biXe Gear lets you cycle forward by pedaling backwards
What's wrong with this picture? Well, the cyclist is actually moving ahead by pedaling in reverse
Although cycling is a great form of exercise, it does involve simply doing one thing over and over – rotating the legs forward. Bicycles like the Varibike have attempted to turn it into more of an overall workout, by getting the rider’s arms in on the action. biXe Italia, however, is taking another approach. Its namesake device reportedly allows riders to work different muscle groups, by pedaling forwards or backwards in order to move the bike forward.
In development since 2000, the biXe Gear takes the place of the usual bottom bracket and spider (the bit that the chainrings are bolted onto). An adapter sleeve ensures a good fit inside of the bottom bracket shell of an existing bike.
Within the biXe is a gear system that turns any pedaling movement – in either direction – into forward movement of the spider. This means that conventional derailleurs can still be used, as the drivetrain is still ultimately turning in the usual direction.
There are currently three versions of biXe Gear available. The add-on device comes in road and mountain bike models, both of which weigh in at 952 grams (33.6 oz). Another model is being aimed more at bicycle manufacturers, to build into their bikes right from the start. It features a mechanical handlebar-mounted control, that lets riders turn off the biXe’s backward-pedaling feature when desired.
According to the company, sports medicine expert Dr. Giovanni Boni conducted tests using the biXe Gear, and concluded that it does indeed allow users to work a wider variety of muscles. By allowing riders to switch between pedaling directions, it also supposedly reduces wear on joints such as knees and ankles.
The road version of the device is priced at €360 (US$474), while the mountain bike model goes for €375 ($494). They can be seen in use in the Italian-language video below.
Source: biXe Italia via Bicitech
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
Not a bad idea.
why are some people obsessed with taking one of the most efficient machines ever created and turning it into a farce, design something worthwhile and leave the pushbike alone.
Using this bike might come as a shock to users of traditional 'Dutch' style bikes with a rear coaster brake when they try to backpedal to stop...
Seriously though, can't those muscles not normally used much in traditional cycling be deployed by 'pulling up' on the pedals (obviously using toestraps, or preferably, a shoe/pedal mounting)? Or by varying the riding position, such as standing on the pedals to ride?
Ramondo Spinetti mounted a determined effort to promote this decades ago. I'll try it if backwards running ever catches on, and I want to exercise muscles I don't normally need.
I'm not a physician, but I'd sure like to see the data about how this device works to reduce any wear on various joints. How many actual joints were compared vis a vis, traditional pedaling only and reverse pedaling or a mix of the two?
To get more power on my bike, I contract the hamstrings on my opposite leg and pull the crank around with it as I push down with the other. Sometimes I even just use the pull up motion to give the quads a bit of a rest.
Probably the still most over looked thing that one can do to lessen fatigue on the leg muscles and get more speed, is to have the distance between the seat top and the pedal be 10% longer than the length of the inseam. This allows full extension of the leg, and the majority of one's leg power is generated in about the last 15% of its extension. To prove this out, go to a gym and do leg presses while sitting close to the push bar and far away from it. That is why a short body can lift 650 pounds of weight easily, while a tall bloke like me might be maxed out at 400 pounds if the seat can't be moved back far enough. My bike may look a bit odd with its high seat post to accommodate my long legs, but I can ride more miles that way.
I can see some advantage to this but Does it like the two speed hand winches used on sail boats have different gear ratios for the different directions?
This is not new and it is still an exceptionally bad idea. Exercising different muscles still does not move you down the road for any less energy and there can not possibly be any credible difference in joint wear & tear.
The damage to my knees makes going down stairs forward particularly painful, but the difference in motion of going down stairs backward hardly hurts at all.
I think it's a good idea. The next time you're walking up a long, steep road and your legs get tired, try turning around and walking up backwards. You'll find a whole new set of unused muscles are ready to take up the load.
And contrary to what some others are saying above, I think it's probably better for you to exercise all of your leg muscles than just half of them.
Why are some people obsessed with taking every idea presented on this website, whether new or evolutionary, and sh!tting on them summarily?
C. Walker Walker
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