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In order to maximise the performance of road bikes in the future, we need to view comfort and handling performance on the same level as the current conventional parameters.
The development of an active chassis allows us to significantly enhance a bike’s comfort and handling. At the very core of this project is an innovative carbon leaf spring suspension system using newly-developed MR (magneto-rheological) fluid bearings connected to a series of sensors and the central processing “On-Board Unit”. We call the system “Magneto-Rheological Suspension Control,” or in more simple terms, MRSC.
The integrated On-Board Unit connects to a series of sensors that are able to detect the riding style and surface conditions and then regulate the chassis accordingly. Sensors found at the handlebars can detect how the rider is riding, for example sprinting on the drops or climbing on the hoods, while the sensors located on the seat tube pick up the road conditions. The Geometry is based on our performance-oriented Pro Geometry to attain a long, low and aerodynamic riding position.
Newly-developed bearings in the fork leg pivots provide a rotary damping effect. The key to this lies in the magneto-rheological fluid construction. Metal particles are suspended in a fluid, which then become polarised when subjected to a magnetic field. The effect changes the viscosity of the fluid, rendering it solid and the pivot fixed. Sensors around the bike pick up riding style and road conditions and then instantly relay signals to the MR bearings that alter the damping performance. Therefore, the entire system switches automatically between being open or closed to either provide shock absorption or maximum stiffness. All the rider has to do is concentrate on their own performance.
Electronic shifting and power measurement are now commonplace at the high end of performance road cycling. GPS cycling computers have all but replaced simple speedometers. We are now able to navigate and collect performance data when on the bike and then share it with others by uploading our rides onto social networks afterwards. Technology is constantly changing the way we approach cycling.
We wanted to look beyond existing technology to imagine what a “connected” bike would be capable of in the future. What opportunities are opened up with the introduction of more electronics? What if the bike were able to communicate with the rider? This may all sound a long way off, but our intelligent “On-Board Unit”, developed together with Deutsche Telekom proves it’s actually not that far away.
Just like cars, regular maintenance and service of bikes is crucial in order to maintain safety and performance. This often involves the replacement of moving or worn-out parts such as brake pads, chains and gear cables. Our On-Board Unit is able to recognise when these parts need replacing and also keeps track of service intervals for the rider.
Accidents happen in seconds. When riding alone, calling for help if something does go wrong is a major concern. The emergency call function, called “E-Call”, recognises when a serious crash has taken place and sends an automatic signal to emergency services with your exact location for rapid response times.
The GPS module integrated into the frame is able to record the bike’s location allowing you to collect training and performance data without the need of an additional GPS device. Another advantage is that the bike can be tracked if stolen.
The design evokes elegance and energy through the abundance of parallel lines, a flattened rear triangle as well as the forward bias of certain elements. Both suspension parts are highlighted with bright colours to draw attention to the innovative technology of this concept.
The technical complexity of a full suspension road bike is disguised by the frame’s clear cut lines and a design that focusses solely on what is essential to the structure. Coherent tube shapes are applied throughout to give the effect of one infinite line running through the frame. The result defies all convention of a full suspension road bike design.