Re: [Randon] Electric shifting, reliability

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Charles Coldwell

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Mar 22, 2008, 10:41:58 AM3/22/08
to ran...@googlegroups.com
On Sat, 22 Mar 2008, Jan Heine wrote:

>
> > > Re electric shifting. I think this has the potential of increasing
> >reliability. Many electronic devices are far more reliable than their
> >mechanical counterparts....
>
> What you forget is that the shifting always will be mechanical. You
> need to move the chain from one cog to the next or find some other
> way to change the gear ratio. Electronics may be reliable, but their
> interface with the mechanical world requires motors, magnets or other
> electro-mechanical devices that have a propensity to fail.

I seem to recall that Mavic came out with an electronic shifting
system (something like a decade ago) that was prone to fail in the
field.

http://www.bikepro.com/products/rear_derailleurs/maviczap_rrder.shtml

Chip

--
Charles M. Coldwell, W1CMC
"Turn on, log in, tune out"
Somerville, Massachusetts, New England (FN42kj)

GPG ID: 852E052F
GPG FPR: 77E5 2B51 4907 F08A 7E92 DE80 AFA9 9A8F 852E 052F

Jim Bronson

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Mar 23, 2008, 2:58:54 AM3/23/08
to ran...@googlegroups.com
What you fail to mention is that the electronic system has the
capability to eliminate the need for mecanical cables, which would be
an increase in reliability from my standpoint. If it wasn't for cable
stretch, we'd never have to fiddle with our derailleurs.

On Sat, Mar 22, 2008 at 9:25 AM, Jan Heine <hei...@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
> > > Re electric shifting. I think this has the potential of increasing
> >reliability. Many electronic devices are far more reliable than their
> >mechanical counterparts....
>
> What you forget is that the shifting always will be mechanical. You
> need to move the chain from one cog to the next or find some other
> way to change the gear ratio. Electronics may be reliable, but their
> interface with the mechanical world requires motors, magnets or other
> electro-mechanical devices that have a propensity to fail.
>

> All you add is a layer of potential problems between the shift lever
> and the derailleur. The most reliable system is the old Campagnolo
> Cambio Corsa, where you derail the chain with a direct lever that
> attaches to a fork, which moves the chain... It is almost impossible
> to go wrong. Separating the derailleur from the lever and adding a
> cable already introduces a variable that can cause trouble (broken
> shifter cables, anyone?).
>
> Of course, most of us don't want to use a derailleur like the Cambio
> Corsa, where you open the rear quick release, backpedal, shift,
> gently pedal forward to get the chain tension loose enough and close
> the quick release. I've ridden a bike with that system, and it's not
> as bad as it sounds, but it would be cumbersome over the 1200 km of
> PBP. (Also, because all the chainslack is taken up by the wheel
> moving in the dropout slots, the gear range is very limited.)
>
> Reliability isn't everything, but it's important.
>
> Jan Heine
> Editor
> Bicycle Quarterly
> 140 Lakeside Ave #C
> Seattle WA 98122
> www.bikequarterly.com
> --
>
> >
>

--
I ride my bike, to ride my bike.

Dark Horse

unread,
Mar 23, 2008, 3:42:49 AM3/23/08
to randon
In the beginning, there was ZAP. Sprung fool-blown from the design
genius of a certain French company. That does, oddly, employ some
extremely competent engineering talent.
A) Battery life was...problematic. the race teams didn't have any
trouble with it, but they've got race mechanics to follow them around.
B) Water intrusion was also problematic, leading to all sorts of
yummy shorts and electrical snarkiness.
C) Software issues (SAA).
D) Failure/Default modes. If the battery dies (halfway up a pass in
the dark), or a wire rubs through in that same dark, You have ONE
GEAR. There was no mechanical failure-mode, as electrical wires have
somewhat different mechanical properties than control cables.

More recently, the electromechanical afterbirth known as Mektronic
bubbled to the surface. New battery technology (li-ion), improved
ergomonics, improved mechanicals, better sealing, and a thorough
laying of unquiet mechanical dead. Those same extremely competent
engineers assured us that THIS ONE would work. Wireless was a proven
solution to the command and control issues of the past.
Insert A through D here.

IIRC, Campagnolo tried it as well. Similar results.
http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech.php?id=tech/2003/features/campy_elec

I will freely grant that Shimano probably does the best and most
thorough engineering work in the industry. The Beta-testing setups
that are being picc'ed on RaceBikes, without a doubt, work very well.
On Race Bikes. Them as has the little mechanical elves that follow 'em
around and keep 'em working. I, for one, have let my Elf subscription
lapse. You?
Zap, Mektronic, and the Campagnolo setup also looked very good and
worked very well. On Race Bikes. With Elves.

There is one critical question that I have not yet heard a good
answer to. What does the system do when it stops working? Telling me
that it won't stop working (Mavic) is not an acceptable answer.
Sometime, somewhere, it WILL stop working. Be it battery life, be it
electrical gremlins, be it riding in a deluge, Murphy gets to bat at
some point. Unless there are control cables, in addition to electrical
wires, the system Will Not Shift once it has stopped working. Sounds
like a single-speed default mode to me.
As well, such systems do not run off of AA's. Take a good look at
the battery pack on that DA setup. It has enough capacity to shove the
drivetrain around for a number of hours on a single charge. That's
LOT of AA's.

I won't even go into expense.



Message has been deleted

Russ Loomis

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Mar 23, 2008, 11:23:12 AM3/23/08
to ran...@googlegroups.com, Jan Heine
Bravo!!! Jan Heine! I could not have said it better myself. I also use
down tube friction shifters on all my bikes ( after having tried STI for
over 5 years ) and thus eliminated all the shifting problems of index
shifting. They are cheap, reliable, and last a lifetime but the best
feature is that I can use any cassette or freewheel combination from 5 spd -
10 spd. It also puts the riding experience back into riding. Like driving
a stick instead of an automatic. Fun.

I have become so put off with the bike industry pushing "newer and better"
down our throats when they are the only benefactors. Put friction back on
your bike; you could even save almost a pound in weight ( for all you weight
weenies ) and ride worry free of having a bike fail during an event.

Russ
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jan Heine" <hei...@earthlink.net>
To: <ran...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2008 10:45 AM
Subject: [Randon] Electric shifting, reliability


>
>>From: "Jim Bronson"
>>
>>What you fail to mention is that the electronic system has the
>>capability to eliminate the need for mecanical cables, which would be
>>an increase in reliability from my standpoint. If it wasn't for cable
>>stretch, we'd never have to fiddle with our derailleurs.
>>
>

> The problem you describe is not inherent with cables, but inherent
> with indexing in the shift levers. Moving the indexing to the
> derailleurs would solve the problem. The cables could stretch all
> they want, but the indexing adjustment would not change. However,
> indexing in the derailleur also would mean that you could use any
> shift lever. And Shimano invented indexed shifting specifically to
> make you buy a group, including their shift levers (and freewheel).
> Then they combined freewheel and hub into a cassette hub, so you had
> to buy their hub, too. Then they combined their brake and shift
> levers, so you had to buy their brakes, too. Then they combined their
> cranks and BB, so you had to buy the set as well.
>
> The obvious solution is to forego indexed shifting altogether and use
> friction shifting. I employ it on my bikes, and I don't ever worry
> about cable stretch, nor do I fiddle with my derailleurs. And I can
> combine any components I want (Maxi-Car hubs with Shimano freewheel,
> Huret derailleur, Simplex shift levers, Mafac brakes - no problem at
> all on my PBP bike).
>
> In addition, downtube shift levers give you a warning when the cable
> frays at the shift lever (where it usually frays) - the sharp ends
> poke your hands. (In case you ignore the warning, or the cable fails
> elsewhere, replacing a shifter cable in the field is easy with
> downtube shifters, too.)
>
> Finally, downtube shifters let you move your hands around every time
> you shift, thus preventing hand pain and numbness on long rides.
>
> Maybe, once all the problems with electronic shifting have been
> worked out, and the system works off my generator hub (I think
> Shimano is working on that, their latest generator hubs provide more
> power at low speeds to make this possible), I will consider it. Then
> I'd want voice activation, too. Just like I say on a tandem to warn
> my stoker: "Shift" and the new gear comes in. Based on my cadence,
> the system will know whether I want an upshift or downshift.
>
> In the mean time, the old Alex Singer will have to do.

Mike Biswell

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Mar 23, 2008, 1:51:20 PM3/23/08
to randon

From: many
To: ran...@googlegroups.com


Subject: [Randon] Electric shifting, reliability

>Shimano invented indexed shifting specifically to
>make you buy a group, including their shift levers (and freewheel).
>Then they combined freewheel and hub into a cassette hub, so you had
>to buy their hub, too. Then they combined their brake and shift
>levers, so you had to buy their brakes, too. Then they combined their
>cranks and BB, so you had to buy the set as well.

>The obvious solution is to forego indexed shifting altogether and use
>friction shifting.


Or simply twist the barrel adjuster while riding to achieve the same desired
result....

Shimano is in the bike business, and part of their appeal is their years
long struggle to outdo Campagnolo on the tech supremacy front, where Campy
set the standard so high for so many years with their beautiful, durable,
and precision adjusting bike parts like the bike world had not seen before.
Lots of good stuff has come out of this war, even down to when they 'make
you buy' a very inexpensive bike, which is miles ahead of an old Schwinn,
mainly because of many cool tech innovations which Shimano has been very
energetic about exploring and inventing over the years. It isn't a fair
statement to reduce Shimano's whole effort down to only attempting to
increase their market share, given that they have tried so hard for so long
to make good bikes.

For rando, I happen to like (need. Hmmm.) a wider range of gears than road
bikes typically feature, and nothing that isn't a complete and less
efficient copy even exists that is comparable to the Shimano 9-speed triple
crank + MTB rear derailleur/cassette set up for providing such a wide range
of gears on a road bike. Shimano really wins this one for me, and I'm glad
to have this set up. Plus, all the parts are readily available and mid-level
cost.

Wow, this discussion really has some life. Okay, enough defense of the
megatrons - Here's our rando reporter's photo set from the same morning,
with 2 photos of the Wegmann bike, finally put up on the red just as tribute
to this discussion. Ps. Thanks, Fabian.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/7398172@N05/sets/72157604217569579/

Regards!
Mike

Jim Bronson

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Mar 23, 2008, 4:26:41 PM3/23/08
to randon
You might be able to talk me into friction on my barends, but downtube
shifters? Forget it. I am 6'7" and it's a loooooong reach down
there. No thanks.

As someone pointed out to me in a private email, the bigger problem is
cables sticking. That's what usually causes bad shifting and
necessitates replacment, for me. YMMV. OTOH, in general I am happy
with my shifting setup (indexed Campy barends) and it's fairly
reliable, right now being an exception as it's shifting like utter
crap and needs a new cable.

I am curious about the electronic shifters, no matter what anyone
says. If it improves reliability by an order of magnitude, then I
would be interested, but if it's technology for technology's sake then
I probably wouldn't be.

Then again, I have a Blackberry, cell phone and pager, 2 desktops and
a laptop (which I'm on now while watching the NCAA tournament in
glorious 1080i Hi def on my 56" LCOS RPTV while recovering into my
fleche). Suffice it to say I am into tech gadgets.

On Sun, Mar 23, 2008 at 9:45 AM, Jan Heine <hei...@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
> >From: "Jim Bronson"
> >
> >What you fail to mention is that the electronic system has the
> >capability to eliminate the need for mecanical cables, which would be
> >an increase in reliability from my standpoint. If it wasn't for cable
> >stretch, we'd never have to fiddle with our derailleurs.
> >
>
> The problem you describe is not inherent with cables, but inherent
> with indexing in the shift levers. Moving the indexing to the
> derailleurs would solve the problem. The cables could stretch all
> they want, but the indexing adjustment would not change. However,
> indexing in the derailleur also would mean that you could use any

> shift lever. And Shimano invented indexed shifting specifically to


> make you buy a group, including their shift levers (and freewheel).
> Then they combined freewheel and hub into a cassette hub, so you had
> to buy their hub, too. Then they combined their brake and shift
> levers, so you had to buy their brakes, too. Then they combined their
> cranks and BB, so you had to buy the set as well.
>
> The obvious solution is to forego indexed shifting altogether and use

--

russell...@yahoo.com

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Mar 24, 2008, 9:23:04 AM3/24/08
to randon


On Mar 23, 2:42 am, Dark Horse <flyingbr...@gmail.com> wrote:
> In the beginning, there was ZAP. Sprung fool-blown from the design
> genius of a certain French company. That does, oddly, employ some
> extremely competent engineering talent.
>   A) Battery life was...problematic. the race teams didn't have any
> trouble with it, but they've got race mechanics to follow them around.
>   B) Water intrusion was also problematic, leading to all sorts of
> yummy shorts and electrical snarkiness.
>   C) Software issues (SAA).
>   D) Failure/Default modes. If the battery dies (halfway up a pass in
> the dark), or a wire rubs through in that same dark, You have ONE
> GEAR. There was no mechanical failure-mode, as electrical wires have
> somewhat different mechanical properties than control cables.
>
> More recently, the electromechanical afterbirth known as Mektronic
> bubbled to the surface. New battery technology (li-ion), improved
> ergomonics, improved mechanicals, better sealing, and a thorough
> laying of unquiet mechanical dead. Those same extremely competent
> engineers assured us that THIS ONE would work. Wireless was a proven
> solution to the command and control issues of the past.
>  Insert A through D here.
>
> IIRC, Campagnolo tried it as well. Similar results.http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech.php?id=tech/2003/features/campy_elec
>

Campagnolo has never sold an electronic shifting system to the
public. Your comments about similar results as Mavic have no factual
basis. They are just made up by you. Campagnolo's experimental
prototype electronic shifting system has merely been tested by a few
pros over the past many years.




> I will freely grant that Shimano probably does the best and most
> thorough engineering work in the industry. The Beta-testing setups
> that are being picc'ed on RaceBikes, without a doubt, work very well.
> On Race Bikes. Them as has the little mechanical elves that follow 'em
> around and keep 'em working. I, for one, have let my Elf subscription
> lapse. You?
>   Zap, Mektronic, and the Campagnolo setup also looked very good and
> worked very well. On Race Bikes. With Elves.
>
>  There is one critical question that I have not yet heard a good
> answer to. What does the system do when it stops working? Telling me
> that it won't stop working (Mavic) is not an acceptable answer.
> Sometime, somewhere, it WILL stop working. Be it battery life, be it
> electrical gremlins, be it riding in a deluge, Murphy gets to bat at
> some point. Unless there are control cables, in addition to electrical
> wires, the system Will Not Shift once it has stopped working. Sounds
> like a single-speed default mode to me.

I ride with a man who had his STI stop working on PBP 2003. He had a
single speed for a hundred or more miles until he found a control that
could fix it enough to finish the ride. I think he had a two speed
bike since the front derailleur kept working. Electronic shifting
would likely allow the same fail safe mode. 1 speed on back and two
in front. Or 1 in front and all of them in back. Just like STI.
I've seen several STI break during brevets I was on. Its been a few
years now so maybe Shimano worked out its STI problems after 10+ years
of having them on the road.


>   As well, such systems do not run off of AA's. Take a good look at
> the battery pack on that DA setup. It has enough capacity to shove the
> drivetrain around for a number of hours on a single charge. That's
> LOT of AA's.

They are not AA size. They will be another size. Such as 5/4 A used
in Niterider lights. Easily found and replaced by battery stores. Or
on the internet. People use rechargeable lights, similar concept.

>
>  I won't even go into expense.

At the NAHMBS in Portland in February there were many "randonneur"
bikes on display. Not a one of them was less than $3,000 for frame/
fork. Most of the bikes reviewed in Bicycle Quarterly are $2,500+
custom frame/forks. Schmidt hub front wheels are $350 from Peter
White. Not including lights or mounts. Schmidt E6 lights are $110
each. Wool jerseys basically start at $100 each. Airfare to PBP was
$1500 plus $125 for the bike case. Plus hotels and rental car.
Airfare to Seattle at the end of June will be $525 plus $160 for the
bike case. Plus hotels and rental car. Haven't even looked into what
a flight to London is. I wish I could trade all of these expensive
brevet costs for a cheap electronic shifting system. I'd buy a new
one every year to get out of all these high brevet costs. I'd be
making money left and right. Picking it from the money tree. If you
are going to actively participate in randonneuring, you are going to
spend money. Equipment cost can easily be a small part.
Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

Mike Biswell

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Mar 24, 2008, 12:24:59 PM3/24/08
to randon

>From: Jan H
>Sent: Monday, March 24, 2008 9:41 AM


>To: ran...@googlegroups.com
>Subject: [Randon] Electric shifting, reliability

>I want to clarify that I am not "anti-Shimano" in any way.


Jan,

We know. Your posts provide quite a bit of spine to this list and are always
greatly welcomed.

It's just that if we start the revolution by burning down the bicycle
factories, we are gonna need a lot more gas than we counted on, and it could
become problematic without the bikes.

Much prefer we start out at the Escalade factory....


Regards!
Mike

Goonster

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Mar 24, 2008, 1:08:38 PM3/24/08
to randon


On Mar 24, 9:23 am, "russellseat...@yahoo.com"
<russellseat...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> At the NAHMBS in Portland in February there were many "randonneur"
> bikes on display.  Not a one of them was less than $3,000 for frame/
> fork.  Most of the bikes reviewed in Bicycle Quarterly are $2,500+
> custom frame/forks.  

Some of those customs include frame couplers. Save money on your
flights.

> Airfare to PBP was
> $1500 plus $125 for the bike case.  Plus hotels and rental car.
> Airfare to Seattle at the end of June will be $525 plus $160 for the
> bike case.  Plus hotels and rental car.  Haven't even looked into what
> a flight to London is.  I wish I could trade all of these expensive
> brevet costs for a cheap electronic shifting system.  I'd buy a new
> one every year to get out of all these high brevet costs.

I'm confused. How are these things related? How would the electronic
group (or any equipment, for that matter) reduce your cost of riding
brevets?

Charles Coldwell

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Mar 24, 2008, 1:26:28 PM3/24/08
to randon
On Mon, 24 Mar 2008, Goonster wrote:
>
> On Mar 24, 9:23 am, "russellseat...@yahoo.com" <russellseat...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> > At the NAHMBS in Portland in February there were many "randonneur"
> > bikes on display.  Not a one of them was less than $3,000 for frame/
> > fork.

Did you go to NAHMBS looking for bargains?

Orin

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Mar 24, 2008, 3:46:22 PM3/24/08
to randon
On Mar 23, 7:45 am, Jan Heine <hein...@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
> In addition, downtube shift levers give you a warning when the cable
> frays at the shift lever (where it usually frays) - the sharp ends
> poke your hands.


That's actually happened to me with a Campy Ergo shifter - the end of
the cable lies right under where you grip the hoods. A single wire
broke, poked through the slot where you insert the cable and poked my
fingers every time I gripped the hoods.

Orin.

Steve Palincsar

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Mar 24, 2008, 6:48:20 PM3/24/08
to Jan Heine, ran...@googlegroups.com
Jan Heine wrote:

> The obvious solution is to forego indexed shifting altogether and use
> friction shifting. I employ it on my bikes, and I don't ever worry
> about cable stretch, nor do I fiddle with my derailleurs. And I can
> combine any components I want (Maxi-Car hubs with Shimano freewheel,
> Huret derailleur, Simplex shift levers, Mafac brakes - no problem at
> all on my PBP bike).

I had cable stretch to drive a man mad on my first bike, a 1964 Dunelt
with Huret Allvit derailleurs (friction, of course). It seemed as
though I was adjusting the cable every few days. That simply doesn't
happen with modern cables, and if my experience is any guide, certainly
hasn't happened in the past 20 years.

But, looking at the other half of your statement: don't I recall
comments in a recent BQ regarding friction shifting components meant to
be indexed (such as hyperglide cassettes) suggesting drive trains meant
to be index-shifted worked better when index-shifted? My experience
friction-shifting a Hyperglide 8-spd were quite disappointing, with
ghost-shifts following every downshift at a traffic light. I find
friction shifting 7-spd Hyperglide to be much more satisfactory.

>
> In addition, downtube shift levers give you a warning when the cable
> frays at the shift lever (where it usually frays) - the sharp ends

> poke your hands. (In case you ignore the warning, or the cable fails
> elsewhere, replacing a shifter cable in the field is easy with
> downtube shifters, too.)


This is true for bar end shifters as well - the fingers being poked
part. I'm sure replacing downtube cables is easier than replacing bar
end shifter cables, although it's not like that's a really challenging task.


BobH

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Mar 24, 2008, 7:16:19 PM3/24/08
to randon
I think that the issue is that Shimano has to do something to sell new
equipment. Having gone all the way from 5 speed to 10, they realize
that riders don't see much value (or need to upgrade) to 11 speed.
Electronic shifting allows them a hot new product to sell upgrades.

TommyBFromSC

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Mar 24, 2008, 8:47:15 PM3/24/08
to randon
In 2003, I did an SR series using the Mavic Mektronic system. (I did
not do PBP that year.) I had only one problem with it that entire
year. At the start of the 300k, I ran the diagnostic mode on it, just
to make sure it was working fine. After that, it locked up, and
wouldn't shift at all. I knew that all it needed was to be rebooted,
but for the life of me, I couldn't remember the combination of buttons
to push. As the group rolled out, I frantically called home from a
payphone. I had my wife go out to the shed and find the Mavic
instruction manual. It was primarily in French, but had a small and
poorly written section in English. After she stepped me through
rebooting, setting my wheel circumference, changing km to miles, etc.,
I was off on my way, 30 minutes behind schedule. It worked flawlessly
after that.

I loved that Mektronic system (I got it very cheap). It was the
fastest and smoothest shifting system imaginable. Unfortunately, the
following year I crashed, cracking the derailleur housing. It still
worked fine, but everytime it rained after that, the battery would
short out. It ended up costing me $2 every time I rode in the rain.
Eventually, I reverted back to bar-end shifters. I still have the
brake levers from that system installed, since they are by far and
away the more comfortable hoods ever made.

During PBP this year, I ran across a French rider using a Mektronic
system. He was having problems with his system. I told him of my
experiences. We exchanged addresses. I ended up sending him my old
computer and cracked derailleur, free of charge (a small payback for
all of the support the French gave us during PBP). He was able to use
parts from mine to make his work perfectly again. So, there are
randonneurs willing to tinker with the high-tech stuff.

I love the old stuff. But I also love playing with the new stuff.
There's a place for technology, even at our table of traditionalism.

Ted Lapinski

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Mar 25, 2008, 12:58:48 AM3/25/08
to Jan Heine, ran...@googlegroups.com


Jan Heine wrote:

And for a really upright riding position, stem-mounted shifters (remember the 1970s?) make sense. I wouldn't do a brevet in bell-bottoms, though!

I have been using stem-mounted shifters for 15 years on my 1978 64cm Schwinn.  I love the position and they shift the same today as they did when I bought the machine for $50.00 in 1993.

Ted

DrCodfish

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Mar 25, 2008, 1:53:44 AM3/25/08
to randon


TommyBFromSC <rbardaus...@sc.rr.com> wrote:
"In 2003, I did an SR series using the Mavic Mektronic system. "

I attended the North American Hand Built Fancy Bike Show in Portland
last month. As I was oggling the pretty bikes I spied one with a
particularly fancy pant job. I took a photo, you can see it on my
blog at http://drcodfish.blogspot.com/ the entry is dated Feb 15.
It happended that this bike was rigged with mavic Mektronic. The
woman who was at the booth (Rue Sports/ Ruegamer) said she rides it
all the time and it never gives her any trouble. She said she did
have trouble with the battery going dead once. She had stopped for
lunch at a deli and left her bike parked outside the window where she
could keep an eye on it. There were lots of people checking it out
and apparently making many shifts. When she went out after finishing
her lunch, the batteries were esentially worn down from so many kids
constantly shifting it.


Yr Pal DrCodfish

Steve Palincsar

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Mar 25, 2008, 8:10:52 AM3/25/08
to Ted Lapinski, Jan Heine, ran...@googlegroups.com

In other words, once you hit bottom it can't get any worse?
;-)


Charles Coldwell

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Mar 25, 2008, 9:46:44 AM3/25/08
to ran...@googlegroups.com

I've personally been handed my ass by Ted astride that very Schwinn.
I did not notice him having any difficulty shifting.

Steve Palincsar

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Mar 25, 2008, 10:52:35 AM3/25/08
to Charles Coldwell, ran...@googlegroups.com
Charles Coldwell wrote:
> On Tue, 25 Mar 2008, Steve Palincsar wrote:
>
>
>> Ted Lapinski wrote:
>>
>>> Jan Heine wrote:
>>>
>>>> And for a really upright riding position, stem-mounted shifters
>>>> (remember the 1970s?) make sense. I wouldn't do a brevet in
>>>> bell-bottoms, though!
>>>>
>>>>
>>> I have been using stem-mounted shifters for 15 years on my 1978 64cm
>>> Schwinn. I love the position and they shift the same today as they
>>> did when I bought the machine for $50.00 in 1993.
>>>
>> In other words, once you hit bottom it can't get any worse?
>>
>
> I've personally been handed my ass by Ted astride that very Schwinn.
> I did not notice him having any difficulty shifting.
>

No doubt, but that's more a testament to Ted's skill than an endorsement
of Schwinn Approved Huret Allvit derailleurs, don't you think?


Charles Coldwell

unread,
Mar 25, 2008, 10:58:49 AM3/25/08
to ran...@googlegroups.com

I think it's more an endorsement of my oft-repeated theory that the
heaviest and most performance-critical component of any bicycle is the
person sitting on it, and that quibbling over derailleurs is a waste
of bandwidth.

John McClellan

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Mar 25, 2008, 12:08:15 PM3/25/08
to randon

>
> I think it's more an endorsement of my oft-repeated theory that the
> heaviest and most performance-critical component of any bicycle is the
> person sitting on it, and that quibbling over derailleurs is a waste
> of bandwidth.
>
> Chip

O Emily, Emily, wherefore art thou, Emily?

Heck, I'd settle for Jake at this point...

Russ Loomis

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Mar 25, 2008, 12:13:15 PM3/25/08
to Ted Lapinski, ran...@googlegroups.com
Yes, Ted and I have even seen you shift that bike on a ride when it was 20 degrees with your winter "Boxing glove" mittens.  I'd like to see you shift your Campy ergos with those same gloves.   :^)
 
Russ

Emily O'Brien

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Mar 25, 2008, 4:30:48 PM3/25/08
to John McClellan, randon
You know, I originally posted the link as a joke.... ;)

I don't think it's impossible to design an electrical or electronic shifting system for a bicycle that would be completely up to the test of a rainy 1200k. However, doing so would add a fair amount of excess weight, and would place further constraints on the battery design (either it would need to use AA's, or it would need to last a really, really long time between charges). Since this stuff starts out at the high end, those things aren't a concern. They obviously aren't for pro riders, but most non-pro riders with high end racing bikes don't give them that much punishment. I have a high end road bike, and that system would work just fine even for what I do with it (club rides and races, but not much in bad weather, and nothing very long).
My experience with electronics and electrical systems designed for bikes is that most really aren't designed for hard treatment. That's even true of the lights that are specifically marketed toward commuters. They're just not designed for a lot of bad weather. It's not that they couldn't be, but doing so would add some weight and some expense and so they don't do it.

In my opinion, the bigger issues where randonneurs are concerned are failure mode, user servicability, and field servicability. We're all willing to sacrifice some bomb-proofness in our tires for the sake of comfort and efficiency (exactly how much we will sacrifice has been debated here extensively!) because if we get a flat, it's not that big a deal to sit down and fix it. Most of us don't carry a spare derailleur cable, but if one brakes, we can generally find one and it's not so hard to replace. If we periodically check on that stuff, we notice it fraying before it brakes, and we fix it. Electrical shifting systems have parts that are harder to fix in the field, and the potential for software or circuitry problems that may not be user servicable at all (ever heard of rebooting your STI???).

All that being said, what's the worst that can happen? So one way or another, your shifting busts: a cable frays, the indexing gets gummed up, your STI lever stops working, a dog eats your shifter, your derailleur spontaneously combusts, whatever. What do you do? You can tighten the limit screws to hold the offending derailleur in place, and you have only the other one to shift with. If they both go, you do the same with both derailleurs, or shorten your chain and bypass them, and you have a singlespeed. It's inconvenient, and I bet you like shifting, but it's not the ride-ending disaster that busted brakes, wheels, frame, handlebars, seatpost, etc, would be.

So if you like a crazy modern shifting mechanism that's slightly less reliable than downtube friction shifters, it's not such an unreasonable choice to make.

Emily


> -------Original Message-------
> From: John McClellan <john-mc...@att.net>
> Subject: [Randon] Re: Electric shifting, reliability

Steve Palincsar

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Mar 25, 2008, 4:37:12 PM3/25/08
to Emily O'Brien, John McClellan, randon
Emily O'Brien wrote:
> All that being said, what's the worst that can happen? So one way or another, your shifting busts: a cable frays, the indexing gets gummed up, your STI lever stops working, a dog eats your shifter, your derailleur spontaneously combusts, whatever. What do you do? You can tighten the limit screws to hold the offending derailleur in place, and you have only the other one to shift with. If they both go, you do the same with both derailleurs, or shorten your chain and bypass them, and you have a singlespeed. It's inconvenient, and I bet you like shifting, but it's not the ride-ending disaster that busted brakes, wheels, frame, handlebars, seatpost, etc, would be.
>

One other thing you can do is pinch the end of the shifter cable in
place under a water bottle cage. That way, you can get the chain into
one of the middle sprockets (or even the largest). Using just the limit
screw, you'll still be stuck in a fairly small sprocket.


kkjel...@gmail.com

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Mar 25, 2008, 4:53:06 PM3/25/08
to randon
I find it interesting that most have made up thier mind (either pro or
con) on a component group that nobody here has touched, or even
used.

I currently have two road bikes at my disposal....a Rivendell Bleriot
(650b, 28+lbs) and a Scott Addict (14lbs, Dura Ace tubeless wheels,
etc) and they are both a blast! Both frames are built in Taiwan, and
I am equally impressed with the skill, technology, and design on
both. Everything has it's place.

Steve Palincsar

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Mar 25, 2008, 7:31:24 PM3/25/08
to kkjel...@gmail.com, randon
kkjel...@gmail.com wrote:
> I find it interesting that most have made up thier mind (either pro or
> con) on a component group that nobody here has touched, or even
> used.

We were discussing the drivetrain on a 1970s vintage Schwinn, and I have
plenty of exposure to 1970s vintage Schwinn drive trains. My wife had a
1971 Schwinn SuperSport. It had an Ashtabula crankset and Schwinn
Approved Huret Allvit derailleurs. The most notable thing about its
shifting was an absolute refusal to complete a front shift under any
sort of load.

I owned a 1964 Dunelt with Huret Allvit. Unlike my wife's Schwinn, it
had a half-step crank, and shifted up front just wonderfully.

Or were you referring to some yet-to-be-released electric drivetrain?


--
Steve Palincsar
pali...@his.com
Alexandria, VA, USA

Ted Lapinski

unread,
Mar 26, 2008, 1:06:46 AM3/26/08
to Steve Palincsar, kkjel...@gmail.com, randon
Just for the record my vintage Schwinn is equipped with Sun-Tour shifters and derailleurs.  I like them for all the reasons Jan Heine mentioned in his original post. They are simple, effective and have lasted 15 winters of road salt exposure.   Sorry for not being more specific. My apologies to everyone for accidentally starting another equipment debate. It was never my intention to do so.

Ted

NickBull

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Mar 26, 2008, 12:49:38 PM3/26/08
to randon
One of the nicest shifting bikes I've ever owned was my 1971 Huffy
with Huret derailleurs. Eventually the frame broke and the bike was
replaced with a Peugot that had those plastic/nylon Simplex
derailleurs. In many respects, the Huret derailleurs shifted nicer
than current powertrains. Nine-speed shifting is sufficiently finicky
that I've finally given up on friction shifting and gone to all-
indexed (downtube) shifters and even so I get the occasional ghost
shift, possibly from frame flex. Sort of wish I'd never "upgraded"
from 8-speed to 9. But for me, interchangeability of parts between
bikes is a big enough "plus" that I want to keep all of them on the
same standard.
> of Schwinn Approved Huret Allvit derailleurs, don't you think?- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Ingle, Bruce

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Mar 26, 2008, 1:26:26 PM3/26/08
to randon digest subscribers
Emily wrote:

> It's inconvenient, and I bet you like shifting, but it's
> not the ride-ending disaster that busted brakes, wheels,
> frame, handlebars, seatpost, etc, would be.

Not to mention a broken rider, as is more often the case.

- Bruce

Charles Lathe

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Mar 29, 2008, 12:55:18 PM3/29/08
to randon


On Mar 24, 8:47 pm, TommyBFromSC <rbardaus...@sc.rr.com> wrote:

> I love the old stuff.  But I also love playing with the new stuff.
> There's a place for technology, even at our table of traditionalism.

I appreciate this sentiment. I'm a down tube friction shift guy
because it's served me well for a long time and I like to shift, but I
appreciate the engineering behind index shifting and I think the blue
tooth shifting system is a very cool concept. If I wanted to try it,
the chance that it might fail would not dissuade me.

Chuck Lathe
cohobicycles.com

jo...@johnandjuliet.com

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Mar 31, 2008, 11:16:48 PM3/31/08
to randon
1) Electronic shifting will not eliminate the need for adjustment as
for the most part "cable stretch" is an ill-stated term as the cables
don't stretch.. The housings wear in...

Also a "perfect" system even after the housings wear in will still go
out as the chain wears. The chain wears in more than one direction
BTW... A) it gets "longer" and B) the side plates lose their
stiffness... It is the loss of stiffness that will cause the
problems. Unless the "computer" in the electronic shifters have a
very complex feedback system to monitor the chain's position over the
wear of the chain, pulleys, pins and springs of the system then the
system will start to fail to shift crisply as it ages.

2) While I see the non-index and anti STI guys creeping out of the
woods again, the biggest benifit of STI (albeit indexed shifters are
close) is the positive no-frills no hassle anti clackity-clacktiy
clack that you don't get with an STI (or campy) that is set up
correctly.

For those who want to ride rolly-polly then perhaps that is OK but I
also like the play a bit of crash-box shift and mash sprinting or
dancing up a hill quick enough to make my HRM shatter... The extra
time spent fiddling with a friction or even trying to bump an index
(without going too far) is a waste of time being in the wrong gear
when a simple press-click-leggo----WHAM and I'm in the next gear
hammering on... Not gonna be close with friction or index... Plus I'm
never taking my hands off of the hoods while I stand out of the saddle
and dance away...


Oh... Yes the electronics will probably be just as nice and perhaps
even more like the paddle shifters on that F40 Ferrari... My only
concern is can I afford the maintainance on those vs mechanical STI?
I feel no esp at the expected costs... Smatter of fact I'm living with
STI-Dura-Ace 9 speed due to cost of maintainanace....

JBilinski

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Apr 1, 2008, 12:14:45 AM4/1/08
to randon

jo...@johnandjuliet.com wrote:
> 1) Electronic shifting will not eliminate the need for adjustment as
> for the most part "cable stretch" is an ill-stated term as the cables
> don't stretch.. The housings wear in...
> Also a "perfect" system even after the housings wear in will still go
> out as the chain wears. The chain wears in more than one direction
> BTW... A) it gets "longer" and B) the side plates lose their
> stiffness... It is the loss of stiffness that will cause the
> problems. Unless the "computer" in the electronic shifters have a
> very complex feedback system to monitor the chain's position over the
> wear of the chain, pulleys, pins and springs of the system then the
> system will start to fail to shift crisply as it ages.
>
>
>

An electronic shifting device could be made self adjusting with no
knowledge of wear in the chain, pulleys, cables (assuming there still
are cables), varying spring tensions, etc. All the microprocessor needs
to"know" is when the chain is well centered on a cog (rear) and when it
is not.. This could be achieved by a feedback system which senses the
relative tension while shifting (shifting by feel) or by listening to
the vibrations while shifting (shifting by sound). There are many
examples of things that have been made more reliable with the use of
electronics.

Electronic fuel injection and electronic ignition has made automobiles
vastly more reliable than they were in the past. These are both also
electro/mechanical systems that have mechanical parts that wear out.
They also use feedback devices like knock sensors (feedback by
listening) which compensate for wear and variations in fuel etc.

Anyways this is not anything I feel very strongly about. I'm presently
using 10 speed non-indexed shifting with bar end shifters and am usually
quite happy with how they work.

Jacques

jo...@johnandjuliet.com

unread,
Apr 3, 2008, 12:35:40 AM4/3/08
to randon
I didn't say it couldn't be done... It hasnt been done in these three
systems therefore we can anticipate problems...
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