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Tag Archives: Transportation

Flying Down A Hill On A Bicycle With No Saddle, No Pedals

Locomoting about on wheels isn’t always about finding the most efficient method to do so. There’s nothing wrong with having a bit of fun in the process, and the Fliz contraption you see above seems to fit the bill. In one way it’s like a bicycle, only there’s no pedals and no saddle, only a harness and a large u-shape frame from which you suspend. You propel yourself forward by running, and then tuck your feet in for a few seconds, giving the rider a sort of floating, flying sensation. In that sense the Fliz is also like a skateboard. But there is a handlebar and brakes, so at least flying down a hill headfirst doesn’t have to result in immediate death.

It looks like fun, and we want one! But we don’t think there’s any way to buy it. There’s only a prototype, and it’s apparently been submitted as an entry in the James Dyson Award competition. Maybe if it wins and there’s enough interest, it could turn into a real product. In the meantime, you can hit the jump for a couple more pictures and a video of it in action.

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Brammo Empulse Electric Bike Has Actual Clutch And Gear Transmission

By David Ponce

The thing about most electric vehicles is that there’s no real need for the traditional gears, or even a clutch for that matter. While some say this can be more efficient, it also produces a driving feel that’s completely alien and upsetting to purists. The Brammo Empulse electric bike tries to alleviate some of that pain by introducing the

“Integrated Electric Transmission (IET™) – IET™ is a mechatronic propulsion unit that emulates the feeling and performance of a traditional internal combustion engine, with a specially developed electric motor, clutch and gear shift, that enables the 2012 Empulse to accelerate hard from the line up to a high top speed, something that is just not possible to achieve with a single ratio electric motorcycle.

The bike is also the first to feature water cooling and its battery will be fully charged in 8 hours. With a full charge you should get a 121 mile city range, 56 mile highway and a combined 77 miles. There’s a 100mph top speed and two driving modes: Normal (limited acceleration and top speed) for added range and Sport for the reverse combination. Assuming 13 cents /kWh for electricity, it’s going to cost you roughly $4 for 400 miles of range and at current gas prices, that works out to 336mpg. Unless we screwed up our calculations somewhere.

In any case, expect to pay $16,995 for the Empulse and $18,995 for the Empulse R, which features carbon fiber accents and fully adjustable front and rear suspension. The company is accepting pre-orders now.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ GearPatrol ]

Boxx Electric Bike Looks Like A Suitcase, Seems Really Useful

By David Ponce

Try for a second to get past its strange appearance; this is an actual working electric bicycle with decent specs. On a standard configuration you will get 40 miles per charge. An upgrade doubles that. And the standard configuration charges the battery back up in 4 hours, the upgrade cuts that down to 1. The 1 meter sq. (36 inches sq.) device weighs 120 lbs and can carry a rider tipping the scales from 90-300 lbs. It goes up to 28mph to 35mph, a speed which is electronically limited depending on regional moped laws. The all aluminum construction features a glove box, a cargo bay, an all LED dot lighting system with hazzards. And the list goes on. This thing is pimped out.

And it’s expensive. At $4,000 to start, this isn’t an impulse buy, but damn if you won’t be the coolest kid on the block riding around on this thing. And it does appear like it will be available this year.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Technabob ]

Behold The Poor Man’s Segway

By David Ponce

I still remember when the Segway hadn’t launched and the Internet was abuzz with rumors of project Ginger. That was 11 years ago… Then we saw the self-balancing personal scooter’s pricetag and our faces fell; it could have been the future of personal transportation, but it was a future no one could afford. And to this day, it’s still too expensive, so one might turn to something like the above Personal Rover. It’s not self-balancing. It’s not filled with wondrous technology. It’s not even really pretty. Heck, it’s pretty darn ugly to be honest. But it is only $1,000. For what’s still a good chunk of change, you’ll get four wheels, two ski poles and an 800W motor that can propel you up to 15mph for around 12 miles. Charging then would take 4 to 8 hours.

And for the first 50 customers, there’s a $200 off deal which appears not to have been reached yet. It’s shipping now.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmodo ]

T20 Bamboo Electric Scooter

T20 Bamboo Electric Scooter (Images courtesy designboom & Antoine Fritsch)
By Andrew Liszewski

And here you thought scooters were only for little tykes, or hipsters who don’t realize how ridiculous they look! French designer Antoine Fritsch has managed to create a scooter that not only looks socially acceptable for riders of all ages, but also one that serves as a viable alternative to a car. That’s because the T20 manages to stash an electric motor and battery inside the frame where the rider stands.

For ease of use acceleration is handled the same way you propel a manual scooter, by kicking off with your feet. At which point the electric propulsion system takes over, providing a respectable top speed of about 22mph, with a range of about 25 miles. The frame is made from bamboo, making it lightweight and of course stylish. And I’m a big fan of the cork covered pseudo-seat that lets the rider lean back in lieu of sitting. Sadly you’re looking at a concept prototype here, since their website doesn’t seem to mention any plans of putting it into production. Not even in France. Le sigh…

[ T20 Bamboo Electric Scooter ] VIA [ designboom ]

Bergmönch Backpack Scooter Makes Descents More Entertaining, Ascents More Gruelling

Bergmönch Backpack Scooter (Images courtesy Koga B.V.)
By Andrew Liszewski

When it comes to climbing mountains, contrary to popular belief, getting back down after you’ve reached the summit can actually be more difficult than the ascent. Every step on the way down has to brake and support the entire weight of your body, which eventually takes a toll on the joints in your legs. And that’s where the inspiration for the Bergmönch (which is German for ‘Mountain Monk’) came from. It’s designed to be a collapsible scooter & backpack-in-one that can be carried hands-free up a mountain during your ascent, and ridden back down during your descent.

Now I’m going to assume this isn’t going to work on all mountains – particularly ones where climbing gear is required. But I think it’s a pretty awesome idea for hikers. Not only are you inspired to keep trekking towards the summit where you’ll enjoy an incredible view and a sense of accomplishment. But getting back down is like an exciting thrill ride! Albeit one where the price of admission is $2,150 and a few hours of hard work before you can climb aboard.

[ Bergmönch Backpack Scooter ] VIA [ Gear Patrol ]

Groovy! – LEGO Getting In On The Volkswagen Camper Van Appreciation Too

LEGO Volkswagen T1 Camper Van (Image courtesy Captain Eugene)
By Andrew Liszewski

As far as I know it’s not an official anniversary or anything. But recently there’s been a rash of retro Volkswagen Camper Van products. A few months ago you might remember this groovy VW Camper Van tent we brought you. And now it’s apparently LEGO’s turn. In the latest edition of their Collector Guide, Flickr user ‘Captain Eugene’ spotted and scanned this upcoming VW T1 Camper Van set, #10220 for those who keep track. Pricing and availability are currently unknown, and hopefully there’ll be some better, less halftoney pics of it popping up in the near future.

[ Flickr – Captain Eugene – LEGO Volkswagen T1 Camper Van ] VIA [ Hidden Garments ]

Sofa Bike Makes Eco-Friendly Commuting Alternatives More Enticing

Sofa Bike (Images courtesy Jacek Holubowicz)
By Andrew Liszewski

I know I’ve seen bicycle/sofa mashups online before, but Jacek Holubowicz’s Sofa Bike has a level of polish and finish that makes it look like you could walk into a Schwinn dealer and take one home. But you can’t. The bike is a one-off, built by hand, to explore the idea of enjoying a bike date with a special someone. Two sets of pedals connect to two separate 8-gear hubs allowing each person to carry their own weight, and hydraulic braking and steering are handled by a single crank located on the left arm of the sofa. It’s even got a folding roof that easily pops-up thanks to a set of assistive gas springs, and its own sound system powered by a rechargeable battery. Best of all? The video I’ve included below makes driving it around look like a heck of a lot of fun.

[ designboom – Sofa Bike ]

Hoverbike Won’t Quite Fulfil Your Return Of The Jedi Fantasies

Hoverbike (Images courtesy Chris Malloy)
By Andrew Liszewski

The term ‘hoverbike’ makes me think of the exciting Speederbike chase through the forests of Endor in Return Of The Jedi. Sadly, that’s not quite the experience that Australian Chris Malloy’s Hoverbike offers. But it’s also only the first generation of the technology, so the potential is still there. Instead of hovering effortlessly off the ground using some manner of vague sounding science-fiction technology, Chris’ Hoverbike uses a set of front and back ducted propellers powered by a 1,170 cubic centimeter 4-stroke engine. Not only can it reach speeds of up to ~173 mph (150 knots) but also altitudes of up to 10,000 feet.

In theory that is, since the Hoverbike still only exists as a prototype that hasn’t undergone flight testing yet. But that’s because Chris needs to make sure it’s safe to fly. The frame is made from kevlar reinforced carbon fiber with a light foam core, so it seems as strong as current materials allow it to be. While the propeller blades are made of Tasmanian Oak with the leading edges covered in carbon fiber. And since there’s two of them spinning in opposite directions, there’s no need for a tail rotor to cancel out the rotational forces. It’s controlled not unlike a motorcycle, with a set of handlebars used for controlling direction, lift and speed, and its standard 30L fuel tank provides a flight range of ~92 miles at a speed of 80 knots.

Chris hopes to see the Hoverbike go into limited production in a year’s time, with a price tag of around $40,000 that should come down as production ramps up each year. And since it’s classified as an ultralite, it will be available to people without the need for a pilot’s license, increasing the market for interested buyers/thrillseekers.

[ Hoverbike ] VIA [ Gizmag ]