EB14: Lightweight Makes SmartWheels to Sense Pressure, Brake Track Temperature & More

Liteweight smart  (2)

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…

Lightweight smart wheel system Liteweight smart  (1)

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.

 

Comments

Nick - 08/28/14 - 5:18am

“both an optical and visual indicator”

Same thing?

How many riders who use Lightweights will also stick their phone on the bars… one has to wonder.

Mario - 08/28/14 - 6:41am

Is that a Finn? Getfinn.com

Mario - 08/28/14 - 6:43am

Wow both optical and visual feedback

js - 08/28/14 - 8:01am

I spent three years running tours in Europe, and I saw three pairs of these wheels ridden in the mountains during that time. Not one of them made it through a single descent in poor weather – either foggy or wet conditions, where some level of additional braking was actually required. One set went on a pretty average, sunny day, but perhaps it was because the rider was overbraking… though that happens too.

I’m not saying they are the only Carbon Clincher I saw fail in the mountains, but I do suspect that there are far, far more useful things Lightweight could be designing into their wheels to ensure their customers are safe… instead of just ensuring they get a phone call right after their crash, to confirm why their wheel just blew out.

Durianrider - 08/28/14 - 9:00am

Ive a pair of the latest Meilenstein clinchers. The smart way to descend is feathering front and rear vs grabbing brake at the last minute and holding on.

The heat dissipates really well. I wouldnt use em down Penang Hill though.

Peter - 08/28/14 - 10:35am

I’m tired of ‘smart’ stuff that you need a phone or electronic gadget to monitor. Just make the wheels tough, durable, and reasonably priced. Enough for me!

Jaja - 08/28/14 - 10:55am

Durian, you can brake the way you want if you want to slow down energy has to be dissipated, if you use the brake to do so the same heat we build into the rim. The only way to reduce heating is either to brake less by simply going faster, airspeed will catch more energy as speed build up or to descend in a more upright position, to increase airbrake too.

James S - 08/28/14 - 1:01pm

Well, you could just use disc brakes with your carbon rims instead of adding a smartphone. I thought the whole idea of all this carbon madness was to make your bike lighter and here you have people adding the weight and wind resistance of a smartphone to their bike. And it only costs you $1000 – what a bargain.

If I were a hardcore roadie, I’d build up a nice steel Surly Pacer with no carbon anything and no electronic gadgets and make it my mission to outride all those financiers, doctors, dentists, and lawyers with their $10,000 super fred, power meter, electric shifting, techno-wonder sleds. But I am not, so I’ll just ride for fun instead. (I know, what a weird concept – riding bikes for fun instead of mindless competition).

JTurner - 08/28/14 - 4:38pm

James S – Purist, old school or not I’m all for the concept of riding bikes for fun, yet, if you’ve got the money to waste and buying this sorta stuff makes you happy, well, nothing wrong with that. Kids straight out of college are making pretty amazing salaries here in Silicon Valley, so it’s not simply limited to the demographics you pointed out. I for one like seeing this stuff out on the road; it’s just plain cool.

yogibimbi - 08/28/14 - 5:26pm

Intriguing. Where can I sign up for the alert when the price is below 50USD? :_D

AlanM - 08/28/14 - 6:11pm

While I have no interest in a product like this, it amazes me when people come to BR and then complain about technology. What do you expect to find here?

Rico - 08/28/14 - 10:26pm

Woah Hojo, that sounds harsh. Any idea the tires? I would bet it was an “open tubular” with a floppy bead on a carbon clincher.

John - 09/01/14 - 6:39pm

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