Just as inventions made during the space race have filtered down to everyday gadgets, so technology developed for prestigious Formula 1 racing cars has been included in cars: And now the Beru Factor 001 bike is making use of several Formula 1 technologies.
It’s possibly the world’s most advanced bicycle, in fact, and it’s been officially unveiled yesterday at the Science Museum in London as part of the “Fast Forward” exhibition which covers 20 ways F1 tech is changing the world.
As you may imagine from its heritage, the bicycle is intended for serious athletes rather than the average cyclist. It’s made out of carbon fiber which gives it excellent structural rigidity as well as being very light–the entire machine weighs less than 7 kilos, and was designed using the same modeling and analysis tools used to create the F1 cars. It’s specifically designed to help athletes train, so the entire machine is laced with different sensors. These measure heart rate data from the rider, physical force variables from the bike’s frame and environmental data such as humidity–all of which is recorded on an on-board computer. There’s also a GPS positional and tracking system, and all the data can be displayed on a touchscreen mounted on the handlebars so the rider can see in real time what’s happening, it’s all logged so the training regime can be examined in the gym afterwards, and there’s wireless tech for telemetry.
The bike also includes carbon ceramic brakes driven hydraulically for precise braking, monocoque composite construction wheels, and all the controls, wiring looms, batteries and sensors are actually built into the carbon fiber matrix of the frame using a patented “wire in composite” technique so that the structure is rigid and unaffected by all the add-ons.
Basically the 001 is designed to let athletes train out on the road in a closely-monitored way that had previously only been available in the gym. Since it’s a very high-tech piece of equipment, and each machine will be tailor-made to within 1mm specifications for each rider, they don’t come cheap. The price is a whopping $27,500 in fact–but for that you do get a machine made by the same company that builds electronics and composite structures for F1 cars, packed with sensors and it comes with specialized analysis software to interpret the sensor logs. It’ll be a while until this sort of tech expands down to everyday consumer level, but you can bet it will at some point.