AutoBike is about to make a spin. This Michigan startup has invented an automatically shifting bicycle that uses a continuously variable transmission. The shifting system uses a compact, lightweight computer-controlled mechanism to automatically switch gears based on the rider’s cadence, speed, and environment (e.g., hills). The AutoBike can be used by cyclists of all levels, but is designed primarily for the more than 160 million “everyday” riders in the United States
For most people, the purpose of a bicycle is to take leisurely rides and have fun. Some riders, however, do not shift gears at the right time. They therefore exhaust themselves faster or may have to walk their bicycles up otherwise manageable hills. These situations tarnish the entire cycling experience and make people less likely to ride. The AutoBike solves this problem by automatically shifting gears for the cyclist.
Although an automatic-shifting bicycle is not a new idea, the AutoBike is the only one with a continuously variable transmission. Most bicycles shift directly from one gear to another. This can create unsettling, jerking reverberations on the pedals, especially when the rider is not expecting the automatic transmission to shift gears. The continuously variable transmission on the AutoBike, on the other hand, gradually adjusts from one setting to another, ensuring a smooth ride.
The AutoBike with a cruiser frame is currently in production. AutoBike LLC is expecting to release it in December for less than $1,000. A mountain bike version of the AutoBike is in development.AutoBike,