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Tag Archives: Transportation

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 ]

Vertrax Treaded Skateboard Concept

Vertrax Treaded Skateboard Concept (Images courtesy Bryson Lovett)
By Andrew Liszewski

Yeah, I know. While we try to avoid concepts here as much as possible, every once in a while I come across a fairly convincing rendered product shot that gives faux credibility to an idea that will probably never come to fruition. Such is the Vertrax treaded skateboard. It looks incredibly cool, I’ll give designer Bryson Lovett credit there, but I see a host of issues that will ensure this probably never replaces the traditional skateboard. From anything and everything getting caught up in the rear-wheel mechanism, to the inability to grind on any surface. It also appeals to reduce cube gleaming by about 35%. According to the ‘specs’ it would be electric powered and whisper quiet though, but since it’s just a concept, the designer can really claim it could do anything.

[ Bryson Lovett - Vertrax Skateboard ] VIA [ The Design Blog ]

Move Over Wireframe Lamborghini, You’ve Just Been Trumped By This Wireframe Motorcycle With Sidecar

Wireframe Chiangjiang 750 Motorcycle (Images courtesy Hell For Leather)
By Andrew Liszewski

And to think, a few months ago I thought this wireframe Lamborghini Koenig Countach was impressive. Well by it’s own right it is, but comparing it to this wireframe Chiangjiang 750 motorcycle, created by artist Shi Jindian, is like comparing computer graphics from the 1980′s to what modern 3D packages are capable of today. It was apparently created in a process where the artist crochets steel wire around an object and then destroys and removes it from the inside, kind of like popping a balloon inside a home-made piñata. Now how he did that with an actual motorcycle is beyond me, but the results are certainly impressive.

[ White Rabbit Gallery - Shi Jindian ] VIA [ Hell For Leather ]

TATO Commuter Bike Includes A Convenient Place To Store Your Briefcase

TATO Commuter Bike (Image courtesy TATO)
By Andrew Liszewski

There’s not nearly enough storage space to make this bike useful for an extended road trip, but commuters who are tired of getting to work with a sweaty back thanks to a backpack, or are simply embarrassed about having a basket on their handlebars, should appreciate its design. Integrated into the frame of the bike is a storage compartment that’s perfectly sized for a briefcase, messenger bag or even a laptop bag since it provides considerable more protection than a pannier hanging off the side. And because the compartment is centered in the middle of the bike it also doesn’t hinder your balance when riding, even when fully loaded. It’s available from TATO directly for just over $1,500. (CHF 1,599)

[ TATO Commuter Bike ] VIA [ Cool Material ]

Chicane Saddle Bike Seat Features Rollers For Easier Turns

Chicane Saddle Bike Seat (Images courtesy Brit Brothers)
By Andrew Liszewski

Now here’s an idea that’s just so crazy it’s actually brilliant! A company called Brit-Brothers have developed a new kind of seat for racing bikes that uses toothed belts and tapered rollers that rotate when the rider is sitting on them, instead of the traditional padded cushion. The design makes it considerably easier for riders to lean back and forth when navigating tight corners and chicanes during a race, but built-in adjustable friction controls ensure the rider doesn’t just easily slip off the bike.

Not only does the seat make for smoother transitions when leaning from side to side, it also makes it considerably easier on the riders since they’re not continuously lifting their bodies off the bike, which means they’re going to tire less quickly during a long race. Now I’m not sure if the new seat design has much application outside racing, but in a competitive field where seconds count, I’m sure there are plenty of professional racing teams who are ready and willing to adopt the new technology if it provides them with a competitive advantage. And while the images above are obviously just concept renders, in May of last year Brit-Brothers was awarded a patent for their Chicane Saddle seat, and are now working to see it go into production.

[ Brit-Brothers - Evolution of the Chicane Saddle ] VIA [ Gizmag & Asphalt and Rubber ]