Bicycles

Fliz bike combines walking, cycling, and nostalgia

Fliz bike combines walking, cy...
Even in a still picture, the scooting motion required to ride the Fliz is apparent
Even in a still picture, the scooting motion required to ride the Fliz is apparent
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Even stationary and riderless, the Fliz looks rather odd
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Even stationary and riderless, the Fliz looks rather odd
Even in a still picture, the scooting motion required to ride the Fliz is apparent
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Even in a still picture, the scooting motion required to ride the Fliz is apparent
The Fliz being ridden by someone clearly practised in the art
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The Fliz being ridden by someone clearly practised in the art
The frame dimensions of the Fliz
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The frame dimensions of the Fliz
How the Fliz belt system works
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How the Fliz belt system works
Without being visually shown, it isn't immediately obvious how one would ride the Fliz
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Without being visually shown, it isn't immediately obvious how one would ride the Fliz
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Bicycles haven't really changed much in over 100 years. Of course the materials used, technologies employed, and safety equipment utilized have all improved a great deal, but two wheels, one of which is linked to pedals by a chain, is still the basic layout. The old adage of "don't fix what isn't broken" applies here in no uncertain terms, but that doesn't mean engineers and designers can't toy with the idea of changing things up a little. The Fliz changes things up a lot ... not necessarily for the better, but it's a fun concept regardless.

The Fliz (which refers to the German word "flitzen" – meaning to whiz or dash) harks back to the days before the bicycle design we know and love was almost universally settled upon. It has more in common with the Laufmaschine (or hobby-horse) invented by Baron Karl Drais in 1817. Like the Laufmaschine, the Fliz has no pedals, instead relying on a scooting motion made by the rider. You're essentially pacing (half-walking, half-running) but traveling faster and further than you would normally, thanks to the presence of two wheels.

The Fliz being ridden by someone clearly practised in the art
The Fliz being ridden by someone clearly practised in the art

Where the Fliz differs greatly from Drais' invention, which was truly innovative at the time it was realized, is that rather than sit on the frame, the rider hangs from it in a harness system – which we've seen before with the StreetFlyer. They're bent forward at all times, with their hands resting on the handlebars and their head sitting through the front of the frame. That frame is made from a glass and carbon fiber laminate and designed for people around 1.85 meters (six feet) in height. The belt is custom-built for each user and allows for a fast and easy release thanks to the five-point fastener.

The video at the end of this article shows how the Fliz is operated, with the rider running to build up momentum before placing his or her feet on the treads located near the back wheel. The designers of the Fliz claim it provides a "comfortable, ergonomic ride between running and biking." The unique frame is designed to relieve pressure on the crotch, while the harness is designed to distribute the rider's weight evenly.

Without being visually shown, it isn't immediately obvious how one would ride the Fliz
Without being visually shown, it isn't immediately obvious how one would ride the Fliz

The Fliz has already come in for criticism from certain quarters, but it should be noted that this hasn't been designed to replace the bicycle, bur rather as another option for those seeking to get around in urban environments. The designers began by looking at the Laufmaschine and thinking about how they could remove what they saw as any negative aspects to the design. The Fliz is the result, and could be useful for those unable to ride a conventional bicycle for whatever reason.

There are some obvious question marks, such as the inability to traverse steep hills, and safety concerns associated with the rider's head being essentially wedged inside the frame. Despite these issues, the Fliz is in the running for a regional James Dyson Award in Germany. Fred Flintstone is sure to approve.

Source: James Dyson Award via EcoChunk

View gallery - 6 images
43 comments
bas
This thing seems, to me, to miss the point between walking and cycling..
Jon A.
More like a combination bicycle and birth control device.
fenriq
It clearly is not fast enough to escape the people rolling around on the ground laughing at you while riding/running in this goofy looking contraption. I could see some rehab uses for it possibly but even then, there are better tools already available. Maybe if the person has some super gnarly hemorrhoids?
Chuck Anziulewicz
Utterly ridiculous and impractical. I could not help but notice that the video never showed young hipsterdude going UPHILL.
Ozuzi
Ba-ha-ha, swing...and a miss! Yes when I am panting what is really want is to be hanging from straps by my ribs
John Ullom
Looks like a broken neck waiting to happen...
Slowburn
It looks like an eugenics experiment to me. Killing the people stupid enough to ride it regularly.
Lawrence Smallman
I'm surprised at such a negative reaction! I'd prefer this over a skate-board any day - looks like a fun way to go for a gentle run without putting too much strain on the knees. but each to his own ...
Alan Belardinelli
I am not sure what problem or challenge this device solves or addresses.
Ariel Dahan
Oh my ! I don't want to be the one who'll rescue him when he'll be crashed. All the parts my be broken. Especially the neck!