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Crowd Funding For Crank Physics

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the hi-fi-jumprope dept.

Transportation 379

BuzzSkyline writes "A new design for bicycle cranks violates basic principles of physics, but that's not stopping the inventor of Z-Torque cranks from trying to raise thousands in start-up capital through crowd funding." The picture looks intriguing for a fleeting moment before it looks silly. Covered in similar style at a site I'm glad to discover exists, the Bicycle Museum of Bad Ideas.

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379 comments

It has been scientifically tested. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564115)

Anyone who says anything against this cranky idea is probably some sort of whack job!

You Say: "Crank Physics" (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564395)

Automatically?

I think: "TIME CUBE"! [timecube.com]

Re:You Say: "Crank Physics" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564661)

Why'd ya pull yer resume off LinkedIn Jeremiah Cornelius -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3368135&cid=42529887 [slashdot.org] Is it since someone spotted you're not only a "San Fran 'Man'" (a fella is more like it) and that you can't even spell what you allegedly used to do for a job? It's PENETRATION, not "pentration" as you spelled it there (one would think an anal penetration man from San Fran'd know how THAT is spelled at least, lol). Jeremiah Cornelius likes to troll others, but can't handle it when it's done in return showing he is illiterate -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2238996&cid=36457426 [slashdot.org] and that much is obvious. You fail troll. How many years did you leave your resume up there with a literacy fail like that on it? Yes you have been trolled. You like? I wager you don't since you removed your faulty resume (on the very thing you took pride in that you can't even spell correctly most likely indicating you weren't any good at it either).

Re:You Say: "Crank Physics" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564701)

Hey APK! I knew I could find you in a story about CRANKS :) I was kind of wondering, do you realize that you're a kook? Just curious.

Re:You Say: "Crank Physics" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564905)

Not APK here. I did point to a post of his that shows JC'is illiterate + won't answer why he pulled his resume off of LinkedIn after APK pointed out JC can't even spell what he claimed was his job. That's not a kook. That's merely stating facts. Speaking of CRANKS JC, I heard you like yankin the ole crank since you're from San Francisco but you oddly couldn't even spell PENETRATION properly (it's not pentration moron), which is odd, considering the weird lads that infest that town like you JC do know about anal PENETRATION with other men, hahahaha.

Re:You Say: "Crank Physics" (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564885)

I think: "TIME CUBE"!

I prefer GameCube [fateback.com] .

Re:You Say: "Crank Physics" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564925)

Why'd ya pull yer resume off LinkedIn Jeremiah Cornelius -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3368135&cid=42529887 [slashdot.org] Is it since someone spotted you're not only a "San Fran 'Man'" (a fella is more like it) and that you can't even spell what you allegedly used to do for a job? It's PENETRATION, not "pentration" as you spelled it there (one would think an anal penetration man from San Fran'd know how THAT is spelled at least, lol). Jeremiah Cornelius likes to troll others, but can't handle it when it's done in return showing he is illiterate -> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2238996&cid=36457426 [slashdot.org] and that much is obvious. You fail troll. How many years did you leave your resume up there with that basic literacy fail on it? Yes you have been trolled. You like? I wager you don't since you removed your faulty resume (on the very thing you took pride in that you can't even spell correctly most likely indicating you weren't any good at it either).

Re:It has been scientifically tested. (1)

orkysoft (93727) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564827)

It doesn't mean it has been succesfully tested.

This got a patent (5, Insightful)

Turminder Xuss (2726733) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564147)

What are examiners for again ? Spelling mistakes ?

Re:This got a patent (4, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564289)

What are examiners for again ? Spelling mistakes ?

Simplistically... One can patent stupid and/or inefficient things and bad designs - as long as they're new and unique.

Re:This got a patent (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564699)

Wrong, presuming we're talking about utility patents. They also have to be useful. Something which is fundamentally incapable of achieving the specified effect is categorically not useful in the context of the claimed invention. That's why perpetual motion machines cannot be patented.

The guy may have a design patent, instead. A design patent is more akin to copyright or trademark than to utility patents.

Re:This got a patent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564713)

It's a good thing they're new [pardo.net]

Re:This got a patent (4, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564299)

Well hey,
1) The patent is novel. I mean, who the fuck would've thought of this before?
2) It's not obvious to one skilled in the arts. After all, it doesn't even work.
3) It protects everyone from others attempting to use the same "concept" to shaft people without a clue.

Overall, I'd say the patent examiners did their job just fine. A patent isn't guaranteed to work.

Lack of utility (5, Informative)

Turminder Xuss (2726733) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564407)

Manual of Patent Examining Procedure; 706.03(a) Rejections under 35 USC 101 III A rejection on the ground of lack of utility is appropriate when ... (2) an assertion of specific and substantive utility for the invention is not credible. Such a rejection can include the more specific grounds of inoperativeness! Such as inventions involving perpetual motion.

Re:This got a patent (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564543)

The crank works, and it doesn't violate any basic rules of physics.

What doesn't work, and what does violate the rules of physics, are some of the the claims made for the crank.

Look, people, its just a SHORTER CRANK arm. Its a gimmick, and you can't say anything about its main claims
unless you look at the number of teeth on the chain ring.

The claims made are:

Smoother pedaling
More power to climb hills
Less perceived effort to pedal
Faster acceleration
Less affected by headwinds
Ability to turn higher gearing

None of these pertain to the crank arms, but all could be true if the gear ratios are selected to accomplish this
(smaller chain ring)
. Bike cranks are typically sold with the spider and chain rings. So the manufacturer
markets a gimmick crank arm with modifications to the chain ring tooth count to mask his deception.

The bent cranks do nothing that a shorter crank wouldn't do, because that is all they are, a shorter crank.

Re:This got a patent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564899)

A shorter crank would give the user more perceived effort to pedal. It is less leverage after all.

Re:This got a patent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564941)

Yeah, exactly. Whoever tested this and found it to be easier than a normal crank, was being fooled by a difference in some other part of the drive-train* that isn't the crank.

*not really sure that's the word I'm lookin for.

Re:This got a patent (0)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564951)

Easily hidden in the gear ratios of the chain rings and rear cluster.

Re:This got a patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564965)

But metal here bends a little when applied force, moving the leg slightly closer when pressing downward. Maybe the effect is big enough to feel new and weird.

Re:This got a patent (0)

jcoy42 (412359) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564857)

Overall, I'd say the patent examiners did their job just fine. A patent isn't guaranteed to work.

Exactly. It's a perfectly cromulent idea.

Re:This got a patent (1)

Spiridios (2406474) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564959)

1) The patent is novel. I mean, who the fuck would've thought of this before?

I'm not sure [pardo.net]

Re:This got a patent (1)

drolli (522659) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564649)

You can patent everything. You dont have to prove it works. Which is all right with me.

It wont work, so the chance they actually protect something by a patent which does not work is verly low. They just wasted their money.

Stupid prior art invalidates stupid patents (1)

hamjudo (64140) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564745)

TFA has a link to stupid prior art [pardo.net] .

New bad ideas can be patented. It isn't supposed to be possible to patent old bad ideas. The problem, is that old bad ideas are often badly documented, because they are bad ideas. If the patent examiner doesn't find the prior art in the limited time available, then the examiner is likely to grant the patent.

Re:This got a patent (1)

Turminder Xuss (2726733) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564831)

See above post "Lack of utility" Bad bridge keeping means more trolls.

nothing is such a wacky idea (5, Informative)

hguorbray (967940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564153)

that it cannot be used to extract money from the gullible and hopeful -esp in America where the common man knows so much more than the engineer or the scientist...so in that sense it is a good idea just like all the weight loss and sex aid supplements you see on late night cable

-I'm just sayin'

Re:nothing is such a wacky idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564413)

They look kinda cool... Thats all I got.

Re:nothing is such a wacky idea (1)

orkysoft (93727) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564841)

I'm gonna patent the S-crank.

Why we need better science education (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564157)

because this guy will get funding and the beta testers WILL report that the new cranks have totally transformed their biking "experience"

Re:Why we need better science education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564791)

Of course. Just take a look at those infomercials that try to tell you that 1) for your entire life you've been wobbling around about to fall over, and 2) they can sell you a bracelet full of charged ions that will fix it.

Weebles wobble but they don't fall down (3, Funny)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564889)

Just take a look at those infomercials that try to tell you that 1) for your entire life you've been wobbling around about to fall over

The solution to that is to become a Weeble, because Weebles wobble but they don't fall down.

One's perception of reality... (2, Funny)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564163)

...can quite comfortably fit outside it.

Re:One's perception of reality... (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564839)

Nonsense... if you're outside of reality, then reality is what's wrong!

I, for one, plan to buy one of these and write them a happy letter! (of course, I am not looking to improve the mechanics of my bike riding, only how stupid I look doing it)

Re:One's perception of reality... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564963)

Most people aren't engineers and will think they just look "cool," thus making you look cool while riding, not stupid. Most people are stupid, so when they see something stupid they identify with it and embrace it.

Biomechanics (-1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564175)

Biomechanics doesn't always follow the rules of simple static analysis. It's possible that by moving the pedal so the cyclist's legs are in a different position during the pedal cycle, it's possible that his muscles could more effectively power the pedals. Kind of like the old oval Biopace [wikipedia.org] chain rings that were supposed to optimize pedal strokes, but ended up having little effect.

I'm skeptical that these new cranks make any significant difference since modern bike racing teams do a lot of biomechanical analysis to optimize pedal strokes, and they probably would have discovered this technique long ago if it were true.

But in any case, this can't be dismissed just because simple physics says that it has no mechanical advantage.

Re:Biomechanics (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564203)

It's possible that by moving the pedal so the cyclist's legs are in a different position during the pedal cycle, it's possible that his muscles could more effectively power the pedals.

Except no change has been made to the pedal cycle...

Re:Biomechanics (1)

pz (113803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564621)

Yes ... except the spring constant of the crank has been changed. What I can't figure out by inspection of the photographs alone is if the change would be sufficent to explain the perceived differences. As you pedal around that nice, big L shape is going to distort slightly, even though it appears to be designed not to, storing some energy by folding up a wee bit during some parts of the cycle, and releasing it by unfolding during others (or vice versa). Or heck, maybe it opens up, rather than folds in. At first blush, it probably isn't a big enough effect to explain things, but an L-shaped crank is going to tend to be more flexible than a straight-arm crank.

Re:Biomechanics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564213)

The shape of the crank doesn't change at all as it's fixed. The same effect could be had by just going straight from the pedal to the place where it connects up with the gears. Moreover because of the extra metal involved you have to do more work in order to do a single revolution.

I'm too lazy to do the math, but this definitely makes it harder. That is unless he's managed to break the laws of thermodynamics.

And it does nothing at all for the inherent inefficiencies related to pedals having 2 moments of inertial.

Re:Biomechanics (2)

nomel (244635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564277)

> have to do more work in order to do a single revolution.

It's inertia. It's not wasted. It'll create a force when the pedal decelerates. Since you always want the pedal spinning, this isn't so bad for cruising. It's only bad for transients, which this would help smooth out.

> related to pedals having 2 moments of inertial.
Would be no different than a straight pedal with more mass on the end.

Re:Biomechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564483)

Except for the fact that all that extra inertia gets dumped into the braking system at some point. And even on long rides you're still going to be having to brake regularly for one reason or another. What's more, you have to create the inertia in the first place, you aren't getting it for free.

And yes, having 2 moments of inertia does make a difference. Just look at how quickly normal pedals stop after you quit applying force, this design doesn't change that. It has the same moments of inertia that a normal pedal does, which is the main source of mechanical inefficiency.

Re:Biomechanics (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564491)

It's inertia. It's not wasted. It'll create a force when the pedal decelerates. Since you always want the pedal spinning, this isn't so bad for cruising. It's only bad for transients, which this would help smooth out.

Well, just make the crank out of osmium [wikipedia.org] then. Add some weights to the pedals. Problem solved.

Re:Biomechanics (5, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564711)

Yeah but the inertial difference would be some infinitesimal amount. Way to small to notice. The real problem is that this design in going to suffer huge stress at the points of the Z so if our intrepid rider is into mountain bikes he's going to break this thing about 4 weeks after he starts using it at precisely the worst possible time to have you crank break (while standing on your peddles on a steep climb.)

All you have to do to blow this out of the water is ask him why there isn't a curlicue wrench to give you more leverage in a tight place... not like we haven't been using wrenches for a while. This is a profound DUH, and no magic fairy dust nor faith in a loving deity will wash the stink of stupid off it. Sorry.

Re:Biomechanics (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564225)

But the whole point is that as long as the crank is solid, its shape has no influence whatsoever on the transmission of force from the pedals to the gears. If the transmission of force between gears and pedals is identical, in turn, there is no possibility whatsoever of the layout having a physical (read: not "I have these magical cranks so I must pedal differently!") influence on the driver's posture.

Given this comment was made at all and subsequently upvoted, I suppose it's fair to say that even Slashdot is prone to falling for this...

Re:Biomechanics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564229)

You're kidding, right? The Z-crank doesn't even do what you seem to think it does. I encourage you to invest your life savings in this, er, invention.

Re:Biomechanics (4, Informative)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564247)

It's possible that by moving the pedal so the cyclist's legs are in a different position during the pedal cycle

Doesn't work like that. Draw a crank like this on a piece of paper, jab a pen through the point where the crank would connect to the gear and rotate the paper: you'll quickly notice that the thing still follows the exact same circular motion as any old, regular crank does, and therefore the legs don't actually assume any different a position during cycling. If the crank was displaced from the center then there would be a difference as it would no longer follow the same path as a regular crank, but alas, that's not the case here.

Re:Biomechanics (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564353)

It's possible that by moving the pedal so the cyclist's legs are in a different position during the pedal cycle

Doesn't work like that. Draw a crank like this on a piece of paper, jab a pen through the point where the crank would connect to the gear and rotate the paper: you'll quickly notice that the thing still follows the exact same circular motion as any old, regular crank does, and therefore the legs don't actually assume any different a position during cycling. If the crank was displaced from the center then there would be a difference as it would no longer follow the same path as a regular crank, but alas, that's not the case here.

Ahh right, I was lulled into thinking that it solved the no power at top-dead-center problem, but all it does is move TDC 20 degrees along the pedal cycle.

Re:Biomechanics (2)

greenbird (859670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564405)

but all it does is move TDC 20 degrees along the pedal cycle

No, it doesn't. The forces involved at the peddle and at the crank are identical to those if it were a straight connection. The only difference is the shape of the metal piece connecting them. TDC is in exactly the same place as it would be if there was a straight piece of metal connecting the peddle to the crank.

Re:Biomechanics (4, Informative)

nomel (244635) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564255)

An analysis, found on their webpage:
http://www.z-torque.com/Portals/6/DrHuangReport.pdf [z-torque.com]

Claims that the benefit is from two side effects of the claim:
                The increased mass gives a flywheel effect, meaning the pedal goes through top dead center easier.
                The long shape bends under pressure, which does slightly increase the length of the arm under pressure.

So, by going to carbon fiber (lighter, and most likely stiffer), they'll most likely negate any benefits!

> so the cyclist's legs are in a different position during the pedal cycle
Only because of the bending. If it were stiffer, position would be exactly the same.

Re:Biomechanics (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564727)

Yes, and the flexing of the arm will certain end in the thing breaking at a stress point and potentially injuring the rider... we call this a SNAFU!

Re:Biomechanics (5, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564257)

No, it's not possible. During the whole pedal cycle, the wheel is evenly in contact with the ground and the gears are in even contact with the chain. Throwing the angle on there doesn't put the rider's legs in a different position any more than rotating the existing cranks would because the "cycle" still results in the completely circular wheels and gears being in the same place. Simple physics is exactly why this can be dismissed.

Re:Biomechanics (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564263)

"this can't be dismissed just because simple physics says that it has no mechanical advantage."

Are you high?

That's exactly what you can do. The whole point of this is that despite how the bar is shaped the pedal has NOT moved in relation to the crankshaft. If you DID move the pedal, that could make it more effective. It's called "a longer crank". Problem is your pedals tend to hit the ground if you do that.

Re:Biomechanics (5, Funny)

Turminder Xuss (2726733) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564313)

A variable length crank that grew longer or sorter and avoided ground contact would be a wonderful way to over engineer a bicycle.

Re:Biomechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564805)

Better yet, to REALLY solve the dead center problem make a crank that flexes back and forth in time with the average rotation, so when you're at the dead center it whips you past, then contorts itself to keep your foot in a powerful position longer. (The joke will be that it takes more energy to flex than it you save, because you're necessarily pushing against it.)

Re:Biomechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564265)

Twaddle. 'Simple physics' trumps /all/ forms of wishful thinking. When you pedal, your feet go in a /circle/. You are familiar with circles? One of their more notable features is that they're highly symmetrical. Even if 'the cyclist's legs are in a different position during the pedal cycle,' that means they're rotated from, say, the 0 degrees position to the 30 degrees position, or to put it another way you'd just be 30 degrees out of phase with where you'd be with conventional pedals. Besides, as it's the design of the bicycle pedals that's in question here, and the points at which they interact with the rider are unaltered, simple mechanics is all you need to tell you that this idea is snake oil. You don't even need to bother investigating the rider's characteristics.

Re:Biomechanics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564267)

The shape of the crank still makes no difference. Try mentally adding a straight crank superimposed on the Z-shaped crank, and this should be apparent.

Re:Biomechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564319)

To be clear, the straight crank should be imagined to go between the bottom bracket and the pedal's axle. The crank then becomes a triangle.

Re:Biomechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564309)

The pedal doesn't move any different on these cranks than on normal unbent straight ones. There are no visible hinges, and from the back side view on one of the photos, they're made from a solid piece of aluminum. Simple physics are plenty to dismiss these, because the pedals move in exactly the same way as normal cranks, around in a circle.

We could say that, hey, it's not quite a circle due to the extra springiness of the cranks, and we might get enough difference to get out of round enough to match Biopace chain rings. In that case we made it all the way to "little effect".

It's got enough other problems, like the point catching on pant legs, or possibly causing more damage in a crash, that the minimal possible benefits aren't worth the price.

Re:Biomechanics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564481)

In this case, biomechanics doesn't add anything interesting to the picture.

The cyclist using this crank can't tell whether the crank is V-shaped, or straight, without looking, because the crank still provides exactly the same contact force to the cyclist's foot as a straight crank with the pedal in the same location. The piece of metal that transmits the force is a different shape, but that doesn't matter (except in very minor ways -- maybe it is more or less springy).

Re:Biomechanics (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564511)

But in any case, this can't be dismissed just because simple physics says that it has no mechanical advantage.

Ok.

Re:Biomechanics (1)

Longjmp (632577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564633)

It's possible that by moving the pedal so the cyclist's legs are in a different position...

Can you please send me some of the stuff you are smoking?

Re:Biomechanics (2)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564663)

And this why most medical professionals are not scientists. Magic does not exist.

A bicycle is a simple machine. Simple machines work by reducing the force necessary to complete a task. This is mechanical advantage. For a bicycle this mechanical advantages are created by the radius of the pedel and the ratio of the gears, usually with a big gear radius in front, and a smaller gear radius in back. To start the ratios are larger, then can become smaller as the bike accelerates.

There is another thing. The effective force is only the component that is perpendicular to the direction of motion. That why you normally start with the pedals parallel to the ground, and the rider pedaling straight down. With normal pedals, the force is transmitted directly to moving the crank. With this style, some force is always going be expended torquing the z pendal, which will eventually lead to the seam to fail.

Re:Biomechanics (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564813)

this can't be dismissed just because simple physics says that it has no mechanical advantage.

Actually, that's exactly why it can be dismissed. It's nonsense.

-jcr

"Smoother Pedaling and More Power Then..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564215)

These guys don't know the difference between "then" and "than." They are obviously just your garden variety Internet trolls.

Makes a known problem worse (3, Interesting)

C R Johnson (141) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564219)

One problem with long cranks and a low bottom bracket is the possibility of hitting your pedals on the ground during a turn.
This makes is worse by making it even more likely to hit the crank arm on the ground.

Re:Makes a known problem worse (0)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564317)

One problem with long cranks and a low bottom bracket is the possibility of hitting your pedals on the ground during a turn. This makes is worse by making it even more likely to hit the crank arm on the ground.

Or... for a turn where that's a risk, you could coast and make sure the pedal on the lean-to side is at top-dead-center.
Just sayin' - know your bike.

Re:Makes a known problem worse (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564373)

Actually it's more annoying than that, since the crank appears to be further from the center at the bend than the pedal, you'd have to get the angle right, instead of just putting all your weight on the opposite side pedal.

He has no friend... (1)

itscompiling (1166229) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564227)

...or wyse enough friend to tell him he's just plain wrong!

Salesman Inventors and Snowed Investors (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564237)

I've seen this before a dozen times or more as an engineering consultant. Some crackpot inventor comes in for a consultation with an engineering idea that "will save the world"*, and they say it works great with the soda-bottle-and-silly-straw model they built of the idea in their bathtub. They have $4 million in investment lined up, and they ask me to work up the numbers to show the feasibility of the idea.

2 minutes later, after trying to explain to them the 0th/1st/2nd Laws of Thermodynamics and how their device can't work because it violates all of them, it degenerates into a shouting match where the inventor (with an on-line PhD in cosmetology or similar) now is trying to tell me how the 0th/1st/2nd Laws of Thermodynamics do not apply to their device. I wish them luck and then send them to the door.

I don't envy them, because their options are 1) somehow continue to snow the investors until they make a major ass out of themselves when demonstration day inevitably comes and/or 2) slowly come to the realization that the 0th/1st/2nd Laws of Thermodynamics DO apply to their invention and that they somehow need to backpedal (pun!) out of the situation.

I'm not against garage inventors, but I wish them the humility to take 30 minutes to get their ideas vetted by a professional in the field before they make asses out of themselves and many others. There are many areas in engineering where the legitimate ideas are getting drowned out by the noise made by the uneducated hucksters.

*actual phrase used.

More Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564287)

I think this is the guy's website [trollscience.com]

Blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564293)

Just another example of form over content. Slick video, stupid idea. As TFA states, it does not mater what shape the lever has. But that won't stop ignorant people invest in this idea. In my opinion, even the presenter does not believe in the idea.

My W-Torque crank is twice as good (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564363)

Can I get twice the funding?

Easy enough to test first hand (1, Funny)

rusty0101 (565565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564369)

It's called a 3d printer with PLA, and a technique called casting. Heck since one sode of this will be flat (ok, two sides,) you could probably do this with ABS plastic. Sure you need a software model, but you cnd probably frough one up fast enough in SketchUp, Blender, or even Corel Draw, simply knowing the requirements for mounting to the shaft and mounting pedals to it. And you'llprobalby have to tap the holes for securing each, but so long as your 3d Printer can handle the dimensions of a crank arm, you're golden.

Cast em out of aluminum, brush and laquor them, have fun with the custom cranks. Or if you're less concerned about weight, looks, durability, etc. cast em out of lead, gold, silver, platinum, use the abs print as a core for a carbon fiber build. Use the model to CNC them out of a block of stainless. Build a small mass driven generator into them and add LED's and an arduino to show of pretty lights, present a message as you're riding down the street, whatever.

Re:Easy enough to test first hand (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564433)

But why would anyone go to such lengths to "test" this when it's already perfectly-well proven that it's bull?

Nope. Not even for a moment. (0)

mark_reh (2015546) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564429)

Nothing to see here, even less to "invest" in.

First problem: Crank's length (1, Insightful)

mapuche (41699) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564449)

The length of one of the elements is innecesarily longer than the final crack length. I bet it's a nighmare to pedal thru irregular terrain, collisioning with the ground every second.

Actually, this could work but not due to leverages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564521)

Actually, this could work but not due to leverages: If this crank extends the diameter of the rotation, like an extra gear it will allow to modulate power differently. Though adjusting the gearing will accomplish the same result...

So, at best, he's reinventing the wheel...

FYI, If my time at the gym bro-learning meat-head science is worth anything, than cycling is a very inefficient movement since it overrides the hamstring which counts for over 50% of the leg muscles. Now, this doesn't account for energy output - though since this "tours" take days I imagine the body can produce more power - In that respect, it's quite possible to invent a new type of bicycles that will involve those muscles and will allow more top speed... Technically bro-speaking...

Re:Actually, this could work but not due to levera (3, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564555)

If this crank extends the diameter of the rotation

Just making the crank longer would do that. The shape bears no effect on the diameter of the rotation as long as the distance between the pedal and the axle stays the same. The shape would only bear an effect if the crank dynamically changed shape during the rotation, but alas, this is a fixed construct.

Re:Actually, this could work but not due to levera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564709)

"only bear an effect if the crank dynamically changed shape during the rotation"
Wait, that's not what it does ?! So, it's just a Z shaped crank ? wow... I thought it at least extends at some degree to allow better leverages at key angles thus allowing the muscles to extend and retract to a greater degree. Since the muscles don't exert the same amount of force at different degrees... Well, it just made some sense that way even if the energy lost from the extra moving parts...

So it's essential dead weight... Just wow...

Dumbass or fraud? (2, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564561)

You decide.

Re:Dumbass or fraud? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564673)

Yes.

Draw a straight line from the middle of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564571)

the bracket axle to the middle of the pedal and make a arm that length and you will have the same thing.

Reported the fundraiser video as a scam (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564575)

I wonder if the report as a "Scam/Fraud" has an automated threshold for removal of a certain fundraising video on youtube:?v=O-WN8kPolug

Losing any faith in Slashdot (1)

notdotcom.com (1021409) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564665)

Really? Slashdot can't even understand something that would be taught in week one or two of high school physics? Doesn't anyone remember the calculations for torque and how when "johnny" ties a rope to the end of the wrench and pulls on that for "torque", it doesn't actually change anything?

Also, this has been all over the internet quite literally for months. Slashdot is getting this story after it is how many months old?

Playing devils advocate here... (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564667)

What happens with this design if the pedals are at TDC and BDC, with a weight hanging off the top pedal? It should go forward as that is the direction of the "Z" arm. By my understanding that is one of his design goals, to eliminate the dead spots as with regular straight arms in the same situation nothing happens (you would need forward motion to move the arm).

Of course, there are plenty of problems with this design that are greater than this problem which it might marginally solve. And in all my years of cycling I never found myself cripplingly stuck in TDC/BDC, you need very little power to get out of it and if you're in the act of pedalling you are likely not going to even notice it.

Re:Playing devils advocate here... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564725)

The weight hanging forward off the top arm is balanced by the weight hanging backwards off the bottom arm.

Give up. It's useless. A crankshaft is a crankshaft no matter how curly you make the shank. Well, if you make it curly enough it starts becoming springy, but that's it. Why not get into the old 1970's fad of having elliptical gears instead? At least that did something.

Re:Playing devils advocate here... (1)

notdotcom.com (1021409) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564785)

What happens with this design if the pedals are at TDC and BDC, with a weight hanging off the top pedal? It should go forward as that is the direction of the "Z" arm. By my understanding that is one of his design goals, to eliminate the dead spots as with regular straight arms in the same situation nothing happens (you would need forward motion to move the arm).

No, no it won't go forward with balanced weights on each equal-length lever attached to a pivot in the center.

The #$#@ dead spots are STILL THERE, they just happen to "look" like they are in a different place.

Dynamics of the Leading Edge (0)

qwertphobia (825473) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564737)

I've spent enough time on a bike to tell you the leading edge that breaks the surface tension of the air as you pedal is a critical component of air resistance.

Trust me, when you are constantly breaking wind, or if you routinely draft in the turbulence of the rider in front of you who is breaking wind, it will degrade your performance at least 10-20%.

Yeah (4, Funny)

pem (1013437) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564797)

I always slow way down when the guy up front is farting. Don't have to breathe as much of it that way.

Re:Dynamics of the Leading Edge (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564803)

Trust me, when you are constantly breaking wind

If you are constantly breaking wind you should either change your diet or go see a doctor.

Tax on the stupid? (1)

night (28448) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564743)

Are taxes on the stupid a bad thing?

Re:Tax on the stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564989)

Yes, they are. Extra taxes do nothing to stop stupid people from having more children, and do nothing to make them less stupid. Furthermore, if stupidity is anything like a handicap, then you would be taxing a handicap instead of what our societies have determined is the humane course of action: to help people in need.

At least its poetic.... (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564759)

How often do you get to discuss a crank with a crank... too bad its not April, I'd have gone with the prank crank thanks.

Grammar Nazi (5, Insightful)

CruddyBuddy (918901) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564795)

"Smoother pedaling and more power then old standard type cranks."

Oh come on. I'm not giving my money to anyone who can't write a sentence.

Oh yes, *this* is not possible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42564807)

but post a story about "warp drive" and "FTL starships" and the Space Nutters will come slobbering out of the woodwork. Sure, we'll have warp drive in a few years...

" gives peddlers more leverage" (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564811)

Hmm, subtle pun or can't spell??

ray ban sunglasses sale (-1, Offtopic)

yihong1 (2810723) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564821)

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I couldn't stop laughing (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564829)

They basically dog leg the peddle arm and claim there's an advantage. I thought it was linked in some way so the length changes during a stroke. It isn't even that clever it's just a pointless waste of aluminum. Even a variable length one wouldn't work because it'd throw off you rhythm. Bicycle peddles haven't changed much in over a hundred years for a reason.

Crank physics like "cold fusion"? (1)

oneeyedman (39461) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564835)

Whoa, OK, I misunderstood that for a moment.

Minor second order effect? (2)

c9brown (1828396) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564855)

If you read one of the papers, from Florida Atlantic University, referenced on the site, the author claims that the advantage comes from an 'intrinsic favorable flexure mode." Basically, he is saying that the flex at the joint of the Z shape creates a smoother ride and higher torque at specific angles (not peak torque however).

While I find it unlikely that the effect is as positive as stated in the article, it is plausible that there is a small second-order effect due to non-rigid behavior of the crank. It is claimed in the article that this effect was tested independently, however I can't see how a flex in the pedal would produce any other effect than to steal energy away from the peddler.

Besides, if you want more torque while biking, just use clip-ins.

Moment of Inertia (1)

McGruber (1417641) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564861)

Judging by the photos, it appears that the Crank with Z-pedals has a larger Moment of Inertia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_of_inertia [wikipedia.org] ) than the Crank without Z-pedals.

Perhaps that increased moment of inertia has a flywheel effect that helps ease the pedaling? I wouldn't expect it to make a difference, but then again bicycle racing is so incredibly optimized -- just look at those stupid looking helmets bicycle racers wear to improve their aerodynamics -- so perhaps the riders can tell the difference.

Taller riders ... (1)

Spacejock (727523) | about a year and a half ago | (#42564881)

First thing you should do is ditch the cranks that came with your bike, and find some 175 or 180mm cranks instead. You have the longer legs required to use them, after all.
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