Feeling shiftless? Try Shimano's automatic bike transmission

Bike-gear stalwart Shimano offers an automatic bicycle transmission.

Shimano has begun selling a new automatic-shift bicycle gearing system--but these gears aren't for gearheads.

Shimano's Coasting automatic transmission
Shimano's Coasting automatic transmission Shimano

Instead, Shimano's Coasting system is designed for the easily daunted cyclist. The three-speed transmission works on flat or flattish terrain. It includes a built-in coaster brake--the kind where you backpedal to slow the bike--because Shimano found that a lot of people were intimidated by those crazy handlebar-mounted brake levers.

I'm not in the target market, but after a test ride I concluded the Shimano's automatic bike transmission has merit. The biggest hitch is that a bike costs $450 to $700--potentially somewhat steep, given that the competition is likely a cheapo single-speed cruiser or no bike at all.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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