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.
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.
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.
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.