IzzyBike lacks a chain, but has optional 2-wheel-drive
Bike chains can be dirty and noisy, so an increasing number of manufacturers are choosing to replace them with belt drives. Polish inventor Marek Jurek, however, has gone a step further with his IzzyBike prototype. Its drivetrain is built right into the front wheel hub, which gives it some claimed advantages over other bikes – besides there being less mess.
First off, the IzzyBike isn't like a child's tricycle, in which the cranks are simply fixed to the wheel.
Riders can stop pedaling and allow it to freewheel, plus the patented system incorporates three gears. According to the IzzyBike website, this setup allows the rider's pedaling power to be more effectively delivered to the wheel than if it first had to be transmitted through a chain or belt.
The lack of a chain also makes it possible to fold the bike in half in less than a second, without any extra hinges needing to be built into the frame. It additionally results in a very short wheelbase (0.9 m/3 ft), making the bike quite maneuverable. The use of 29-inch wheels, however, still gives it some speed. It's even possible to add a jockey wheel that links the front and back wheels, giving the bike 2-wheel-drive for increased traction.
Its unique configuration is additionally said to allow for a more comfortable ride, increased stability, and better visibility ... plus it'll definitely get you noticed, if you consider that to be a good thing.
Jurek is currently trying to drum up interest in the concept, both in terms of industrial partners and potential customers. He tells us that he's aiming for a retail price somewhere in the region of US$900 to $2,000, depending on materials and accessories. You can contact him for updates via the first link below.
The IzzyBike can be seen in action in the following video.
Source: IzzyBike via InventorSpot
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Again how does the two wheel drive work when the front wheel is more than a couple of degrees out of dead ahead alignment?
That is incorrect. Cranks and pedals were removed from the front wheel not because of steering problems, but rather because of the dangers of riding high above a large wheel. Changing from direct drive to chain drive allowed multiplication of rotational speed via gearing, so bicycles could use smaller wheels. That's why the successors to the penny farthings were called "safety bicycles," because their big advantage was they were safer.
I imagine that ladies will have to learn a whole new way of mounting the thing if they wish to maintain their modesty.
One thing they did get right is that it definitely has a look of its own.
My bigger fear would be the amount of traction that contact gear/pully/wheel would have. The design isn't such a way that more force=more traction, so I'd be more concerned about having that thing: 1 slip, or 2: wear down my tire, or 3: cause way too much rolling resistance.
I'd like to see the 2WD feature be a "push-button" feature. (lever activated?).
This thing seems leaps and bounds ahead of that unicycle w/ a front training-wheel device I remember seeing a couple years ago on here and kickstarter.
Trying to push the pedal without being able to use body weight to start off is going to to be one major pain in the a**, literally.