@far911 I speak as a cyclist for this one. You would never use use the converted mechanical enery to power the electronic shifters. That would take away from the power that goes into moving the vehicle. We, as cyclists, use every watt to move us forward, so we'd never waste it when we could use batteries to power our: GPS/computer, shifters, powermeter, lights(although lights aren't typical during racing). The Di2 shifting system in the Shimano Dura-Ace is a couple of years old now. They recently released it in their Ultegra model. Competitors: SRAM and Campagnolo have released electronic shifting as well. They all use a battery pack. If there was a way to convert and use the power reliably without it causing the bike to slow down, they would do it.
@tiorbinist - You're right. When you're on something like this, you're bound to get attention. This is limited edition stuff and most people won't buy this for riding a bike. It'll serve as a collector's edition in their arsenal.
@Zippy - That could surely be the reason. In this case, do you think enthusiasts or Lexus owners such as yourself would refrain from buying enthusiast stuff such as this? If not, why? Some take enthusiastic machines like these for granted, so why not this?
@Battar - I'm no genius on the subject either but the mechanical energy from pedaling is supposed to power the electronic shifting by giving electrical energy. If I mentioned something else by mistake, excuse me.
An interesting article, and a product that would not be useful for anybody riding in the real world. It is way to spartan to be comfortable for a long ride, and probably none of the assembly is serviceable outside the Lexus castle. And those ultra-light-weight wheels just don't work for riding no handed. So while it may be appropriate for some Tokyo executive to park in his office and brag about, it does not show much other value, except as a show-off piece.
I'm inclined to agree with those who said that there's nothing really new here. It fails as an avanced-technolgy demonstrator, since almost everything here, such as carbon-fiber frames, has been available for years from other bicycle manufacturers. In fact, it's missing some technolgies that are available on bikes at the $1300 price point, such as hydraulic disc brakes, instead of the side-pull, cable-actuated rim brakes. The only technology I can see that is somewhat advanced is the elctronic deraileur, and Fallbrook Technologies has an electronically-controlled, continuously-variable transmission (ECVT) for bycycles that can also be shifted manually, which is far more advanced than a semi-automatic deraileur (see link below).
New features show up at the Dura-Ace level of Shimano's road set and then trickle down over the years to the lower tiers of their product line. 2012 was the first year that Di2 was available in the Ultegra line.
Two new technologies from Stratasys, created in partnership with Boeing, Ford, and Siemens, will bring accurate, repeatable manufacturing of very large thermoplastic end products, and much bigger composite parts, onto the factory floor for industries including automotive and aerospace.
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