Originally unveiled at Interbike last September, Cannondale demonstrated the latest advances in their Simon electronic suspension system proof of concept at CES this week. Using an accelerometer to monitor the changing forces on your mountain bike as you ride, the Simon electronic suspension system gives you a real-time response, allowing you to instantly adapt to the changing trail conditions.
The average mountain biker is reluctant to adjust the variety of tuning options built into modern shocks and forks. Suspension settings are an art form and most of us are happy to find one setting and stick with it. Cannondale has taken out all the mechanical parts of a normal suspension system and replaced them with just one electrical valve. You no longer need the knowledge or time to tweak your bike adjustments based on the terrain you plan to ride for the day.
Working together with Analog Devices (ADI), the Simon electronic suspension system uses an accelerometer placed in the wheel hub to monitor the terrain every 2 milliseconds. The data is transferred and processed by the Simon system in order to apply the appropriate suspension control based on more than 10,000 terrain-response maps.
The Simon computer comes with 5 programmable modes which are controlled by the handlebar mounted joystick and LCD display. The All Mountain mode gives you a loose, responsive fork where the Lockout Mode will make your bike fully rigid on smooth surfaces for pedaling efficiency but seamlessly open up to maintain comfort or stability in the event you hit a pothole or rock.
"The accelerometer provides insights into the bicycle system that would otherwise be unattainable. For example, by sensing free fall and the duration of the fall, Simon knows when a mountain biker jumps off of a rock. The accelerometer effectively allows Simon to 'read' the terrain in advance and preemptively adjust the suspension settings in real time," said Stanley Song, advanced projects engineer for Cannondale.
Don't hold your breath that this will be a commercial product anytime soon. The Cannondale Advanced Products Division likes to create these high tech, highly innovative products to get market feedback and then may bring some part of that technology to market.
Watch the Engadget CES interview with Cannondale below.