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Shimano Introduces An Automatic Transmission For Bicycles

Shimano Coasting Bikes (Image courtesy Bike Gallery)
By Andrew Liszewski

While I assume their motives are more financially-driven than eco-friendly it seems Shimano is making a big push to convince ‘non-cyclist’ types to get riding again. (Assuming they used to ride when younger of course.) The company recently setup a special group known as ‘Shimano Coasting’ to develop a line of bikes that would appeal to those who weren’t exactly hardcore about the sport. Unveiled a few weeks ago the bikes they designed are quite simple and stylish but also include a nifty bit of innovation.

Instead of levers and exposed gears that might intimidate their target demographic the new bikes incorporate what I assume to be the first automatic transmission designed for a bicycle. (If I’m wrong about this being the first feel free to correct me in the comments.) Like with a car, as you go faster on the bike it automatically upshifts through the next two gears ensuring an easy ride no matter what speed you prefer to ride. Looking at the various prototypes it’s pretty obvious these bikes are more designed for a leisurely neighborhood cruise rather than a speedy daily commute but I’m sure this technology will eventually make its way onto a wide range of bikes.

[ Shimano Coasting Bikes ] VIA [ Bike Gallery ] VIA [ SlashGear ]








  • Crab

    Back in 1982, while at college, a friend had a bike with 2 gears in the back wheel, thal shift automatically back and forth.

  • http://www.seanbonner.com sean bonner

    I think Browning came up with this several years ago but since they aren’t a major bike manufacturer it just hasn’t caught on very well. I know I saw one in person about 3 years ago and it wasn’t made by Shimano.

  • http://pixel-shack.blogspot.com/ sly

    There was a bike called the “autobike’ that had an automatic transmission. It is now called the landrider.

    http://www.healthandbeautydirect.com/landrider/

    Apparently, the autobike was an overpriced and inferior product, and shimano is one of the top names in the dérailleur industry, so you can expect good things from them.

  • Mark

    Not the shifting without exposed gear, nor the automatic shifting is new on bikes. I’ve seen them before, even on branded bikes. I wonder though why oh why people would want a automatic gear box in their bike.

  • http://www.iwwebdesign.com/ Ian Weir

    Automatic may be a neat idea, but I doubt I’ll be leaving regular bikes until they can offer me a CVT. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuously_variable_transmission )

  • http://www.belligero.org Slokunshialgo

    I know a few months ago, I saw on Daily Planet a bike from Mercedes that had automatic transmission. It was about $6000, and came with a lot more features, but it does exist somewhere.

  • http://www.cyclelicio.us/ Fritz

    CVT for bikes was introduced at Interbike last year: http://www.fallbrooktech.com/default.asp

  • Kelly

    I found a 6-speed Shimano autobike tossed out by the side of the road last year. It needed a few repairs I was able to do. I’m no bike expert but it’s kind of fun to ride – although I do question its judgment at times so far as its shifting selections…

  • Jerry Edmon Fordyce

    I need to sell this bicycle to my trust adviser. He’s going to shoot it down as my first pick of a new technology. I need to prove to him that this is a great technology provided by a great corporation. Please, allow me to send this website to him. Sincerely, Jerry E Fordyce, MA (psych and 20 sem hrs econ).

  • http://www.700r4transmission.org 700R4 Transmission

    Bravo, Bros! keep going like this, more good info again.

  • disqus_hbLSjCJ8aF

    can you put a video clip on how the bike works?

  • disqus_hbLSjCJ8aF

    What’s wrong with its shifting selections?

  • disqus_hbLSjCJ8aF

    Hey. i am working on a project and i am looking for a sustainable mean of transport – maybe something that has water as its fuel and/or travels in the air