By Andrew Liszewski
According to a Hungarian-based company called StringDrive, the current design of bicycles, with the drive chain and gears all located on one side, results in an asymmetric riding experience that’s not as inefficient or smooth as it could be. Of course we don’t really notice it because we’ve never driven something better, so not surprisingly that’s exactly what StringDrive claims they have created.
Their StringBike uses two identical but opposing drive units on either side of the bike which feature swinging arms moving forward and back as the pedals are turned. This back and forth motion pulls a set of steel ropes on either side which in turn cause a drum and the rear wheel to rotate. Since the mechanisms on both sides are moving in symmetry as you pedal, the rear wheel is constantly being driven, providing a smoother, and more efficient, ride. If you’re having trouble picturing it take a few moments and watch this mesmerizing video of the StringDrive in action.
The company claims that it only takes a few minutes for a rider to get used to the StringBike, particularly when it comes to shifting gears, but I have to say it does sound like a definite improvement over a chain drive system. I just have reservations about how complicated the system looks, and how easy it would be to repair should something happen while you’re out for a ride.