Earlier this year we covered Shimano's patent for a wild-looking derailleur
with three jockey wheels that's intended to provide more ground clearance when used with a wide range cassette. It turns out that Shimano had another patent granted last June that's also worth examining – one for a direct mount rear derailleur that BikeRadar
recently reported on.
Digging a little further reveals a patent
that was granted last week for a wireless electronic derailleur that will use that direct mount. The patent is fairly broad, and describes several possible configurations for the derailleur. It states, “The mounting portion has a mounting opening through which a central axis of a hub axle passes in a mounting state of the bicycle rear derailleur. The mounting portion includes a single joint or is free of any joint.”
It goes on to say, “It is possible to mount a battery for the electronic components of the bicycle on the rear derailleur, which may also be to power electronic derailleur control. Therefore, the battery may be accommodated at the rear derailleur or remote from the rear derailleur with a connection to the battery mounting portion.”
Exciting stuff, I know, but the gist of it is that the patent describes a derailleur that can use some form of direct mount, and is wireless and electronic. The drawings depict one version where the derailleur is mounted close to the chainstay, and the other where it uses a link that's similar to what Shimano used when they last tried to get a direct mount system off the ground back in 2012.
Many of the aspects the patent describes apply to the e-bike specific 12-speed XT Di2
drivetrain that launched last summer. Things like a cadence, velocity, and acceleration sensor can be used for shifting, both manually and automatically, while coasting.
Given all the hubbub surrounding SRAM's new direct-mount Eagle Transmission
derailleur, it's not surprising that Shimano would be working on a design of their own. Don't forget, Shimano's no stranger to direct mount rear derailleurs; the first Saint group debuted in 2003 with an axle-mounted derailleur. One feature that differentiates the SRAM Transmission derailleur and what's depicted in Shimano's patents is a B-tension screw - the Transmission derailleur doesn't have one at all, while Shimano's design shows a screw that can be used to adjust the position of the derailleur in relation to the cassette.
Will we see a direct competitor to SRAM's Transmission hit the market any time soon? Although it's clear Shimano are working on all sorts of projects, I'm inclined to think that any official launches are still well into the future. We'll just have to wait and see.
What they actually should say is analogue.
There was a time when there was actually some collaboration on this stuff. there were exactly 2 ISCG mount types, and one was just a better version of the older one. ISCG is literally an acronym for International STANDARD chain guide.
Some brands with clearer heads need to start pressuring component companies to work as a forum to standardize this stuff. the lock-in is hurting their profits, not helping them, if they'd only realize it.
(SRAM might not necessarily win. but at the very least, Shimano will have to spend a boatload on lawyers to defend it in court. and possibly multiple cases in multiple countries, if SRAM filed a separate patent in the EU for example.)
See my comments below for more details, but we even have an example: it seems ethirteen had to change their XD compatible cassettes due to violating SRAM's patent.
SRAM has done a very good job marketing XD and UDH as "open" standards without actually opening the standards.
"What is required to use the UDH?
A license. The bike brand needs to sign up for a free license. The license gives the licensee the right to use the UDH patent and the UDH trademark. A bike brand may want to make their own slightly different derailleur hanger with different features. This is ok. However in order to mark their frames with the UDH trademark they must conform to UDH frame and hanger specification. This ensures that if a rider breaks their hanger, it can still be replaced with a standard UDH hanger."
I'm reading this as frame manufacturers need the license, not component manufactures. It also reads that the license is solely to ensure that your frame is compliant with the UDH standard so that a SRAM UDH will act a a suitable replacement.
In other words, they're (freely) licensing the ability to publicly state that your frame is UDH-compatible, not the ability to design and manufacture such a frame.
Do I have that right?
Patent law is pretty clear on this, infringement is infringement, regardless of how nicely SRAM may talk about it to get frame/hub companies on board.
Shimano could make the way it tightens up slightly different but it wouldn't be infringing the UDH as its not used?
you can make all sorts of arguments about ways to get around it, and some of them might even work. I would happily argue that "a derailleur but without a hanger" shouldn't have been granted a patent at all. but legally, if you measure a SRAM transmission derailleur mount, and make a derailleur (or frame) that works with that specific configuration of holes and surfaces, you must have a license from SRAM to sell that product.
Sram puts out electronic direct mount drivetrain ---> 5 years later, shimano gets on board and makes version that shifts a little better.
2028 is the year of shimano!
Di2 and AXS mtb are almost never compared as the Di2 options are frankly dated compared to modern AXS drivetrains.
Oh, wait you were comparing apples to oranges, in that case xx1 cable is about the same price. . .
After seeing SRAM's "Transmission" prices, gearboxes actually look like a good deal. Before, they were a pricey option for enthusiasts (me included), but now they're market price
However, what I have seen is that internal geared hubs have become so much better. A Sachs/SRAM S7 (seven speed) geared hub required regular maintenance and still was finicky with its hollow axle. A Shimano Nexus 7sp hub is so common nowadays and just works. I commonly help friends, family and neighbors on their bikes and have never seen issues with those. But the improvements in internal gearbox (frame or hub mounted) are minimal if you compare them to the improvement in derailleur-based drivetrains. So what appeared like a huge advantage twenty years ago isn't so huge anymore.
If after 20 years you didnt buy into an idea that you though should take off its pretty easy to take a step back and recognize the reason you didn't buy in is probably the same reason(s) as everyone else.
My question was not asked as a "gotcha" or to troll, im genuinely curious where this guy's thought process was, and really hope gear boxes ARE the future.
So yeah, I was definitely willing to invest in a gearbox. I was already going down the custom route so the option was there. It is just that some pro-gearbox arguments already don't apply well to my use cases. I ride a hardtail so the sprung-unsprung ratio isn't such a big deal (even though fair enough the bb still moves less than the rear axle as you allow the bike to pivot). I live in The Netherlands so I don't really need the big range which would otherwise push me towards those long cage rear mechs. And I stand up most of the time so I'm already putting more force down (hence need less light gearing) than someone who sits and spins up the same inclines. And as said, I was after a short chainstay. Not just because of fashion (though fashion seems to spin the other direction lately) but primarily because I already have my feet shifted forwards on the pedals so for the fore-aft balance (for grip in corners) it works best to have a short rear center and long front center. I'm mainly giving my reasons as others might have very different preferences and uses cases and they might very well be better off with such a gearbox. If you want a big range (but still no big rear mech cage), a longer rear center, rear suspension etc. That must be a huge number of people on here and I can still imagine they could very well be served by using a gearbox.
They also still make you ask, it's not an open standard, just an easily granted agreement. which they could withhold from a competitor like Shimano at their discretion.
There may actually be something of an article there for you guys.
it's the same as XD. it's patented, therefore SRAM holds exclusive rights to that configuration of surfaces and holes in the US/other places as treaties or other patents apply.
while they may not choose to do so, they absolutely have the legal authority to withhold a license to anyone, at their discretion.
I agree it's in their best interest not to. but that hasn't stopped us from seeing several occurrences where they did it anyway, wagering that their "standard" would win the market.
but your point is absolutely true. does a shimano XD cassette get more shimano parts on more bikes? absolutely. did they do it? nope.
Shimano created a standard that doesn't need to exist.
HG is fine, but imperfect. XD has clear advantages. MS didn't need to be added to the world to achieve the aims Shimano got with MS, other than to avoid having to swallow their pride and use their main competitor's standard.
For Shimano, it means that they don't need to rely on licensed tech from their biggest competitor, who, by the terms of the license agreement, could terminate it with 30 days notice.
Shimano will likely have to continue down the path they started with Saint, where the derailleur mounts to an axle. Fortunately, axles are a relatively open standard, legally, so I doubt this presents Shimano with any real difficulty. Unlike SRAM, you will probably still have to adjust the derailleur's throw when you install it on a new frame. Upside: there will be adjustments to deal with manufacturing tolerances in other parts, such as frames. They will likely continue to trail SRAM to market with the innovations that the average rider wants (ex: 1x drivetrains), but their engineering execution and value prospect will likely continue to be superior (ex: SLX vs say, SRAM XO shifting performance, as measured after a few months in the real world).
That's just one data point of many that informs my opinion that SRAM generally makes stuff that is easier to work on. Truly wireless drivetrains versus hidden batteries and snaking wires, bleeding edge versus an open funnel of oil, brake line barbs/olives that require no special tools to install, a drivetrain configuration app that normal functioning humans can understand and navigate without a CS degree, etc. etc.
and to be clear, it's both brands. in some ways, SRAM has absolutely done some of this defensively, as Shimano has been just as guilty, if not more, of trying to lock people into their parts, both with patents and without. SRAM, way back in just the day as just a drivetrain startup, was essentially born out of Shimano's lack of will to make MTB components that were more than just "a slightly burlier road derailleur," in part due to their successful efforts in locking people into their ecosystem.
Even back then and even reading the articles now, I still don't quite understand the point of the original "Direct Mount" RD's that just seemed like they were using a longer hanger instead of a b-link. Seemed like 6 or half dozen to me. But that article you linked to clearly shows a true axle mounted direct mount Saint RD. Like I said I'd never seen one before in pictures or the real world. Obviously they didn't catch on.
Your car you got to the trailhead in has an automatic transmission you’re wearing an Apple Watch and carrying a cell phone in case you get lost or hurt. Good lord.
If ditching allows you to enjoy your riding, I say go for it! I can totally ignore all that stuff and still enjoy my riding. My ride last night was about my bare minimum in effort, but I didn't care. I have all the data to prove it was slow, but, I don't care.
I saw a review comparing the new Sram derailleur to a crankset. Yeah you could probably damage it in a really savage crash, but for "normal" crashes it's just part of the bike now.
Haven't had bros standing on top of my regular derailleur that often irl
Also looking forward to the 2024/2025 review of the next gen to hear what's bad about the current gen, as it's always the case with suspension part and bike frame reviews
It"s caledl progress.
Others have already said it, but with this direct mount system you can't damage the frame without completely breaking/ripping out the axle. In which case your frame was probably never going to survive.
People need to actually understand the system before they shit on it. After that, if a bulletproof rear derailleur that costs about the same as its non-direct mount equivalent and creates basically zero compatibility issues still pisses you off for some reason then I guess you can bitch about it.
And Sram never impressed me as a company I remember a recall Sram did but they had no serial numbers so they were unable to know how many parts were affected, or where they were sold.
So buy it and enjoy it, I won't do either.
This said, the only part of direct mount I’m skeptical of is how much is going on at the axle. It has to mount the derailleur, serve as the b pivot, and receive the axle. SRAMs solution - a knurled washer that locks in place with the mounting bolt - is a bit hamhanded. I’m relieved to see a b gap adjuster in the Shimano patent. Other than that, the whole idea seems elegant to me.
The derailleur can stand up to impacts very well, but the open question is what happens to the bike frame. For example, the mount includes a knurled plate that goes against the dropout. What happens when the derailleur catches on a rock from the front. Will the dropout marred due to the knurled plate being forced to rotate against it?
For sideways loads, if the hanger isn't there to bend, you are sending shock forces through a narrow right dropout, in ways it was not designed to bend.
Carbon bikes are not manufactured to aerospace grade standards, you can have delaminations and voids that are present but the bike will still generally be ok because of safety factors involved. Start putting shocks through the frame, and those delaminations/voids can grow, which reduces the strength of the frame.
I'm all for innovation but not at the expense of replacing stuff more often - "seems" like a bad idea is different than saying "this is a bad idea", I'm in the "seems" category.
> the knurled plate is designed to stay in place when an impact occurs
Yes, through friction against the carbon dropout. It also has the protrusions which engage the circular cam on the derailleur. What happens when you hit the derailleur from the front hard enough to move it past the limit of its free rotation where the cam is locked into the protrusion? You are certainly going to make the knurled plate rotate against the dropout.
Personally, I think this is still a step in an evolutionary path, not an endpoint. For me, the most exciting thing was the shaping in the cassette. SRAM might finally be to a point where they can rival Shimano's shifts. They got rid of the b-tension assy. that was their Achilles Heal, so maybe their stuff will hold up better now, too. Maybe (gasp!) they'll finally earn my business, when they release a cable actuated version of these ideas.
k2theg (3 hours ago)
wires from the battery.
Sram has a patent that covers the battery attached to the derailleur, so Shimano is placing inside the axle with a tiny wire.
We had a good run Shimano, but your efforts are too little too late.
The difference is that the hanger could potentially put more of a bending moment on the axle, considering axles are pretty stiff, and reinforced at some point of flex by the hub axle around them, this isn't an issue.
Stop re-inventing old crap.....
In a world of choice you can choose which tyres you want to run. You look what's available for your size wheels and make your choice. If you've got 26" wheels though that choice is being removed from you because of competition. 27.5 / 650b shouldn't be a thing on mtb's, it isn't significantly bigger than 26" to justify it being a thing, we'd be better off with 29" and 26" for both performance and practicality reasons. 27.5" though won the competition and has pretty much killed 26".
In competition there are winners and losers. It's survival of the fittest, last man standing. By it's very nature competition in business ultimately removes choice.
To maintain choice the bike manufacturers need to braver and push back against Shimano and SRAM. Bike manufacturers should dictate that all interfaces need to be free and open to use by anyone, no patents, no licensing. If a brand wants to patent an interface then the bike companies need to be brave and refuse to use it.
We don't need XD and MS. By licensing the interface brands are trying to remove consumer choice by locking in a consumer to a particular system. Patents on things like freehub bodies, mech-hangers, etc is about making sure you can't buy from anyone else, killing the competition and removing consumer choice.
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