Bicycles

Quirky assemble-it-yourself bike is sure to turn heads

The Bellcycle ain't your average bike
The Bellcycle ain't your average bike
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A rendering of the Bellcycle's drive system
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A rendering of the Bellcycle's drive system
The Bellcycle in tricycle configuration
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The Bellcycle in tricycle configuration
Plans call for the Bellcycle to be sold as a kit that you put together yourself
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Plans call for the Bellcycle to be sold as a kit that you put together yourself
The Bellcycle in e-bike configuration
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The Bellcycle in e-bike configuration
The Bellcycle has two rotation points
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The Bellcycle has two rotation points
The Bellcycle ain't your average bike
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The Bellcycle ain't your average bike

If you like putting things together and you like getting noticed, then you'll probably like the Bellcycle. Created by New York City-based cyclist Alex Bell, it will be sold as a kit that users assemble themselves. Among its interesting features are front-wheel drive, under-the-seat steering, and a modular design that lets users swap in different rear ends. It's also small, light (20 lb/9 kg) and cheap.

Although the Bellcycle's pedals are located on the front wheel, it's not a direct-drive bike like a penny farthing. Instead, utilizing an arrangement that's pictured below, it has a geared drivetrain.

"The crankset is bolted to a spindle/axle which goes through the front wheel," Bell explains to us. "Four jockey wheels route the single loop of chain from the crankset to the freewheel or cassette which is mounted on the front wheel. While a hub gear might be better in the long term, this solution is very inexpensive and allows for a range of gears."

A rendering of the Bellcycle's drive system
A rendering of the Bellcycle's drive system

It additionally has not one but two rotation points in the frame.

"Regular bikes have one axis of rotation for steering which is where the handlebars mount," says Bell. "The Bellcycles have two rotation points and a spring which function to remove any destabilizing effects of the pedals being on the front wheel when you are riding … In effect the rear section of the cycle 'casters' or follows behind the rest of the cycle and is free to rotate from side to side. It also allows the bicycle to easily fold in half."

The Bellcycle has two rotation points
The Bellcycle has two rotation points

That rear section can just include a regular wheel, although tinkerers can also swap in a wheel with an electric motor, a dual-wheel setup to turn it into a tricycle, or a longer section to turn it into a cargo bike of sorts.

It reportedly takes about 10 to 15 minutes to learn to ride.

Alex tells us that he plans on bringing the kit – which will include all the necessary tools – to market within a few months, hopefully priced at around US$149. In the meantime, he's looking for testers to try it out. If you're interested, drop him a line via the link below.

You can see him taking the Bellcycle for a spin, in the following video.

Source: Bellcycles

Park Ride on Bellcycles v1.2

4 comments
Stradric
Looks really unstable and uncomfortable. I know if I can't extend my leg on my bike, my hamstrings tighten up. Also looks like you'd faceplant pretty hard if you hit a bump. Might as well just go full unicycle.
McDesign
NEVER go full unicycle.
icykel
At least with the Bellcycle you're already 'overthehandlebars' so the faceplant will be less complicated/messy. Now a recumbent bike/trike takes the other path.....that of relaxed comfort.
shopoutlet
Does not look very stable compared to a regular bike. An elaborate looking chain routing. Probably only be able to get parts through Bell Like how compact it looks and estimated price. But would prefer a more traditional looking folding bike.