Potential new drivetrain

Asking users what “features” they want is a recipe for building the wrong product.


Don’t wish to use carbon because of its complexity, but would look to 3D print?

Sounds expensive. Would the plastic parts/components be printed, will you youse metal sintering for the printed metal items?

Sounds risky not using tried and tested methods.

Pretty sure you could make automatic electronic shifting wih existing technology.

The problem is, automatic shifting is useless for racing. You need to shift before you accelerate, not during. Imaging trying to wind up a sprint, and your bike starts shifting. It might be ok for sustained efforts like TTs, where the program could work out that you could be a bit more efficient in a different gear, but anything where you need to react quickly, its no use on current drivetrains.

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Automatic shifting sounds like a feature almost nobody asks for. Getting car manufacturers to make good automatic transmissions has taken several decades. You need tons of sensors and a connection to the engine. If you are a small outfit, that is exactly the wrong feature to focus on.

You should make a product that is very focussed so it becomes simpler to make, but that stands out in one way or another. Don’t compete with Shimano and SRAM head on, you will lose. Also, don’t forget patents.

Rotor is trying to do this with mixed success. Their 1x13 speed drive train is doing exactly that. AFAIK Rotor is using hydraulic shifting to get around the many patents Shimano and SRAM possess. They made it 1x, because front shifting on their Rotor Uno drive train apparently wasn’t great. They went disc brake only to reduce the number of configurations. The disc brakes are left to an expert in the field, Magura. They use a standard 12-speed chain. I think these moves were smart, but still do not guarantee success. (I wish I could afford Rotor’s 1x13 groupset …)

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Agree. Wouldn’t work for racing. Maybe for general riding around or solo training rides. If electronic, you’d be able so switch automatic mode on and off.

Like I mentioned above, I don’t know if you could actually get it to work well. But it would get a lot of media coverage!

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I second the comment above about entering an established market.

Barring being independently wealthy with literally billions to throw at this…you’re not going to be better at what Shimano/SRAM do. Not to be condescending…but if you had a chance of making a race ready, reasonably priced group set that would be more than competitive in the market, I think we’d have heard of you already.

You need to do something nobody does. Perhaps make a maintenance free, indestructible group set built out of who knows what. Guarantee 10 years of service without maintenance. That’s something there would be a market for, and you wouldn’t have to do it better than 3 companies that have over a centuries worth of experience at it already. I have no idea how to do it. But I feel that avenue is more likely than say, trying to build lightweight 11spd+ road group sets in the $500-1000 range and gaining market share there.

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I would have a lot to say about this until I rode the new Shimano groups. Also, I give credit to the Eagle AXS group - it’s the best group SRAM has produced and a nice sell on the simplicity of set up.

I’d love to see a small company give these guys a run.

There is room in the industry for a viable 3rd option that is not prohibitively priced, impossible to get, or just plain not as good.

What do I want? What everyone wants, lighter components for less money, better ranges for 1X, better shifting for 2X (a big ask). If it’s not going to be wireless, easy to install and measurably better or cheaper than the two big S, well. :slightly_smiling_face:

But that is my point exactly…you need to have your Reason to Exist before you solicit what features you want / brainstorm.

For example, 13 spd grouppo is a big “meh”. It is one extra cog. Doesn’t change anything really. To paraphrase Spinal Tap, “it’s one more, isn’t it?” So what, who cares, what’s in it for me? THAT is the essential question that must be asked first.

This is a very mature category in terms of suppliers. Look at FSA…they have what appears to be a decent grouppo, but can’t gain any traction…and they even have strong OEM relationships. At the end of the day, their stuff is largely a “me too” product. They lack a “Reason to Be”. (Disclaimer - I literally just received a FSA grouppo today. Review to follow, but the main reason I got that was because I got a hookup through an old industry friend. Without that, I doubt I would have considered it)

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I assume (quite probably wrongly) that they’ve done that. And I fully agree it’s a market with very large barriers to entry - you need the OEM relationships to get the volume, you need the volume to get the cost level that enables competitive pricing, and you need competitive pricing to get the OEM deals.

Vicious little circle, ain’t it? :confounded:

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Yeah, tell me about it. It’s not the only market that works that way…

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A few years ago there was a GCN video about a guy who build an automatic shifting system for his bike. Can’t remember if it was just a hobby kinda thing, or if he wanted to sell it.

we will look further into this idea, we will do some research and potentially make this into a reality. this so far appears to be the most promising.

other ideas that we have seen that we will look into are, solar powered batteries, automatic shifting with an on/off control, multi speed functionality, and semi wireless shifting.

the features that we have decided to focus on are recycle-ability, ease of installation/maintenance, and durability.

What is described above is largely available with an Internal Geared Hub. Some of them are quite good, have long maintenance intervals (especially if belt driven) and have a variety of nice features compared to a sprocket, chain & derailleur design.


Just what I was going to say.

Roughly we lose 10 Watts just from drivetrain efficiency. Unless you come out with something novel that is reliable and shaves off 5+ Watts from that, I can’t see people moving away from the big companies already out there. Drivetrains have essentially become a commodity.

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I wouldn’t touch 1X with a 10-foot pole. It’s a patent minefield. SRAM owns the Narrow-Wide patent, they’ve already sued multiple competitors including RaceFace (Fox) and Wolftooth, and you’d be going up against them.

I’d spend a day or two scanning Google Patents. I 'd guess that both SRAM and Shimano hold patents in electronic shifting as well.

Really, SRAM sued Raceface and Wolftooth?

Essentially fair play to a company that makes and or gets a patent like these. Presumably they spent time developing and patenting these “new” or “unique” items (or bought them from those that did) and it’s reasonable for them to control if and when those designs are made by others.

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SRAM is largely in business today because of lawsuits. They were on their knees in the 90’s when they win their landmark lawsuit over Shimano re: OEM grouppo discount pricing practices.

It has been a pillar of their business strategy ever since then. However, As @mcneese.chad notes, fair play to those looking to protect their IP.