Shimano Granted Patent Related to Wireless Electronic Shifting & Dropper Post

Apr 1, 2021
by Mike Kazimer  
Shimano patent image


In February we reported that Shimano had been granted two wireless communication applications, a strong hint that some sort of wireless electronic components were in development. A patent that was granted to Shimano last week sheds even more light on what could be on the way, and on the potential uses for the new wireless system.

Along with the expected wireless shifting, and the ability to activate a wireless dropper post, the patent also includes details about the ability to control the bike's suspension, either the fork, shock, or both.

The patent states, "the first telescopic operation signal is a wireless signal to operate the bicycle electric seatpost assembly. The second telescopic operation signal is a wireless signal to operate the bicycle electric suspension." This makes it seem like it may be possible to control the suspension at the same time as the dropper post. In other words, there's potential for a system that locks or firms up the fork or shock when the post is fully extended, and then opens it up when it's compressed.

Shimano patent image

The operation of the controls also appears to have good degree of customization potential. According to the patent, “In a case where operating devices are integrally provided with each other as a single unit, a user operation can be distinguished based on a manipulation method (long press of a switch, simultaneous press of switches)." The drawings of the controllers in the patent are rudimentary, and leave a lot to the imagination; it will be interesting to see what they end up looking like in the real world, whenever that may be. Not being constrained by a cable opens the door for all sorts of design possibilities and methods of controlling the various components.

While the drawings are of a mountain bike, that doesn't meant the patent doesn't translate over to road components as well. A section in the patent points out that, "the bicycle wireless control system can be applied to a road bike or any type of bicycle," and it includes drawings of an electronic front derailleur.

We reached out to Shimano for more details and received the expected response: "Shimano is constantly in development of new products but does not comment on rumors, innuendo, or speculation about products whether they are in development or not."



Shimano patent image
Shimano patent image



184 Comments

  • 342 1
 I like how with that second image Shimano clearly knows that we will be putting these expensive components on old ass frames because we can't get new bikes anywhere.
  • 81 0
 Obviously this is shimano's high pivot suspension design teaser...can't believe they would put it in plain sight like this
  • 9 1
 At least it is not a Y-Bike and that unified rear triangle.
  • 18 1
 Fisher Joshuas for everyone.
  • 10 0
 @Teslas4Trump: Come on a Klein Mantra!
  • 10 0
 @dldewar: That one too. But I think the shock on the Mantra was orientated more vertically, not that it matters.
Also, what's that chainring...a 48? Pretty rough for a 1x.
  • 15 0
 @dldewar: Cannondale Super V
  • 19 2
 Here's my article on how the system will work.

wheelbased.com/2021/01/11/bicycle-electric-telescopic-apparatus-power-supply-and-electric-component-by-shimano

and here's one on a wireless twist grip that takes this idea even further:

wheelbased.com/2021/02/04/1485
  • 14 0
 Yup. Apparently the first bike to benefit from these new technologies will be a ‘94 C/Dale Super V, which is also upgraded by the addition a partly deflated Noleen fork...
  • 3 0
 Also appears they will be using them with Fox Step Cast forks.
  • 1 0
 I think it’s supposed to be a v10 lol
  • 4 0
 @tkrug: And a vintage 600-level 48t chainring! And SPD-747s!
  • 4 0
 @twozerosix: No One has brought up the automatic lock out on the Girvin Flex Stem! This forum is full or rank amateurs!
  • 2 0
 @WheelBased: I believe I saw an article from you about SRAM’s system, could you shed some light for us on how the parents from SRAM and Shimano differ?
  • 2 0
 @Hayek: After looking through a lot of these, my best guess would be Shimano's system won't be much different compared to SRAM's system, as far as the user interface goes. Shimano do have a shit load of signal/pairing/controller patents coming through, so I'd say they're focusing on fine-tuning the signals for faster, more reliable, more secure wireless systems. That doesn't mean SRAM isn't doing the same thing, it's just Shimano are patenting their ideas so we can see them. Shimano also don't show much about the physical inside parts of their components, so I'm not exactly sure how they'll work.
  • 6 0
 Thanks for doing the tedious reading for us@WheelBased:

It would be cool to have grip/twist/zirbel shift ,for seatpost/suspension on left grip
up+locked out/
downabit+openabit
Downalot+fullyopen
and gears on right
Using there motorised seatpost patent

patents.google.com/patent/US20110049945A1/en

Weight and cost would be a major compromise with the motorised droper
  • 3 0
 Shimano knows about not being able to get new bikes because at any given time a decent percentage of the industry shortage is being caused by them.
  • 1 0
 @dldewar: they make for cool guitar conversions though.
  • 2 0
 @grldm3: I doubt they have caused it intentionally. They didn't start their own fire in their factory, they didn't start covid and I'm pretty sure the suez wasn't their fault either. How is it caused by shimano?
  • 1 0
 @littleskull99: it was more of a joke. But on the topic, the shortage gets blamed on covid but it can be traced back to shimanos botched 12 speed release that was a year earlier. When the world's largest drivetrain manufacturer has 2 years of backorders the entire industry is going to take a hit. Especially when shimano gave almost a year of "just another month" so people would hold out and wait for their product.
I'm not blaming shimano entirely. It was the perfect storm of everything that led to the industry shortage and most had nothing to do with shimano.
I'm just saying that they were given really horrible circumstances and they responded very poorly.
  • 2 0
 The silhouette is of a single pivot EPX Terrashark, design circa 2001, I have a 2005 model I just updated...sadly without any of the above mentioned Shimano tech...
  • 1 0
 The silhouette is a single pivot EPX Terrashark, design circa 2001. I have an 05 model I just updated, sadly without the above mentioned Shimano tech...@dldewar:
  • 117 0
 Can you get the same guy who did the spd pedals to do the dropper post. There is room for a really reliable dropper post.
  • 7 0
 YES PLEASE! WE NEED THAT SOOOOOOOOOO BAD!
  • 67 2
 @noakea: bikeyoke.
  • 28 39
flag noakea (Mar 31, 2021 at 13:51) (Below Threshold)
 @riish: Shimano makes the best stuff. The most reliable dropper I can think of right now is the Fox Transfer.
  • 15 0
 @riish: I’d upvote 100x if I could.
  • 34 0
 Can you get the guy who did the spd pedals to do The World?
  • 1 0
 @johnny2shoes: Hallelujah!!
  • 17 0
 i think that guy is probably dead by now. those pedals have been around since before there were even cranks to put them on.
  • 10 5
 @noakea: the oneup is half the price and seems to be just as good to me. a year in and 0 issues so far.... a year is not a very long test but still.
  • 8 1
 @tvan5: I have not had a good experience with my OneUp post. It binds when you do the seat collar tight enough so it doesn’t slip, even with friction paste. Stanchion wear after only ~7 months of light use. The low stack height is awesome, but I will be looking elsewhere for my next dropper.
  • 4 0
 @tvan5: my OneUp posts need greasing every week. About once a month I have to remove the seat to add air pressure and also tighten the weird bolt below the air valve to keep the up/down play to a minimum. Both my posts are less than a year old and have started wiggling fore/aft at full extension which binds when trying to drop the seat. They are cheap and probably good for lighter riders but if you are 200lbs+ look elsewhere.
  • 6 0
 @noakea: My Fox Transfer has a tendency to not want to return all the way up. A buddy of mine’s does the same thing. This was within the first few months of use so not too impressed with them, especially at the price. I think Bikeyoke will be my next try.
  • 4 0
 @Blownoutrides: you guys riding through mud pits every ride? I’ve had my V1 since they released and it’s been perfect. Pulled it apart once to degrease and that’s it. Yes, before you ask, I weigh 205 geared up.
  • 1 0
 @novajustin: Haha I hear ya, it feels that way! But in actual fact, I'm pretty sure he is indeed still around, and still at Shimano...
  • 4 0
 Sorry Mike, Shimano said no on letting the spd guy handle it. They said best they can do is the guy that burned down the XTR factory.
  • 2 0
 @ahauck: ya my V1 has been awesome for 2 years. I've taken it apart twice for a clean/grease only because I want it to last, not because it is failing.
  • 2 0
 So much yes. The guy that designed SPD deserves the greatest prize the bike industry offers. And his job title should be Universal Head of Engineering.
  • 1 0
 @ahauck: 6’4 / 235lbs geared up. Mostly loose over hard. Ride more or less daily and year round. Lots of work keeping the OneUp working smooth. Tried a transfer but they don’t drop enough (supposedly 200mm but drop is 3/4” less than OneUp). Just picked up the 213mm bike yoke we’ll see how she goes.
  • 62 0
 "Bikes didn't always have cruise control and auto-terrain adjusting suspension??" - My kid in 20 years, probably.
  • 10 0
 Didn't Cannondale try something with "auto-terrain adjusting suspension" I vaguely remember them doing something with that marketing hype in the early 2000's shortly after their moto disaster.
  • 9 0
 @luked5: at that point what is even the point of riding the bike lol
  • 1 0
 @coherosand: haha definitely.
  • 4 0
 Also ABS
  • 3 0
 @coherosand: hey man roller coasters are fun too!
  • 2 0
 @luked5: wasn’t it called “Simon” or something similar?
  • 8 0
 @luked5: Yeah, they had the "Simon" concept that you're probably thinking about! www.bikeradar.com/news/interbike-cannondale-debuts-simon-suspension-concept
  • 2 1
 @Crossmaxx: wow that Simon system looks insane. Probably too complicated and expensive to ever mass produce. But that was too cool to read about.
  • 4 0
 @luked5: Also K2/Proflex with the Smartshock on both the frame and Noleen fork in the late 90s. I think they did it first in the bike world.
  • 2 0
 @Crossmaxx: love the lone comment, 12 years later, LOL
  • 1 0
 @luked5: there is also fox live valve out now.

But if we want to go back and get weird with it, we should throw terralogic and the automatic lock out into the mix!
  • 1 0
 @rockhopper70: that’s it!!
  • 1 0
 @Crossmaxx: thanks! That’s it. For some reason I thought they did it back in my shop days circa 2001-2003ish.
  • 29 0
 I don't really have any preference between SRAM or Shimano so it's not like I have a dog in the race here. However, it kinda bugs me how so many people are adamant that "sHiMaNo iS tHe BeSt"... given how long they respond to SRAM innovations I would expect their version to be better. For example, SRAM was the first of the two companies to introduce things like 12 speed drivetrains, wireless shifting, and wireless droppers, so I would expect Shimano's versions to be better since they take so much longer to come out with
  • 48 5
 I feel like it's heresy to say it, but I prefer sram shifting and shimano brakes. May God forgive my sinful soul.
  • 27 12
 Yes shimano attempts to refine and perfect before production while sram lets the public do all that boring, dangerous work
  • 8 1
 @DylanH93: I am the opposite haha. I like the feel of shimano shifting better (always seem to have SRAM on my bikes anyway) but shimano brakes are too damn touchy!
  • 32 3
 If not for SRAM, we'd still be riding 2x or 3x 8-9 speed.

Shimano makes some really nice stuff that works well (like road groups, IGH, simple and fantastic cranks and pedals), but they're not really innovating often.
  • 17 1
 @msusic: Can't upvote this enough. When SRAM 1x came out a key Shimano spokesperson kept telling us how wonderful front derailleurs were. Maybe he was just singing the company line but it was so enthusiastic I felt they just can't see their customers pain points and innovate accordingly.
  • 9 6
 @emptybe-er: except i hear shimano 12sp has a shit ton of issues
  • 3 14
flag thenotoriousmic (Mar 31, 2021 at 18:03) (Below Threshold)
 @tcmtnbikr: they don’t listen and they don’t care. They only improved the cassettes for the first time in like 15 years so they would work with ebike motors otherwise they wouldn’t have done it. Everything they make is cheap, falls apart and never works particularly well. They need to improve.
  • 2 1
 Thats y u see SRAM leading the technological developments in the industry and Shimano refining them.
  • 1 16
flag DoubleCrownAddict (Mar 31, 2021 at 20:28) (Below Threshold)
 @Ellabike: I've come to combine them both into Sramano. They are both companies who consistently make technically flawed components which screw their customers over. I used to be a Shimano fan but they've compromised Americas best downhill racers potentially best season to date with their crappy derailleur chain system. I'm over it and looking for a gearbox I can mount on my e bike.

m.pinkbike.com/u/DoubleCrownAddict/blog/derailleur-failure-and-why-its-time-to-evolve-beyond-them.html#commview
  • 2 0
 @DylanH93: completely agree. I had sram 11 spd on my old bike, gx derailleur nx shifter. Feels way better than my 10 spd slx and the 11 and 12 spd deore drivetrains I have tried. Just crisp where shimano feels a little mushy in a way? Sram brakes are dogshit though and I hated my guides. Xt 2 pots were more powerful than those things.
  • 5 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: LOL. What is a "derailleur chain failure"? You mean a broken chain? How can you rationally blame derailleurs alone for that much less Shimano? Use a gear box if you want. Many still use chains. Don't be an idiot and try to sue Shimano because chains break hahaha
  • 1 0
 sram move fast to update, shimano work in set windows. teaser both are good ride what you want
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: That's a joke right?
The new Shimano stuff is not even nearly as reliable as their old groups.
They didn't even bother to fix their wandering bite point issuse for how many years now? 8, 10 years?
  • 1 1
 @OneTrustMan: or the rattling brake pads. I’ve been through 7 shimano callipers in two years after they leaked all over my brake pads. Shimano fell off years ago and they’re only getting worse. There new 12 speed groupsets have been nothing short of embarrassing. Usually you’d get 6 to 18 months out of a shimano groupset new you’re lucky to get three months. For the extra money you spend on sram you get better performing components that last for year and if something does go wrong you don’t have to wait 6 months for a replacement of shimano. It’s not really any surprised that shimano have been absolutely farmed in the mid to high end market place by sram.
  • 32 1
 Oh boy. "Can you guess the frame from the silhouette?"
  • 37 1
 Huffy
  • 3 1
 Specialized Monocaque
  • 4 1
 Reminded me a bit of a San Andreas
  • 6 0
 @muddley1: That's awesome. Every one of those bikes has such a steep head angle that it looks like it was ridden into a wall at speed.
  • 3 1
 Trek Y-Foil with a defective mold
  • 2 0
 Cannondale Super V / Gary Fisher Joshua
  • 2 0
 It’s obviously a Shimano DH proto. Why else would they spec 36-spoke wheels??
  • 2 0
 Looks like a Session
  • 21 2
 As long as you'll offer a mechanical alternative that I can use instead of this, all is well.
  • 2 4
 we will pay this tecnology and its competitivenes while they uppricing mechanical alternatives
  • 16 3
 Rule #1: Absolutely NO electronics on my bike!
  • 6 2
 Ok, might give it a chance one day if it self charges from braking or suspension energy surplus...
  • 2 0
 Is Rule #2 “Absolutely NO electronics on my bike!”?
  • 10 3
 Shimano does AXS... nobody cares because nobody goes out to buy AXS right now anyway. Now instead... How about you tease us with the 7speed clutch based reworking of the Saint rear derailleur and groupo that we know is on its way! Something that Shimano diehards have actually been waiting to put on their bikes. There's some click bait
  • 4 0
 This is probably a good Segway for an article on the future direction of components (I.e. systems integration) and who will be dominant market player. I feel SRAM is in a good position to offer this, while Fox and Shimano will need to play catch-up; unless…
  • 9 0
 Looks like a Session
  • 6 0
 I’m going to go ahead and call it now: Electronic shifting + hyperglide = Automatic bike transmission
  • 2 1
 Who needs a belt drive when these gear changes are going to be slicker than greased sh!t in a pigeon's ass
  • 2 0
 There was an automatic deraileure available years ago. Some cheap as far eastern company if I remember but I could be wrong on that? It worked on a similar principle to self energiszing canti brakes but opposite cam so. As the rider puts more power in, the cam moves the mech down the cassette gears.....
I never tried it but, obviously didn't catch on :'D
  • 1 0
 They already have this with the Alfine Di2 hub, so, yeah.
  • 3 0
 Here is your shimano AXTR timeline folks.

It will be released in 2022, be for sale on the oem market in 2024 (despite not being offered on any bikes yet), hit store shelves in 2025, immediately sell out and then the rest of us will be able to buy it by 3rd quarter 2026.
  • 3 0
 You forgot it’s 2x11 only
  • 6 0
 And, BREAKING NEWS! Cannondale Super V making a resurgence.
  • 6 0
 Meanwhile in Italy, it's 00:18 on April the 1st.
  • 5 0
 Why is shimano the last holdout of front derailleurs? Let them die with dignity already
  • 2 0
 We are a little past the "dignity" part.
  • 1 0
 Sure is not a world shortage of front derailleurs & front gear changer ?
  • 2 0
 Never understood why shimano di2 is not being used on ebikes? Perfect opportunity, since battery is already in place as well as an monitor;

My personal opinion on e-sifting, as long as u ride 3+ days per week during 52 week period- 100% justifiably, u will never forget to charge and will always desire best performance;

For less the 3 it is not something practical unless u willing to have latest and greatest;

For now i do not own down county/ trail bike (because it is f impossible to buy) however when things will back to ‘normal’ I would definitely prefer daily trail bike with e shifting , dh/ park with cale operated, dj -ss

In case u roadie - e shits rocks

People are hesitant about e shifting, however use smartphones, smart homes, smart body part controllers without hesitation, cmon 120 years ago everyone use to ride horses, now tesla’s

Better to enjoy, rather then complain
  • 5 0
 Where is Mike Kazimer and what time is it there?
  • 2 1
 Breaking News . " wireless dropper post malfunctions and has to be surgically removed from riders digestive exit .
The rider suffered for hours as his riding partners couldn't get back to the parking lot because their batteries failed on their
wireless derailleurs. "
  • 2 0
 you know its a real announcement because its 5 years behind the market and tech just like Shimano always is. "We're so conservative we couldn't hit the on time if were were making it in our own factory."
  • 3 0
 Did they try as hard as possible to ensure the bike used in the diagram looked nothing like any current production models?
  • 8 0
 Yes, because current production models won't be available until 2030
  • 4 0
 Isn’t April fools tomorrow? @shimano
  • 2 0
 stopping poaching engineers from Toyota please... We need our tacoma and 4runner to get to places before we can enjoy biking...
  • 3 0
 We need a cheaper wireless dropper cuz I hate dropper cables and im also broke
  • 1 0
 The silhouette is a full carbon single pivot EPX Terrashark, design circa 2001. I have an ‘05 model I just updated, sadly Shimano neglected to send me the above mentioned kit in time to fit...
  • 4 1
 Shut up and take my money
  • 1 0
 I hope they don't put that dropper battery in a vertical orientation like sram did with Reverb AXS. Adds a lot of height to the already tall stack.
  • 2 0
 They could put it at the bottom of the post using the ISS Intergrated Seatpost Standard

So one battery and wireless receiver for gears seatpost rear suspension

Orbea?? Has released a bike with a swat box type windo in the seattube just above the bottom bracket
  • 3 0
 That 40t chainring tho. That dude must have pistons for legs!
  • 2 0
 The whole thing is absolutely fascinating. What do shimano think we hang their components on?
  • 2 0
 and only 4 cogs on the cassette. limited range, massive output.
  • 2 0
 You cannot tell me that bike used for the rendering isn't the K2 Proflex Beast from the late 90's.
  • 1 0
 proflex would have had the matching Girven proflex fork, fork would have had a much different silhouette
  • 1 0
 Wait... What does this mean for sram's wireless shifting? Will they have to license it to use it? I should probably know more about patents...
  • 2 0
 I do not know a great deal about parents myself, but I would imagine it hinges on how specific the two sets of parents are. If Sram's was super specific as to how the shifting is achieved and Shimano's is also very specific but different, no problem. The problem would be if Sram had patented the concept of wireless bike gears itself, which would be incredibly difficult.
  • 1 0
 Will be interesting how this plays out, usually Shimano seems to be very aggressive when it comes to patent lawsuits so it will be interesting when Sram sits on the other end...
  • 2 1
 When is someone going to develop a carbon fiber or at least a very light weight 2-4 bike carrier. I have a Kuat and it’s freaking heavy.
  • 2 0
 I am baffled on how obvious things like this can get a patend. It's just for denying other players.
  • 1 0
 I can be wrong (most probably), but for what I got by skimming I think they are patenting the communication protocols, not the wireless part of it.
  • 2 0
 Wireless brakes... you know it's coming and the haters are going to implode
  • 3 1
 We are getting wireless suspension people!
  • 3 0
 I already have wireless suspension Wink
  • 3 1
 is FIG.8 a wireless lockout ?
  • 6 0
 A saddle warmer
  • 1 0
 It would appear that way
  • 2 0
 Correct
  • 2 0
 @Dimdumb: My frozen ass would highly appreciate a saddle warmer lol
  • 3 1
 Bet that thing pedals like beast with the 42 tooth chain ring. Pure speed.
  • 1 0
 It's an enduro BEAST
  • 2 0
 36-spoke wheels, that's old-school baller right there!
  • 4 2
 SRAM better run! You can't hide for long but you can run!
  • 1 0
 Let’s go I wonder if there will be an Acera model to match the derailleur that came on my old 400 hard tail hahaha
  • 3 0
 Gearbox news please
  • 1 11
flag DoubleCrownAddict (Mar 31, 2021 at 17:34) (Below Threshold)
 These shifting component companies (sramano)are a joke. They make junk derailleur garbage then distract us from it with other garbage like this.
  • 9 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: So go build something better or STFU.
  • 1 0
 Derailleur gears are surely done to death, gearbox standards and gearbox ebikes please. Come on Shimano, innovate!! Not all of us live in dry climates with dry trails
  • 4 1
 April fools guys!
  • 1 0
 Came here to say exactly this.....
  • 1 0
 next up - a saddle that will wirelessly sense changes to the riders sphincter and make the required corrections
  • 2 0
 The chainring connects to the rear tire for the ultimate low gear.
  • 3 5
 Honestly Sram Eagle is still better than Shimano 12s. Shimano’s shifters stop working, cassettes loose teeth, derailleurs become loose or the clutch seizes with rust. Sram just works, it’s a bit clunky but at least it’s durable and designed to last.
  • 4 3
 Shimano. We maybe be 2nd, but we're eventually be 1st.
  • 1 0
 Yes, patent anything and everything...
  • 2 0
 Yesss
  • 1 0
 That crosshatch though . . . CAD from 1995?
  • 2 1
 How can Shimano patent something that SRAM has already done?
  • 3 0
 Clearly you're new to the whole IP world. Most aren't worth the paper they're written on as there are a million other ways to skin the cat.
  • 1 0
 Humm. Wonder if this has been done before?
  • 1 0
 Shimano attempts the cock block yet again!
  • 1 0
 gold xt 7-8spd thumb shifters best there ever was or will be!
  • 1 0
 Patent number or it didn’t happen @mike kazimer
  • 1 0
 Wireless lockout, called it
  • 1 0
 Shimano is a little late to the party lol
  • 1 0
 lok at the date today guys dont get "foolishly" excited just yet
  • 1 0
 Probably only see this on E bikes as an electronic package.
  • 1 0
 If pinkbike drops it on April 1st, believe nothing.
  • 3 4
 not that SRAM is bad, but I hope this is better. (in terms of battery life and durability)
  • 10 0
 I get the wanting better... should always be goal to drive improvements. But the two categories you mentioned are probably the strongest for AXS now. I've only charged my AXS a few times and only then because it occurred to me that it had been an incredibly long time. And the XX1 AXS derailleur is more robust than the standard XX1 unit. I would have to put some thought into what I would want them improve on. Cost is the main thing... find a way to maintain current AXS capability at a much lower price point.
  • 1 0
 @Baller7756: sram just announced GX AXS, around $600 for the partial kit
  • 4 0
 @Baller7756: XX1 AXS? Dude, you're a Baller.
  • 2 0
 @extratalldirtrider: aaaaaaaaaahhhhh. See what you did there. LOL
  • 8 0
 I'm betting the illustrator was told to "use a picture of a bike that people at the patent office will think is really futuristic"
  • 1 0
 @Woody25: futuristic? or retro?
  • 1 0
 I’d be a bit worried about using the front suspension on that patent bike. And is it an older unified rear triangle trek thing?
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