The bicycle industry is at war, although this time it’s not about who has the lightest bike, the cleanest athletes, or best marketing. No, this battle is simply for the future or the fate of the bicycle drive train as we know it. Seemingly today, most manufacturers would have you believe that the current bicycle drive train is perfectly sufficient, it just needs a few more gears.Â Lighter, faster, more precise, more, more, more.
However there seems to be more and more companies that are staking their claim in the relatively uncharted waters of the bicycle transmission. Just recently FSA announced that they are getting into the internally geared front crank market with their new Metropolis Crank.Â Internally geared hubs, gearboxes, planetary gears, and most recently Continuously Variable Transmissions are becoming more prevalent on a daily basis. IO DuPont happens to be one of these companies, and I’m willing to bet that they believe in a post derailleur cycling era. Details are slim, but in a recent press release IO DuPont confirmed that they have validated the design of the Infinity Drive using computer modeling and are currently in the prototyping process to bring a fully functioning prototype to life.
More on the Infinity Drive after the break!
While the Infinity Drive is the newest project to come out of IO DuPont, this isn’t their first rodeo. Their first foray into the bicycling industry was the creation ofÂ PowerCordz, which pose an innovative solution or simply an alternative to the conventional steel shift cable with a synthetic cable that resists stretching, corrosion, and claims to be 75% lighter.
While currently no more than a Solidworks file, the new Infinity Drive boasts some lofty design highlights. For starters, IO DuPont claims it has the widest gear range of any transmission currently available with an incredible range from 1:0 to 1:6 input to output! Even more incredible is the claim that this will only be for the first generations, with future models theoretically capable of infinitely large ranges. While not bicycle related per say, the fact that the transmission is possible of obtaining a 1:0 ratio means that on powered applications there is no need for a clutch. The transmission will remain engaged, but input will yield zero power transmitted to the drive. The design of the transmission should be more efficient with DuPont setting a goal of accomplishing at least a 5% increase in efficiency over a traditional drive train.
Read the full press release below:
Cycling has a new CVT on the horizon: Infinity Driveâ„¢ CVT enters prototyping phase
Boise, ID, March 24, 2010 â€“ Io DuPont, llc is prototyping a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) for bicycles called â€œInfinity Driveâ„¢â€ that has recently been validated in computer models. A working model is expected in the coming months. This is the companyâ€™s second foray into the cycling industry, following Power Cordzâ„¢ synthetic bicycle cables.
The Infinity Driveâ„¢ transmission aims to replace derailleur systems common on bicycles since the mid 20th century. â€œThis is potentially one of the most significant developments in the bicycle industry I have seen in over 30 years,â€ said Michael Nover, a veteran insider in the cycling industry and founder of Kinesis USA. â€œDerailleurs have served us well for a long time but, weâ€™re ready for something better.â€
Io DuPontâ€™s transmission is expected to have significant advantages over current systems. It is expected to enter the market at a weight competitive with high-end derailleur systems while offering unique properties that solve many derailleur-related problems.
With the Infinity Driveâ„¢, all gear changes happen from within the transmission meaning; there will be no more mis-shifts or slippage and reduced chain wear.
The first generation Infinity Driveâ„¢ CVT has a gear range of 1:0 through 1:6 (pedal revolutions: tire revolutions)â€”the highest range currently available. Tony DuPont, Founder of Io DuPont, predicts the new transmissionâ€™s wide range of gears will eliminate spin-out on fast down-hills and may lead to new land speed records for the bicycle. â€œOur aim is to reduce limitations to riders on both the low, hill-climbing end and at high speeds,â€ said DuPont.
Because this transmission is capable of continuous energy optimization using low-friction, direct-drive forces, Infinity Driveâ„¢ is expected to have greater efficiency than any previous design. Energy savings could be in excess of 5% (in terms of the amount of effort required to climb a hill or stay at top speeds).
â€œTheoretically, the gearing goes so low that a person who would normally have a hard time walking under their own power could ride a bike up a vertical wall without losing their breathâ€”if you could get the tires to stick well enough,â€ said DuPont.
The Infinity Driveâ„¢ is designed for the cycling industry. Additional potential markets include: automotive, energy, and refrigeration.
About Io DuPont, llc: Founded in Boise, Idaho in 2004, Io DuPontâ€™s first product release was the Power Cordzâ„¢ synthetic fiber cable sold internationally as the worldâ€™s only synthetic fiber bicycle cable. Io DuPont has several technologies in varying stages of development to meet the goal of creating world-class technologies to change industries.