Conventional training wheels might be useful in preventing cuts, breaks and bruises, but they can also lead to bad habits and lengthen the process of learning to ride a bike on your own. The team behind the Jyrobike are looking to give budding cyclists a quicker path to two-wheeled success, with a self-balancing bike that uses a gyroscope to keep kids on the straight and narrow.
It was back in 2009 that Gyrobikes first emerged with its Gyrowheel, the mechanism that would go on to define its 3-in-1 Gyrobike in 2012. The Gyrowheel replaces the front wheel of the bicycle and features a battery-powered spinning disc where you would normally find the spokes. This disc creates a gyroscopic force inside the front wheel, improving the stability of the bike by simulating faster movement, even when the rider is moving slowly.
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Five years later, a rebranded Jyrobike has returned with its third iteration, an upgraded version of its bicycle training aid. The 12- or 16-inch gyroscopic wheel has been re-labeled as the Control Hub and uses a 14.4-watt motor to create the stabilizing force. This can be dialed down with high, medium and low settings, and can also be turned off altogether as the rider becomes comfortable pedaling unassisted. These balance settings can be adjusted via buttons on the Control Hub's side or using a wireless controller, which works within a range of 150 m (164 yd).
According to the company, the new version has much-improved onboard electronics, making it lighter, more efficient, able to run longer and able to produce more force. It is powered by a 7.2-volt lithium battery which can be recharged via Micro USB, each charge providing enough juice for 3 to 4 hours of use. This, coincidentally, is around how long the company says it takes for the Jyrobike to work its magic, claiming the majority of children can learn to ride a bike within one afternoon.
Once the child has mastered the art of balancing on their own, the flywheel component of the Control Hub can be removed, reducing the weight of the Jyrobike by 60 percent. Furthermore, the Control Hub can be purchased separately and fixed to a third-party childrens' bike to transform it into a self-balancing lesson in pedal-powered motion.
The company is raising funds on Kickstarter for mass production of the Jyrobike. Pledges of US$129 will put you in line for a Control Hub and wireless controller, while pledges for a 12-inch-wheeled Jyrobike are set at $249. Shipping is expected to begin in January 2015, assuming it reaches production.
You can hear from the team in the pitch video below.