By Andrew Liszewski
Adding an electric or even gas powered motor to your bicycle can help extend its range and make it a truly viable alternative to a car for commuting. But it's not always an easy, or cheap, conversion. Mechanical Engineering student (and coolest name of the day winner) Maxwell von Stein might have come up with a reasonably simple alternative. His Flywheel Bicycle features a - you guessed it - built-in flywheel that harnesses the bike's energy that's usually lost when braking. When coming to a stop the kinetic energy is instead transferred to the 15 pound flywheel as it spins up. Then, at some point while riding, the energy in the flywheel can be transferred back to the bike's rear wheel giving the rider an extra kick or boost.
Maxwell's goal is to see flywheel technology adopted into cars, but hopefully something will come of his bicycle design as it's a relatively uncomplicated way to add the benefits of regenerative braking to a pedal-powered bike.