Urban Transport

Carpii's wacky 4-wheel stepper bike raises eyebrows

Carpii's wacky 4-wheel stepper...
The Carpii 4ciclet's fairly narrow frontal profile makes it reasonably nimble in traffic
The Carpii 4ciclet's fairly narrow frontal profile makes it reasonably nimble in traffic
View 8 Images
Carpii 4ciclet: an unique way to get around
1/8
Carpii 4ciclet: an unique way to get around
Carpii 4ciclet: later prototypes have a covered steering mechanism
2/8
Carpii 4ciclet: later prototypes have a covered steering mechanism
Carpii 4ciclet: the addition of a basket gives you some luggage space
3/8
Carpii 4ciclet: the addition of a basket gives you some luggage space
Carpii 4ciclet: uncovered steering mechanism demonstrates a pretty tight turning circle 
4/8
Carpii 4ciclet: uncovered steering mechanism demonstrates a pretty tight turning circle 
Carpii 4ciclet: sit down or stand up
5/8
Carpii 4ciclet: sit down or stand up
The Carpii 4ciclet's fairly narrow frontal profile makes it reasonably nimble in traffic
6/8
The Carpii 4ciclet's fairly narrow frontal profile makes it reasonably nimble in traffic
Carpii 4ciclet: pedals don't look to offer a ton of leverage
7/8
Carpii 4ciclet: pedals don't look to offer a ton of leverage
Carpii 4ciclet: works the calves and butt rather than the quads
8/8
Carpii 4ciclet: works the calves and butt rather than the quads
View gallery - 8 images

Here's an odd little commuting curiosity from Romania called the Carpii 4ciclet. It's a four-wheeled stepper cycle targeted at older riders that transfers most of the pedaling work from the quads over to the calves, back, abs and backside. It's creator claims it's a particularly energy efficient design, but it sure looks odd to ride.

One stands upon the 4ciclet's angled footboards, either resting on the seat or standing up for a bit of extra pedal power, and pushes down with alternate heels to get the thing going. Each pedal is connected to a lever that pushes down and directly applies torque to one of the 12-inch wheels, like so:

Stepper Bike it is a new concept vehicle for all ages

It's a single speed device, adding to mechanical simplicity but restricting the speed range. The designer says he's tested it from walking pace up to 32 km/h (20 mph) thus far, and that you need to stand up and give it a bit of gumboot to get up a hill. Well, maybe a lot of gumboot if this video is any indication:

Brakes are twin discs operated through the steering handlebar, which also offers a fairly tight-turning degree of steering lock.

Instead of hitting the quads, Carpii says, the 4ciclet gives you a workout in the calves, buttocks and dorsal muscles. It's targeted at "riders of a certain age," but there's a big-wheel version coming for off-road sporty usage that will include "dual independent suspension at each wheel."

Apparent problems with the design may include the fact that it's a bit more bulky and awkward to store than a bicycle, the fact that its small wheels might not deal well with kerbs and potholes, the fact that it doesn't seem to let you get much torque onto the wheels, and … well, the way it makes you look when you're riding it, which could uncharitably be described as looking like you're riding an analog Segway with an itchy bum.

Still, an interesting idea.

Source: Carpii

View gallery - 8 images
7 comments
Douglas Bennett Rogers
The beauty of this is that it doesn't need gearing because slow stepping is possible without stalling.
Uncle Robot
Everytime I see a new alternative to bicycles I am struck by how superior bicycles are and how stupid the next device is.
Daishi
@Uncle Robot In terms of calories used for travel no animal in the world compares to the efficiency of a human on a bicycle (http://www.bikeboom.info/efficiency). The fact the bicycle is so hard to improve is a huge testimony to good design. The only improvement in efficiency I'm aware of the the standard road bike design is maybe an incumbent bike with a fairing like this one https://i.imgur.com/Sv0sVQZ.jpg That photo is 2015 sun trip winner Bernard Cauquil who built the bike for a 7,000 km solar assisted bike race. The 2018 Sun Trip/race is coming up in a couple weeks.
Grunchy
A stepper is a pretty good workout - by which I mean I think this is more work than it looks. Does it freewheel? That's what makes the bicycle so efficient, that you put in a bit of effort & then coast awhile. I don't much like the saddle, I'd prefer sort of a leaning pad, like what they put in McDonalds at the food pickup kiosk.
CARPII
First of all thank you for the comments made. First I want to mention that this vehicle opens a new technical and technological line. I come with a new product different from the bike. It is a fourth class of vehicles put riders. Yellow vehicle, the first prototype east, where I wanted to mention that for a certain class of people can use and saddle. The second prototype is constructed from stainless steel legs pedaling in addressing other categories of cyclists. on my website you can find the news comes this new urban vehicle. This vehicle we used a new technique apart from what is known today, which gives away a greater physical strength with minimum energy consumption pedaling.
YuraG
@Daishi – right, it's hard to beat a bicycle, but as an example of more complicated approach I'd suggest this one - pvvelo.blogspot.com
c w
That is not a bike.