Urban Transport

New recumbent bike trades handlebars for a joystick

New recumbent bike trades hand...
The Joystick Bike replaces the ubiquitous bicycle handlebars with – you guessed it – a joystick
The Joystick Bike replaces the ubiquitous bicycle handlebars with – you guessed it – a joystick
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The joystick steers the front wheels via a hard mechanical connection
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The joystick steers the front wheels via a hard mechanical connection
Those left and right handles may look like handlebars, but only the right one is used for steering
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Those left and right handles may look like handlebars, but only the right one is used for steering
The Joystick Bike prototype was developed last year and revealed to an international audience last month
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The Joystick Bike prototype was developed last year and revealed to an international audience last month
The Joystick Bike replaces the ubiquitous bicycle handlebars with – you guessed it – a joystick
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The Joystick Bike replaces the ubiquitous bicycle handlebars with – you guessed it – a joystick
The Joystick Bike offers a new type of ride
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The Joystick Bike offers a new type of ride
Left and right movement translates into bike control
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Left and right movement translates into bike control
Joystick Bike on the road
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Joystick Bike on the road
The first prototype includes a 400-watt electric drive
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The first prototype includes a 400-watt electric drive

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.

Left and right movement translates into bike control
Left and right movement translates into bike control

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).

The first prototype includes a 400-watt electric drive
The first prototype includes a 400-watt electric drive

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

Joystickbike 2/4 invention révolutionnary 2 weels 1 joystick Big feeling

6 comments
Gary Bonney
The Greenspeed SLR trike has had single side "joystick" steering for many years, the opposite handle is fixed and used for gears, brakes etc.
BrendaK.Webster
Do you think this will be easy for left-handed people to drive? I'm hopelessly right-handed and can't do anything left-handed.
Stephen N Russell
Need joystick for both hand acess, & awesome Id rent one to ride around
Jay Finke
Frame needs place to mount a first aid kit.
AndyDeRidder
i would like to see one climb up that mountain without e-support (that battery wil die on you someday in the middle of nowhere ) with your legs tukked under you like that. You cant develop any force . You can only steer with one lever , i ride my raptobike most of the time one handed but i like the fact that i can alternate . i dont see any advantages over the normal steering methods ( except more difficult and more complicated .
martinkopplow
Well, we built jostick controlled recumbents 25+ years ago when we were students. It was cool the first day, but we soon abandoned the idea because it had only very few advantages and quite a few downsides. One advantage was the overall package of the bike could be made a bit sleeker, and the big downside was that control in critical situations was not so good, and using the handles to add momentum in climbs was next to impossible. Also, contolling an axis (that is leaning, for a bike) with a controller that is moved in the same axis, creates a dangerous PIO-feedback loop ("Pilot Induced Oscillations"). I would not want to be too euphoric on this one and wonder how they dealt with all that.