If you are new to cycling, you may come across an auto-shifting bike along the way.
These are bicycles with an automatic transmission that shifts gears without your intervention. It is a series of technologically advanced components engineered to give you a smooth, fast, and efficient ride.
Since cycling involves a lot of decision-making, like slowing down for junctions or speeding up to make light, automatic shifting ensures that you don’t have to think about what gear your bike is in.
We are in the age of technological advancement, and automatic transmission is becoming mainstream. It is a revolutionary shifting system that solves the challenges drivetrains present to the power delivery equation in cycling.
This article explains auto shifting bikes and why they are becoming popular to help you choose the most suitable gearing.
Is there such a thing as auto shifting bike
Yes, auto-shifting bikes are designed to make bike riding an easier and more pleasing experience.
An automatic gear shift system takes the electronic shifting mountain bike setup to the next level. The idea behind an auto-shift bike is to save you from the hassle of manipulating shift levers while you cruise along the bike path.
Shimano, a leading bike parts producer, started the production of 3-speed automatic shifting bikes. They market these bikes as simple and new tech bicycles focusing on increased comfort and low maintenance.
Shifting the gears on a bicycle can be a daunting task as you have to keep track of numbers and two derailleurs. It is one of the important mechanical functions alongside braking.
Learning to shift gears effectively is a basic skill associated with increasing speed, reducing fatigue, and improving endurance.
People often put too much power into their pedals as they climb up a steep hill or the legs flail as they spin out on a gear that’s too easy for the descent they’re riding.
For the elderly and injured, this seems like a lot of work that requires great effort. Auto-shifting comes in to reduce the load. An auto bike has an automatic transmission that shifts gears without your intervention.
How does it work
The goal when riding a bike is to keep a consistent cadence, which is the speed at which your pedals make a full rotation.
You can only achieve a consistent cadence through shifting or increased power output.
If you’ve ever been inconvenienced by having to change gear when riding on a rolling terrain continuously, then an auto-shifting bike could put an end to your woes.
This automatic shifting system changes gear on its own to make sure you’re always riding at optimum problems.
Auto shifting works by automatically shifting to a favorite gear for an easy start after stopping for a traffic light. It will then shift into the optimum gear according to the riding conditions.
Therefore, the bike will automatically shift to the optimum gear based on your cadence and speed. The shifting is controlled by a head unit connected to the groupset.
This head unit takes your riding data, including your speed, cadence, heart rate, and wattage, to determine your optimum cadence and then shift into the right gear.
The auto bike uses three major components in its automatic shifting. The front wheel uses a hub dynamo to generate electricity and provide the system with power.
Wires connect the dynamo through the frame to the bottom bracket area, joining a small onboard computer with sensors. These sensors detect the riders’ speed and cadence, then set the gear according to these metrics.
The technology behind these auto-shifting bikes monitors road speed calculated from signals generated by a spoke-mounted magnet passing a sensor.
The system offers a manual shifting mode or automatic mode at different speeds. You can select any level such as slow, normal, or fast speed by pressing a battery-assisted front button. Once you press the button, the rear derailleurs shift accordingly.
Therefore, you can select manual mode or adjust the automatic shift to any cadence level by pressing up or down buttons.
The computer will use your speed and cadence to activate a motorized shifter mounted on the rear wheel hub gear to change the gear ratio. After that, the system’s computer will remember your preferred rate and start there the next time you get on the bike.
The auto-shift bicycle uses a generator on the front wheel for automatic shifting. It conceals the cable and brake systems, allowing the bike to stop by pressing backwards on the pedal.
There is also a transmission system that keeps the chain on its ring at all times. Therefore, instead of derailing from the chainring to change gears, the chain is guided to other gears by a mechanism that leads from one gear to the next even under a full pressure load.
Pros and cons of auto shifting bikes
- Auto shifting brings a smoother shifting experience without worry, sweat, and stress. The system knows when to shift gears using it on proprietary algorithms.
- It is great if you have injuries. The system monitors the road speed of the bike and calculates when it’s time to shift to keep your cadence steady.
- The auto-shifting mechanism means you don’t have to think about changing gears when riding your bicycle. It gives you instant accuracy and lighting-first shifts every time you push a button.
- You can still change the gear on your own accord by overriding the automatic shifting for 20 seconds.
- These auto-shifting bikes come with an aluminum frame, alloy rims, and city comfort anti-puncture tires. They also have a comfortable saddle that ensures you can enjoy the ride.
- The auto safety bank is a perfect commuter tool. Even in the most extreme conditions, shifting is precise and controlled. This means you can change the gear even under heavy load while climbing or accelerating.
- The elderly would love the automatic shift bike since it provides high comfort and ease of use. You won’t have to change gears, meaning you get the perfect opportunity for stress-free cycling.
- You still have to train on adjusting your gear selection to ensure you always stay at the correct power if you’re doing structural intervals.
- The auto-shifting bikes suit cyclists who feel overwhelmed by manual shifting. It may not suit the high-powered professional road cycling types. More experienced cyclists want to select their gears instead of getting automatic shifting.
- These bikes are not cheap and may be affordable to the casual biers who target customers.
Are they worth it
Auto shifting is designed to allow you to shift through multiple gears at once.
You won’t have to deal with clunky gear changes or struggle to find a gear that’s right for your effort level. The automatic shifting and start mode automatically selects the right gear based on your speed and how fast you are pedaling.
It smooths out any surges from the motor caused by being too hard gear and provides the right level of assistance when you set off. Therefore, it helps a bicycle rider ride with confidence and control.
It can have a positive impact on mountain biking by guaranteeing stress-free riding. The system is designed specifically for the unique demands of e-bike riding.
Your bike automatically downshifts into the correct gear when you press the start mode, allowing you to start pedaling again. When you begin pedalling, it is in the right gear, allowing you to pull away with control and get up to speed fast.
The auto-shifting bike automatically changes the gearing allowing you to maintain constant torque on the cranks. When going uphill, instead of feeling the increase in strain and shifting down into an easier gear, the internal gear hub will shift down for you by making a calculation based on your pedaling.
The electronic shifting works with a button system but with the same principles as the mechanical shifters. The left shift operates the front derailleur, and the right operates the rear.
You can be pedaling up a steep hill, the bike shifts, and the chain stays. If the gradient gets steeper, the gear you’re riding in becomes easier. When you reach the top of the hill, the bike automatically shifts into hard gear as you start to descend. The automatic shift ensures a smooth ride as you only focus on pedaling.
However, don’t ignore maintenance if you want to enjoy auto-shifting bikes. Some people are neglecting their bikes because auto shifting is good. Don’t wait until the cassette is worn out before checking your gears.
Regular cleaning and swapping before they get too stretched and prematurely wearing out the cassette can prolong the life of your drivetrain.
Shifting systems have become more ergonomic with the introduction of auto-shifting bikes.
Sometimes you may need to shift into a lower gear in time for steep hills, but it becomes too much work. An efficient auto-shifting bike is a perfect bicycle to help cruise through a steep hill.
These are high-tech versions of a mechanical system that have proved reliable in city riding characterized by traffic lights, stop signs, and junctions. The computerized shifting system has excellent reviews for making the bicycle riding experience more enjoyable.
Today, manufacturers are increasingly offering auto-shifting bikes to make cycling simpler. We’ve analyzed how it works, including its benefits and drawbacks.
Last Updated on July 15, 2023 by Danijel Cakalic