Canyon_Project-DisConnect_on-the-fly-decoupled-DH-dhownhill-mountain-bike-drivetrain-suspnsion-prototype_hub-shifter

OK, so Canyon’s not about to admit to that Aaron Gwin was a driver in their latest development since he races for their competition, but it isn’t a big stretch to think that Gwin’s World Cup win at Leogang last summer wasn’t a bit of inspiration for this project. Suspension designers, especially at the World Cup Downhill level, are continually balancing the way bikes move through their travel between anti-squat and pedal kickback depending on where their main pivot is located. Too much of one makes for a bike that either sinks riding through turns or on the other side loses suppleness in choppy sections of trail with your weight on the pedals. Canyon’s engineers figured out that they could get the best of both worlds by building in anti-suck, and then using a on-the-fly freehub disconnect that can remove all pedal feedback from the suspension at the push of a button. Check out how DisConnect could deliver a faster DH bike from one end of the run to the other…

Canyon_Project-DisConnect_on-the-fly-decoupled-DH-dhownhill-mountain-bike-drivetrain-suspnsion-prototype_drivetrain

A handful of elite riders have started to train chainless after Gwin’s win to try to both improve their flow and to see if they can impact the way their bikes. But what they also can realize is what suspension engineers look at when developing the kinematics of a bike, that is a frame performs differently whether rider weight on the pedals is stiffening the suspension or not.

Canyon’s thinking on this Project Dis\Connect bike was if they could turn on and off pedal feedback into the suspension system on the fly. When top-tier downhillers are separated by just a few hundredths of a second at the World Cup level, if they could develop a system that enabled a pro rider to switch pedal kickback on and off it could allow them to float through the rock and root gardens more quickly, and still be able to load the suspension and get that slingshot out of the berms that an anti-squat design delivers.

Canyon_Project-DisConnect_on-the-fly-decoupled-DH-dhownhill-mountain-bike-drivetrain-suspnsion-prototype_connect

connect

Their solution lets them design the suspension curve and anti-rise/anti-squat how they wanted it, while being able to temporarily eliminate all pedal kickback to let the suspension move as freely as possible on the roughest sections of track. The result is a bar mounted trigger remote and a rear hub that can decouple the freehub body so that it can spin freely in both directions.

In the regular Connected mode, the rear hub functions normally. The cassette rotates forward when you pedal, and coasts freely when you stop pedaling or back pedal. When the suspension compresses chainstay length grows, pulling back on the chain (which is now effectively too short) and wants to rotate the cranks backwards (as is happening above). With your weight on the pedals, suspension movement has to overcome your weight to compress, stiffening the suspension.

Canyon_Project-DisConnect_on-the-fly-decoupled-DH-dhownhill-mountain-bike-drivetrain-suspnsion-prototype_disconnect

disconnect

Then, at a touch of the trigger on the bar, the rear hub can disengage. In this Disconnected mode the cassette can rotate both forwards and backwards freely, independent of the hub, suspension, or cranks. With the pedals weighted and unmoving, the effective chainstay growth is accommodated by the cassette spinning back-and-forth (again check out the arrows on the cassette moving above). Now pedal pressure has no impact on the suspension, and the shock can move freely to best handle the terrain.

Canyon_Project-DisConnect_on-the-fly-decoupled-DH-dhownhill-mountain-bike-drivetrain-suspnsion-prototype_freewheeling Canyon_Project-DisConnect_on-the-fly-decoupled-DH-dhownhill-mountain-bike-drivetrain-suspnsion-prototype_hub-internals

To make it all work Canyon developed a hub that holds a pair of ratchet rings together for normal operations, but can separate them by pulling the outermost one away and into the hub’s cassette body letting it spin freely both ways. A small shift mechanism mounted on the outside of the axle, reaches in and engages the outer spring-loaded ring with a rod and another set of spinning pawls to disengage it.

Canyon_Project-DisConnect_on-the-fly-decoupled-DH-dhownhill-mountain-bike-drivetrain-suspnsion-prototype_freehub

Opening up the internals, there are two ratcheted rings in the hub that make it work. The innermost ring functions like a normal hub and engages a set of pawls to give you the normal pedal forward/freewheel backward action. But then by having the second ring which is normally held in place with a strong return spring, Canyon can open up the connection from cassette to hub and let them spin separately.

The result: suspension movement decoupled from drivetrain input at the touch of a button.

When is it coming to a bike near you? No time soon. Canyon was quick to point out that this was one of the off-the-wall engineering exercises that they give themselves the freedom to pursue for the sake of a cool idea, and for which they have become known. Its application is extremely limited, with the hopes of picking up tiny fractions of a second that really only make a difference at the top of the race circuit. That said, it is an out of the box suspension design idea, and who is to say that it won’t trigger some other development that we’ll get to ride too.

Canyon.com

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23 Comments
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gringo
gringo
5 years ago

It’s funny because the Canyon guy actually directly referenced Gwin by name when showing us how this works. At least he was honest!

HDManitoba
HDManitoba
5 years ago

kind of the opposite idea of making a bike that has good suspension all the time but pedals poorly and sticking a lockout/climb switch/propedal remote on the handlebar and activating it when you want to pedal.

Flaco Jimenez
Flaco Jimenez
5 years ago

Maybe I’m not getting the physics here, in which case I apologise, but doesn’t the forward movement of the wheel allow for a good deal of chain growth? I know they’re talking about fractions of a second, but this armchair physicist is having trouble imagining even that.

Jason Miles
5 years ago
Reply to  Flaco Jimenez

Yeah I wonder how fast you have to be going to cancel out pedal moments on even the largest of hits.

TheKaiser
TheKaiser
5 years ago
Reply to  Jason Miles

Yeah, I have been wondering about actual numbers on this too. In addition to your forward speed and rate of compression, the calculation would of course depend on your gear ratio, and also your hub engagement degrees, as a slow engaging hub would buy you a little additional wiggle room before the chain tug generated any pedal kickback.

For freeride that includes big compressions at lower speeds, it could have some merit, but that type of riding also often requires sharp bursts of pedaling to lift the front wheel so the timing could be difficult to manage with toggling this thing on/off.

I am of the opinion that for DH racing speeds this system is probably useless, both for the aforementioned reasons, but also an even bigger one. The even bigger reason being that much of the theoretical benefit of running a DH bike chainless comes not from eliminating pedal kickback and antisquat but instead from cutting the rear derailleur clutch out of the loop. This system does nothing to prevent chain growth from being hampered by the clutch, so the suspension still is not fully decoupled from drive train resistance.

bob 88
bob 88
5 years ago
Reply to  TheKaiser

Good thinking

James Pardee
5 years ago
Reply to  TheKaiser

One word: uphill! ✌

Antipodean_eleven
5 years ago
Reply to  Jason Miles

You guys….. clearly none of you are gunning for a job in bike industry marketing….

Emily
Emily
5 years ago

Truth!!

kilowatt
kilowatt
5 years ago
Reply to  Flaco Jimenez

Yeah, I’m with you. My observation is wouldn’t pedal kickback result in forward thrust (a good thing in a racing situation)? Although, I have a hard time believing that it would even be enough to take up the ratchet slack in the hub.

Chris
Chris
5 years ago

This was the most brilliant product idea I saw at Eurobike.

Jack Moore
Jack Moore
5 years ago

I love this – truly creative thinking. As they say,only relevant at the highest levels so nothing we schlubs need to be concerned with, but this is F1 thinking that is what leads to advances in the stuff we buy every day.

Of course – to REALLY optimize it, I bet they could use a few more mm of hub width. Stand by for Boost 151!

Muchachos
Muchachos
5 years ago

This is straight up pseudoscience and does nothing in the real world

Wuffles
Wuffles
5 years ago
Reply to  Muchachos

Erm, pedal kickback and chain induced suspension forces are a very real consequence of 2-D suspension linkage designs. That’s not psuedoscience, you can do the math yourself, or let a program like LinkageDesign do it for you. The question is how much pedal kickback and chain force is acceptable for a certain design, and how do you mitigate it?

Companies like Canfield and Commencal are going with the high pulley route to do basically the same thing Canyon is doing here.

Muchachos
Muchachos
5 years ago
Reply to  Wuffles

Wuffles, I can’t take your comments seriously if you think Linkage is a program that could actually design a decent rear suspension bike. You’ve got a long way to go to truly understand bicycle suspension dynamics son

mac
mac
5 years ago

If it’s not pseudoscience then will racing ban it?
It’s very cool though. (If it works flawlessly.)

Matt Pewthers
5 years ago

I like the freecoaster potential of it for street/DJ bikes if they can make it tough enough for repeated drops on pavement. Like Aaron Chase’s neutral gear, but a little simpler to use (and way more expensive).

Ivan
Ivan
5 years ago

Would be nice to have it normal and switchable to fixed 😉

typevertigo
typevertigo
5 years ago

Let’s set aside if it’s pseudoscience or not for the moment, and think about how this will be implemented if it ever sees production. Would this mean that Canyon will be somehow in a position to make its own rear hubs? Or will they coordinate with an existing hub company to flesh out the idea into something production-feasible?

If it’s the latter case – are there any hub makers you might think of that might want to take on this challenge? I’m assuming of course that said rear hub will be as reliable as any other “normal” rear hub.

Lost Kiwi
Lost Kiwi
5 years ago
Reply to  typevertigo

This is just a normal hub with the disengagement built into the free hub, pretty simple idea which is why I find it very appealing.

Ummmm
Ummmm
5 years ago

Could disengaging hubs like the Zipp NSW cognition accomplish this more simply?

Burnt-Orange
Burnt-Orange
5 years ago

Its really used just to sneak up on people

gatouille
gatouille
5 years ago

Ridiculus animation !!!
On the second anim, “disconnect”, you can see the chain moving/rotating around the chainring while the chainring is fix. It’s impossible ! There are teeth !!

This animation is made with a virtual bike, not a real.

Canyon and other brands -> stop taking us for fools !!!