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Tag Archives: Transportation

EDWARD – Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping

EDWARD - Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping (Images courtesy The University of Adelaide)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you’ve been on the hunt for an eco-friendly way to commute to work that includes all the thrills of riding a roller coaster, a team of mechanical engineering students from the University of Adelaide has got just the thing. EDWARD, or the ‘Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping’ is the same idea as a monowheel, where the rider sits inside the wheel. But there’s two wheels instead of one so you don’t have to balance yourself. Hence the ‘di’ instead of ‘mono’. Do you follow?

Like most vehicles that are driven this way, EDWARD is susceptible to the gerbiling effect where the rider tends to rock back and forth during hard braking or fast acceleration. But the team has worked hard to minimize that with built-in dynamic lateral stability and slosh control, which can be switched on or off as needed. Those systems even allow the driver to control EDWARD while rotated upside down, though that seems more like a way to show how far the technology they’ve developed can be pushed, rather than a practical feature.

[ The University of Adelaide – EDWARD ] VIA [ Inhabitat ]

Three-Wheeled EX Trike Powered By A Couple Of Electric Drills Accelerates Up To 18+MPH

EX Trike (Images courtesy Nils Ferber)
By Andrew Liszewski

The EX trike, designed and built by Nils Ferber, Sebastian Auray, Ruben Faber and Ludolf von Oldershausen, reminds me of the StreetFlyer we brought you about a month ago. Except for the fact that piloting the EX doesn’t make you look like a complete idiot. (Though there are still some compromises to your image.) With a frame inspired by a bare skeleton complete with visible organs, the EX’s drive components are mostly constructed from modified bike parts, while the frame and unique spine-shaped joint used for steering were custom-milled on a CNC machine.

Piloting the EX doesn’t look terribly comfortable I’m afraid to say, particularly since steering is done via the back wheel requiring you to twist your body in the direction you want to go. But the use of electric drills for the motors means it’s easy to carry back-up batteries on your person should you need to swap them in mid-trip, because I’m assuming this thing doesn’t have an impressive range when driven at its 30km/h or ~18mph top speed.

[ The EX ] VIA [ EcoFriend ]


StreetFlyer (Images courtesy Carsten Mehring)
By Andrew Liszewski

Unless you’re afraid of heights, I’m pretty sure that everyone has dreamed of being able to fly at some point in their lives. But I mean more like soaring above the clouds like an airplane, not skimming a couple of feet above an asphalt road like you do in this StreetFlyer contraption.

Created by Dr. Carsten Mehring, the StreetFlyer lets a harnessed rider transition between walking along with the ‘bike’ and a prone, lying-on-your-stomach position where you pedal the single rear wheel with your feet and steer the front pair with your arms. I doubt it provides the same flying thrill as say hang gliding or skydiving, but the worst case scenario here is a little road rash, which is a bit less daunting. Well that and peculiar looks from everyone you pass, honks from cars since it appears to take up a lot more room than a traditional bike and random taunts and mockery from people like me. At the moment the StreetFlyer only exists as prototypes, but apparently a more marketable and ‘practical’ version is being designed that you could end up seeing on the streets some day.

[ StreetFlyer ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

Batribike Micro Compact Folding Electric Bike

Batribike Micro Compact Folding Electric Bike (Images courtesy Batribike)
By Andrew Liszewski

Listen YikeBike, it’s not that we don’t want to like you. You’ve clearly got a stylish design and are definitely a fresh take on urban commuting. It’s just that… well… we think riding with our hands behind our backs just looks stupid. Maybe we’re just not being open to new things, we can admit that, but given the choice we’d much prefer to tool around our urban hoods on this slightly more conservative looking Batribike Micro.

Like the YikeBike it features a 14.4V lithium battery which powers a 120 watt high-torque electric motor, propelling a rider up to 12mph. But when the battery dies you can still use it as a regular old manually powered bicycle. In ‘pedal assist’ mode it has a range of 12-15 miles, though the website lists the ‘motor only’ range as being ‘Not Tested’ which quite frankly is a little suspicious. I mean that’s the one fact potential buyers are going to care about right? The Batribike Micro weighs in at just 21lbs and collapses down into an included bag making it easy to toss in the trunk of your car or single-prop plane, and will set you back ~$970. (£599)

[ Batribike Micro ] VIA [ Born Rich ]

StringBike With StringDrive (Hint: It Uses Something Other Than A Chain)

StringBike With StringDrive (Images courtesy StringDrive)
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.

[ StringBike With StringDrive ] VIA [ Doobybrain ]

YikeBike Now Available For Sale

YikeBike (Image courtesy YikeBike Limited via Wired Gadget Lab)
By Andrew Liszewski

The YikeBike caught our attention last year as another electric commuter alternative to a car, like the Segway. But unlike the Segway, which was banned left and right when it became available, you probably won’t have any trouble riding the YikeBike around city streets since it mostly looks like you’re just riding a bicycle. Made of carbon-fiber the YB is capable of going up to 6.2 miles on a single charge, and tops out around 14mph. Not exactly Chevy Volt ranges or speeds, but it should suffice if you live and work in an urban area. And since it folds down, you’ll never have to worry about finding parking.

And while it might provide a bit of sticker shock if you’re trying to decide between the YikeBike and a regular bicycle, last year the company was estimating a price tag of ~$5,500, where as you can officially buy one now in the U.S. for ‘just’ $3,595. I don’t know if it’s a case of them grossly overestimating the cost to make it seem slightly more affordable when it actually went on sale, but it’s a nice change when something so unique ends up costing less than expected. (COUGH! OLPC COUGH!)

[ YikeBike ] VIA [ Wired Gadget Lab ]

$55k Gets You A Real-Life Tron Lightcycle, Minus The Trail Of Light That Kills Other Riders

Real-life Tron Lightcycle (Image courtesy Parker Brothers Custom Choppers)
By Andrew Liszewski

What impresses me most about this real-life Tron lightcycle is that the bike shop who created it, Parker Brothers Custom Choppers, only had access to reference photos of the bike taken from the internet. No official plans, or 3D models from the film’s post-production shops. And given they had to cram a Suzuki TLR1000 V-twin engine, brakes and other functional bits in there required to make them street legal, I’d say the bikes turned out pretty impressive. Even if they don’t exactly turn on a dime, as you’ll see in this video of some of the test drives. (3 if anyone out there is taking my Christmas wish list seriously.)

The shop actually built 10 of these replicas, and is selling them for $55,000 a pop. It makes a much better piece of movie memorabilia than a plastic collapsing lightsaber if you ask me, but if you want one you better act fast since apparently there are only 4 left.

[ Wired Autopia – Get Your Very Own Street-Legal Tron Light Cycle ] VIA [ Jalopnik ]

Camioncyclette Is Like The Pickup Truck Of Bicycles

Camioncyclette (Image courtesy Christophe Machet)
By Andrew Liszewski

You know how the big downside to owning a pickup truck is that your friends are always asking you to help them move? Well I suspect the same thing would happen if you also rode this Camioncyclette, designed by Christophe Machet. It features ample sized storage compartments in the front and back of the bike, and the ride-able prototype can apparently support somewhere in the neighborhood of 330lbs, meaning you can carry people too if they’re willing to contort themselves into a wire cage.

[ Camioncyclette ] VIA [ I New Idea Homepage ]

Ridiculously Awesome Real-Life Pixelated Excitebike

Real-Life Excitebike (Images courtesy Justin Harder)
By Andrew Liszewski

We’re just going to file this ridiculously amazing real-life version of one of the motorcycles from Excitebike under ‘why ask wky?’ Given the photographs of the bike all appear on the Flickr account of Justin Harder I’m going to assume that’s where credit is due, and based on this ‘making of’ gallery it appears the bike is actually made from MDF mounted over a metal frame instead of just pixels. Of course copious amounts of bonus points are awarded for the creation of a wearable pixelated helmet, safety pads and even a trophy. That’s well above and beyond the call of duty right there.

[ Flickr – Justin Harder – Excitebike ] VIA [ Vision02 ]