Brake-buzzing tech may keep cyclists from hitting the skids
When bicycle racers are tearing down descents or taking sharp corners, braking can be a bit tricky – they want to brake hard enough to stay in control, yet not so hard that they lock up the wheels and fly over the handlebars. That's why an Italian startup has joined forces with Pinarello to develop the BluBrake system. It's not quite antilock braking, but it's close.
Although we're still waiting to hear back from BluBrake S.r.l. regarding exactly how the technology works, here's the basic idea …
The system will be integrated into the frame of the bike, and consists of an inertial measurement unit (an accelerometer/gyroscope combo), wheel speed sensors, an artificial intelligence control unit/battery pack, haptic actuators in the brake levers, and a handlebar-mounted remote.
Riders start by using the remote to input the type of riding they'll be doing (touring, racing, or an app-configurable custom setting), and to indicate whether the road is wet or dry.
Once they get going, the AI unit continuously analyzes readings from the various sensors. If the brakes are applied and it determines that a lock-up is imminent, it warns the rider by buzzing the actuator in the relevant brake lever.
Unlike the case with a true antilock system, it won't physically stop the brake from locking. Instead, the idea is that the rider will voluntarily ease up as soon as the buzzing starts, avoiding the lock-up themselves.
According to a report in Cycling News, the system has been in development at the Polytechnic University of Milan since 2013. With the recent backing from Pinarello, it is hoped that BluBrake will begin appearing on bikes starting early next year.