International Bicycle Design Competition Yields Braking News

Among a host of designs that include clever new lights, a surprising amount of bamboo, and the Dora Helmet we covered previously, winners of the 2013 IBDC included two new braking system concepts that are quite interesting. First, is this new Eron hydraulic disc brake system with and integrated lighting system from Tomas Breun out of Germany. The brake system combines the standard disc brake performance with that of a dynamo hub and a light system, all in one clean package. Thanks to magnets embedded in the disc rotor, the rotation of the rotor through induction coils in the caliper produce the electrical energy needed for the system to operate. Electricity is transferred from the caliper to the lever through the Dual Plug hydraulic line – one hose with the wire built right in.

Head lights are built into each brake lever, while the tail light is integrated into the rear caliper. We would assume since the lights and brakes are integrated into one system it would be pretty easy to build in a brake light function for the rear caliper, if it’s not there already. This system seems like it would be perfect for commuters looking for all weather braking and no fuss lighting.

Check out the super minimalistic thumb actuated Penta Brake, after the break.

International Bicycle Design Competition Yields Braking News

Seeming mostly like a way to decrease handle bar clutter for a super clean appearance, Penta Brake from Martina Zbinden of Switzerland replaces the traditional 1 or 2 fingered brake lever with a thumb lever on the bottom of the bar. The description attempts to say that it might be safer since all of your fingers and thumb can rest on the bar when you’re not braking, and being able to slide your thumb in when you need to brake – though it seems like your thumb would provide better grip on the bar than one of your fingers. Since it’s only a design, it’s hard to tell how it would function ergonomically, but it certainly is clean.



  1. Looks good for a commuter but what happens when some emergency braking needs to be done and the rider automatically reaches for the lever that isn’t there? Seems like this new thumb brake would take some getting used to before it becomes a natural reflex.

  2. The ERON brake is awesome. Never thought of it for bike applications, but just like a hybrid, it makes sense to generate power from braking forces rather than a dynamo hub. And the tail light feature would be slick. I want pictures of the levers!

    The Penta, on the other hand, is interesting but definitely more concept than sensible solution IMO. I’d respect it more if they’d thought out and showed the actual mechanics.

  3. pmurf, they aren’t generating power from braking forces. The power comes from the wheel spinning and the magnets imbedded in the rotors passing by coils. Different from regenerative braking.

  4. make my disc brakes generate power for my electric shifting. this would be wonderful in something like the DI2 IGH hub.

  5. The sad thing is reading these comments from performance cyclists.
    The good thing is, they do not design stuff.
    So people like us can improve bicycles and bicycling.

What do you think?