|Publication number||USRE41194 E1|
|Application number||US 10/877,973|
|Publication date||Apr 6, 2010|
|Filing date||Jun 25, 2004|
|Priority date||Sep 14, 2000|
|Also published as||CN1278900C, CN1343598A, DE60140413D1, EP1188653A2, EP1188653A3, EP1188653B1, US6400564|
|Publication number||10877973, 877973, US RE41194 E1, US RE41194E1, US-E1-RE41194, USRE41194 E1, USRE41194E1|
|Inventors||Naohiro Nishimoto, Takuji Masui|
|Original Assignee||Shimano Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (17), Non-Patent Citations (1), Classifications (17), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to bicycle control panels, and more particularly to a switch guide located between a pair of switches on a computerized bicycle control panel for guiding a bicycle rider's thumb to a proper switch on the control panel.
Modern bicycles allow the rider to control the gears, the brakes and other features of the bicycle to optimize the rider's experience. Much of the control functions are computerized so that a rider can control the particular function by simply pressing a switch on a control panel. A typical computerized control panel includes a base member mounted to the bicycle handlebar and numerous switches on the control panel, each switch corresponding to a particular function that is controllable by the rider.
During a ride, it may be desirable for the rider to repeatedly manipulate various switches to adapt to the varying road conditions. For instance, if the bicycle ride covers an uphill or downhill terrain, the rider may wish to change the gears to correspond to the incline of the terrain. In this regard, the rider would manipulate a switch that would cause the change in the bicycle gears. It is important to some riders to be able to activate the switch at a precise time corresponding to a particular location or condition in the ride.
The problem with operating a control panel is that, during a bicycle ride, it may be difficult to quickly find and activate the correct switch. The switches on the control panel are often set close together, increasing the possibility that a rider may inadvertently activate the wrong switch. Also, road conditions frequently vary and when the rider is maneuvering rough and bumpy terrain, the chances of pressing the wrong switch is increased.
In known control panels, a visual indicator is provided to inform the rider of the function of each switch. When riding, however, it is inconvenient, and at time unsafe, for the rider to take his eyes off of the road and look at the visual indicators on the control panel to find the desired switch. If the rider does not wish to look down at the control panel, the rider must guess or estimate the location of the switch, which is increasingly difficult on a bumpy terrain.
Accordingly, it is desirable to provide an indicator that would guide a bicycle rider to the correct switch without requiring the rider to look down at the control panel.
It is also desirable to provide a guide in a convenient location that is easily accessible to the rider and would require minimal effort to use.
It is also desirable to provide a guide that would be simple and inexpensive to manufacture.
The present invention overcomes the aforementioned problems by providing a switch guide located between a pair of switches on a computerized bicycle control panel for guiding a bicycle rider's thumb to a proper switch on the control panel. The switch guide is preferably a protrusion dimensioned to be detected by the bicycle rider's thumb. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the height of the switch guide is greater than the height of the switch for easy detection by the bicycle rider. In an alternative embodiment, the height of the switch guide is greater than the height of the switch, when the switch is activated.
In another embodiment of the invention, the switch guide is a depression located between a pair of switches. The depression is dimensioned to be detected by the bicycle rider's thumb.
The switch guide is located in sufficient proximity to the switches to allow the rider's thumb to access one of the switches by moving the thumb to one side of the switch guide and the other switch by moving the thumb to the other side of the switch guide. The switch guide is preferably located exactly in the middle of the region between the first and second switches so that it is equidistant from each switch. When a rider detects the switch guide, the rider knows that his thumb is centered between the pair of switches. From the switch guide, the rider can move his or her thumb to one side of the guide to access a first switch and to the other side of the guide to access a second switch. Accordingly, the switch guide allows a rider to accurately and quickly access a desired switch without looking down at the control panel, in rough and bumpy terrain.
Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description. It is to be understood, however, that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating preferred embodiments of the present invention, are given by way of illustration and not limitation. Many changes and modifications within the scope of the present invention may be made without departing from the spirit thereof, and the invention includes all such modifications.
The invention may be more readily understood by referring to the accompanying drawings in which:
Like numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
An exemplary embodiment of a bicycle control panel according to the principles of the present invention is illustrated in
The switches 14a, 14b preferably extend from the control panel base 10. In another embodiment of the invention, the switches can be soft keys that are aligned with the control panel base 12 and do not protrude therefrom. The switches 14a, 14b are preferably adjacent to each other, defining a region 16 therebetween. As best shown in
The switch guide 20 preferably protrudes from the control panel base and is dimensioned to be detectable by a human hand. In one embodiment of the invention, as shown in
In a preferred embodiment, as shown in
In an alternative embodiment, the switch guide 20 is a depression (not shown) in the control panel base 12 between the switches 14a, 14b. The size of the depression is dimensioned to be detectable by the human hand.
The switch guide 20 of the present invention assists a bicycle rider in finding and activating the proper switch without requiring the rider to look down at the control panel 10. While riding, the bicycle rider has his hands on the handlebar, as shown in
On advantage of the switch guide of the present invention is that it guides a bicycle rider to the correct switch without requiring the rider to look down at the control panel. Furthermore, it would require minimal effort for the rider to use the switch guide. Even in the roughest and bumpiest terrain, the rider can quickly and easily access the desired switches without having to worry about activating the incorrect switch.
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|1||JP 58-195916, published Dec. 26, 1983, and corresponding English translation.|
|U.S. Classification||361/679.01, 188/24.11, 340/432, 361/625|
|International Classification||B62K23/02, B62J6/16, B62M25/04, B62J99/00, G06F1/16|
|Cooperative Classification||H01H2009/068, B62J99/00, B62J2099/0026, B62M25/08, B62K23/02|
|European Classification||B62K23/02, B62M25/08, B62J99/00|