Although a good while ago now, I still remember the bruising, the aches, and the shame of attempting (and mostly failing) all the latest tricks for skateboard or BMX. Others have faired much better, and the sports have continued to grow in popularity. Bart and Steve Wilson have now designed an interesting hybrid, which takes bits from board and bike to create a unique scooter called the sbyke (pronounced "spike"). Unlike more familiar micro-scooter designs, the sbyke has a fixed-position front wheel and is turned by shifting weight at the rear, it can stand upright on its own, and can take more weight – making it a more attractive proposition for adults as well as youngsters.
The Wilson brothers certainly have a strong racing pedigree – their father was USAC Midget and Indy racing driver Dempsey Wilson and their first company was Racing Optics Inc, said to be the world's largest manufacturer of laminated tearoffs for auto and motorcycle racing helmets, helmet shield protectors and NASCAR windshield tearoffs. Their latest product design brings a host of new trick possibilities to the world of the micro-scooter.
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Made from aircraft-grade materials to stand up to the rigors of the skate park, university campus or racetrack, the sbyke features an aluminum frame, interchangeable CroMoPro 9.25-inch and LoPro 5-inch stem lengths to accommodate different-sized riders, and handlebars which include a caliper hand brake.
The lightweight 20-inch alloy front wheel rim is fitted with a high pressure racing tire and the wide 10-ply maple deck – with branding and grip on top – caters for side-by-side foot placement. The patented rear-steering system features ABEC 7 bearings, 85mm/80A Durometer truck wheels with radial tread, and adjustable spring rate for carving (a long, curving turn) or cruising.
While there doesn't appear to be any stunt pegs on the BMX-like front wheel, there does seem to be ample opportunity for getting some air, pulling a nose wheelie or running into a flatspin 540 or 720, and so on. If it proves popular – and personally I think it will – the sbyke will no doubt lead to a whole new bunch of tricks being invented ... or, it could just be used to satisfy short-haul travel needs.
The Wilson brothers have been busy turning heads with pre-production models at fairs and shows in the States, ahead of an August release date at a recommended retail price of US$249.
In the following video, Bart Wilson demonstrates the difference between a Razor and the sbyke: