Boise-based Io DuPont is prototyping a new continuously variable transmission for bicycles called “Infinity Drive” that has recently been validated in computer models.
A working model is expected in the coming months, Io DuPont founder, Tony DuPont said in an interview. This is the company’s second foray into the cycling industry, following Power Cordz synthetic bicycle cables. The small company, which began nearly two years ago, has grown in the WaterCooler business center.
“Our aim is to reduce limitations to riders on both the low, hill-climbing end and at high speeds,” Tony DuPont, founder of Io DuPont, said.
The Infinity Drive transmission aims to replace derailleur systems common on bicycles since the mid 20th century. Io DuPont’s transmission is expected to have significant advantages over current systems. It is expected to enter the market at a weight competitive with high-end derailleur systems while offering unique properties that solve many derailleur-related problems.
“This is potentially one of the most significant developments in the bicycle industry I have seen in over 30 years,” Michael Nover, a veteran insider in the cycling industry and founder of Kinesis USA, said in a release. “Derailleurs have served us well for a long time, but we’re ready for something better.”
With the Infinity Drive, all gear changes happen from within the transmission meaning; there will be no more miss-shifts or slippage and reduced chain wear.
The first generation Infinity Drive CVT has a gear range of 1:0 through 1:6 (pedal revolutions: tire revolutions) – the highest range currently available.
DuPont said the new transmission’s wide range of gears will eliminate spinout on fast downhills and may lead to new land speed records for the bicycle.
Because this transmission is capable of continuous energy optimization using low-friction, direct-drive forces, Infinity Drive is expected to have greater efficiency than any previous design. Energy savings could be in excess of 5 percent (in terms of the amount of effort required to climb a hill or stay at top speeds).
“Theoretically, the gearing goes so low that a person who would normally have a hard time walking under their own power could ride a bike up a vertical wall without losing their breath – if you could get the tires to stick well enough,” DuPont stated.