New recumbent bike trades handlebars for a joystick
While they come in various forms, handlebars are a vital component on virtually every type of bike. From the standard 10-speed, to the cargo hauler, to the lean-back recumbent, a bicycle's handlebars provide a simple means of steering and control. As the name suggests, the Joystick Bike replaces the ubiquitous bars with a right-hand joystick, delivering precise control that makes riding a bike a little more like flying an aircraft or playing a video game.
Yvan Forclaz, the Swiss inventor of the Joystick Bike, set out to create a more fun and engaging form of cycling. In what he calls a worldwide first, the result takes the form of a joystick steering system that provides a new form of connection with the road below.
The Joystick rider wraps his fingers around a right-hand joystick instead of the above-seat or under-seat handlebar arrangements usually seen on recumbent bikes. Moving the joystick left and right steers the front wheel by way of a mechanical connection.
At first we thought the handle on the left side was a second joystick, but Forclaz explains that it's not used for steering but for gear shifting, electric motor control, and controlling the caster wheels, which assist stability when stopped. Forclaz explains that the functions of the left handle could potentially be added to the joystick, eliminating the left handle completely.
The Joystick Bike made its world debut at the 2015 International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva last month. In current prototype form, it's an electric-assist recumbent with a rear-mounted 400-watt electric drive and 72 V battery pack. These make it capable of speeds up to 37 mph (60 km/h) and give it an electric range of 25 mi (40 km).
Forclaz is working on applying the joystick design to a non-electric children's bike and also plans to begin marketing the patent next year. He believes the joystick steering system has potential for use on motorcycles and scooters, as well as bicycles.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a sentiment we often encounter here on Gizmag, and it's easy to apply that logic to handlebars, which have been making bicycles easy to ride for two centuries. However, watching the Joystick Bike slicing around the road in the promo video below sure makes the joystick look worth a try.
Source: Joystick Bike