EB14: Projekt MRSC – Electronically Controlled Full-suspension Road Prototype from Canyon

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In an effort to combat rider fatigue from road surface vibration and ensure all of the cyclist’s energy is put to forward motion, Germany’s Canyon bikes have introduced a smart full-suspension road bike prototype at Eurobike. The concept bike dubbed Projekt MRSC Connected ( for Magneto-Rheological Suspension Control) is a move in the direction to highlight a design focus on comfort, as lightness and stiffness have continue to progress almost exclusively at the high-end. Canyon feels strongly that more comfort means higher performance, and has incorporated their own VCLS Technology (Vertical Comfort, Lateral Stiffness) into their frames for several years. The Projekt MRSC is a next iteration in expanding this tech.

Canyon’s engineering team sees constant road vibration as the next biggest cause of rider fatigue beyond pedaling effort. As the back and leg muscles undergo stress to counteract road impacts and stabilize the bike, rider comfort decreases and with it endurance and speed. The vibration also breaks the bike’s contact with the road and its intended path, consuming unnecessary energy.The MRSC system proposed an active bike frameset to enhance comfort and handling, with less energy input.

Join us after the break for a detailed look at the bike, how it works, and how it stays connected…

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The core technology is a carbon leaf-spring suspended bike with MR (magneto-rheological) fluid bearings which change their resistance when subjected to electrical current. These bearings are then controlled by an on-board CPU, effectively being opened up or locked-out, in response to on-board impact, position, and movement sensor feedback. The sensors detect riding conditions and rider inputs to be processed by the CPU and adjust the allowable movement of the suspension elements accordingly. The frameset highlight MR bearings are designed to look sculpted out of the frame, and combine with the leaf springs to be painted in a bright contrasting color to truly stand out.

The base carbon frame takes a lot of design cues from Canyon’s Pro Tour tested Aeroroad CF SLX aero race bike, and uses the same pro geometry of the Ulitmate and Aeroroad lines to maintain a low, aggressively aero riding position.

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The fork forgoes the traditional bulky design of suspension forks, which are built around complicated internals, for a simple execution that is more in line with a road race frame. Suspension is handled by two electronically controlled Magneto-Rheological bearings with a small leading arm holding the through axle and post-mount disc brake. It works by utilizing an increased overall fork leg length with an upward and backwards moving axle path that allows the fork to minimize frontal area for a more aerodynamic design.

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The rear suspension works on a similar concept to the forks with another electronically controlled Magneto-Rheological bearing connected to a lever inside of the seat tube driven by the seatstay monostay. The rear triangle leaves out a pivot point, instead relying on the carbon chainstays to flex at a specially designed section just behind the bottom bracket like a softtail. Another carbon leaf spring, this time connecting the seattube and monostay, controls suspension action when the bearings are in the open travel position, and provides lateral stiffness.

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Frameset Design Features:

  • 15mm front and 12mm rear through axles for improved stiffness and consistent handling
  • hydraulic 160mm front and 140mm rear disc brakes for reliable, powerful braking
  • automatically electrically/magnetically controlled fluid in the suspension bearings provided infinite adjustment between fully open and fully locked out suspension movement, based on riding conditions
  • pivot-less chainstays to minimize rear end squat and maintain efficient power transfer and handling
  • 15mm of axle travel to account for 90% of road vibrations and impacts
  • user adjustable curved fork leaf springs to affect suspension character, and maximize travel progression

 

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Connectivity Features:

  • on-board CPU tracks consumables and alerts the rider via smartphone when brake pads, chain, and cables need replacing
  • a GPS module records location data for training and performance tracking with out any additional electronics
  • combined with a GSM connection, it allows the bike to be tracked if stolen
  • the tracking system can also allow you to share your location with friends and family to see where you are or meet up
  • with the GSM connection the frame’s E-Call can also alert emergency services in case of a serious crash

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While the bike is very clearly a concept bike, it might be better described as a proof-of-concept bike. Canyon’s engineers clearly see the spread of electronic integration as the way that bike design is moving forward in the near future. The interconnectivity of bikes with location data gathering and live position access (see all the GPSes  on rider bikes these days and Garmin Live Ride Tracking),  electronic suspension control (see Lapierre an Ghost’s E:i Shock), and automatic emergency calls (see ICE.) is a real thing now. Upping the ante with this innovative magnetically controlled fluid in the suspension and tying it all together is the next logical step for Canyon.

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Sure, we won’t be able to buy this bike next spring like most of the tech we see at Eurobike, but from the way the engineers talk, it may not be so far off. I get the feeling that this bike will continue to develop in their test lab. And I would be surprised if they won’t bring it to market before 2020.

Canyon.com

Comments

Maddogeco - 09/02/14 - 2:52am

Aero frame, disc brakes, through axels. Shut up and take my money. I don’t need the suspension as interesting as that is right now

Gary - 09/02/14 - 3:10am

Oh my goodness. Ya could just get a bike that allows you to run bigger/wider tires at lower pressures. Too simple, I guess.

Psi Squared - 09/02/14 - 4:24am

Gary, it’s a concept bike, and the concept is a new approach to suspension. Development of new ideas doesn’t stop just because one way of doing things works for some people. Moreover, it’s human nature to try and improve on what we have. If it weren’t we probably wouldn’t need that couple that’s always trying to upset the simple guy’s life: science and engineering.

dh - 09/02/14 - 4:29am

Psisquared. Are you Gary’s dad?

Antipodean_G - 09/02/14 - 4:36am

Oh my! I do like that sorta thinking. And why can’t people get their heads around concept design and explorative ideas? If this sorta stuff didn’t go on. we’d all be still riding (or not) Penny Farthings – or did a lot of people around here miss what went on with mountain biking in the 90′s??

Patrick - 09/02/14 - 4:45am

I like it!! Something to keep the bicycle progressing! I think the chain driven derailleur system is kind of dated, but better things will come.

gringo - 09/02/14 - 5:38am

question for the editors:

Is this rideable? Is it a prototype as the headline states, or a concept as it looks to be? These terms are not interchangeable.

Chris - 09/02/14 - 7:30am

@Gringo

bikeradar say they rode it, albeit briefly. So, yeh. They still called it a concept, though.

gatouille - 09/02/14 - 8:14am

Canyon uses money to do (really) research and to create, good thing !
This step is essential to improve.

rincon5 - 09/02/14 - 9:00am

I think I just heard a Cannondale tear fall to the ground.

Sam - 09/02/14 - 9:57am

Gary, do the words “rolling resistance” and “rotating weight” mean anything to you?

Ripnshread - 09/02/14 - 10:11am

Needs disc shrouds/guards to protect other riders.

craigsj - 09/02/14 - 11:33am

Sam, larger tires, rolling resistance, and rotating weight are not mutually exclusive. Manufacturers can make larger tires that are light and fast and are gradually doing so. It’s prejudice that stands in the way.

What larger tires limit are aerodynamic benefits…for those who believe riding at freeways speeds to be important. What I can’t understand is why those riders aren’t on 650C.

I say double the travel, raise the chain stay more for pedaling efficiency, and add clearance for larger tires. Good ideas here, just not far enough.

Dave - 09/02/14 - 12:33pm

@rincon5, Yeah the Cannondale Magic bike from ’93 came to my mind too! Haha

http://www.vintagecannondale.com/odd/magic/cannondalemagic.html

Equine Master - 09/02/14 - 12:33pm

At what point does this go from bike to e-bike (i.e., when will UCI step in?)?

Alex - 09/02/14 - 1:25pm

Very interesting. Good to see this kind of innovation. Would need to see what pricing, weight, and front end stiffness would look like on a production version.

Meanwhile, if you want to dampen road vibration, run some 28mm tires on your endurance road bike. Endurance road bikes (e.g. Cannondale Synapse, Giant Defy, etc) are increasingly being designed to clear 28mm tires for this very reason.

Also, don’t use a seatpost any wider than 27.2mm, and use a reasonably light yet comfy saddle (e.g. Fizik Aliante, Selle Italia Flite, etc). It’ll work wonders for you.

Gary - 09/02/14 - 6:17pm

Given the choice between Rube Goldberg and John Dunlop, there will always be those who are willing to pay a premium for the Rube Goldberg invention. To each his own.

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