There may have been a few tire pressure monitoring systems announced recently, but Lightweight’s new Smartwheel system certainly takes the cake, or carbon as it may be. Using a microchip and complex sensor array embedded in the carbon fiber rim, Smartwheels are not only able to measure tire pressure in real time but brake track temperature, wheel speed and more.
According to Lightweight the system is able to be built into the rim with zero weight penalty. The chip is fairly light itself, and since it will sit in a hollowed out compartment in the inner foam core, the weight of the displaced foam causes it to break even. You will not be able to see the chip in production wheels as they will be underneath the carbon – the cutouts above are only for testing purposes.
To accompany the wheel system, Lightweight will have their own smart phone app. Download the details next…
For a system that 6 years ago used to require the use of a heavy backpack and complicated sensors, Smartwheel is quite elegant in its execution. Currently the system is ANT+ compatible which means it is only compatible with android phones. Once installed on your mobile device, the wheels will transmit individual front and rear data in real time to the display. The sensors seemed to be surprisingly accurate, recording a change in temperature from simply placing your hands on the rim.
Equipped with 4 possible leads for different sensors, Lightweight envisions the Smartwheel system as a source of information for riders that they can use for a number of different purposes. Knowing the temperature of the brake track could theoretically be used to improve your braking since you could use the information to better modulate your braking. The system will include both an
optical auditory and visual indicator that you have overheated your rims if you are in danger. Also, since all of the information is stored for later use it can be used for tracking maintenance intervals or even proving mileage and the fact that the wheels have never been ridden past the safe temperature if you are selling your equipment.
Production Smartwheels are still about a year out, but Lightweight is interested in consumer feedback as to what they would like to see in the system. As it stands, pricing is TBD though would probably be in the ball park of $1000 on top of a set of Lightweight wheels.