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Title:
DEVICE FOR THE VERTICAL ADJUSTMENT OF A SADDLE SUPPORT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/083206
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a device for the vertical adjustment of a tubular saddle support (S) consisting of an encasing body (1) receiving the saddle support tube (2), a spring element (F) arranged in the saddle support tube (2), the force (F1) of which acts axially on the saddle support, wherein a locking arrangement (3, 5, 18) arranged in the saddle support tube (2) brings a locking element (4) in a detent position (I, II, III) in engagement between saddle support tube (2) and encasing body (1), so that the latter are fixed with respect to each other. The locking arrangement (3, 5, 18) can also be unlocked by the rider whilst travelling.

Inventors:
MAIER, Marzell (Heslerhof 1, Isny/Sommersbach, 88316, DE)
Application Number:
EP2008/010986
Publication Date:
July 09, 2009
Filing Date:
December 21, 2008
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
MAIER, Marzell (Heslerhof 1, Isny/Sommersbach, 88316, DE)
International Classes:
B62K19/36; B62J1/06
Domestic Patent References:
WO2007117884A2
Foreign References:
US6354557B1
US20060066074A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HÖCHTL, Walter (Zur Kühschanze 9, Fürth, 90763, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:

Claims

1. A device for the vertical adjustment of a tubular saddle support (S) consisting of a. an encasing body (1) to receive a saddle support tube (2) b. a spring element (F) arranged in the saddle support tube (2), which spring element (F) rests in the encasing body (1) and the force (F1) of which acts axially on the saddle support (2) c. at least one locking element (4),

characterized by

d. a locking arrangement (3, 5, 18) arranged in the saddle support tube (2), i. the locking arrangement (3, 5, 18), in a locking setting, holding the locking element (4) in a detent position (I, II, III) in a state in which the saddle support tube (2) is fixed with respect to the encasing body (1) by the locking element (4), ϋ. the locking arrangement (3, 5, 18) releasing the locking element (4) in an unlocking setting.

2. The device according to Claim ^characterized in that in the saddle support tube (2) at least one opening (O) is provided, through which the locking element (4) in the detent position (I, II, III) engages into at least one locking element mounting (26) formed in the encasing body (1).

3. The device according to Claim 2, characterized in that the locking element (4) in the unlocking setting releases itself independently out of the detent position (I, II, III) through the relative movement between encasing body (1) and saddle support tube (2).

4. The device according to any of the preceding Claims, characterized in that the locking arrangement (3, 5, 18) is brought into the locking setting by means of elastic force.

5. The device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the locking arrangement (3, 5, 18) is acted upon by the same spring element (F) as the saddle support (S).

6. The device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in t h a t the locking arrangement (3, 5, 18) is acted upon by a second spring element (10).

7. The device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the locking arrangement (3, 5, 18) comprises a locking bush (3), the locking bush (3) having at least a first guideway (81) for the displacement of the locking element (4).

8. The device according to Claim 7, characterized in that the closing force acting on the locking element (4) is able to be preselected by the contour of the first guideway (81).

9. The device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that means are provided, by means of which the locking arrangement (3, 5, 18) is displaceable against the elastic force relative to the saddle support (S), whereby the locking element (4) is released.

10. The device according to Claim 9, characterized in that a lever element (20) is provided as means for the displacement of the locking arrangement (3, 5, 18).

11. The device according to Claim 10, characterized in that the lever element (20) is able to be actuated hydraulically.

12. The device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the locking element (4) is a sphere or is spherical.

13. The device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the spring element (F) is a gas spring.

14. The device according to Claim 12, characterized in that the locking bush (3) is fastened on the outer surface of the gas spring (F).

15. The device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that the encasing body (1) is the saddle tube of a bicycle.

16. The device according to any of the preceding claims, characterized in that means (8, 83) are provided, which prevent a twisting of the tubular object or of the saddle support (S) in the clamping device (K).

17. The device according to Claim 16, c h a ra cte r ized in that third guide- ways 83 are introduced into the inner surface of the encasing body 1, into which guideways 83 springs of a guide bush 8 engage.

Description:

Device for the vertical adjustment of a saddle support

The invention relates to a device for the vertical adjustment of a tubular saddle support S consisting of an encasing body to receive a saddle support tube, a spring element arranged in the saddle support tube, which spring element rests in the encasing body and the force of which acts axially on the saddle support S, with the device having at least one locking element.

Saddle supports for fastening bicycle saddles are usually fixed with a mechanical clamp strap in the saddle tube. Here, the saddle tube is generally slotted at the upper end so that through the clamping effect, the circumference of the tube is reduced and the saddle tube thus lies in a force-fitting manner against the saddle support S. The clamp strap is tightened with a nut or a quick-acting clamping device is used, in which the clamping force is achieved by throwing a lever. With such a "quick-acting clamp" it is possible to vertically adjust and fix the saddle without a tool. This is necessary for example when the bicycle is to be ridden by people of different sizes or when the saddle height is to be adapted in the case of one and same rider through particular circumstances. The latter is the case for example when travelling on difficult terrain, such as occurs in particular when mountain biking. Uphill, the saddle height must be set optimally ergonomically, in order to achieve a good power transmission. When travelling downhill, the rider must shift his centre of gravity downward toward the rear according to steepness and difficulty, and for this he must frequently bring his bottom behind the saddle. The lower the saddle, the easier the rider can actively and dynamically shift his centre of gravity, but he thereby loses lateral guiding forces, which he can apply with a correspondingly raised saddle with the inner sides of his thighs against the saddle. The optimum height of the saddle is therefore dependent on the respective travel situation.

The disadvantage of the described clamping device lies in that the rider has to dismount every time and adjust the saddle vertically. It would therefore be desirable to provide a device for vertical adjustment for a bicycle saddle which the rider can adjust whilst travelling. Such supports are already available on the market. In issue 11 , 2006 of the journal BIKE (Publisher: Delius Klasing), there is a test of so-called Vario saddle supports. One of the two systems of the supports presented there operates with two oil chambers which are connected with each other via a valve. By opening the valve with the actuator, a tube in the shaft can be moved up and down. So that an action of force upwards is achieved, the lower oil chamber is additionally filled with air. Thereby, the support is pressed upwards on drawing the actuator and on simultaneous relief.

This mechanism is, on the one hand, costly, and on the other hand the saddle support must have a certain play in the shaft, so that it can be adjusted vertically. The saddle support is therefore - even when the valve is closed - not optimally fixed. In addition, the systems described in the test only offer an adjustment range of seventy- five millimetres.

A vertically adjustable saddle support which is free of play is known from the not previously published utility model application 20 2007 001 440.8. There, a clamping device is described for fixing a saddle support, which has a clamping surface which is deformable elastically under pressure. When the system is put under pressure, the saddle support is fixed in a form-fitting manner and hence free of play. The saddle support can be adjusted vertically during travel by means of a remote control.

From the international patent application WO 2007/117884 A2 a vertically adjustable saddle support is known, in which in a detent position a bolt is brought from the outside through an opening of an encasing body into an opening of a saddle support

tube. To adjust the saddle support, the bolt must be brought out of engagement, which is possible with difficulty under load.

In the Worldwide Web (Internet) under http://precisioncvclinacomponents.com a vertically adjustable saddle support is described, in which the device for the vertical adjustment is fastened externally on the encasing body. For arresting, a sphere is fixed in bores of the encasing body and of the saddle support tube by means of a locking ring. Through the external arrangement, the device is susceptible to dirt and the effects of force and impact from the exterior, so that its reliability in rough use is questionable. In addition, the stability of the saddle support tube is weakened by the depressions for the spheres which are to be introduced, distributed over the length of the tube.

An object of the invention is to provide a vertically adjustable saddle support with a simple reliable operating principle.

This problem is solved in that the device for the vertical adjustment of the saddle support has a locking arrangement arranged in the saddle support tube, which locking arrangement, in a locking setting, holds the locking element in a detent position, in which the saddle support tube is fixed with respect to the encasing body by the locking element, with the locking arrangement releasing the locking element in an unlocking setting.

The locking arrangement, arranged inside the saddle support tube, can advantageously bring about the locking in that in the saddle support tube at least one opening is provided, through which the locking element in a detent position engages into at least one locking element mounting formed in the encasing body. The entire locking mechanism including the locking element thus remains inside the saddle support tube and the encasing body is is shielded from external influences.

A development of the device is particularly advantageous, in which the locking element in the unlocking setting releases itself independently out of the detent position

through the relative movement between encasing body and saddle support tube.

When the locking arrangement is brought into the locking setting by means of elastic force, the locking takes place automatically without intervention by the rider, namely when a detent position is reached.

The locking arrangement can be advantageously acted upon here by the same spring element as the saddle support. Thereby, the same spring element can bring about both the vertical adjustment and also the locking. The locking arrangement may, however, also be acted upon alone or in addition to the first spring element by a second spring element, in order to increase the reliability of the locking mechanism.

In a further advantageous development of the invention, the locking arrangement has a locking bush which has at least a first guideway for the displacement of the locking element. The first guideway can be constructed differently here. It may, for example, be designed so that an automatic locking is produced with respect to the locking element in a detent position, or it may be designed so that with a particular action of force on the first guideway of the locking bush, the locking is released and the saddle support is unlocked from the encasing body. Advantageously here, the closing force between the encasing body (1) and the saddle support tube (2) can be set by the contour of the first guideway (81).

According to a further development of the invention, means are provided whereby the locking arrangement is displaceable by an operator against the elastic force relative to the saddle support, so that the locking element is released. This can be a Bowden cable device, as is known from the above-mentioned prior art (http://precisioncycling- components.com or WO 2007/117884 A2) and which acts on an actuating lever. It may, however, also be a hydraulically actuated device, as is known for example from disc brakes for bicycles.

The locking element is preferably a sphere or is spherical. In the construction of the locking element, the concern is that on the side with which it engages into the encasing body, it is designed so that in the unlocking setting, i.e. when it is released from

the locking device or the locking bush, it automatically releases itself from the mounting of the encasing body through the elastic force acting on the saddle support and thus releases the fixing between encasing body and saddle support tube.

In an advantageous development of the invention, the spring element acting on the saddle support is a gas pressure spring. The outer casing of the gas pressure spring can be, at the same time here, a component of the locking arrangement, in particular the locking bush can be fastened on it.

In a further advantageous development of the invention, the encasing body is the saddle tube of a bicycle. Thereby, a further additional tube is saved as encasing body, and the device can be designed so as to be lighter.

The term "tubular" is to be understood as follows here: All tubular objects such as, for example, the saddle support tube or the encasing body can have different cross-sections. They may have a round cross-section and be a tube or a cylinder rod. However, the cross-section could also be polygonal; in particular, it could have the shape of a regular polygon. Thereby, the saddle support could be fixed radially with respect to the encasing body. In the sense of this application, the term "tubular" is to comprise all objects similar to a rod, with a different cross-section.

The locking device has the particular advantage that it is a system which is free of play.

An example embodiment of the invention is described below with the aid of the drawings, in which:

Figure 1 shows a vertically adjustable saddle support with saddle

Figure 2 shows an axial section through the saddle support (diagrammatic sketch) in the locked state

Figure 3 shows an axial section through the saddle support (diagrammatic sketch) in the unlocked state

Figure 4a shows the cutout Z from Figure 2

Figure 4b shows the cutout Z from Figure 2, but with a self-locking first guideway

Figure 5a shows the cutout W from Figure 3

Figure 5b shows a cutout similar to Figure 4b, but with a self-releasing first guideway

Figures 6, 7 show various developments of the first guideway 81

Figure 8 shows a vertically adjustable saddle support (without saddle)

Figure 9 shows a detailed illustration of the lower part of the vertically adjustable saddle support illustrated in Figure 8

Figure 10 shows a detailed illustration of the upper part of the vertically adjustable saddle support illustrated in Figure 8

Figure 11 shows an exploded illustration of the vertically adjustable saddle support

Figure 1 shows a vertically adjustable saddle support S with a saddle 29 mounted on the saddle mounting 22. The saddle mounting 22 has a hydraulic connection 24, to which a hydraulic lead, which is not shown here, can be connected. The saddle support tube 2 of the saddle support S is introduced in the manner of a telescope in the encasing body 1. The dirt scraper ring 17 prevents the penetration of impurities and is fixed by the retaining nut 16. The retaining nut 16 fixes at the same time the guide ring (15, Fig. 10).

The encasing body 1 is closed off by a base 11 , which can be screwed to the encasing body 1 for example by means of a thread. A lock nut 12 fixes the piston rod (14, Fig. 2) of a gas pressure spring (F, Fig. 2) which can not be seen here, the force of which acts on the saddle support F and attempts to press the latter upwards. The pressure of the gas pressure spring can be adjusted by means of the air valve 13.

Figure 2 shows a basic illustration of the saddle support S in axial section, in which the operating principle of the vertical adjustment and fixing of the saddle support tube 2 is shown. The saddle mounting 22 is not illustrated here, for the sake of clarity. The saddle support tube 2 is introduced in the encasing body 1. Inside the saddle support tube 2 there is the gas pressure spring F consisting of the closure cover 18, the gas pressure spring outer covering 5 and the piston rod 14. The gas pressure spring outer covering 5 is closed off below by the locking bush 3.

The piston rod 14 of the gas pressure spring is fixed on the base 11. The elastic force of the gas pressure spring is symbolized by the force arrow F1 , acting in the direction of the force arrow onto the saddle support S. Through the force arrow F2, a force is indicated which - able to be manipulated from the exterior - acts on the closure cover and can press the gas pressure spring outer covering 5, against the elastic force F2, downwards relative to the saddle support tube 22. (The mechanism between closure cover 18 and saddle mounting 22 or saddle support tube is described in detail further below).

The gas pressure spring outer covering 5, locking bush 3 and the closure cover 18 are components of the locking arrangement. The gas pressure spring outer covering 5 has the function here of a locking control tube, i.e. it serves for the transmission of the force F2 via the closure cover 18 to the locking bush 3.

In the encasing body at an axial distance at the detent positions (I, II, III) - of course more detent positions are also possible - three locking element mountings 26 are situated, which are distributed here symmetrically over the circumference. Other distributions are also conceivable. In the saddle support tube, at the section C-C an opening 201 is introduced, for example a bore, through which a locking element 4, here a sphere or a sphere- or setscrew- or stud-shaped object engages into the correspondingly formed locking element mounting 26. The locking element 4 is held by the first guideway 81 of the locking bush 3 in its engagement between the opening 201 of the saddle support tube and the locking element mounting 26. The locking elements) 4 thereby fix the saddle support tube 2 in a form-fitting manner with the encasing body 1.

In the section C-C to Figure 2, it can be seen how in total six locking elements 4, distributed over the circumference, are in engagement with the locking element mountings 26. The thickness of the covering surface of the encasing body can be reduced between these. This serves on the one hand to save weight, and on the other hand the paths being thereby produced can be used as third guideways 83, in order to produce additional sliding surfaces and a security against rotation of the encasing body 1 with respect to the saddle support tube 2. For this, a guide bush (8, Fig. 9) is introduced, the springs of which run in the third guideways 83 (which serve as grooves). The security against rotation which is thus achieved can be provided in addition to the second guideways 261 (see description of Fig. 3); however, the specialist in the art can also decide alternatively for one or the other.

The unlocking which is necessary for the vertical adjustment of the saddle support S is described with the aid of Figure 3. Here, a force F2 which is greater than the force F1 is applied via the closure cover 18, so that the gas pressure spring outer covering 5 and, with it, the locking bush 3 are pressed downwards relative to the saddle support tube 2. Through the widening of the first guideway 81 , the locking element 4 is released and can draw radially inwards. Due to the shape of the locking element mounting 26 and of the locking element 4 and also through the force F1 of the gas pressure spring F acting in the axial direction, a radial force component (FR, Fig. 4/5) is produced onto the locking element 4, through which the latter is pressed out of the locking element mounting 26 and thus releases the fixing between saddle support tube 2 and encasing body 1. The saddle support S can thereby be moved downwards relative to the encasing body 1 or - as in the example shown - upwards. After the unlocking, the force F2 can be removed, when at the following detent position Il locking is to be carried out again. When the locking element 4 now reaches the detent position Il and hence the next locking mounting 26, then the gas pressure spring outer covering 5 and, with it, the locking bush 3 is pressed upwards and the locking elemnet 4 is pressed outwards via the first guideway 81 , and is brought into engagement with the locking element mounting 26 and is fixed there. Thereby, the saddle support S is displaced upwards by a detent position (I, II, III). If one wishes to jump one or more detent positions (I, II, III), the force F2 is released later accordingly.

The locking elements 4, which in the example of Figures 2 and 3 shown here are constructed as spheres, run in this embodiment in second guideways 261 , which connect the locking element mountings 26 with each other. Thereby, a security against rotation of the saddle support tube 2 with respect to the encasing body 1 is achieved.

Figure 4a shows the cutout Z from Figure 2. In an enlarged illustration here the encasing body 1 , the saddle support tube 2, the first guideway 81 , the opening 201 (here a bore) in the saddle support tube 2, and the locking element 4 can be seen. In the enlargement, it becomes noticeable that the locking element 4 is not constructed as a sphere, but rather as a cylinder with different roundings at the ends. The cylindrical body lies against the surface of the bore 201 and therefore has a flat support compared with the only punctiform support of a sphere. The first guideway 81 runs at its narrow (here lower) end approximately parallel to the saddle support tube 2. Thereby, the radial component FR of the force acting on the locking element 4 - due to the spring or the weight of the rider - is received by the guideway 81 , so that no axial force component acts on the locking element 3. The guideway 81 is therefore constructed so as to be self-locking in this region. A defined self-locking is obtained with a contour of the guideway 81 as is shown in Figure 4b.

In Figure 5a the cutout W of Figure 3 is illustrated on an enlarged scale. The locking element 4 is not in engagement with a locking element mounting 26, but rather runs in the second guideway 261. As the elastic force F1 acts continuously on the locking bush, the locking element 4 is pressed via the guideway 81 axially outwards into the locking element mounting 26 when a detent position (I, II, III) is reached.

Figure 5b shows a self-releasing locking mechanism with an oblique guideway 81 in the operating region. In this case, the locking element 4 lies at the lower end of the obliquely constructed first guideway 81 , when it is in engagement with a locking element mounting 26. The force component FR then acting radially inwards onto the locking element 4 results in an axial force component FS onto the locking element 3, which with corresponding selection of the incline of the guideway in relation to the acting forces (elastic force F and weight of the rider) pushes the locking element 4

into the unlocking position. Thereby, an unlocking takes place without intervention of the rider, i.e. without external activation. This can protect the rider on the one hand, and also the entire device, from damage in the case of extreme actions of force, such as occur for example when travelling over stones, through holes, kerbs, etc.

Figures 6 and 7 show different developments of the first guideway 81 of the locking element 3. In Figure 6, the first guideway 81 is constructed symmetrically with respect to rotation, whereas in Figure 7 for each locking element 4 respectively its own first guideway 81 is formed in the locking element 3.

Figure 8 shows a complete vertically adjustable saddle support S (without saddle), in which the latter is illustrated above the symmetry line in section. Figure 8 serves for the total overview, in which the elements already described in the previous figures are not described in further detail here. In addition to what is already known, here inter alia a saddle mounting 22, the piston corwn 27 of the gas pressure spring F, the centering O-ring of the gas pressure spring F and a spiral spring 10 are illustrated. These and further elements are described with the aid of Figures 9 and 10.

Figure 9 shows a detailed illustration of the lower part of the vertically adjustable saddle support S illustrated in Figure 8. Here, the locked state is illustrated above the axial symmetry line, and the unlocked state in the section underneath. The piston rod 14 of the gas pressure spring F is guided through the base 11 and fastened with a lock nut 12. At its end, it is closed off in a gas-tight manner with the valve 13. The spiral spring 10 acts in addition to the gas pressure spring F on the locking bush 3. It can be used when the force of the gas pressure spring is not sufficient for a secure locking. It acts additionally as a security in case the gas pressure spring F is faulty. In this case, it is still ensured that in a detent position (I, II, III) -which is found by hand if necessary by vertical adjustment of the saddle support S - locking can still reliably take place. The spiral spring 10 is fixed with a clamping screw 9 at the lower end. Externally at the cylindrical cross-piece of the clamping screw 9, the guide bush 8 is situated, the mode of operation of which was already described above. It is held by a threaded ring. Between the locking bush 3 and the gas pressure spring outer covering 5, a gas pressure spring sealing ring 6 is arranged, which seals the gas pressure

C O

spring outer covering 5 with respect to the locking bush 3 and the latter with respect to the piston rod 14.

Figure 10 shows a detailed illustration of the upper part of the vertically adjustable saddle support S illustrated in Figure 8. Here, above the symmetry axis, again the locked state is shown, and the unlocked state beneath. The guide ring 15, which may be made of plastic for example, serves for guidance and to reduce the sliding friction between saddle support tube 2 and encasing body 1. A retaining nut 16 fixes a dirt scraper ring 17. The closure cover 18 of the gas pressure spring F is centered in the saddle support tube 2 by means of a centering O-ring 19.

The saddle mounting 22 is securely connected with the upper part of the saddle support tube 2. It receives a hydraulic cylinder 23, the piston rod 20 of which acts on the closure cover 18 of the gas pressure spring F. The piston rod 20 of the hydraulic cylinder is sealed with a sealing ring 25 and is secured by a retaining nut 21 on the hydraulic cylinder 23. Via the hydraulic feed line 24 and the hydraulic connection 24 known from Figure 1, hydraulic fluid can put under pressure via a feed line which is not illustrated here but is known to the specialist in the art, so that via the piston rod 20 the locking arrangement (closure cover 18, gas pressure spring outer coveimg 5, locking bush 3) can be actuated. Instead of the hydraulic actuating device, a mechanical one can also be realized with a Bowden cable. This lies within the technical competence of the specialist in the art.

Figure 11 shows an exploded illustration of the vertically adjustable saddle support S with the elements already known and listed again below:

1 encasing body (outer tube)

2 saddle support tube

201 opening

3 locking bush

4 locking element

5 gas pressure spring outer covering (locking control tube)

6 gas pressure spring sealing ring

7 threaded ring guide bush

81 first guideway

83 third guideway

9 clamping screw

10 spiral spring

11 base

12 lock nut

13 air valve

14 piston rod (gas spring)

15 guide ring

16 retaining nut

17 dirt scraper ring

18 closure cover

19 centering O-ring

20 piston rod of the hydraulic cylinder

21 retaining nut

22 saddle mounting

23 hydraulic cylinder

24 hydraulic connection

25 sealing ring

27 piston crown (gas spring)

28 centering O-ring (gas spring)

29 saddle

Instead of the gas pressure spring (without the exclusion of other spring forms, which in the sense of this application should also include elastomers) for example also a spiral spring can be used for vertical adjustment. The gas pressure spring has the advantage, however, that over its adjusting range (stroke) it ensures a force development which is almost independent of the spring deflection.