Formula One experts use car technology to build bike
By Matthew Cole | Tuesday, March 24, 2009 8.00am
Motorsport engineering specialists BERU f1systems have applied Formula One car racing technology to a road bike, and are hailing the Factor 001 as the most advanced bicycle ever made.
The carbon fibre bike is part of an exhibition at London’s ScienceMuseum where F1 technology has been applied to 20 everyday objects.
It has primarily been designed as a training tool, and is packed with data logging software that has trickled down from the company’s F1 division.
Accelerometers measure the bike’s left and right lean, incline and the rate of climb, and other physical force data includes rear wheel speed, min/max and average torque levels for each crank, as well as crank cadence.
Biometric information gained from the physiological data collection package is said to be able to measure ECG data, respiration rate, skin temperature and core body temperature – we’re interested to see how this will be done.
Riders can access all this information from the on-board LCD touch screen, though displaying data from over 100 channels probably isn’t advisable when on the move.
Other areas of the bike that have had the F1 makeover include the carbon ceramic brakes, 8-spoke wheels and the made-to-measure 1-piece frame.
All this comes at a price though. “Factor 001 will be built according to individual customer requirements and various specification offerings. This obviously affects the price,” said a spokeswoman for the company.
“We are still awaiting some final costs on materials for these specifications and therefore at this stage, can only say that prices will start below £20,000.
"The software package will add approximately £6,000 to £7,000 to that. We hope to be able to add clarity within a few weeks."
BERU f1systems are targeting professional and semi-professional athletes, as well as wealthy gadget lovers.
The spokeswoman said: “Pro-cyclists will benefit from the ability to ride outside, while gaining much more data than they can pedalling in the gym.
"Besides professional sportspeople, we believe there is a market for affluent individuals with a keen sense of self-image who want to own the most advanced equipment on the market and have access to leading edge technology."
Test rides are available for ‘serious customers’, and a custom fitting service is offered to all buyers at the company’s headquarters in Norfolk.
Although you probably won’t see this bike lining up at the Tour de France, we can certainly see pro teams adopting some of the technology used in the Factor 001, including the high-tech sensors.
So, what do you think – is this bike the sign of things to come, or an expensive gimmick?
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