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Bicymple looks set to hit the road via crowdfunding route

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December 26, 2012

The bicymple looks to redesign the modern bicycle

The bicymple looks to redesign the modern bicycle

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Back in October, we first got a glimpse of a minimalist bicycle called the bicymple that looked to simplify the design of a product that was first brought to market in the late 1800's. To get his creation on the road, Josh Bechtel, has gone the crowdfunding route, and the project is already well on the way to meeting its funding goal after just a few days.

In case you missed the initial reveal of the bicymple, it is, as the name implies, the traditional bicycle, simplified. Gone are the chains and gears of modern bicycles. Instead, the pedals are mounted to the back wheel, which changes some of the core functionality of the bicycle. Bechtel is quick to admit that "if you can only own one bike and it has to be fast, then the bicymple isn't for you."

The initial reveal of the bicymple was met with its share of criticism. Commenters were quick to point out that it seemed like it would feel like riding a unicycle with a front wheel attached. Josh Bechtel defends that his product feels more akin to a bicycle than a unicycle, but it certainly does not have a problem with popping the occasional wheelie for good measure.

Riding the bicymple will feel much different than a traditional bike

The lack of a chain also allows gives the bicymple "crab-riding" capabilities. With the pull of a lever, the rear wheel can turn in addition to the front. Is this the most practical way to ride a bike? Not even close; but it sure does look like a lot of fun as can be seen in the video below.

The creators have also revealed something new with the Kickstarter campaign; the bike will have an optional model that actually has multiple gears. This model comes equipped with two internally geared speeds, and lacks the freewheeling option of the traditional model. If you are looking to use this product as a more practical means of transportation, this model might be better for you, but it still does not offer the same level of practicality as a traditional bike.

The rear wheel can be used for steering the bicymple

The bicymple is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. The goal is surprisingly low at only US$20,000 and is already approaching 75 percent of its funding goal after only a few days. If you want to actually snag yourself one of these interesting bikes, you will need to pay a minimum of $800 for the base model. From there, the price goes up to $1,100 for the freewheel model and then jumps to $2,700 for the model that actually features two speeds. The estimated delivery date on the Kickstarter page is December 2013, but the creators estimate that the bikes will be shipped well before that.

The Kickstarter video pitch can be viewed below.

Source: Bicymple via Kickstarter

About the Author
Dave LeClair Dave is an avid follower of all things mobile, gaming, and any kind of new technology he can get his hands on. Ever since he first played an NES as a child, he's been an absolute tech and gaming junkie.   All articles by Dave LeClair
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17 Comments

People are actually putting up money for such a badly designed bike. I wish this surprised me.

Slowburn
27th December, 2012 @ 12:01 am PST

So many problems in such a compact package. Not likely to move fast with only a 26 gear-inch ratio. Good for hill-climbing, but no faster than about 6 mph on the flats. Missing the thickly padded seats of unicycles, so you're likely to be standing up most of the time, lest you risk impotence as some urologists have warned. Somebody commented in the earlier article that this is for novelty events, but the video seems to claim it works on trails, which I doubt. Having the pedals so far back is woefully inefficient. So about 15 unicyclists looking for something different have bought into this on Kickstarter. Good luck to them. Most of the units will be collecting cobwebs inside basements and garages within months.

Gadgeteer
27th December, 2012 @ 12:07 am PST

It looks silly and then you see it in action and the maneuverability of the thing is amazing.

These could prove popular with anyone who likes doing tricks with their bikes, perhaps even with fixie cyclists who dig the ability to weave in and out of crowded streets.

Graham Ferguson
27th December, 2012 @ 01:32 am PST

An ingenious design, of course, unbeatable manoeuvrability. But my concern, as a long distance cyclist, is how will you feel your knees after cycling a long time on that machine. The position of the legs, with the pedal axle after the seat, isn't probably the most anatomically efficient. Have any biomechanical study been conducted?

Big Mig
27th December, 2012 @ 01:49 am PST

Josh, try to redirect the peaks of human power to the front wheel, electrically maybe.

Miro
27th December, 2012 @ 04:38 am PST

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_bicycle

The design seems like it was inspired by the first bicycles. It is very simple; therefore, making it easier to repair and/or maintain.

BigWarpGuy
27th December, 2012 @ 07:07 am PST

Slow burn, I think you're being unnecessarily cynical. This is in my opinion a very clever design. I think it could be fitted with, say, a five-speed hub gear. Also, it shouldn't cost quite so much money, because for a start it's got very little frame, no drive chain or derailleur setup; also, no lights (these would be retrofitted, I guess).

When I first saw it, it did look to me like a unicycle with a front wheel.Perhaps you could actually do away with the connecting framework! Anyway, good luck with this one.

windykites1
27th December, 2012 @ 08:19 am PST

it;s just a BSO

bike shaped object

expensive toy

i'd buy one, for $50

wle
27th December, 2012 @ 09:44 am PST

Gee it got 26 thumbs down out of 29 comments in the first Gizmag article so it really deserved another? Here's the original design on youtube.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO8sNY-2yGo

The Hoff
27th December, 2012 @ 10:06 pm PST

They've copied the Super Trick Cycle. Changed the handlebars and increased the head and tail(?) tube angles, but otherwise the same thing, right down to the two parallel frame tubes.

If the USPTO awarded any patents on the Bicymple, they shouldn't have, unless the Super Trick Cycle was never patented.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO8sNY-2yGo

Gregg Eshelman
27th December, 2012 @ 10:33 pm PST

BigWarpGuy,

The old designs were abandoned for good reasons. Highwheelers existed because you needed a big wheel to get any kind of speed at a decent pedaling cadence (and smooth ride on the unpaved roads back then, but that's a different story). Later, gears and chain took care of stepping up the speed. You will not do more than about 6-7 mph on this toy with its 26-inch wheels. And the old designs had the pedals in the front. With your feet so far back on this thing, you'll always feel like you're about to fall off the front of the saddle.

This is barely simpler than the single-speed bikes that a lot of people ride these days. The only difference is it's missing the bottom bracket, crank, chain and cog, and those parts add so much practicality, easily outweighing any minor disadvantages to having them.

Gadgeteer
28th December, 2012 @ 12:22 am PST

Looks like a great way to really jack yourself upa at higher speeds. All videos of this are at slow speeds, telling. Does it come with emergency room insurance? At their pricing it should. "Fun and silly in a way"???? Only the young can afford to be so silly as to think this is a better cost effective way to break your butt. I can't wait to laugh big time at video's on youtube of mangled faces and limbs. Bring it on, you know their coming.

offthegrid
28th December, 2012 @ 07:06 am PST

Its Seems to be good design but i do want to know how one can park bicymple without stand ?

Arun Balaji
28th December, 2012 @ 08:12 am PST

I love it, I would buy it. I would prefer version with sealed 7 gear setup (Nexus style) in the hub so that once I locked the rear swivel function I could have speed for the ride home from playing around on it at the beach boardwalk, and that gear setup would be easy to add to the design.

The high ratio of critics does not surprise me in the slightest because most folks don't create anything, most folks don't take any risk whatsoever... and they leave nothing new behind when they die. Those few of us who do create our own destiny, build our own companies from the ground up, imagine new items and make them a reality, and get them to market, are accustomed to being told by the crowd that it won't work, it won't sell, it is stupid, etc. I started my own company with one product and now sell over 3300 products worldwide, and if I had listened to the critics my company would never have left my garage where it started. From this experience I know a winner when I see it, and though I agree it is derivative of the Super Trick Cycle and numerous other bike ideas of the past, there is enough new and attractive and FUN in this design that if properly marketed this is an easy success for the designer! I say Bravo!

ZoomZoom
29th December, 2012 @ 07:29 am PST

@ZoomZoom: Thanks--you clearly get it. Very well said. As for the Nexus type hub, given the nature of the coaxial hub design, off the shelf items like those simply won't work. If successful enough, we'll develop our own multi-speed freewheeling coaxial hub. The drawings are done, but as I'm sure you're aware, development costs (production/R&D/QC testing) for such an endeavor can be quite expensive!

Thanks again, and congrats on your successes!

Josh Bechtel
30th December, 2012 @ 08:59 am PST

I cannot argue against bicymple's merits as a novelty, but anyone who's ever ridden farther than to the local coffee shop would know how grossly inefficient and impractical the geometry is for transportation and road safety.

It's funny watching part of the video where the rider was trying to demonstrate the small space maneuverability while wobbling and twitching. Chances are it you can't make those "tight turns" on a normal bike, you won't have the coordination to do it with the butt steering bicymble either.

I did also notice that the video showed neither high speed turns nor emergency stops. I imagine both of those tasks, no-brainers for a normal bicycle, would be quite amusing to watch.

By the way, this looks like a less comfortable swing bike (http://cdn.instructables.com/F6V/GCJV/P2JEP27QV4S/F6VGCJVP2JEP27QV4S.LARGE.jpg) which I've ridden.

Speaking of comfort, everyone who thinks the bicymple is a good idea should go out and coast on a normal bike with your feet on the rear axle for a few miles. Then you can contemplate your future urology bills.

sk8dad
14th January, 2013 @ 01:23 pm PST

gadgeteer,

I ride a 26" uni on mountain trails here in AZ and speeds above 12 miles per hour are a cinch. Trails would in fact be possible with this device, and the extra handle bars would make it quite a bit easier than one-wheeling(which you certainly are not of the mental capacity to do).

i don't understand why you are attempting to compare this to a bicycle. Yes it does have two wheels, so by definition it is a bike, but it is not intended to be ridden like a bike is; so this is in a class of transportation much closer to unicycling based on the manner of steering with the hips instead of just steering with the hands.

As for everyone else who mentioned that this is just a re-make of the swing bike; the swing bike went away more than thirty years ago(you certainly cannot find one to buy now), long before the invention of the inter-hub gear system, the addition of this gear system to the swing bike idea will add a whole new level of speed to a "bike" idea that managed to achieve superior maneuverability over typical bikes and stabilty above that of its one-wheeled cousins.

And moving the cranks and pedals to the front wheel is a horrible idea, this would kill the ability of steering with your hips as your feet wouldn't be capable of turning with your hips as they would need to constantly face forward to reach the front wheel.

It could use a good kris holm unicycle seat and some changes in the angle of riding position, as a seat of that sort is never going to appeal to a unicyclist. However as a concept it is one that i am glad someone is finally inventing(even if it is being invented for the second time).

Keep up the great work bicymple! and forget all the ignorant ones who think this idea sucks.

unicyclist
6th February, 2013 @ 10:25 pm PST
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