A routine check of the U.S. Patent
Service's files found yet another patent filed by Campagnolo for an
electronic shifting system. When this will show up in your club
ride paceline is anyone's guess, but it's clear that this is an idea
Campy intends to pursue (click here to see
installment 1 of our Campy Zap series) . . .
Campy's latest system does Mavic's
electronic system one better, shifting both the front and rear
derailleurs, and doing so automatically. Basically, the
system has an "upshift" and "downshift"
control. The computer built into the system selects the
combination of chainring and cog to shift in exact steps up or down
(depending on your gear setup, if you want to from one gear combination
to the next easier or harder combination, it's usually necessary to
shift from one chainring to the other, and at least one or two cogs).
Guess who's listed as inventor? Valentino
Campagnolo, son of Tullio and head of the company . . .
Here's how the patent describes the
An electronically controlled speed change device for bicycles has an
automatic mode of operation in which, at the request of the cyclist for
increase or decrease of the speed ratio, the system itself
automatically provides to select the pair front crown wheel-rear
sprocket which is most suitable to provide a progressive increase, or
respectively a decrease, of the distance covered by the bicycle at each
turn of the pedals.
Here are two excerpts from the eight-page
patent document. To see the entire patent, go to http://patent.womplex.ibm.com/details?pn=US05865454__
An overview of the system.
This diagram shows the
"logic" used by the system to select a gear
Now, of course it's possible to come up
with all sorts of interesting outgrowths of this system. How about
combining this electronic system with ErgoBrain and adding the ability
to "read" terrain. What if the system were able to
measure the rider's power output?
What if it recognized a "wrong"
gear change (for instance, shifting to a higher gear while going slowly
uphill)? Would the bike refuse to shift? Would Marco Pantani
have a "2001-Space Odyssey"-like experience?
"Hal, I'd like a taller gear,
"I'm sorry, Marco, but I can't do
that. You're too tired."
"But I want to sprint!!"
"Marco, I'm shifting down.
Your heart rate is dangerously high . . ."
do you think about this system? Write to us!
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