Manufacturers are always trying to improve the design of bikes, but rarely make efforts to change the traditional structure of the devices – aside from startups such as Loopwheels, for example. Autobike is another innovative company that hopes to bring automatic gear shifting to two-wheel transport.
One of the reasons consumers may avoid getting started on a bike in the first place is having to remember when and how to change gears when the terrain changes. With the aim to make riding a simpler affair, the Autobike features a mechanism that sets the gear ratio automatically based on rider speed and grade of incline. A dynamo located at the front of the bike generates electricity to power a small on-board computer that determines the factors needed to set the gear. The system uses a continuously variable planetary gear hub that enables smooth continuous transitions. Because different riders have different rhythms when they cycle – something that can affect which gear ratio is best for them – users can set their cadence through buttons located on the bike, or through a Bluetooth connection with their smartphone.