Shimano has filed a patent for an app that can inform users when their bike's regularly replaced parts, such as tyres and disc brake pads, need to be changed.
The Shimano patent published today (US 11526699 B2) outlines a detecting device, a detecting method, a generating method, and a computer-readable storage medium that give the user advice about the degree of wear to their bicycle's parts.
In the 22-page document Shimano says it is currently "required to provide means for allowing the user to more readily obtain information related to a worn portion of a human-powered vehicle", with an app suggested as a solution to inform and move beyond user judgement and tyre wear indicators.
"It is an object of the present invention to provide a detecting device, a detecting method, a generating method, and a computer-readable storage medium that allow the user to readily obtain information on the degree of wear for a worn portion in the human-powered vehicle," the patent states.
Via the control unit which can detect whether a bike part is worn it is suggested users could receive information about the wear to brake pads, disc brake rotors, tyres, as well as abrasion to chains and extension to wires.
And while you might be sat reading this wondering what's the point when you already know when to change your tyres and brake pads, Shimano's app proposal could offer more riders knowledge of when it is time to fit some fresh rubber, improving safety and reducing the chances of getting stuck thanks to some untimely end-of-tyre punctures.
While there are some apps and tools that attempt to take the guesswork out of knowing when to maintain and replace parts - like the ProBikeGarage app that syncs to Strava to tell you how many miles each part of your bike has done - this is the first time we've seen technology proposed that would measure actual wear rather than estimating.
For a glimpse at how this could work, we jumped over to the motoring industry where Anyline's tyre tread scanner boasts to be an industry-first scanning technology that measures the depth of tyre tread grooves to alert users if tyres are dangerously worn down.
"By replacing subjective manual measurement with objectively collected digital data Anyline tyre tread scanner reduces safety and compliance risks whilst helping to prevent fraud," the company's website proudly states.
Users simply scan their tyres with their smartphone and receive instant "objective digital evidence of each measurement" in the form of "accurate tread depth measurements".
Currently, looking at your bike's tyres for wear is a personal judgement-led process of checking the baldness or squaring off of tread, possibly with the help of a tread wear indicator, while weighing up the real-world performance and puncture protection.
As tempting as it is to try to squeeze every last mile out of your rubber, a string of worn tyre-induced punctures is likely to be the signal for even the most economical cyclist to purchase some new tyres.
Shimano's app patent suggests the guesswork could, some time in the not so distant future, be removed, or at least be better informed.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.