Saturday, 9 June 2012

A Bike With Infinite Gears

An innovation 520 years in the making

Testing the Novara Gotham: A Bike With Infinite Gears | Popular Science:

Today I stumbled upon the article above, which is worth a read if you like bikes, gadgets and history! 

I've been following the progress of this awesome development since it first went online in 2007. The back-story is too good to be true: Leonardo da Vinci himself designs the perfect belt/chain-driven transmission system, but sadly (for the entire post-renaissance history of the planet) fails to build it... 

Jump 500 years later and a far-sighted US inventor / realtor (Estate Agent in SA-speak) casts his eye on the design and asks, "What if?". The result - the marvel of an infinitely adjustable gearing system for bikes (and soon, other vehicles) as demonstrated below.

This is as close to real-life sci-fi I think we'll ever get. It reminds us that that as a species, we aren't getting smarter as the centuries roll on... We are only developing more and more materials to manipulate, and ever more complicated tools to assist with the manipulation. Imagine what ol' Leonardo could have done had he lived today. Conversely, imagine how many Leonardo's are out there with no access to the kit they need to make their inventions a reality? 

Enough rambling - back to the bike... I can't wait to see versions of this transmission become mainstream. Not because I dislike gears in any way. Quite the contrary - I think I'll favour gears on a bike as they are the best way to set pace and provide a tangible "comfort zone" to jump in and out of on a training ride. 

Rather, I think this is the kind of development that will hopefully get more people on bikes, riding greater distances with fewer reasons to want to stop. 

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