Cranklock: Go faster by stopping your pedals going round
Really. Go faster downhill, anyway.
You know what the problem with your bike is? The pedals go round. That's right, you're wasting precious time with those freely-rotating platforms you drive the rear wheel with.
We're being facetious of course, but the Cranklock does what it says on the tin: locks the cranks. And you'd want that why? because it means that you can descend faster, they say.
And this claim is backed up with some drawings culled from a GCSE geometry textbook and some rad quotes from a downhiller. So it must be true. Sorry, there we go again.
Okay, back to the science behind all this. When it comes to cornering, says New Zealand based Chris Toal, the designer of the system, a bicycle is flawed because the pedals are free to rotate, and this pushes your weight onto your outside foot reducing the traction to the front wheel. With the pedals locked horizontally you can lean into the corner more, putting more weight on the inside of the corner. This, apparently, is the reason why motorbikes can lean much further than cycles.
Toal orginally tested his theory with a Heath-Robinson prototype and a bunch of willing riders on a 3km downhill stretch of road to the local beach. By the end of the day the riders were able to complete the course on average 20 seconds quicker with the pedals locked than by simply coasting with the pedals left free to rotate.
"You ride past the 'I am going to crash' point, and you lock it, and put your weight on it," Toal told the Gizmag website. "And as soon as you put your weight on it, the bike does this weird thing. It feels like you've stepped off your bike onto some sort of scooter - 'cause it stops wobbling. Because all your weight goes from up high in the bike, and balancing between your arms and the wobbly pedals, straight down to your feet. So exactly when you need it, in the middle of the corner, your center of gravity drops down around your feet."
Toal sees the technology as applicable to all areas of cycling. MTB downhillers have already heaped praise on the system and the theoretical time gains may well interest road riders too, although obviously they would have to be balanced against the weight gains. Commuters could benefit from increased control too, says Toal, and the system also doubles as an extra security device, allowing the rider to lock the pedals when away from the bike.
For more information (and those diagrams) head over to www.cranklock.com