IzzyBike lacks a chain, but has optional 2-wheel-drive
The IzzyBike definitely has a look of its own
Bike chains can be dirty and noisy, so an increasing number of manufacturers are choosing to replace them with belt drives. Polish inventor Marek Jurek, however, has gone a step further with his IzzyBike prototype. Its drivetrain is built right into the front wheel hub, which gives it some claimed advantages over other bikes – besides there being less mess.
First off, the IzzyBike isn't like a child's tricycle, in which the cranks are simply fixed to the wheel.
Riders can stop pedaling and allow it to freewheel, plus the patented system incorporates three gears. According to the IzzyBike website, this setup allows the rider's pedaling power to be more effectively delivered to the wheel than if it first had to be transmitted through a chain or belt.
The lack of a chain also makes it possible to fold the bike in half in less than a second, without any extra hinges needing to be built into the frame. It additionally results in a very short wheelbase (0.9 m/3 ft), making the bike quite maneuverable. The use of 29-inch wheels, however, still gives it some speed. It's even possible to add a jockey wheel that links the front and back wheels, giving the bike 2-wheel-drive for increased traction.
Its unique configuration is additionally said to allow for a more comfortable ride, increased stability, and better visibility ... plus it'll definitely get you noticed, if you consider that to be a good thing.
Jurek is currently trying to drum up interest in the concept, both in terms of industrial partners and potential customers. He tells us that he's aiming for a retail price somewhere in the region of US$900 to $2,000, depending on materials and accessories. You can contact him for updates via the first link below.
The IzzyBike can be seen in action in the following video.
Source: IzzyBike via InventorSpot
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
It would appear this has the same problem as the penny farthing - fine if you are going in a straight line but you can't peddle and turn corners. That was the reason the peddles were shifted from the front wheel.
Again how does the two wheel drive work when the front wheel is more than a couple of degrees out of dead ahead alignment?
I agree with Ivan -
Seems to need more thought ...
That is incorrect. Cranks and pedals were removed from the front wheel not because of steering problems, but rather because of the dangers of riding high above a large wheel. Changing from direct drive to chain drive allowed multiplication of rotational speed via gearing, so bicycles could use smaller wheels. That's why the successors to the penny farthings were called "safety bicycles," because their big advantage was they were safer.
Some designs look like an accident waiting to happen. This design takes that concept to much greater heights by looking like an accident that has already happened.
I imagine that ladies will have to learn a whole new way of mounting the thing if they wish to maintain their modesty.
One thing they did get right is that it definitely has a look of its own.
A problem looking for a solution?
I find this design quite awesome.
When you steer on a bike, it's actually pretty rare that your front tire is turning any more than a few degrees. It's only at crazy slow speeds that you are doing any real significant turning of the handle-bars. So I actually think 2WD would work well in regards to turning.
My bigger fear would be the amount of traction that contact gear/pully/wheel would have. The design isn't such a way that more force=more traction, so I'd be more concerned about having that thing: 1 slip, or 2: wear down my tire, or 3: cause way too much rolling resistance.
I'd like to see the 2WD feature be a "push-button" feature. (lever activated?).
This thing seems leaps and bounds ahead of that unicycle w/ a front training-wheel device I remember seeing a couple years ago on here and kickstarter.
At least it's not yet another crotch pounding, back breaking, hunched forward racing bike.
Why not put the pedals on the center wheel. Perhaps all the objections would get sorted !
Trying to push the pedal without being able to use body weight to start off is going to to be one major pain in the a**, literally.
@ Mel You mean ladies who want to cycle in a skirt or a dress. Some of us are quite comfortable cycling in shorts and pants and we manage to maintain our lady status in this attire. I agree though that it would be a consideration for someone who mainly wears dresses or skirts on their bike, but they can stick to the low diagonal frames.
@ Gregg Eshelman
apart from agreeing with ivan4, I'd the gains over the suggested inefficient chain drive method (approx 'only' 98-ish % effective I believe) will no doubt be lost on the inefficient riding position which looks to be highly inefficient, though possibly reasonably comfortable.
I think that is a nice design. As posted above, I can see problems with the 'dual drive' device. It is like a two wheel version of a tricycle.
Shorter wheelbase? Current bicycles are already unstable as it is - I've gone over the handlebars in emergency braking situations twice because of it.
On the other hand the riding position is probably a bit different and the CoG may be a bit better. However that same riding position does look as TheSplund says a trifle inefficient - I always remember seeing one little girl spinning her wheel trying to get going, because there was too much torque and not enough traction. And it looks like the designer has had to put an afterthought "backrest" behind the saddle to give the rider a bit of extra "weight" on the pedals...
I would put the gearing arrangement and pedal wheel at the front of a recumbent trike or bike.
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