Are you fed up of flipping over your handlebars every time you hit a descent? Or do you just have a terrible habit of ham-fistedly grabbing your brake lever in the rain? If so, the BluBrake ABS (anti-lock braking system) may be the solution you’ve been looking for all along.
BluBrake has been in development at Milan Polytechnic since 2013, and now with the backing of Pinarello, the Italian start up is hoping to launch the system in early 2017.
BluBrake is controlled by a series of “invisible technologies” — “high resolution wheel speed sensors, bike frame accelerometers and gyroscopes, control and cognitive electronic platform and haptic and electro-hydraulic actuators.” — all of which are integrated into a frame and feedback a flood of data to the central, “artificial-intelligence” system.
The BluBrake also takes into account the conditions in which you are riding. There’s no “cognitive electronic platform” magic happening here though — weather conditions and riding style (you can choose from tourism, racing and custom) are entered via a handlebar mounted control interface.
If the idea of placing your safety in the hands of a robot sounds a little bit too HAL9000 for you, fret not as the BluBrake isn’t actually an automated ABS system — unlike the one designed for e-bikes that we reported on earlier in the year, this is just a haptic feedback system that is designed to warn riders, through vibrations in their brake levers, that their wheel may be about lock up.
While we personally prefer to rely on more analogue methods for determining whether or not our wheels are about to lock up — like feeling as though you’re about to fall off — we can (sort of) see the benefit of this system for unconfident riders.
In another curiously dystopian twist, data from BluBrake will be fed back to the cloud and will be used for “advanced analytical studies” — whether that will involve just telling us that we brake too much or something more sinister remains to be seen.
And before anyone succumbs to the temptation to make jokes about rich bankers buying flashy Pinarellos and not knowing how to use their brakes, let's withhold judgement until we’ve had a chance to try out the potentially nifty system.
Can you see the benefits of such a system? Are you alarmed by the potential inclusion of AI on your bike? Do you loathe the idea of the man (or robot) telling you when it’s acceptable to throw down a sweet skid? Haptically feedback your comments below.
We've contacted BluBrake and are awaiting further information about the system. We'll update this article as and when we receive this.