to manufacture (even if the plant required cost millions to buy and operate) but also meant that the frames had to be made without hollow sections where possible. To simply be able to fit a seat pin to a frame of this sort meant that there was a considerable amount of extra machining to do.

The resultant frames had H or I beam sections which are strong in bending but very weak in torsion. This meant that frames were as floppy as an old sock to ride on; a bit like riding an old ladies bike when you are out of the saddle.

Magnesium alloys don't have super fatigue performance, are difficult to repair, and when the paint gets chipped, UK road conditions just dissolve them.

What could possibly go wrong there then.....? :roll:

More here;

http://www.kirk-bicycles.co.uk/Kirk-History.htm

BTW if you have ever seen a MK1 black and decker workmate, you will see many similarities to the Kirk frame, for the simple reason that they were made in a similar way. It wasn't a great idea there either, and later workmates were made of boring old steel instead.

cheers
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MGate
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Re: Electric gear shifting?

Postby MGate » 24 Jul 2015, 3:06pm

I had a Kirk Precision MTB. Was the stiffest thing I'd ever ridden, braking was superb, until one day going down a very steep hill I had a complete 'tank slapper'. Gingerly rode home. Turned out they had to 'aerospace bond' (read glue) a filet behind the seat pin to make the frame stiff and this had come loose resulting in poor lateral stiffness around the stays.

But good on the guy for giving the technology a go - I'm sure the techniques he developed for very high speed injection moulding to keep bubble out must be used on something else by now... he also did tennis rackets I seem to remember on 'Tomorrow's World'.