Bike needs a tune? The Otto Tuning System has an app for that, With Smart Phone based Derailleur Adjustment

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Otto Design Works says that you can let your phone do the tuning with their “vision app” and hardware kit. As far fetched as this sounds, should we really be surprised? We use our phones for far more things than we imagined just 5 years ago and who knows, 5 years from now we might be performing our own root canals with the latest iPhone 12.

Download the derailleur adjustment details next…

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I want to begin by saying, nothing can beat an experienced mechanic. There can be a number of things affecting your shifting and it is never in our best interest to take a chance with something we’re about to take on a long journey…. that can easily ruin said journey. However, a mechanic may not always be available. Out camping or even on a ride, if you are not quite sure how all those cables and gear thingys work, this actually could be a valuable “tool”.

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The Otto Tuning System app uses your iPhone’s camera (Android will be available in 2016), and pairs with a hardware kit which includes two “Vision Gauges”. Using “photogrammetry“, developed by scientists and computer engineers, the app has both a check and tune functionality that can determine if things are in the right place within 0.001 inches. The system determines where the recorded shift positions are and finds the component location. Algorithms use this information to calculate the ideal settings which are communicated to the user through the OTTO software. It will then either confirm the bicycle component has been adjusted to its ideal location, or it will provide the user with instructions on how to adjust it.

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There are 2 levels of adjustment you can choose from. “Check” allows you to confirm the accuracy of your bike’s shifting and whether or not additional adjustments are needed. “Tune” gives you the option of a simple barrel adjustment (i.e. cable tension), or a complete tune, which includes adjusting the high & low limit screws, and cable tension. It can even determine if you have a bent derailleur hanger. The Otto Tune System can be set up with multiple bike profiles within the app to easily work between various bikes. It currently only works with Shimano/SRAM 9, 10 & 11 speed systems but a Campagnolo system is due in 2016.

OttoDesignWorks.com

Comments

40 thoughts on “Bike needs a tune? The Otto Tuning System has an app for that, With Smart Phone based Derailleur Adjustment

  1. @bikeduder (sweet name!) and @AlanM–did you guys actually read the article? Or are you just reacting based on (faulty) instinct?

    “I want to begin by saying, nothing can beat an experienced mechanic. There can be a number of things affecting your shifting and it is never in our best interest to take a chance with something we’re about to take on a long journey…. that can easily ruin said journey. However, a mechanic may not always be available. Out camping or even on a ride, if you are not quite sure how all those cables and gear thingys work, this actually could be a valuable “tool”.”

  2. One should really figure out how all those cables and gears work before committing to ride that relies on self sufficiency.

  3. Yes, you really should be a seasoned mechanic before you swing your leg over a $200 9 speed turd. The comments here slay me sometimes.

    Good for them for attempting to make sense out of bikes for people that don’t have the need or desire to be an expert at tuning a derailleur.

  4. @Patrick, I did read the article and watched the video. My point was simply that this only helps with a few of the possible reasons why your shifting might be off. And if you don’t know how to check for other issues, like chain wear, cassette wear, issues with cable and housing, than this app is going to be pretty limited in how useful it can really be. It counts on the only issues being related to derailleur adjustment or a bent hanger. Not faulty logic and not a reaction based on just reading the headline.

  5. real “long journeys” should start with the planning and knowledge that you should know what to do without a phone or phone service.

  6. has bike rumor actually used the product, or are you just reposting a press release & commenting based on the same information available to the rest of us?

  7. What about front derailleur? I think the back is the part that tends to not need adjusting?

    Also, what about a youtube video and bike tool…even dummies can make most adjustments.

    You also need a bike stand, which most folks wont have who would want this?

    April fools already?

  8. Technically very neat. I am not sure the intended market, but I am pretty sure nobody is forcing me to buy anything.
    Otto – make a home bike fit check app using the same tech. This may be very helpful for the hundreds of people I see on super low saddles alone, if you could somehow get them to even realize something like this is out there.

  9. I’m pretty seasoned and my derailleurs’ silent operation is the envy of my friends, but if this can help me do it quicker then bring it !! $40 bucks is a bit much though.

  10. It’s interesting that they took this photo outside, because this thing only “works” in the sun. When we tried out the demo, it didn’t work under the shop lights. Then after going through a ton of CX bikes in PDX with terrible results, we realized that it did not understand X-Horizon. Then we switched to Shimano and were able to get it to work okay with 9 speed, sort of with 10 speed, but no no on 11. So if you really want to go outside in the bright sun and get you 9 speed Shimano derailleur pretty close to not needing a tune, here is where to spend $40.

  11. Quick adjust in our shop is $35 (CAD, so like $5 in real money), and you won’t end your ride pulling the remains of your rear derailleur out of the remains of your rear wheel.

    On the bright side, this device could create more demand for quality shop service.

  12. Stuff like this is a reminder that just because you’ve designed a functional solution doesn’t mean you’ve built a viable product.

  13. Congratulations, the tech-challenged people in the f*** the LBS camp got a new hipster app.

    When will someone spend the time to build an actually useful app that can save lives instead, e.g. scan the mushroom before eating it, or scan the QR before it goes into your front brake disc, or scan your wife’s face to know if it’s safe to propose a new bike upgrade?

  14. @Frippolini – thank you for joining us from Pinkbike – your comment is a dead give away. Well played, sir.

  15. @bsimon: We have the system in hand and will be doing a thorough testing of it to post in the near future. I am as skeptical as anyone, but if it works to simply help someone new make minor adjustments when their ride time is critical, I think this could be pretty cool.

  16. On the bright side, by the time a potential rider learned to use this app they would probably have a significantly better idea of how derailleurs work.

  17. @Scott, thanks for the real world experience. Seemed a little fishy, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that it really didn’t work very well.

  18. So you have to buy special gauges to go with the app, wich sort of defeats the purpose. Learning how to adjust gears easy and it takes all about a 15 min youtube video. So if you really want to be able to adjust gears you might as well spend your time watching that, instead of ordering the gauges and figuring out the functionality of the app.

    Big benefit as well you are not stuck out somewhere not being able to adjust your deraillers because you forgot your gauges. Also its just handy general knowledge to have, always convenient to be able to do, not just because of cost, but mainly time spend going to the shop while many adjustments are just a quick turn of the RD screw.

  19. I’m pretty sure there were some naysayers when the first wheel alignment machines came out… Now nobody trusts a mechanic that does it by hand.

  20. Uh if your RD hanger is out of alignment, all the tuning and adjustment in the world won’t solve the poor shifting. The Park Tool RD alignment is worth it’s weight in gold.

  21. Man there is some vitriol here. IMO this valuable enough as a hanger straightener, those things are expensive and annoying to use.

  22. @bikeduder some tools are not for everyone. It isn’t April fools but thanks for your opinion on the app. There is an app for everything so you knew someone would end up doing it. Just happens to be now.

  23. as a mechanic for 20+ years, this isnt the worst idea in the world. You do realize how tight the tolerances for 11spd is these days right? The difference between +/- 0.5mm is the difference between annoying occasional noise and a sweet sweet silent ride.

    I can tune your shifting in the stand by sight and ear bc i do it every day. For your average guy, he’ll get it close enough, but using this, it would be as close as you can get to perfect alignment, every time.

    Just because you ride an ill-adjusted $5k vonderbike and dont know any better doesnt mean you should crap all over everyone else’s ideas.

  24. This app has the worst voice synthesizer I’ve heard in a long time. It sounds like something from the ’80s.

    This app doesn’t take into account why the drive train is out of adjustment. There are so many factors involved with an adjustment.

    I’ll pass…

  25. What a RIP! Now that its actually available, they changed the app to either $.99 single use or subscription, and that’s after the $39 purchase price. No way.

  26. Total rip off.

    Paid $50 for kit. Then informed if I want to actually tune any of my bikes I’ve gotta pay a further $5.99 for a weeks access or $60 for a year.

    Pay the $5.99 just to set up my 3 10/11 speed bikes, then find out that it’s not compatible with 11-speed MTB at all and can only ‘check’ (not tune) my 10-speeds.

    Really pissed off!

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