“Wireless” brakes: When is the next bicycle revolution coming?

When will we see bikes without any cables? To achieve this, the hydraulic lines from disc brakes or the cables from mechanical brakes must be removed. But many obstacles stand in the way.

Wireless is finding its way into our lives. It may also already be in your car, as certain transmission and even steering controls work without a mechanical connection. It’s also present on certain bikes with derailleurs or telescopic seatpost controls without a physical connection, simply through encrypted wireless communication. If wireless connectivity at SRAM (AXS) allowed users to tidy up the handlebars a bit and remove the derailleurs or seatpost control cables, there are still a few covers that we can’t get rid of at the moment: the brakes. However, several major manufacturers have already worked on wireless brakes, in this case without a physical connection. Unfortunately, you’re no closer to launching them.

The wireless brake, a technological challenge

The wireless seat post control already exists.  But the brakes are a different story...
The wireless seat post control already exists. But the brakes are a different story…© Transition

It already exists in the lab. SRAM had been working on a caliper system last year with small motors that push the pistons like hydraulic fluid. Everything is controlled via a wireless lever on the handlebars. The American manufacturer admitted that it had already built a prototype for internal testing. Except that, for a myriad of reasons, you’ll never see it make its way to production.. The first is that by today’s standards, a wireless stirrup is…huge. The flaw is the presence of the motors (despite their miniaturization) and the battery, while a hydraulic caliper is super compact. There are also two obstacles to overcome, and last but not least:

  • security : What would happen if your brake battery died? You can no longer shift gears with a SRAM AXS type wireless front derailleur. But with a brake that would lose touch or run out of juice in the middle of a descent, you can imagine the enormous risks.
  • The feeling : It is still very difficult to artificially transcribe the feeling of resistance you have when you brake with the trigger. This resistance results from the force exerted on the hydraulic circuit. But no more feedback without it! It would then be necessary to invent an electronically simulated system. But here too, as with the stirrups, there is the problem of dimensions.

Most notably, wireless brakes would involve the presence of a battery in the caliper and a battery in the handlebar controls. And with the AXS systems we already have one battery per rear derailleur (in addition to a possible battery for the telescopic seat post), it would start making a lot of batteries to charge ! The completely cable and cover-free bicycle is therefore still a utopia today, but we could still experience surprises in the next ten years. The dream of the end of hydraulic brake bleeding remains a sweet dream for now.

Published on 08/15/2022 updated 08/15/2022

Kaddouri Ismail

I am Ismail from Morocco, I work as a blogger and online marketer. I am also the founder of the “Mofid” site, in which I constantly publish many important articles in the field of technology, taking advantage of more than 5 years of experience working in the field. I focus on publishing in a group of areas, the most important of which are programming, e-marketing, digital currencies and freelance work.

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