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  • Is this the analogue peak before the digital age?
  • Premier Icon fr0sty125
    Free Member

    So it occurs to me that mountain bike technology might be reaching the peak of good old mechanical technology before we enter a digital revolution, just as cars did in the late 80s and early 90s.

    We have sophisticated suspension, clutch mechs, high performance brakes. Yet we are starting to see electronically operated drive trains, active suspension and data analysis being deployed.

    What do you think?

    Premier Icon wonderchump
    Free Member

    101010101010

    Premier Icon bigblackshed
    Full Member

    I don’t think the digital revolution will be wholesale. You will only see it on top end bikes. One will be the cost for very little performance benefit, another will be that repairs will require the existing support structure of bike “mechanics” to jump on a very steep learning roller coaster to be able to repair electronic kit.

    There are enough bike spanners that struggle with nuts and bolts, imagine how some electronic shifters or a suspension brain is going to work out for them?

    The vast majority of bikes sold are under £400. That’s being extravagant. There won’t be a lot of digital kit on those. The trickle down effect will take 20 years.

    Premier Icon keithb
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    Besides, 8 speed was the peak… In terms of performance/durability anyway!

    Premier Icon the-muffin-man
    Full Member

    I blame Thatcher

    Premier Icon fr0sty125
    Free Member

    Thatcher is to blame for a lot of things….

    Premier Icon fasthaggis
    Free Member

    Easy there.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Full Member

    There’s not actually that much in the way of sparks on even the most pricey bikes just yet, and even those are still fundamentally mechanical kit…
    A wee bit of mechatronics creeps into the pricey end of the drivetrain market and all of a sudden the “Bicycle’s Digital Age” is imminent…

    Has anyone actually got any sort of electromagnetic adaptive suspension system fitted to an MTB currently?

    DH teams have been logging data for years, its simply a passive data gathering system, borrowed from motor sport to help them refine the setup of their mechanical suspension systems, its not looking like that will translate to electronic control of suspension systems any time soon…

    Other than gear shifting, electronics are still only really employed on bikes for “Performance monitoring” purposes… what other currently mechanical functions of a bicycle do you actually envisage electronics taking over?

    Its not just a cost thing, leccy shifting is bound to come down in price and improve in durability and reliability over the next couple of decades, its just it won’t be appropriate for all applications, I actually can’t see it being readily adopted on touring bikes for example, the ease of setup and lightness of shifting will count for nothing with people who could well find themselves many miles from a bike shop, let alone a laptop, I’m not certain the benefits will be entirely appreciated by all subsets of MTBer either…

    Some people will always prefer purely mechanical, and Relatively “Simple” bicycles, just look at the enduring popularity of Rigid, Single speed, Fixed, BMX, etc, etc…

    I suppose there’s always this shower of shite which entirely misses the point of a fixie IMO but there you go…

    Premier Icon gwaelod
    Free Member

    When the oil runs out we’ll all be on dutch sit up and begs, and people will be murdered for Surly Big Dummies

    Premier Icon fr0sty125
    Free Member

    Magura has a fork with a 3D acclerometer that is in charge of lockout I know it is very early stages and a small step but it is a sense of direction.

    Diagnostic, analysis, suspension and drivetrain are the areas I was thinking of.

    Premier Icon buck53
    Full Member

    If you’re talking about the consumer part of the technology spectrum, as the car industry analogy suggests, I’d say no.

    Electric shifting isn’t here other than on a minute number of professional rigs and ultimately the actuation of that drive train is still mechanical, we’re not talking about something along the lines of the switch from carbs to FI on cars.

    Suspension is the more interesting area for electronic trickery, I think. I think most would say that faffing with forks and shocks mid-ride is a faff at best, automating that process would appeal to a lot of people, I reckon.

    Premier Icon thomthumb
    Free Member

    there was this. but i don’t know if it ever got sold or was a proto?

    Premier Icon joolsburger
    Free Member

    My bike is already capable way beyond my abilities, I can’t see the point in any of that stuff for my riding but I’m sure for professional and very capable leisure riders it will become the norm. I’m more concerned that it will be something you can’t not have in the same way that other standards have been imposed.

    Premier Icon Tallpaul
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    Premier Icon thegreatape
    Full Member

    I suppose there’s always this shower of shite which entirely misses the point of a fixie IMO but there you go…

    Anagram of hav ****, don’t you know.

    Premier Icon ndthornton
    Free Member

    Is this the analogue peak before the digital age?

    No
    ..in a word

    Its only applicable to gears and just adds pointless faff, cost and potential for disaster. No way does it justify itself in terms of performance. Its just a gimmick along with the silly suspension setup stuff.

    just as cars did in the late 80s and early 90s

    2 very very good reasons to put electronics in cars –

    1, there is already a massive battery in there that is constantly being recharged.

    2, Optimization of engine performance. the leap your talking about I expect is the jump from carburetors to fuel injectors and engine mapping…… A good thing for both performance and efficiency.

    Not really an option for a bike since you are the engine…..I suppose you could shove some micro-controllers up your arse and see if it helps?

    Premier Icon GavinB
    Full Member

    Not really an option for a bike since you are the engine…..I suppose you could shove some micro-controllers up your arse and see if it helps?

    Dynamos are a considerable improvement on where they were even 5 years ago, so theoretically there are possibilities for developing better gear, braking and suspension systems. It might not be necessary in most people’s eyes, but it’d be interesting to see what can be done.

    Premier Icon eddiebaby
    Full Member

    I’m sticking with analogue wheels. Those digital 50p shaped ones will be horrible.

    Premier Icon phiiiiil
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    Electronics are dirt cheap though when they’re mature. In the future you’ll be able to swap a dead mech in a minute by unfastening the old one, putting the new one on and plugging it in (if it’s not wireless). No cables to replace, no adjustments to make, think of all the time saved by making it basically a collection of parts that just go together and you’re done. I think it’s inevitable.

    Premier Icon packer
    Free Member

    Cars these days are much more reliable, have more features, and are cheaper (relatively) than they were in the “analogue era”. If that’s what’s in store for bikes then bring it on.

    Premier Icon ndthornton
    Free Member

    In the future you’ll be able to swap a dead mech in a minute by unfastening the old one, putting the new one on and plugging it in

    Hang on, that’s what I do now? ….apart from I tend to put the chain in as well.

    think of all the time saved by making it basically a collection of parts that just go together and you’re done

    Yep still the same

    Premier Icon maxtorque
    Full Member

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    Premier Icon ampthill
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    I have to say I’m worried that cars have peaked in reliability. I’m not sure turbos can make car more reliable and now they are on petrol engines

    Dynamos are a considerable improvement on where they were even 5 years ago, so theoretically there are possibilities for developing better gear, braking and suspension systems

    I think even 100% effeciant dynmos won’t be popular

    If all the downhillers end up with electric boost to get up hill we may see brief spike of digital bikes before we get classed as motor bikes and banned

    Premier Icon Woodcutter
    Free Member

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    Premier Icon phiiiiil
    Full Member

    Hang on, that’s what I do now? ….apart from I tend to put the chain in as well.

    It’s not though, is it… you have to faff with the cables, set the limit screws, adjust it so it all runs true (adjusting gears must keep many bike shops going), then probably adjust it again when the cable settles in a bit. What a faff!

    If everything was electric you’d never have to adjust anything again, it would work as new all the time until it died, none of that “not worth changing yet but not as good as when it was new” like now…

    Mechanical cables and whatnot is the reason for all those bicycle shaped objects with gears that don’t work out there. This stuff is almost wasted on us, who look after our bikes and keep them working anyway, but would be a paradigm shift for people who just use their bikes as cheap transport. It’s not going to get cheaper though until it’s been developed at the top end first.

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    It’s not though, is it… you have to faff with the cables, set the limit screws, adjust it so it all runs true (adjusting gears must keep many bike shops going), then probably adjust it again when the cable settles in a bit. What a faff!
    If everything was electric you’d never have to adjust anything again, it would work as new all the time until it died, none of that “not worth changing yet but not as good as when it was new” like now…

    I know nothing about electronic gears, so genuinely interested

    Do they not have limit screws? Do they sort out the indexing themselves without it being set up by a human?

    Now a few cynical comment

    Will the occasional cyclist head out to the shed to find a flat battery and say sod I’ll go to the pub again?

    Will the connections to the battery never corrode?

    Premier Icon maxtorque
    Full Member

    01001100 01001111 01001100

    😉

    Premier Icon PJM1974
    Free Member

    It depends on the application, right now electronic gear shifting is hugely expensive and I doubt that it’ll ever make an appearance at Deore level.

    Then there’s the electronics in suspension…a great concept but for the forseeable it’ll remain an expensive niche. I don’t see how it would add any enjoyment to my ride.

    Premier Icon GavinB
    Full Member

    I’m sure some Engineering students could look at this, purely out of research. If you take away all the cables and hoses from a bike, replace them with wireless connections from the levers on the bar to the brakes and gears (so going to the next progression of Di2 for the gears).

    It doesn’t have to be needed by anyone, purely to see what is possible would be interesting.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Full Member

    Reactive damping systems would be worth researching. Like the ferrofluid ones cars use. I wonder how much power they would consume, though.

    You could hook it up to a GPS system, maybe a smartphone, and have the suspension travel or damping adjust itself based on your location 🙂

    Premier Icon PTR
    Free Member

    Perhaps the bike go out and ride it’s self, then all you need to do is upload the pics, the GPS and Strava?!

    Premier Icon Woodcutter
    Free Member

    The bike will ride itself somewhere, post its gnar-ness on Strava and a selfie on STW and all the other electronic bikes will tell it that it’s valves are not lined up with the tyre logos or some similar 4c 6f 61 64 20 6f 66 20 77 61 6e 6b 79 20 73 68 69 74 20 66 72 6f 6d 20 61 20 66 61 74 20 6c 61 7a 79 20 63 75 6e 74 20 61 74 20 61 20 6b 65 79 62 6f 61 72 64.

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