Design And Optimization Of An Integrated Gear Selector For Mountain Bikes

Ben Mann, M.S. University of Utah, December 2005

Mountain bikes are equipped with up to 27 gears. However, not all available gears have useful gear rations and some of the gears result in increased wear through extreme chain positions. Another fundamental flaw is the need for separate actuators for the front and rear derailleurs, which makes it essentially impossible to shift gears in the correct order to achieve a gradually increase or decrease in gear ratio.
This project combines the shifters for the front and rear derailleur into a single unit that can be operated either with the right or left hand. The unit uses an internal cam system that is programmed in such a way that actuating the device in one direction will gradually increase the gear ratio and reversing the direction will gradually decrease the gear ratio. The unit also will avoid wear intense chain positions and eliminate gears with identical or near-identical gear ratios.

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