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Fly-by-wire Bicycle

Electronic interface for pedal-powered pushbike
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Yes, the bottom bracket could be replaced with a generator, and the rear hub with a brushless motor, and an electrical system could replace the chain -- but that's not important for this idea.

This idea proposes to disconnect the handlebars from the front fork, replacing the headset bearing with an encoder and a servomotor. Benefits include:

- Adjustable leverage. Wider handlebars are more stable, but by changing the scale factor the effective width of the handlebars can be adjusted on the fly.

- Active stability. At slow speeds the autopilot can enhance the effective stability of the bike

- Easier storage. When powered off, the handlebars can be turned sideways to the forks and the bike can be fit into a smaller space.

- Power Steering for very heavy bikes and/or the extremely feeble-armed

- Comedy reversed-handlebar mode

mitxela, May 28 2019

https://www.theglob...gs/article20370814/ [hippo, May 30 2019]

Comedy reversed-handlebar mode https://youtu.be/MFzDaBzBlL0
"Smarter Every Day" accomplished this with gears, then learned to ride it [discontinuuity, Jun 04 2019]

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       What could possibly go wrong ...? [+]
8th of 7, May 28 2019
  

       Hang on - leverage from a servomotor?
pertinax, May 28 2019
  

       Mechanical advantage is a better term; crown wheel and pinion.   

       Software controlled variable ratio between the shaft encoder and the drive to the stepper.   

       Maybe the bike could be sponsored by Dignitas ? Many cyclists clearly wish to die an untimely death (and should be accommodated) so it's a perfect synergy.
8th of 7, May 28 2019
  

       For a while I've thought that reverse steering is actually safer, once you're used to it, because if the end of your handlebar clips an obstacle, regular steering means you steer toward the obstacle and collide with it, while reverse steering means you steer away from it. I mentioned this to a friend the other day, and he said I was wrong because when riding on a cliffside trail, he'd rather steer toward and collide with an obstacle than steer away from it and go off the cliff.   

       But I just now realized that maybe he's wrong, because the steer due to the handlebar clipping an obstacle is an unbalanced steer, because it isn't preceded by a countersteer. This means that if you clip an obstacle with normal steering, your bike steers toward the obstacle and collides with it, but you lose your balance in the opposite direction and fall away from the obstacle. And with reverse steering, your bike steers away from the obstacle, but you fall toward it (and away from the cliff, if there is one). This seems related to how people who commute by motorcycle on cliffside roads in remote places tend to ride closer to the edge than to the wall, which I understand they do in order that, if they're going to lose their balance regardless, they have the option of trying to fall away from the cliff's edge rather than toward it.
notexactly, May 28 2019
  

       We don't care if the cyclists ride into an obstacle or over a cliff, as long as the video's decent quality. Obviously cliffs are better as there's more hope of serious injury or death, preventing further self-propelled nuisance.
8th of 7, May 28 2019
  

       There's a lot to be said for tiller steering also.
pocmloc, May 28 2019
  

       Take no notice of [8th]. He's only like that because he was the only boy at secondary school that still had trainer wheels on his bike.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 28 2019
  

       So with this idea, it should be able to detect that the handle accidentally hit something and not turn the wheel at all (or automatically compensate in the correct direction to help keep the rider balanced after the collision).
scad mientist, May 29 2019
  

       There have been a LOT of proposed changes to bicycles. What's amazing, is that apart from some fashions for handlebar shapes and tire sizes, nothing has stuck. They're still the same design as 1935. The stickler seems to be efficiency, chain drives are approx 98-99% efficient. People complain about belts feeling lossy and they're 94-97%. Shafts are hated, totally unworkable on bicycles, and that's at 80%. A generator-battery-motor system is BEST case 73%. People willing to shave legs and wear Lycra won't accept that.
bs0u0155, May 29 2019
  

       (Pro cyclists don't shave their legs for efficiency/air resistance reasons. They do it because it makes the post-race massage more comfortable, because it makes it easier to treat cuts, grazes and 'road rash', and partly because everyone else does it, and so it looks 'pro')
hippo, May 29 2019
  

       I suppose the bell would also be by-wire? Wireless would be a neat trick.
whatrock, May 29 2019
  

       Countersteering is a poorly understood and largely subconscious motion all cyclists must perform in order to turn a corner while remaining upright, and really, it has no place in our modern world. The Fly-by-wire Bicycle will feature a DSP chip in the signal path able to apply a customizable filter which encompasses the countersteer movement, so that in order to turn a corner, simply turning the handlebars in that direction is all that is required.   

       Fly-by-wire (the real thing, on planes and the like) was designed to deal with exactly this problem, turning the pilot's intention into the specific and potentially more complicated control signals needed to do that.   

       It would be trivial to incorporate further filtering in order to, for instance, notch out transients caused by whacking the handlebars into obstacles.   

       // the bell would also be by-wire // Yes, and the brakes too.
mitxela, May 29 2019
  

       With that level of sophistication in the guidance system, the next logical step is to eliminate the rider altogether, shirley ?   

       We've been doing that for years ...
8th of 7, May 29 2019
  

       I'm not quite up to speed on the flying part of this idea.
pocmloc, May 29 2019
  

       It happens in the brief interval between the rider parting company with the bicycle, and the excruciating pain starting.
8th of 7, May 29 2019
  

       //Pro cyclists don't shave their legs for efficiency/air resistance reasons.// A mate of mine cycles quite seriously, and he said shaving legs does make quite a difference, speed- wise. Given that most of the effort of cycling on the level goes into overcoming air resistance; and given that legs must represent a good 10% of the frontal area; and given that a hairless leg must have significantly less drag than a hairy one; I can imagine leg-shaving equating to a 0.5% or 1% advantage, which is significant in competitions.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 29 2019
  

       I’m slightly sceptical of that - the most aerodynamic surfaces are often not the smoothest ones, but rather those which break up the airflow around the surface. So, dimpled golf balls are more aerodynamic than smooth golf balls. In the same way, hairy legs may be more effective at separating the airflow from the leg surface than smooth legs and allowing air to flow smoothly.
hippo, May 29 2019
  

       And yet one never sees a hairy airplane.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 29 2019
  

       Helicopters are pretty damned hairy ...
8th of 7, May 29 2019
  

       OK, in the interim since my last annotation, I've been able to do a little research into the entire hair/air resistance question.   

       A fully-haired animal, released from the parapet on the north-east library turret reached a velocity of 87mph before being brought safely to a halt by the conveniently-situated ground. Sturton clocked it at 85mph as it passed the 1st floor window, which suggests that it was approaching terminal velocity.   

       The same animal, sans hair, reached 91mph (and was at about 88mph by the 1st floor). Admittedly it was thrashing around a lot less than the first time, which may have a bearing on the results.   

       Obviously we would have liked to collect a statistically significant sample, but we could only find the one ShitZu.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 29 2019
  

       //yet one never sees a hairy airplane//   

       It seems some answers are so correct but, sadly, are a culturally defined abhorrence and therefore will never be implemented? I don't know why golf has such a poor reputation.
wjt, May 30 2019
  

       It seems (remarquer linkage) that I may be wrong, or at least, not correct.
hippo, May 30 2019
  

       Why didn't he shave just the outside of his legs? I'm thinking a bubble of denser air 'in' the bike would be advantageous.
wjt, Jun 01 2019
  

       Shaving is usually done only to the outside of things. Shaving the inside of your legs will make the other side of your skin nice and smooth but is correlated with other problems such as significant blood loss and death.
hippo, Jun 04 2019
  

       Yes, but is the correlation statistically significant ? What is the confidence factor ?   

       Remember (i) it is never valid to extrapolate from the general to the specific, (ii) accumulation of observational evidence is not proof, (v) figures prove nothing, (iii) we wouldn't be pointing this out unless we had a good working knowledge of arithmetic.
8th of 7, Jun 04 2019
  

       //inside of your legs will make//   

       Those tailors must have some big problems then.   

       //correlation statistically significant//   

       True, the proof of the thought is in data-ing which always involves some sort of physical cooking of the question.
wjt, Jun 05 2019
  

       //disconnect the handlebars from the front fork//   

       Making me think, could you arrange a pair of centre-of-mass controlled electric unicycles to behave like a mechanically linked pair of cycle wheels, one upon which you sit, and the other being a handle-bar prop type thing that made you believe you were riding a cohesive bicycle?   

       There would of course be zero benefit to doing this, and considerable risk of the handlebar/front-fork assembly going in one direction, and the rear portion going in another, placing the human linkage between the two with somewhat of a dilemma.
zen_tom, Jun 06 2019
  

       <Paramedic>   

       "Quick doc, got a bad one here ... really nasty dilemma. Concussed, lost a fair bit of blood, pulse weak, breathing irregular, may have internal injuries".   

       </paramedic>
8th of 7, Jun 06 2019
  

       // a pair of centre-of-mass controlled electric unicycles //   

       I wonder how far this idea could be taken. A carefully balanced electric unicycle, possibly with a hidden counterweight so that the seat projects forwards, and a floating set of handlebars not apparently connected to anything, which uses accelerometers to detect input and wirelessly sends commands to the other parts. A single front-wheel that rolls along under its own power, with no forks, no frame and no pedals to be seen. The "bicycle" would need to detect the presence of the rider making pedalling motions in the air, and move forwards appropriately.
mitxela, Jun 06 2019
  


 

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