Bicycles

Babel Bike is claimed to be the safest bicycle ever built

Babel Bike is claimed to be th...
Crispin Sinclair Innovation's Babel Bike on London's Tower Bridge
Crispin Sinclair Innovation's Babel Bike on London's Tower Bridge
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Crispin Sinclair Innovation's Babel Bike
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Crispin Sinclair Innovation's Babel Bike
The semi-recumbent Babel Bike will be made in both pedal-electric and fully human-powered models
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The semi-recumbent Babel Bike will be made in both pedal-electric and fully human-powered models
Development of the Babel Bike is being led by Crispin Sinclair, son of famed inventor Sir Clive Sinclair
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Development of the Babel Bike is being led by Crispin Sinclair, son of famed inventor Sir Clive Sinclair
The Babel Bike's features include a handlebar smartphone mount
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The Babel Bike's features include a handlebar smartphone mount
The Babel Bike's features include a roll cage
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The Babel Bike's features include a roll cage
A front view of the babel Bike
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A front view of the babel Bike
A top view of the babel Bike
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A top view of the babel Bike
The Babel Bike's features include a steel foot guard
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The Babel Bike's features include a steel foot guard
A detachable Kryptonite U-lock can be integrated into the Babel Bike's foot guard
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A detachable Kryptonite U-lock can be integrated into the Babel Bike's foot guard
In tests on prototypes, the Babel Bike's cage reportedly allowed it to be pushed away when hit by heavy transport trucks
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In tests on prototypes, the Babel Bike's cage reportedly allowed it to be pushed away when hit by heavy transport trucks
The Babel Bike has a lighting package that includes automatically-activated head- and tail lights, turn indicators, hazard lights and brake lights
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The Babel Bike has a lighting package that includes automatically-activated head- and tail lights, turn indicators, hazard lights and brake lights
The pedal-electric version of the Babel Bike features an 11-speed Shimano hub transmission with Di2 electronic shifting
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The pedal-electric version of the Babel Bike features an 11-speed Shimano hub transmission with Di2 electronic shifting
The pedal-electric version of the Babel Bike has a 250-watt Shimano STEPS motor, powered by a removable 36-volt 11.6-Ah lithium-ion battery
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The pedal-electric version of the Babel Bike has a 250-watt Shimano STEPS motor, powered by a removable 36-volt 11.6-Ah lithium-ion battery
The non-electric version of the babel Bike tips the scales at a hefty 21 kg (46 lb)
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The non-electric version of the babel Bike tips the scales at a hefty 21 kg (46 lb)
Crispin Sinclair Innovation's Babel Bike on London's Tower Bridge
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Crispin Sinclair Innovation's Babel Bike on London's Tower Bridge
Crispin Sinclair with the Babel Bike
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Crispin Sinclair with the Babel Bike
Crispin Sinclair with the Babel Bike
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Crispin Sinclair with the Babel Bike

While inclement weather and exertion are certainly factors, one of the big reasons that many people don't commute by bike is the fear of getting hit by cars. London-based Crispin Sinclair Innovation has set about addressing that fact, with its new Babel Bike. Offering features such as a protective cage around the rider, it's being promoted as "the world's safest bicycle."

Development of the Babel Bike is being led by Crispin Sinclair, son of famed inventor Sir Clive Sinclair – the latter is the man behind such products as the 1980s Sinclair ZX line of home computers, the Sinclair C5 electric vehicle, and more recently the tiny folding A-Bike. He also designed a partially-enclosed electric bicycle known as the X-1, which never reached production.

The semi-recumbent Babel Bike – which will be made in both pedal-electric and fully human-powered models – used the X-1 as a jumping-off point.

"Some of the ideas for the Babel Bike came from the X-1 – it got me thinking 'why not do something safer' and also more designed to pedal," Crispin Sinclair told us. "The X-1 was 'electric-only' and its pedals were there mainly to get you home in an emergency. The Babel Bike is designed to be pedaled, with electric assistance when wanted."

Crispin Sinclair with the Babel Bike
Crispin Sinclair with the Babel Bike

Along with its roll cage, other safety features include a seat belt, steel foot protectors, a car horn, rearview mirrors, and a lighting package that includes automatically-activated head- and tail lights, turn indicators, hazard lights and brake lights. In tests on prototypes, the bike's cage reportedly allowed it to be pushed away when hit by heavy transport trucks, as opposed to being crushed beneath them.

Some of the Babel Bike's other specs include an 11-speed Shimano hub transmission with Di2 electronic shifting (8-speed hub and mechanical shifting on the non-electric version), an internal sealed drivetrain, Shimano hydraulic brakes, a handlebar smartphone mount, and an optional security package that includes a Kryptonite U-lock which doubles as one half of the foot guard when not in use.

The non-electric version tips the scales at a hefty 21 kg (46 lb).

The non-electric version of the babel Bike tips the scales at a hefty 21 kg (46 lb)
The non-electric version of the babel Bike tips the scales at a hefty 21 kg (46 lb)

The pedal-electric model adds a 250-watt Shimano STEPS motor, powered by a removable 36-volt 11.6-Ah lithium-ion battery. A four-hour charge should be good for a range of 50 to 80 miles (80 to 129 km), depending on the level of electric assistance chosen. The bike's top electric-assist speed is 20 mph (32 km/h) in the US, or 15.5 mph (25 km/h) in the EU.

"Safety is crucial for cyclists, as I myself was hit by the side of a left-turning van, who had failed to indicate," said Sinclair. "I want more people to enjoy cycling but the lack of safety, especially in busy cities, deters them from getting on a bike. Babel Bike is specifically designed to prevent the most common accidents occurred to cyclists, so hopefully it will encourage more people to get pedaling."

He is currently raising production funds for the Babel Bike, on Indiegogo. A pledge of £2,999 (about US$4,430) will get you an electric model, while £1,999 ($2,950) will get you the non-electric – assuming all goes according to plans. The planned retail prices are £3,499 and £2,499 ($5,170 and $3,690), respectively.

The bike can be seen in use, in the pitch video below.

Source: Indiegogo

The Babel Bike: The World's Safest Bicycle

17 comments
Daishi
I see a lot of e-bikes that bring interesting ideas but still so far none that sway me to take the plunge and get one. For that price you could buy a Yamaha R3 or XT250 dual sport. I know being electric is what makes it expensive but after GM reduced the price of the Chevy Spark EV today you can lease one for $139/month for 3 years ($5k) with nothing due at signing. I know leasing for 3 years can't be compared to something you own outright but it's still a lot of money for a bicycle. I'm also not sure how I would feel in general being seatbelted into a bicycle.
The Skud
I agree with Daishi - that is a lot of money to get elec-assist and a roll cage! For anything near that I would want a FULL recumbent (4 wheels) and the biggest rotating beacon light that would legally mount on the roll cage. That Chevy deal is looking better as I think about it . . .
Notcha
So this wouldn't even be legal in the UK as a bicycle then. https://www.gov.uk/electric-bike-rules 200W for bikes, 250W for Trikes and tandems. I like the design as a prototype, but I'm not sure if the Sinclair brand isn't a bit of "the kiss of death" in this market. It's not that it's a bad idea, but it may just be compared to the other flops. I think that the idea of integrating the heave U locks into making part of a bumper / protective system is worthy of some merit.
Peter Wessell
It's hideous as well.
digi_owl
One wonder how long it will take before it is nicknamed the baby bike...
mommus
wouldn't it be easier to wear a helmet?
Larry English
it has more problems than it solves, even if you count the made-up problems the sellers cite.. HEAVY expensive electric part is underpowered and under-range to be useful recumbents are not very maneuverable wle
RGlennA
As an expert in product development and forensic engineering and as someone with a great deal of experience in bicycle failures and bicycle design, including power assist bicycles, I can tell you that this is a really dumb design. I would normally not weigh into a new design based on a quick look, but this bike is being advertised as "the safest bike ever built" yet they have made the biggest mistake that you can make when trying to create a safe bike...small front tire. There is no simpler and faster way to make a bicycle, which is inherently unstable, more dangerous than reducing the size of the front tire. This is not rocket surgery here this is basic bike design 101. Really, really dumb.
tomtoys
I'm no expert on mechanical design, so leave such to those who are. I do know I can only laugh at a bike, designed for safety, that does not have nearly every part reflective/fluorescent and will not operate unless the rider is wearing at least a jacket the same. Just look at that seat in night time camo.
Ormond Otvos
If they were thinking deeply, they'd make the roll cage a bright color, like my fluorescent orange helmet and gloves on my Honda Reflex scooter. All that steel looks like more things to get hung up on in a wreck.