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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:21 pm 
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A colleague racer in the engineering faculty here wants to mount two very bright, LEDs on a rear brake caliper with pressure switches (kind of a thin tape pressure sensor behind the brake pad) to act as brake lights. He's aiming for very light. (no pun). I think he's looking for an application for this simple pressure sensor.

He's asked my opinion: do racers need brake lights? My first thought was "no", but now I'm thinking some tight course evening crits could be safer if you could see the braking status in a large group way up ahead.

Someone must have thought of this before, no?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:40 pm 
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I wouldn't think it would be a horrible idea. Would be easy to implement. Using some small LED's and batteries it wouldn't be very heavy.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:52 pm 
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A bicycle's fascination lies for me in its reduction to the minimum.
a race bike even more so. It doesn't need brake lights, fenders, indicators, anti blocking systems, suspension, or other gadgets.

Besides i remain hesitant if it would really add safety to riding. When riding in a pack, you have to be experienced, and alert. a brake light would change exactly what?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:54 pm 
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Yes it's been thought of before. And even actually produced. I don't remember the company but one of the far east companies had a brake light that was integrated into the bottom of the saddle. You simply hooked the trigger mechanism up to the brake lever and you were ready to go.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:58 pm 
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Braking isn't of much use. Look at race motorbikes or race cars and they don't have lights, because racers know when their rivals have to brake and not just where they will brake, but how much too.

Maybe it would be useful is for 24 MTB enduro races or in other night rides?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:43 pm 
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Sorry, but it's a horrible idea. As stated it is not done in racing cycles or cars. The big reason is like rush hour traffic, everyone hits their brakes when the lights come on. So mid pack speed adjustments become panic moments. A racing vehicle of every kind works under the idea that we work in cooperation for an upcoming corner, and that is, as fast as possible and brake as little as possible. As a motorcycle racing instructor we also do not allow mirrors of any kind, as anticipation of whats comming by and swerving are deadly on two wheels.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 11:34 pm 
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Could there be a way to collect static electricity from an aluminum rim via something on the brake pad? Or maybe the rim would need to alternate between metal and plastic as it rotates.

I don't know, it seems like some of the greatest racing drivers in the world could sure use some brake lights :roll: There's some great youtube vids of you roadies taking each other out - not sure if a brake light would help though. A brake light might be good for training in the city or on busy bike routes - the Golden Gate Bridge springs to mind :twisted: About once a month there is a bike vs. bike or bike vs. pedastrian on that GDB.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 1:33 am 
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This idea is almost as crazy as using tape to mount your tubulars!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:54 am 
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marko wrote:
Sorry, but it's a horrible idea. As stated it is not done in racing cycles or cars. The big reason is like rush hour traffic, everyone hits their brakes when the lights come on. So mid pack speed adjustments become panic moments. A racing vehicle of every kind works under the idea that we work in cooperation for an upcoming corner, and that is, as fast as possible and brake as little as possible. As a motorcycle racing instructor we also do not allow mirrors of any kind, as anticipation of whats comming by and swerving are deadly on two wheels.


I agree: It sounds like a horrible idea not just for racing but for group rides when everyone is already hitting their brakes too much!

(I can feel my other shoulder twinging already.)

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:30 am 
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mecaniciendevelo wrote:
This idea is almost as crazy as using tape to mount your tubulars!


Actually it's on par to being as crazy as using tape to mount your tubulars.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:57 pm 
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marko wrote:
Sorry, but it's a horrible idea. As stated it is not done in racing cycles or cars. The big reason is like rush hour traffic, everyone hits their brakes when the lights come on. So mid pack speed adjustments become panic moments. A racing vehicle of every kind works under the idea that we work in cooperation for an upcoming corner, and that is, as fast as possible and brake as little as possible. As a motorcycle racing instructor we also do not allow mirrors of any kind, as anticipation of whats comming by and swerving are deadly on two wheels.


This makes sense.

Taping tubulars...that's crazy talk. What's next? frames not made of steel?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:49 am 
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DocRay wrote:
Taping tubulars...that's crazy talk. What's next? frames not made of steel?

nah, brake power reducers and fines for riding without safty distance i guess...

You seem to think whoever doesnt think brake lights are a good idea, is an enemy of development? nope, mate.
Improving a racing bicycle is ok (and has always been done) when the purpose is to make it more efficient.

Things that are good ideas for cars are maybe not good ideas for racing bicycles. If you want such a thing, get a randonneur with fenders, lights, and if you want, indicators, brakelights, a radio, a GPS and an anti-blocking system (yes, Shimano has those).

The racing bicycle has had its basic shape for the better part of the last 80 years, and that is not a bad thing. (ride a racer from 1937 and you might be surprised how little has changed). Some things are perfect in design and don't need improving, at least not in a revolutionary sense, only in an evolutionary.

If you want to invent something that improves safety in racing, first you should ask yourself: Is the thing i have in mind really needed, is there a safety issue big enough to justify that? or am i fixing something that isn't broken just because i have an idea that might work? (I'm an engineer myself, and i know how one can mess up this kind of judgement when it comes to own ideas :))

And, sorry for your idea, but i doubt a brake light would change safety very much. Why? because it isnt really a problem as of now. Yep, crashes happen in tight packs, but not because you don't *know* the guy in front of you is braking, (you know that already without lights, you hear the noise, you see the wheel coming closer to yours), but because you are riding too close and yoy and everyone else around you is so full of adrenaline that you have no way of reacting. Yep, its called racing...
don't try to make it super safe, it won't work.

M.

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Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:49 am 


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