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The Bicymple is the bicycle simplified, literally

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October 5, 2012

The Bicymple resembles a unicycle with a front wheel and handlebars attached for stability

The Bicymple resembles a unicycle with a front wheel and handlebars attached for stability

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We recently featured the Fliz bike concept, which saw riders hanging from the frame of the bike and scooting along, rather than sitting astride the bike and pedaling as they do with conventional bicycles. This was an attempt to evolve the basic bike format, and the designers of Fliz aren't alone in their efforts. The Bicymple is, as its name suggests, an attempt to present the bicycle, simplified. And it's an ambition that, on first glance, looks to have been fulfilled.

Bicycle design is fairly static at the moment, and has been for some time. There are, and always will be, innovations in terms of the technologies and materials used, but the basic layout of a tubular frame sitting in between two wheels, with a chain connecting the back wheel to cranks, is the accepted standard. The reason being because it works, offering ergonomic comfort and a geared system of motion. However, just because something ain't broke doesn't mean designers can't experiment with new forms for the humble bicycle.

The Bicymple is different from standard bikes in one very obvious way: the pedals are located on the back wheel, offering direct drive rather than achieving motion by way of a chain and gears. In this way, the Bicymple resembles a unicycle, but with the addition of a front wheel, a frame, and handlebars.

The Bicymple is compact and easy to maintain

The Bicymple is compact and easy to maintain

Every aspect of the Bicymple follows the minimalist edict. The CroMo steel frame is just two bars running above and between the two wheels, with the forks sitting diagonally so there is just a small gap between the 29-inch front and rear wheels.

This innovative urban vehicle is the brainchild of Josh Bechtel of Scalyfish Designs, based in Washington, USA. The concept began with the question, "Is it possible to evolve from the established bicycle design while adhering to the basic principles of simplicity, functionality, style, and excitement?"

It could be argued that this is actually an example of devolving the design, and the functionality of a single-speed bike only goes so far. But the Bicymple is certainly both stylish and exciting. The latter achieved by offering a rear-steering option that offers the possibility of "crab-riding" (as demonstrated in the video embedded below) and a higher maneuverability than is possible with run-of-the-mill bicycles.

The Bicymple offers a rear-steering option which makes 'crab-riding' a possibility

The Bicymple offers a rear-steering option which makes "crab-riding" a possibility

The Bicymple manages to be lightweight and sturdy, and, perhaps most importantly, fun. It should also be very easy to maintain thanks to the lack of Dérailleur gears. Unfortunately the Bicymple is just a concept at the time of writing, but thanks to considerable interest already having been shown, Scalyfish is "currently exploring options for larger scale production and distribution."

If the price is kept low enough for this to be affordable as a fun alternative rather than as a primary mode of transport then the Bicymple could be an exciting prospect.

Source: Bicymple via NOTCOT

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix.   All articles by Dave Parrack
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31 Comments

Just what the world needs; a unicycle with a training wheel. Not! Direct drive was found to be impractical long, long ago.

DixonAgee
5th October, 2012 @ 09:50 pm PDT

But what about going up hill ... wouldn't that be a bigger strain on the knees?

Lawrence Smallman
5th October, 2012 @ 09:53 pm PDT

My first thought was Wow! a two wheeled unicycle (and the sort of thing that's actually quite easy to build if you have a workshop) for the likes of us that can't ride a one wheeled one, but watching more of the video makes me realise it's far from it - it's rather cool. The freewheel/hub rather neat.

Second thought was: how much flex is in that frame/fork setup and could the wheels touch if hitting a kerb/rock/pothole?

A freewheel-less version might find favour with the fixie fraternity.

TheSplund
6th October, 2012 @ 02:13 am PDT

Front axle is in line with the fork, meaning virtually no stability (although granted, most mountain bikes and racing bikes don't have great stability either, but still better than this), and since the pedals are behind the seat, your full weight is carried by your testicles/prostate.

Thanks, but I'll pass.

Frank van Schie
6th October, 2012 @ 06:03 am PDT

Ow! I ride a recumbent. Putting the pedals even further back than on a regular DF bike will just make your 'bottom end' even more uncomfortable, as well as your hands, wrists, neck, shoulders, etc., etc. Enjoy! (she said sarcastically)

Cora Muis
6th October, 2012 @ 09:22 am PDT

I like the concept but I am not sure what rear wheel steering adds to the design. It seems like it is more of an artifact of the parts used to build it (ie, 2 front forks with the rear handlebars replaced with a seat post).

A fixed rear wheel seems like it would be more stable.

Diachi
6th October, 2012 @ 11:30 am PDT

This is truly the bike of the future: it could make a whole episode of "Ow My Balls!" all on its own on The Violence Channel in 2505.

Joe Acerbic
6th October, 2012 @ 12:30 pm PDT

...what about internal gearing for the rear hub? You should have simple, elegant...and still practical machine. Is there anything - a law of physics - that would forbid that? If not...why not??

nehopsa
6th October, 2012 @ 02:36 pm PDT

So it's an Inner City Bike with a rear fork

http://www.innercitybikes.com/bikes/

Steve Dahlheimer
6th October, 2012 @ 06:37 pm PDT

This is a step backwards in bicycle development and just as simple and wrong as it's 19th century predecessor the "bone shaker". its a bit more able to avoid forward 'endos' but will slide out forward with enough pedal pressure. The short wheelbase handling is probably atrocious. While 'fixies' are all the rage today this design is just bad, and slow. A circus bike at best.

Paul Gracey
7th October, 2012 @ 11:14 am PDT

Some people just have too much time on their hands, if someone seriously thinks this has anything more going for it other than a design experiment then common sense has been completely lost to humanity.

flibb
7th October, 2012 @ 09:52 pm PDT

There's not much new under the sun in the world of cycling but this is - if nothing else - an interesting new combination of parts. The inbred love child of Swing-bike and unicycle, and an evolutionary dead end. The world does not need a better swing bike.

Mick Allan
8th October, 2012 @ 02:04 am PDT

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

-- Albert Einstein

duh3000
8th October, 2012 @ 02:29 am PDT

Yes, the vid is made only on perfectly level surfaces. I remember riding one-speed bikes up hills. Not fun.

Brian Hall
8th October, 2012 @ 06:40 am PDT

If you swap the handlebars and the seat, it would probably be much more comfortable to ride pedaling the front wheels. Sort of like a big kid's tricycle. What do you think Frank, a little easier on your private parts?

Dave Ede
8th October, 2012 @ 08:57 am PDT

i guess it is an advance on the "fliz bike"... but who ever asked for that either?

http://www.gizmag.com/fliz-bike-walking-cycling/23882/

fliz is

bigger

heavier

slower

more clumsy

more uncomfortable

and undoubtedly 5x as expensive

they are probably both just 'concepts' by 'designers' who usually 'design' toothpaste tubes and watches nobody can read

wle

wle
8th October, 2012 @ 09:22 am PDT

i;d buy one if it cost under $20

that is about how useful it would be

5 mph top speed - you could outrun a kid tricycle maybe

genital-crushing seat/pedals

novelty/useless rear-steering

''higher maneuverability" - does anyone NEED that?

wle

wle
8th October, 2012 @ 09:23 am PDT

I suppose the next big advance will be to make that rear wheel huge to increase the distance travelled per pedal revolution, swap front and rear wheels for comfort, switch to front wheel drive, switch to a tiny rear wheel to keep the wheelbase compact and improve handling, and go with a single tube frame. So advanced that time loops back on itself to the 18th century.

solutions4circuits
8th October, 2012 @ 11:15 am PDT

There was a bicycle almost exactly like this in the 1980's. It wasn't the Swing Bike. Both wheels were the same size, rear was direct drive and IIRC the rear head tube was vertical, could be the front one was too. I don't remember if the seat pivoted with the rear wheel.

So this Bicymple is nothing new at all.

Gregg Eshelman
8th October, 2012 @ 01:59 pm PDT

C'mon! New design? I have one of these already. I got it back in the 80's. It was called a Super Trick Cycle. Other than the handlebars and tighter frame with more angled forks this is the same thing. To say it is a new concept and that Josh just came up with it is just plain wrong. Do a Google search for "stc super trick cycle" in images to see the original.

mph
8th October, 2012 @ 02:05 pm PDT

Everybody is missing the point. This is a fun bike. You ride it at special events - like Critical Mass through the streets of JoBurg and Hillbrow at night where many bikes are brightly lit with LED and people just have a fun time.

Franc
8th October, 2012 @ 02:15 pm PDT

solutions4circuits - HA HA!

after that they can design the pedals out as well as the steering

make the whole thing out of SSM Single Sustainable Material - wood

draisine.2013

it rhymes

wle

wle
8th October, 2012 @ 02:18 pm PDT

If anyone has taken high-school physics, they'd know right away that this wouldn't work. Your legs would be super strained after a couple minutes of riding because you'd have to exert so much torque to turn the rear wheels - as the pedals are anchored directly to the rear wheel hub.

Sambath Pech
8th October, 2012 @ 08:46 pm PDT

Add a variable speed gearbox to the drive wheel and I would buy many.

May be a bit expensive but much better than the old style variable speed system and probably easier to maintain. Still would be a fun bike and also be utilitarian.

db1
9th October, 2012 @ 03:17 am PDT

Looks to me like this is just a fixed gear bike with the chain removed and the pedals on the back wheel, this niche has its proponents for fitness , but as a practical matter, a step back towards walking

Jerry Kroeger
9th October, 2012 @ 10:05 am PDT

Men have you had enough children? Have we got a bike for you.

Pikeman
9th October, 2012 @ 02:54 pm PDT

@mph Yup, that's the bike I was thinking of!

The Bicymple is nothing but the STC with an angled rear head tube. The STC has the same double parallel frame tube.

Innovation FAIL.

Gregg Eshelman
9th October, 2012 @ 11:03 pm PDT

I get the distinct feeling this design isn't all that popular...

Alexander Lowe
10th October, 2012 @ 03:49 am PDT

It is good to see people inventing new ideas and revisiting old ones despite the mockers and hecklers.

This bike could be used like kids runnerbike, better balance on slow speeds and perhaps on uphills you could put your feet on the ground and be faster than pedallers?

The diamond frame bike may suit most of the people but one size does not fit all.

I have invented a 3 wheel kick scooter which is more practical than two wheeled kid scooter. it is a new idea but I am not going to patent it as I do not have the financial resources to market it.

Instead I am going to make it open source and in due course you should see it in Gizmag.

Here is a description: http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Skate_20Trike#1058979600

Kääriäinen Heikki Haykey
11th October, 2012 @ 02:22 pm PDT

"simplified" as in removing mechanical advantage and adding the complexity of another point of rotation? Solving a problem that doesn't exist.

Vince Brown
29th December, 2012 @ 05:20 pm PST

Pedal Power

Replace the conventional rotary motion of the bicycle pedals with the up and down pressing of the ratchet operated pedals in conjunction with the see-saw mechanism at a (an energy efficient) small angle around horizontal plane. This way the rider can use the body weight along with the muscles and thus the man’s simple walking efforts are used to propel the bicycle most efficiently.

With regards

Ram Bang, .

Ramratan Bang
21st February, 2014 @ 02:20 am PST
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