Dan of Dan's Coastie Fun/ the RFD came by today and asked if I had heard about the new gearing system used by Ellsworth bikes. What followed was a bike nerd geek out of epic proportions.
I hope I am smart enough to do this justice.
Ever wish someone made an automatic transmission bike?
The gearing system for The Ride (angelic choir) uses ball bearings in a gel solution instead of cogs, etc. By twisting the grip on the handlebars, you shift the channel the ball bearings rest in, causing the ball bearings to put more or less pressure on the magic goo. This in turn makes the magic goo solidify or liquify transferring power.
If I understand this correctly, this is how the new bullet proof vests work.
Ripped from Popular Science:
The Infinitely Geared Bike
Cyclists have been waiting a long time for this one. Based on a 1490s sketch by Leonardo da Vinci, The Ride’s rear hub mimics an infinite number of gears, rather than the mere 21 offered by the usual chain-yanking transmission. So you can always find the perfect gear ratio, whether starting from a stop or speeding down a hill. Twist a dial on the handlebar, and ball bearings in the bike’s NuVinci transmission tilt between two rotating metal discs. (Your pedaling turns one disc; the other transfers power to the rear wheel.) As the balls tilt, they touch the discs at varying angles. This changes how fast the wheel spins relative to your pedaling—slowly for low gear ratios, where pedaling is easy but the wheel doesn’t turn much, and quickly for high ratios. The balls can roll to almost any angle, giving you precise control over the bike’s torque (and your exertion). This latest take on da Vinci’s continuous transmission has potential uses beyond bikes. Within four years, expect to see the NuVinci in cars, tractors, even wind turbines —the possibilities are nearly as limitless as the gear ratios.
I might have just wet my pants. When they make a racing road bike, I'll be selling a kidney on Craigslist to buy one.