Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shifting gears? There's an app for that...

If you're like me, you love riding your bike... except for all that rigmarole of shifting gears. What a pain, huh?

Well... that may be about to change.

Toyota (yeah, Toyota!) and Parlee Cycles are working on the new setup.

What you do is mount your iPhone on your handlebars. And shift gears using "buttons" on the phone. But that's just the beginning! If pushing the buttons on your iPhone is too much of a hassle... you put on your neuron helmet and think to yourself, "Boy, I'd sure like to shift gears!" And the helmet sends a signal to the phone, and the phone shifts gears for you!

And I guess that since you have your phone right there on your handlebars, between gear changes you can send out a few TEXT MESSAGES, huh? Or check your Facebook. Or maybe watch a movie. OMG! LOL!! ROFL!!

Before you know it, only luddites and losers will be shifting gears the old fashioned way. No more carpal tunnel syndrome from a lifetime of manually shifting gears... our nightmare may soon be over!

Story HERE.

But seriously... dreamers keep trying to devise a better way of delivering bike-power from the engine (us!) to the wheel. The index shift was a major milestone. (Remember the "analog" way, back in the dark ages?) And they've moved the levers around from place to place... now that I'm used to it, I kinda like the combo brake/gear levers. (But even the downtube-mounted levers were never a show stopper.) I believe they're refining an electronic paddle-operated gizmo for the pros. Now and then you see an "automatic transmission" of one flavor or another... but it never catches on. The ol' derailleur and manual shift is tried and true.

I'd like to see a constantly-variable setup, where you could dial in the cadence you want to maintain (or punch the button when you're spinning at that cadence), and it would adjust to maintain that cadence, or until you disengaged it. And while I'm making up my list of demands... belt drive would be pretty nice, too! (The maintenance-free belt is pretty sweet on my motorsickle. I'd grudgingly surrender oiling and cleaning my chain. There are some belt-drive bicycles out there, but mostly upscale comfort/urban -type bikes. I don't know if it's ready to get pounded on by the commoners.)

1 comment:

Marcus said...

Check out Nuvinci. My wife has a CVT (continuously variable transmission) and a belt drive on her commuter. It is smooth and quiet. For me though I still enjoy the cheap and easy friction shifters with an external derailleur.