Ask a Tech: Are specialty bikes accurately counted?

Specialty bikes, such as carbon bikes, fat bikes and bamboo bikes, are not frequently found on your average road or trail. With unconventional materials and construction tailored to unique needs, can these bikes be counted by automatic counters? Read on to learn more about how they can be counted using the ZELT Inductive Loop system.

Carbon Bikes

Carbon fiber is prized for its lightweight durability. Just over a decade ago, carbon bikes took the cycling world by storm. Racing cyclists no longer favor steel frames – the lightness and stiffness of carbon frames shave time off runs. Most carbon bikes are outfitted with metal wheels made of aluminum alloy. Therefore, they can be counted using ZELT loops. What matters is the total composition of the bike and the electromagnetic signature of the wheels.

Dustin Gaffke,  Flickr 
Dustin Gaffke,  Flickr

While carbon frames are becoming more common on everyday streets, carbon wheels are not. Carbon wheels are prized for their aerodynamic properties for racing. With a price tag of approximately $1000 for a pair and no benefits for everyday use, they are extremely rare on city streets or trails.

Fat Bikes

Popular in northern climates, these bikes have much larger than average tires. These bikes are safe to ride on snow and are preferred to cross-country skiing when snow is scarce. Not just for winter, fat bikes can also be ridden over sand and hiking trails. This makes them an alternative to the mountain bike.

Jeff Moser, Flickr
Jeff Moser, Flickr

Larger tires means larger rims – they need more metal to support them. Our experts have performed tests that show fat-tire bikes in fact generate a much larger signal when compared to the regular mountain bikes. Even with 4 inches of snow and ice, tests have found no negative impact on accuracy.

Bamboo Bikes

Although not widely used, these bikes are making a splash for being both eco-friendly and providing lightweight strength. High grade bamboo bikes, however, currently start at a high price point and are not widely used.

Eric Fischer, Flickr

Although a frame may be bamboo, the other components are always made of metal.  For this reason, they can still be counted.

ZELT loops register the electromagnetic signature of each bicycle wheel, making this the most important component of the bicycle for counting. A total of 13 criteria are used to identify bicycles when compared to cars, motorcycles, or other vehicles. Eco-Counter performs tests on the capabilities of all our technology to ensure that it is up-to-date with the latest trends in bicycles.


Cover image: Jeff MoserFlickr


Author: Julia Gunst

Julia Gunst is the Marketing Content Specialist at Eco-Counter.

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