Bicycles

Eye-catching NuBike goes with drive levers instead of a chain

Eye-catching NuBike goes with ...
The NuBike road bike prototype – other models are in the works
The NuBike road bike prototype – other models are in the works
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A lack of chain makes it easy to remove the NuBike's rear wheel
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A lack of chain makes it easy to remove the NuBike's rear wheel
The NuBike road bike prototype – other models are in the works
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The NuBike road bike prototype – other models are in the works
The NuBike prototype weighs 22 lb (10 kg)
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The NuBike prototype weighs 22 lb (10 kg)

Probably ever since bicycles were first invented, people have been looking for alternatives to the traditional approach of pedalling in circles. Los Angeles-based inventor Rodger Parker has utilized one such alternative in his NuBike, which he claims is more efficient than a chain-drive bike.

Along with its unique-looking carbon fiber frame, what really stands out on the NuBike are the levers that run from the pedals to a linkage on the rear hub. These allow riders to simply push up and down on the pedals, causing the rear wheel to turn. There are reportedly a number of advantages to this setup.

First of all, as mentioned, it's claimed to be more efficient than a chain or belt-drive. According to Brown, because the levers are much longer than traditional cranks, riders are able to deliver more torque (and thus power) to the wheel for a given amount of effort. He also states that because the pedals just move vertically, riders can more effectively use the force of gravity to help push them down.

The NuBike prototype weighs 22 lb (10 kg)
The NuBike prototype weighs 22 lb (10 kg)

Additionally, the lever-drive system is said to be easier on the hips, knees and ankles, plus it doesn't require users to pull an oily chain out of the way when removing the rear wheel. And yes, it does allow for multiple gears – the current road bike prototype has four, although Rodger tells us that future lower-priced models (such as kids' bikes and cruisers) will have fewer.

The prototype weighs 22 lb (10 kg). By replacing the current 7075 aluminum levers with ones made of magnesium, along with making some other changes, it is hoped that the final commercial model will tip the scales at 18 lb (8 kg).

A lack of chain makes it easy to remove the NuBike's rear wheel
A lack of chain makes it easy to remove the NuBike's rear wheel

If you're interested in getting a NuBike of your own, it's currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. Assuming it reaches production, a pledge of US$3,600 will get you a sub-3-lb (1.4 kg) frame and drivetrain, to which you can add conventional components of your choice. The planned retail price for that package is $3,800.

You can see the NuBike in action, in the video below.

And perhaps not surprisingly, this isn't the first commercially-oriented lever-drive bike we've seen. Korea's Bygen announced one back in 2014, although there's been no word on availability since.

Source: Kickstarter

NuBike Video

23 comments
wle
big deal, another flop in the works come back in 10 years when it has sold about 54 bikes.
Bionic88
I like it but the version in the video looks a little awkward to pedal(especially the up stroke), and almost certainly will require clipped pedals. Toe clip pedals might be a better alternative for casual riders..you won't need to purchase the shoes just to ride it. I'm not a competitive rider, I don't own the sweet bike tights, but I've put in a few thousand miles on a street bike using toe clips..I don't think I'd ever change back or to any other pedals. And this is a very clever design. I think to better utilize the pedals they'll have to break with the standard bike form. ..another great prototype/possible game changer I'm rooting for. Thanks for the post guys!!
Malatrope
There's nothing new about a desmodromic drive. It's been used in all sorts of machinery (including car camshaft drives) for over a century.
Anne Ominous
Using levers rather than cranks has been around a long time. An earlier version I saw a couple of decades ago, though, had cables attached to the levers, which pulled short lengths of chain around sprockets on the rear wheel, one on each side. Then a ratchet in the hub converted the back-and-forth motion of each sprocket into forward motion. It was claimed to be much more efficient then, too. $3,800 seems like an awful lot of money for this. Too much.
possum1
At the dawn of bicycles, a similar idea was tried. The chain drive and derailleur have been the product of evolution in bicycles to produce the most efficient method of propulsion. Rear wheel removal looks simple, except you get half the bike with it ! A novel idea, but not likely to show up in the Tour de France any time soon.
lalo
It might prove to be more efficient than the traditional setup, but don't claim it's because of the long arm - basic physics still determines the power
fred_dot_u
While a youth in the 70s, a similar design was presented and failed as have all the subsequent similar designs. The statement about stress and efficiency is misleading. The human body has far less stress when pedaling in a circle than when one's legs have to reverse direction for each stroke. The gearing aspect is also misleading, as one can select desired gear ratios easily with today's bikes. I have a sophisticated hub gear (Rohloff) that has linear changes over the 14 selectable ratios. Everything old is new again!
Leonard Foster Jr
How do you Sprint ??
pmshah
You call this an invention ? I remember having a kid's car with similar drive mechanism some 65 years ago !!!! From the looks of it, it does not seem to even have freewheel/ratchet type of mechanism. BTW you see these on steam locomotives which have been around for more than a century !!!!
YuraG
This idea must be tried on velomobiles.