Patent for a Bicycle Derailleur

New Bicycle Derailleur Patent

Word just in, a new Bicycle Derailleur Patent issue (March 20, 2018) for work we did a few years ago.  One of two passed this week through the patent office and added to the growing Patent List.

The Sentinel Dual Side Bicycle Chain CatcherThis patent covers a new mechanism for shifting with bicycle front chainrings.  The patent also claims the Dual Sided Chain Catcher - first raced at the 2016 Tour de France.


Quoting the patent:  "Embodiments of a front derailleur gear shifting system including various unique chain guides attached to and operating from a single pivot point.  This derailleur system provides a simple, yet, elegant and robust improvement in shifting technique over conventional, lateral motion front derailleurs.  Embodiments of open and closed annulus chain guides having specially shaped lifting and pulling surfaces for acting upon a bicycle chain during shifting are also disclosed.  Additionally, as an optional enhancement, a dual-sided chain catcher that prevents unintended over-shifts in either direction is disclosed."

Shifting The Bicycle Derailleur:

Shifting with the new mechanism is different than with traditional bicycle front derailleurs.  Instead of pushing the chain side to side, the new mechanism "lifts" it from a smaller gear to a larger one.  Very cool action as tested in prototype, and very quick response.  Coupled with the also patented Radical Ramp Technology (that we were involved in creating), the shifts are fast and accurate.

Patent for a Bicycle Derailleur

It is rather hard to see the full scope of action with this one image, but download the PDF and see the whole thing if you want.  You can also see our post about Improved Chainring Performance for a more complete view of the engineering in action.  Certainly the chainrings also have an effect on how well the bicycle derailleur performs.

Dual Sided Chain Catcher:

Dual Sided Chain Catcher on a Lotto-Jumbo BikeAt the time of inventing the above bicycle derailleur, I also reflected on other ways to fix some shifting issues.  Really, if the chain comes off, it is most likely an issue with setup (bicycle derailleur alignment), but it does happen.  Well, not every derailleur is set perfect.

So, the dual sided chain catcher is a way of compensating for a less than perfect setup, or less than perfect shift technique.

The most famous chain drop was on stage 15 of the 2010 Tour de France as Alberto Contador attacked Andy Schleck.  That said, because of that famous incident, we thought it appropriate to launch the new device at the 2016 Tour de France.  The photo (right) is a Lotto NL-Jumbo team bike with the Sentinel installation.

The chain catcher is very simple, and also very easy to setup and use.  Below is a quick video Synthesis did for WickWerks talking about setting it up.  This is part of their Tech Talk section.  (Yes, that is me in the video.)  And this simple mechanism is part of the above patent.

Current Status:

At the time of introduction, the Sentinel sold out quickly.  Since then, Synthesis finished the contract with WickWerks, so I am not sure where they have gone with it.  In the product images on their website it looks like they have made some changes, but please contact them for more information.

The single pivot bicycle derailleur was to launch 6 months ago (according to the owner who thought it was no big deal to finish), but that has yet to see daylight.  Further update, it is still not available 5 years later.  I guess it was a bigger deal than the owner thought. When it comes . . . . the patent is still in place.

While innovation is a best business strategy, as we see here, it is not the only piece that must be in place for success.  Please read our article about Shouting From The Mountain Tops.  We are anxiously waiting for the new derailleur reveal.

Looking To The Future:

When you are ready for creative assistance with your products - whether a bicycle derailleur, or something completely different - we are here.  At Synthesis we specialize in engineering with new ideas.  And, many of our customers end up with awesome new patents just like these.

Of course, we don't guarantee that our work will result in new patents, but we always bring our innovative spirit.  Our customer expect that from us, because that is who we are.

All of this is from the creativity right here at Synthesis.  Let us know when you are ready to advance your products.

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