Bicycles

Joystick-driven recumbent ebike gets street-legal for Kickstarter

Joystick-driven recumbent ebik...
The Joystickbike ditches the handlebars in favor of a joystick
The Joystickbike ditches the handlebars in favor of a joystick
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The Joystickbike ditches the handlebars in favor of a joystick
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The Joystickbike ditches the handlebars in favor of a joystick
A joystick on the right-hand side steers the Joystickbike
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A joystick on the right-hand side steers the Joystickbike
The Technical kit contains all the pieces to make the Joystickbike work
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The Technical kit contains all the pieces to make the Joystickbike work
The Motorization kit contains the motor, battery pack, LCD screen and the left-hand mounted joystick that controls the motor
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The Motorization kit contains the motor, battery pack, LCD screen and the left-hand mounted joystick that controls the motor
If all goes to plan, the Joystickbike is due to be shipped by May this year
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If all goes to plan, the Joystickbike is due to be shipped by May this year
The Joystickbike can be upgraded to a 1,000-W motor, if local laws allow or if you don't plan to take it out on public roads
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The Joystickbike can be upgraded to a 1,000-W motor, if local laws allow or if you don't plan to take it out on public roads
The Joystickbike is available in an off-road Fat model
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The Joystickbike is available in an off-road Fat model
The Joystickbike has a 250-W motor, 48-V battery and a top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph)
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The Joystickbike has a 250-W motor, 48-V battery and a top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph)
The handle on the right-hand side of the Joystickbike steers, while the one on the left manages the electric motor
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The handle on the right-hand side of the Joystickbike steers, while the one on the left manages the electric motor
The Joystickbike is available in a street-legal version
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The Joystickbike is available in a street-legal version
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Handlebars seem about as important as wheels in bike design, but Swiss inventor Yvan Forclaz has done away with them in favor of a mode of control you're more likely to associate with aircraft or video games – a joystick. The Joystickbike has been tweaked and refined since we first saw it a few years ago, and now it's almost ready for tinkerers to get their hands on it.

Forclaz's design is an electric-assist recumbent bike that's steered by way of a joystick mounted on the right-hand side, which has a direct mechanical link to the front wheel. A second stick on the left is used to manage the electric motor, with stats on power, speed, distance and autonomy displayed on a little LCD screen.

The Joystickbike is available in an off-road Fat model
The Joystickbike is available in an off-road Fat model

Motor-wise, the Joystickbike has been toned down somewhat since earlier prototypes, and the decision seems to have been made to allow the bike to be road-legal in different countries. While it once sported a 400-W electric drive powered by a 72-V battery pack and could reach speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph), the consumer-ready bike now has a 250-W motor, 48-V battery and a top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph).

That brings it in line with electric bike laws in the UK, Europe, parts of Asia and Australia, and below those in the US and Canada. That said, there is still the option to crank the motor up to 1,000 W if your local laws allow, or if you don't plan to take it out on the public roads.

The team plans to ship the Joystickbike as three separate kits – motorization, seat and frame, and all the technical components – for you to put together yourself. If you're not very handy there is an option to receive it pre-built, but that comes with a heftier price tag and most likely higher shipping costs. Along with the street-legal version, there's also the option of a Fat model if you'd rather take to the trails.

The Joystickbike is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, which has so far raised about US$3,800 of its $53,000 goal, with 42 days to go. Pledges start at about $3,000 for the full bike kit, with individual kits and test drive days available for smaller pledges. If all goes to plan, the team expects shipping to begin in May this year.

Source: Joystickbike

View gallery - 10 images
3 comments
martinkopplow
Wow, steeing input that has the same directional orientation as the resulting vehicle movement is a proven recipe for POI (Pilot Induced Oscillations) and should be treated with all possible precaution. Having performed several tests on joystick controlled recumbents back in the nineties, among these were configurations exactly like this one, I learned the resulting feedback loop can be a real threat to unsuspecting riders, though it undoubtedly looks very cool.
LeslieEkker
I’m so unimpressed. I’ve designed and scratch-built recumbent bikes and ridden many. The joystick you seem so enthralled with is nothing more than a bell-crank steering linkage. One with a pretty poor mexhanical leverage advantage, plus at least 4 extra linkages, or six extra joints making for a more complex, heavy, slop-prone system. In addition the low-speed control of these bell-crank steering designs is always miserable. Making a tight turn, you loose much of the leverage needed for fine control, making for very inaccurate and difficult (read dangerous) control of the steering angle. Sounds great to tout a joystick steering system, but it’s a lame idea, in my experience and opinion. I surmounted this issue with a unique mechanism that avoids the whole crank-steering handicap. Back to the drawing board, folks!
JoelTaylor
@martinkopplow - It doesn't look good as a recumbent to me even. In the videos on the KS it looks like the BB is too close for leg comfort. --- In one video (the high over head of the bridge) you can see how twitchy the controls are. --- >shrug< It didn't make it's funding goal anyway.