Bicycles

Stainless steel, shaft-drive ESO Bike is made for no-fuss cycling

Stainless steel, shaft-drive E...
The ESO Bike is presently on Kickstarter
The ESO Bike is presently on Kickstarter
View 5 Images
Flat tires and tire-pumping shouldn't be an issue, as the ESO Bike utilizes Tannus Aither 1.1 solid tires mounted on 48-spoke deep V double-wall rims
1/5
Flat tires and tire-pumping shouldn't be an issue, as the ESO Bike utilizes Tannus Aither 1.1 solid tires mounted on 48-spoke deep V double-wall rims
The ESO Bike is presently on Kickstarter
2/5
The ESO Bike is presently on Kickstarter
A close look at the ESO Bike's shaft drive setup
3/5
A close look at the ESO Bike's shaft drive setup
While the ESO Bike's main frame is stainless steel, the shaft drive housing is aluminum
4/5
While the ESO Bike's main frame is stainless steel, the shaft drive housing is aluminum
The ESO Bike's handlebars are free of shifters and brake levers
5/5
The ESO Bike's handlebars are free of shifters and brake levers
View gallery - 5 images

For just ripping around town, many cyclists prefer simple, low-maintenance bicycles. The ESO Bike is designed with that in mind, as it lacks a chain, cables, gears, brake pads and paint, plus it should never rust or get flat tires.

Instead of a chain – or a belt drive – the ESO features a fully-enclosed shaft-drive drivetrain. This means that not only are lubrication and cleaning unnecessary, but riders also won't have to contend with their pant legs getting grease-stained or caught in the chain.

Because there's only one gear, there are no shifters, derailleurs, gearboxes or the associated cables. There are also no brake levers or cables, thanks to the use of a single rear coaster brake – that's the type that you push back on the pedals to operate. The lack of cables minimizes both clutter and maintenance, since brakes (non-hydraulic ones, at least) and derailleurs usually need to be adjusted as their cables stretch with use.

A close look at the ESO Bike's shaft drive setup
A close look at the ESO Bike's shaft drive setup

Flat tires and tire-pumping shouldn't be an issue, as the ESO utilizes Tannus Aither 1.1 solid tires mounted on 48-spoke deep V double-wall rims. These tires are said to provide a ride feel similar to that of pneumatic tires inflated to 100 PSI (6.9 bar). It should be noted, though, that solid tires typically are heavier than their conventional counterparts.

And finally, because the ESO has an unpainted stainless steel frame, paint chips and rust are out of the picture. Finger-oil smudges and whatnot are another story, so riders might want to invest in a nice soft polishing cloth.

Should you be interested, the ESO Bike is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of US$1,400 will get you one, when and if they reach production – its planned retail price is approximately $1,500. The bike weighs a claimed 29 lb (13 kg) and is only available with a 56-cm frame, which should fit buyers ranging from 5'6" to 6'2" (168 to 188 cm).

Source: Kickstarter

View gallery - 5 images
11 comments
Thud
29 pounds?! There are electric bike that weigh less.
Rustgecko
This is a good bike - if you live in Amsterdam or in the English Fenland - dead flat. If you live anywhere else, anywhere near a hill, unless you are an olympic cyclist or have the thigh muscles of one, you are going to spend a lot of time walking. I hate to think how many knee injuries this thing is going to cause. As for the no brakes - the very first bikes had no brakes too! I wander why all bikes ever since have had brakes? What could go wrong?
Steve White
That is a really really good idea. Here in Bournemouth we have "beryl bikes" that you unlock with your phone, ride a few miles and then lock them back into beryl bays, it costs like £2 to unlock and then 5p per min they're great but have gears and brakes and whotnot... they get a bit knackered. These would be perfect
Paul Gray
Shaft drive bikes have been around more than a century. Transmission losses are higher than chains and the pinion gears struggle to be durable at small sizes.
This idea is rehashed almost annually, it's fundamentally flawed.
michael_dowling
$1400 for a one speed bike on the heavy side? Give me a break! I could buy 10 cheapo bikes from Walmart for that kind of money! As Thud said,you can get a half decent ebike for that kind of money!
Michael son of Lester
If I had the extra bucks I'd buy one of these. Then when it arrived, the first job would be to turn the bike into an ebike with one of the front wheel kits to deal with the local hills. 👍
moreover
48 spokes? What for? The choice appears ideological rather than practical.
DavidB
Not “no brakes,” @Rustgecko, COASTER brakes. That’s the kind I grew up with and would be happy to have again. In fact, my beloved childhood Schwinn was a single-speeder, too! I love the look of the stainless steel and plan to ride it (rather than carry it), so if I were looking for a bicycle I’d definitely give this one a close look.
Eldon Burr II
3D print the frame with lighter plastic/resin materials, and/or optimized geometry, 3D print an improved transmission so you have at least one more gear and maybe higher reliability, 3D print lighter parametric style airless tires, and then it'll be worth $1200
bergamot69
No front brake in the UK would probably land you in court if you hit a pedestrian- front brakes are far more effective at stopping than rears alone- especially more than coaster brakes- don't even think about going down a steep hill with coaster brakes only!

I see no reason for the shaft drive pinion to be weak, as suggested by another commontator. Small motorbikes and scooters sometimes use them- but I'd still rather have a front brake (caliper brakes need very little maintainance apart from a tweak with a spanner every now and then), pneumatic puncture-resistant tyres (eg Schwalbe), and simple front suspension.