WheelBased Patent Patrol: IP Transfer – Vyro, Praxis, and SRAM


WheelBased Patent Patrol: IP Transfer – Vyro, Praxis, and SRAM

We’re partnering with Dan Bacon of WheelBased to bring the world of bike-related intellectual property to the readers of the Radavist in a simplified, readable, and arguably entertaining way. First up is an interesting IP Transfer between Vyro, Praxis, and SRAM. Continue reading below to learn more about Dan’s work and the type of projects he’ll be sharing with us in the future…

WheelBased Introduction

Dan Bacon of WheelBased brings the world of bike-industry intellectual property (IP) to you in a simplified, readable, and arguably entertaining way. His background is weirdly broad, spanning aerospace, automotive racing, modular housing, and, of course, IP.

These documents are typically the first public view of an idea, created by engineers, fabricators, and mechanics while being written in legalese. The intent is to bring these engineering concepts – and sometimes business cases – to the public while circumventing the marketing teams of bike companies. Dan will occasionally bring his deep research and insight to The Radavist in hopes of inspiring the next innovator.

IP Transfer: Vyro, Praxis, and SRAM

A few days ago, I wrote about an IP transfer from Civilized Cycles to SRAM, LLC relating to, presumably, the coast shift feature in the new Eagle Powertrain system. Long story short, SRAM acquired a pair of patents defining a shift system without pedaling.

Continuing with this investigation, it appears as though SRAM has extended their IP portfolio by acquiring a pair of patents related to shifting and electronic shifting.


We’ve got a weird little web of activity here, so let’s start from the jump at a company called Vyro Components.

Vyro Components are a now-defunct boutique company that appeared to focus on a very unique 2x shifting system called the AmEn1. Without trying to type out its function, a video is worth two thousand words.



I bring them into the conversation because the patent we’re talking about here (not in the video) was originally filed by Vyro [Schuster is the owner’s name] in Germany in 2016. Without going too into the weeds of assignment change, Praxis apparently acquired these patents sometime in 2017/2018. Then, for whatever reason, sometime in late 2023/early 2024, they were reassigned from Praxis to Vyro [Schutster] and are now assigned to SRAM. So, they went Vyro [Schuster] → Praxis → Vyro [Schuster} → SRAM.

Pictured here are the assignment changes over the last few years, from bottom to top.

While we’ve got the name Praxis in the mix, from my perspective, it doesn’t look like they had much to do with the transfer. I wish I could tell you why these transferred back to Vyro [Schuster] from Praxis, but it would be speculative. The good thing about the internet is that we can anonymously and wildly speculate with zero consequences, regardless of any factual information. So, if you have a thought, let me know.


What has SRAM purchased this time? What can they prevent others from doing?

Once again, SRAM are focusing on shifting. Let’s start with the first acquired document (16/315,958). FIG. 1 shows the concept here, which is a side view of a crankset.

Everything looks fairly normal except for the little fork-looking thing. This is called a switch, and this is the component that’ll perform the gear-changing action.
The switch includes a shaft extending from the side of the axle and two arms 10 and 12. The two arms are going to control the chain movement back and forth between chainrings.


WheelBased Patent Patrol: IP Transfer – Vyro, Praxis, and SRAM

The very very very important thing here, and what is paramount to this concept, is the switch rotates with the crank. It is not static; it’s always rotating. So as you’re pedaling, that thing is going with you.

FIG. 2 below shows a back-view of the crank set and switch. In this specific image, the switch is in a “Go-from-big-gear-to-little-gear” mode, so we can consider the switch in a first-gear position, even though the chain is in the second gear. This is because the snapshot shown is actively ready to switch gears.


WheelBased Patent Patrol: IP Transfer – Vyro, Praxis, and SRAM

I took some artistic liberties with the figure below. This would be a view from the top of the crank. Below is a simplified schematic of how the chain will move from the big gear to the little gear. As the crank spins, the arm 12 crosses the chain line on the big gear. Due to the angle of the arm, the chain will catch and slide down onto the little gear.


WheelBased Patent Patrol: IP Transfer – Vyro, Praxis, and SRAM

They don’t have any images showing little-gear-to-big-gear, but it’ll just be arm 10 using the same principle to guide it back to the big gear.

So, for this first one, SRAM have purchased rights to a gearshift mechanism that can be rotated around an axle (bottom bracket/hub/etc.) and co-rotates with the gears. The gearshift mechanism then rotates about another axis that is positioned radially (pointing outward from the axle centerline). These rotations afford the ability to move the chain between gears.

This seems to be well-written and broadly defined. The word ‘axle’ is ambiguous and shouldn’t be constrained to a front chain ring, it’s just the word the attorneys used to describe a component in rotation. This concept can very likely be applied to both a front or rear gear-changing situation if so chosen.

There aren’t any specific pictures, but the second one (16/922,401) is effectively the same thing with the addition of an electrical control system. In other words, they’re defining a similar concept as prior, but the switch is electrically controlled. More specifically, the electrical control that controls the switch is configured to rotate with the switch and gear set. The fact that the electrical control rotates with the whole thing is the important part.

WheelBased Patent Patrol: IP Transfer – Vyro, Praxis, and SRAM


While the technology is interesting and unique, it should be noted that Vyro never appears to have publicly released anything like this while they were in business. I’ve also never seen anything like this come out of Praxis while they had possession of the rights. So, this begs the question, why does SRAM want this? Do they see something here? Can they make it work like the others didn’t? Are we looking at the next generation of shifting systems? Did they get it super cheap, and they want to prevent someone else from developing the idea? What is going on?

I’m confident in assuming if anyone is actually going to make this function, market it, and sell it, it’ll be SRAM.
From a technical perspective, I’m having a hard time imagining this concept being applied to any gearset with more than two gears, as it’s shown, primarily due to the constraint that the switch must ‘…extend in a radial direction relative to the axle…’. Maybe SRAM have another additional concept that works in conjunction with this idea to work on more than two gears. My pea-brain just can’t visualize it.

If they’re looking to use this on the front gearchange, where could they apply it? It seems as though the vast majority of bikes are 1x these days. Road bikes still use 2x, so that’s about it, right? If they can apply the concept to a cassette-type-component, then it appears the application base opens and can be more broadly applied throughout bike-types. Though, as I said, I can’t visualize a greater-than two gears scenario.

That being said, from a claims perspective, I’m having a hard time imagining this cannot be applied to either a front or rear gearchange mechanism. Typically, attorneys will define a crankset as the ‘drive’ gears and a cassette as the ‘driven’ gears (or some naming scheme like this). This document doesn’t seem to narrow that far, possibly opening the concept to wherever SRAM want to apply the idea.

I imagine with things like this, SRAM engineers and fabricators likely came up with some dank-ass design. Presumably, part of their protocol is to send it to their IP counsel to run Freedom to Operate analysis, where they do some searching around to see if they can actually sell what they just designed or at least file a patent application for that design.

In this case, counsel may have found these documents, which lined up super well with SRAM’s design, and they may have had little choice but to negotiate a deal for the IP.

Whatever is going on, it’s clear to see that SRAM are developing their own transmission systems while buying up other companies’ systems. Maybe we’re on the precipice of some revolutionary new gear shifting. Maybe they just feel like throwing dough around. Who knows.

Cue the ‘just get a gearbox’ comments.

If you’d like to follow along with Dan’s work, check out WheelBased on Instagram or Facebook.