Gyrobike gyroscopic training wheels help kids learn to ride
By Alan Brandon
October 3, 2009
The Gyrowheel is a new spin on the old training wheels that help kids learn to ride a bike. Manufactured by Gyrobike, the Gyrowheel replaces the stock bicycle front wheel and features an internal spinning disk that helps stabilize the bike, reducing wobbles and slowing falls. While the Gyrowheel doesn’t eliminate crashes and skinned knees, the company says it does reduce the amount of time needed for a new rider to gain confidence and become proficient.
Gyrobike hopes its Gyrowheel will replace traditional training wheels and other types of stabilizers. Taking the place of the standard front wheel on a child's bicycle, the Gyrowheel has the same size and look of a regular wheel, except that instead of spokes it features a solid housing containing an independently spinning disk powered by a rechargeable battery. The Gyrowheel uses the gyroscopic effect, or “gyroscopic precession”, to stabilize the bike and keep the wheel upright at low speeds.
Gyrobike also says that unlike outrigger-type training wheels, the Gyrowheel doesn’t teach new riders bad habits such as leaning the wrong way in a turn, or tilting to one side in a straight line. As the young rider gains confidence, the speed of the gyroscope can be adjusted to provide less stabilization over time until the student is able to balance on their own.
Gyrobike reports that in the U.S., kid-sized 12-inch (30.5cm) Gyrowheels will be available for purchase in December, and a 16-inch (40.6cm) version will be available in the first half of 2010. Both sizes will be available internationally before the end of 2010. Adult-sized Gyrowheels are in development, but availability has not been announced.