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The bike of the future.(21 posts)

The bike of the future.ol
Aug 16, 2002 8:37 PM
All Isaac Asimov fans with wild imaginations, what do you think the roadbike of the future, say 20 years from now will look like?
Gravity drivefbg111
Aug 17, 2002 4:29 AM
Tough one. I'd say it would have no wheels and float a few inches over the ground on its gravity drive, but then I'm not sure how you'd make it go. At the very least, it would have zero weight, and some models would have the ability to have negative weight (for noobs or out-of-shape people on steep hills). If it were made on Terminus, it would consist only of a seat, handle bar, and pedals as they're very good at miniturization. If it were made anywhere else, it would be the size of a car.
re: The bike of the future.tmotz
Aug 17, 2002 5:13 AM
They will be lighter and stiffer.Made out of materials not yet created.Clothing and equipment will be the same way.
Belt drive.Spoke Wrench
Aug 17, 2002 6:25 AM
Continuous variable transmission to keep you at a constant cadence with a handlebar control to regulate the amount of effort so that you can sprint or power up hills if you choose.

I think that the high tech stuff will be some kind of composit construction. It will be super stiff in the lateral plane and relatively compliant in the vertical plane. Stiffness/compliance will be rated on a scale and riders will be able to select a frame which has the degree of stiffness they want in all three directions.

Brakeing will be accomplished by electric generators in the hubs. The energy recouped will be stored in lightweight batteries and reused for assistance on climbs or to power accessories.
...let's not forget the UCI...Akirasho
Aug 17, 2002 6:43 AM
... while their regulations don't hold sway on the entire industry, their influences have been noted before (recumbents are only now recovering from a near 70 year old ban)... and they've restricted certain avenues of innovation with respect to road bikes.

It's impossible to predict how long lasting or far reaching this influence will be... only that, for the foreseeable future... it will effect high end double diamond road machines.

There are a few belt and shaft drive designs currently in production... but so far, they've shown no overriding improvement on chain and sprocket... however, there seems to be room for improvement on hub designs... and perhaps planetary gears (both hub and BB)...

Perhaps the penultimate factor for this generation would be a return of custom framesets. For years, the cycling industry has been content with the idea of cranking out multiple copies in what is perceived to be a most efficient method of production and distribution... but perhaps there's a future for "just in time" frames.

Infinitely variable jigs... computer controlled mitering and buying just enough supplies to build exactly what is needed might be the future (it's playing out in the auto industry as we speak... with an ultimate goal of modular automobiles that can be custom spec'd in a day or less).

Perhaps the LBS of the future would have a fit station, a few staple accessories and a couple of showroom models for test rides... but nothing like the walls lined with racks of bikes that we see today (and pretty much love to ogle).

Lastly, each roadbike will have a special chip that allows any rider to transform into a Mighty Morphin Postie Roadie.

We abide.

Remain In Light.
Uh - those rider transformation "chips"Spoke Wrench
Aug 17, 2002 6:54 AM
are even today causing a lot of problems for the UCI and some of the more fameous riders.
Belt drive.up_hiller
Aug 17, 2002 7:44 AM
"It will be super stiff in the lateral plane and relatively compliant in the vertical plane. Stiffness/compliance will be rated on a scale and riders will be able to select a frame which has the degree of stiffness they want in all three directions."

Nice, but how about variable stiffness in the vertical plane? Somehow the frame is made stiff with repsect to rider input to prevent wasted pedalling energy, but it is also able to "detect" and damp road vibrations. Perhaps this could be achieved through a certain geometry, or a material that responds in a certain way to vibrations/loads of different frequencies, amplitudes, and durations. Maybe it could just be done by manipulating current frame materials in a new way or using different combos of materials for different parts of the frame. The Smartbike. Sure sounds nice anyway.
This published SF author sez ...Humma Hah
Aug 17, 2002 8:59 AM
... by the way, I've never published in Isaac Asimov's Magazine of Witchcraft and Mysticism, but have in their sister pub, Analog ...

... the bike of the future will look very much like the bike of today, or even earlier. The emerging interest in vintage and retro bikes, singlespeed, and fixed gear, will mean that anything that has ever been popular will be available.

Cyclocomputers, however, will become absolutely stunning marvels. My company builds an avionics package, a full set of flight instruments and a computer, which would make the ultimate bicycle computer, and might actually be affordable. Full air data: altitude, airspeed, and crosswind, would be included, plus accelerometers for measuring acceleration and grade, GPS, pedal RPM and torque. A three-axis magnetometer might be overkill, but what the heck, its in there. A receiver for HR and breathing gizmos would be included. The color LCD display, based on a PDA, would be configurable for any type of data the rider wished. In coaching mode, the computer would be as tough as Eddie B., demanding you ride to your absolute best. No doubt it will include wireless internet links, to let you know what the competition is up to, the status of your teammates, and what the upcoming grades are like.
more data!filtersweep
Aug 17, 2002 9:46 AM
that would be cool- a $40 sensor that accurately detects wattage, loads of ride data that can be beamed to a Palm or PC.

It is interesting that despite all the technology, few things other than materials have changed.

It is possible there will be more of a convergence between aero and weight savings, rather than the more or less either/or setup of today.
The ultimate aero advantage.Spoke Wrench
Aug 17, 2002 10:17 AM
Compared to the riders shoulders moving through the air, things like teardrop shaped down tubes offer a miniscule aero advantage. How about having your collar bones surgically shortened? I've already had the right one done. Now I just need to train myself to fall on my left shoulder when I crash.
look up ...Humma Hah
Aug 17, 2002 12:32 PM
... and look at Athena's products if you're interested in what will be possible in the future. Right now, we're building a machine called the GuideStar GS-111, which has successfully flown several types of unmanned aircraft autonomously. That little rascal runs about $20 grand, not out of the question for Lance Armstrong's pro cyclocomputer, but kinda tips the scales against it as a mainstream unit. That, and its a bit on the heavy side for a bike (my cruiser could carry it, and we used a Harley for some of the tests).

But the GS-111M is coming down the ways. Much more compact, cheaper to produce, it actually would not be too bad on a bike. I don't know the price yet, but it would still be to pricy. The three "rate sensors", plus the "alpha" air data sensor, and possibly the magnetometer, could be eliminated on a cycling version, saving some money.

There are hare-brained schemes afoot to reduce the size further, get the price down to under $1k, making it possible for serious amateurs to consider adapting it to cycling.

I found a website recently for a firm that makes torque transducers for a bike BB. The price was lofty, somewhere around $1200. That would be a nice addition to the package. However, if the computer can figure grade using cross-checked (Kalman-filtered) altitude, accelerometer readings, and GPS, and knows the headwinds and air density, it should be able to figure the cyclist's power output fairly accurately without the torque sensor.
This published SF author sez ...fbg111
Aug 17, 2002 10:21 AM
The computer itself sounds pretty cool, but to collect all that data it will need a ton of sensors. Even with lightweight sensors, that would add up. Don't you think the combined weight of all those sensors might be enough to turn riders away?

I can see how the pro's might get such a computer, rig all the sensors up on the chase car, and connect them to their onboard computer via wireless data link.
Not too bad ...Humma Hah
Aug 17, 2002 12:37 PM
The GS-111M sensor board carries four pressure transducers, magnetometer, three accelerometers, and three rate sensors, is about the size of a business card, weighs a couple of ounces. Several of those transducers would be eliminated. The GPS receiver is a module that weighs a couple of ounces. All told, the whole thing weighs something like 6-8 ounces and measures maybe 1.5 x 2 x 2.5 inches, computer and all. It could fly a 747.

And the next model should be considerably smaller, lighter, and cheaper, not much bigger than my Cat's Eye AT-100.
wooooeee! sounds like the shiznit. can't wait! nmfbg111
Aug 17, 2002 12:52 PM
Will have a camera system........firstrax
Aug 17, 2002 4:10 PM catch rednecks throwing stuff at me.
Aug 17, 2002 5:30 PM
Aug 17, 2002 5:35 PM
The bike of the future.filtersweep
Aug 17, 2002 5:34 PM
Stuff is for real:
Relatively Similar to TodayCJMeredith
Aug 17, 2002 7:55 PM
The time frame he specified in the original question I think is important here - he asked what bikes might look like in 20 years. How different are bikes now compared to 1982? Relatively speaking, not very different at all. Cutting edge materials are different (although not all would agree that they are "better") and shifting has advanced. Plus the ability to gather data while riding has certainly improved. Twenty years is really only enough time to bring cutting edge concepts into mainstream use.

I think that improvements 20 years from now will follow a similar pattern. Perhaps we will be using new frame materials that we don't currently have, but my guess is that carbon fiber will truly come into its own. There's still tremendous potential in carbon fiber technology that we've not yet begun to explore. I like the idea of infinitely adjustable jigs and the "just in time" supply concept coming to the bicycling industry. Walmart specials won't change much, but LBSs will likely only sell custom bikes in 20 years.

I think wheel technology is going to see some significant improvements due to the use of better materials. They'll be made lighter, stronger, and more flexible. I think that all wheels will use radially laced spokes and cross-lacing will be virtually nonexistent.

I'd be really surprised if we moved away from the chain and sprocket drive train concept in just 20 years. It's extraordinarily efficient and has proven to be difficult to improve upon. Automatic transmissions? Unlikely because of the inherent loss of efficiency. However, manual shifting will improve by eliminating cables and using RF technology similar to the Mektronic system. That will probably be the next major revolution we see. I think we'll even see the elimination of the cable to the rear brake (front brakes will probably keep the cable because of the safety it provides - it'll take more than 20 years for me to trust cableless brakes).

As noted earlier, cyclocomputers will undoubtedly have so much information that riders will begin suffering from information overload. Everything Humma Hah noted and probably more. Electronics will seep their way into most components I suspect. How about a heads up display that is projected onto the rider's sunglasses with data, course maps, or a visual representation of the location of other riders? The military is putting that technology on infantrymen now - it just has to get a little smaller. stuff to think about. Just don't expect to see too much in 20 years. Now 50 years - that could be truly exotic.
A few things are certain:Leisure
Aug 18, 2002 12:32 AM
They will cost more, weigh less, and break more easily.

You know they will.

Okay, okay, more seriously. I think in twenty years "suspension" will become commonplace among non-race road bikes, though it won't be what we're used to thinking of as suspension on mountain bikes. Dedicated road bikes will have varying amounts of travel of generally less than an inch. The rear travel will often come from increased frame compliance, the front will require a discrete shock. Alloys will continue to advance to where you can pick just about any metal and expect stellar fatigue properties - this will facilitate in-built frame suspension, and "aluminum is stiff, steel is real" arguments will mostly go out the window (even though I subscribe to them today). Composite frames will routinely have varying compliance within the material. For example, seat stays could preferentially flex in a couple zones while everything else would be stiff. Marzocchi, Rockshox, and co. will be battling it out with Reynolds, Kestral, and co. in the fork arena. And I think it's a good possibility that we'll have another genuine quality alternative to Shimano by then, likely based in America or Canada.
re: The bike of the future.Carbon fiber fanatik
Aug 18, 2002 5:08 PM
I'm thinking that most of the changes we see will be in the area of materials. Carbon fiber (which, no matter what, will always be my #1 pick) will advance even further with new epoxies and pre-engineered carbon fabrics. Carbon will be half the weight it is now and will be stronger and more reliable than any alloyed metal. In twenty 20 years? look for one pound frames with integrated bb threads, cages etc. Rim brakes will be gone and titanium will be to the point where it has to travel across a solar flare to be effectivly welded. Wont it be fun? I wish i still had my old Schwinn paramount from 20 years ago to compare it too what i have sitting in my home right now.