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However good the latest groupsets are, whether they be mechanical or electronic, they still use the same basic derailleur design as those from fifty or sixty years ago. This means that they can struggle when shifting under loads, when they are nowhere near as smooth as when you’re not pushing hard on the pedals. But this could soon change with the Wavetrans system.

>>> Do we need 12-speed gears?

Instead of using a traditional parallelogram derailleur, Wavetrans uses system similar to CVT (continuously variable transmission), meaning that you make the gear harder or easier by adjusting the size of your front chainring. The upshot of this is because the pedals are always engaged even when you’re in between gears, so never have to reduce pressure on the pedals in order to change gear.

>>> Watch: complete guide to road bike groupsets

Currently only one prototype exists, which is a six-speed system giving the same gear range as a 47t matched with a 15-24 cassette. However the system has the potential to offer an infinite number of gears with the rider being able to micro-adjust his or her gear to achieve the perfect ratio.

>>> First look: SRAM Red eTap wireless groupset

As you can probably tell from the rough-and-ready appearance of the Wavetrans in the video above, it’s still in a very early prototype stage. However a patent request has been filed, and inventor Oliver Knittel is looking for a partner to develop the product and eventually bring it to market.

  • Dr Rob Thompson

    exactly what I was about to say. There will be an upper and lower limit, and they will be related to each other. There will also be steps (of 1 tooth on the ring) or it wouldn’t connect to the chain.

    Now if it used a belt drive… I want commission.

  • EB

    “Get an infinite choice of gears with…”

    Maybe ‘infinite’ means something different at CW. The number of gears is clearly limited to intervals by the chain’s links. Even the video clearly shows that.

    Just what do they think can happen when the arms of the chairing overlap? They fan somehow change by half a tooth?

    CVT in motorbikes uses a belt for transmission. They have had to get rid of the chain.

  • John b

    This will never happen. Its a “mechanical”, and nothing to do with how your legs work. There are too many variables to consider when pedaling and your body does a good job of “adjusting” them. Unless you have a system that can measure metabolic rate, composition of muscles, effects of gravity on one joint two joint miracle combinations, ability to discern muscle insertion points, access the level of fatigue, underrated saddle positron variables etc.
    In other words, we are not electric motors, and attempting to replace the intelligence of the brain and body with a mechanical system, won’t work.

  • Robert Koritnik

    No desired or maybe people resisting change too much? SRAM Red’s eTap is also rather different to current shifting pattern so it needs getting used to. Not such a radical change though.
    If one would incorporate power into the whole equation this auto-cadence could be very much made automatic based on one’s priorities. This thing should self learn one’s riding patterns. When power decreases cadence should follow. This is especially true on climbs as well as riding in a group. If you’re drafting you likely lower your cadence because you’re not inputting much power to the pedals. So maybe gradient and speed may not be the best decisive factors with this automatism, but rather power… I suppose it could be made automatic. Something similar to Nest smart thermometer. If you feel it’s too cold you turn it on a bit and in time it learns your preference. Something similar should be done here. If cadence isn’t appropriate you’d adjust it and in time the system would learn your riding patterns.

  • richard

    I hear what your saying but what your describing sounds very much like a system you will constantly be inputting tp change the settings for a gradient , speed whatever change.. Then a switch it off to manual mode override. Sounds like more switching than just switching.. People who ride a lot actually don’t ride metronomic for long durations on reality we like to stay within a range but fluctuate ect. I for instance like to upshift two after an effort is over in a chain gang its how my legs recover when I’m in the draft best… And now m then I like to stand n drop two gears when mr hammys get tired.. Most people are similar .. But different if you know what I mean. Any of the current electrical systems could easily have this built in but it was actually found in practice to be NOT desired..

  • h4x354x0r

    Any valid reason to put the mechanism at the crank instead where existing rear cassette goes?
    Comparisons to other relatively lightweight / low power CVTs?
    Somehow I bet you can still overload the shift mechanism, especially jumping to a bigger virtual ring size.
    Maybe the design ends up making a price breakthrough? Otherwise I think other existing CVT solutions are probably already better and more mature.

  • briantrousers

    Possibly the most boring uninformative video I’ve ever wasted 3m 21s of my life on. Seriously, do people actually watch these things back before uploading them? “I tell you what would be a great intro”, “Yeah?”, “How about a thirty second panning shot of a piece of tarmac?” “Whoa, nailed it there bro!” etc etc

  • Robert Koritnik

    The same thing I was thinking. It shouldn’t simply be cadence though. It should be cadence that’s variable according to speed and climb grade. With the possibility of turning ti from “auto” to “manual” for those moments when one wants to make a specific advantage over others.

  • CyberTonTo72

    I like this idea, 5 year time and this could be great on a road bike

  • richard

    They can do that with di2 if anyone actually wanted it.. No one wants it .. Who would, In the real world we need shifts in cadence ect to reduce fatigue /boredom cope with in/out of saddle efforts , sprint efforts .. Downhills uphills
    recovering ,, basically in the real world.cyclists don’t want it.. Just seems good

  • dannybuoy

    I like his socks and shoes

  • Matt Hallett

    If they could link that to cadence then it could actually be a really great idea. That way you would just set your ideal cadence (e.g. 85rpm) and the gear would increase or decrease around your ability to adapt to either speed or gradient.

  • walter warburton

    give it 4 or 5 years before the big boys pefect it, even more things to go wrong on the bike, more spares sold etc they wont be able to resist it,going like electronic stuff on cars.

  • David Ritchie

    there is no commentary in the Wavetrans video. That is from the Groupset video which annoyingly loads and plays at the same time .

  • ian franklin

    With that music overwhelming the words – I can’t understand a word of this. Ah well …….