Utah Patent of the Month – November 2022

WickWërks LLC has focused on improving bicycle front drive systems with the development of proprietary technology. Their quest towards the perfect drivetrain has taken years of experimentation and innovation which have recently resulted in a patent for their chain ring design.

A chain ring, also known as a crankset, are the front gears in a bicycle. Traditional bicycle gear systems have a crankset with 2 or 3 chain rings affixed to a crank arm spider and a crank arm. The arm attaches to the pedals on one end and to a bracket spindle with bearings for rotation on the other. When shifting gears, these designs use front derailleurs to push a chain from one chain ring to the next. While this design works adequately for most purposes, it severely lacks in extreme loading events. For instance, when sprinting during a race a quick shift is essential but the traditional design is limiting. 

WickWërks has designed a chain ring that allows the outer chain links of a bicycle chain to more readily grab the next chain ring. Their design uses a series of ramps placed about the inner surface of the chain ring, every 4-6 teeth. The ramps have a lifting surface which readily engages the outer chain links during an up-shift. Specific tapers to the lifting surfaces of the ramps and bevels along the tips of the teeth of the chain ring contribute the precision of the up-shift.

This point of contact where the chain meets the teeth is essential to WickWërks’ improved performance. The angled area above each ramp allows the chain to lean in and mesh smoothly onto the teeth of the next ring during an up-shift. But down-shifts have not been left out of the equation. The low profile teeth around the chainring also allows the front derailleur cage to physically move the chain past a cut tooth allowing for very fast downshifts as well, especially under load. When applied with proper shifting technique, the results are quickly realized by even the most experienced riders.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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