23 Weird and Wonderful Bike Inventions That Have Somehow Seen the Light of Day
Awesome, incredible, shocking, you name it, it's a bike invention.
Bikes somehow manage to be beautifully simple and ridiculously complex at the same time.
The basic mechanism is very straightforward and has remained largely unchanged for about 100 years. Yet people have never stopped tweaking it, trying out new materials, components or concepts.
Which is why at Eurobike, a huge tradeshow dedicated to showcasing 2015's bikes, there's no shortage of people trying to reinvent the wheel - in some cases literally. Here are some of the craziest inventions we've seen.
The Triangle Bike
Like a geometry teacher's wet dream, the Strida Bike is a near perfect triangle shape.
Why? Well, it's the latest attempt (by a British designer no less) to create a bike that'll fold away neatly and be carried on the train or tube.
Mpora had a crack on one of these. It did take a bit of getting used to (there's the odd issue of having a top tube that sticks up between your legs for starters!) but it actually worked surprisingly well. It also comes in a fetching beige.
Whether or not these will catch on is another matter. Maybe Triangle-obsessed indie darlings Alt-J could be persuaded to help with marketing?
This looks weird and feels even weirder. For starters, you don't get the stability of a normal saddle. But the inventors of this ugly duckling have made it worse by mounting it on a seat post that twists.
They claim it "improves control and manoeuvring." We're claiming bullshit.
Strangely, they seemed to have abandoned their stall when we went to visit. Perhaps they realised they'd been rumbled?
The Wooden Bike
Not so crazy you might think, building a bike out of wood. Except that the dude in the picture was as mad as a box of frogs.
He was also a total legend, who claimed to be both Angela Merkel's son and on the run from the police.
In fact, the last thing he said was: "Maybe don't print those photos of me..." So sorry Joachim if this lands you in jail!
The Bike Train
You might have seen bike trailers before, but I bet you've never seen a bike train...
The Baby Carrier
I’m pretty sure the massive platform at the front of these bikes wasn’t designed with babies in mind. But that didn’t stop a passing couple depositing their little one there anyway…
The Mountain Bike Tandem
With front fork suspension and enormous disc brakes, this is designed to boldly go where no tandem has been before.
Honestly though, can you think of anything less comfortable than riding single track on a tandem? Isn’t this a wee bit pointless?
The Flag-Waving City Bikes
In case patriotic panniers weren’t enough, you can now get a matching chain guard.
The Triple Front Wheeler
Yes, this has three front wheels. We think (at least we hope) that this was just a display setup to show the different wheel colour options you could have.
But given some of the ‘innovative’ bikes on this list we couldn’t be too sure...
The Electric Chariot
This absolute beast – the E3Cycle – is designed and built in Taiwan. Aimed at disabled people, it’s pedalled by two hand cranks and has some serious power in the electric motor.
“If they took the limiter off," the rep told us “It could reach speeds of up to 40-50mph!"
The Bike from Tron
The futuristic nCycle electric bike looks a lot cooler than its terrible name suggests. Its a concept funded in part by Continental – the same company that make tyres for race cars.
Marin Myftiu, its designer, told us the shape was “safer, stronger and cleaner than conventional bikes."
Currently this one off is worth a fortune (the brakes alone cost 1,500 Euros!) but when it goes into production it will apparently be cheaper. A mere 2,500 euros each.
The Pint Sized Package
I’ve seen a lot of folding bikes in my time, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one as small as this – it’s about a foot and a half across. How do they do that? Magic apparently.
The Shark Helmet
If you’re under the age of 10, this is probably the coolest thing you’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s pretty frickin’ cool whatever your age. Want.
Oh and they do tigers and leopards too, if that’s more your thing.
Probably* The Best Wooden Bike in Poland
This cruiser frame, made of layers of plywood, is interesting. But what made it more so was the accompanying sign: “The first probably the first wooden bike in Poland [sic]."
Probably? It’s like the writer lost all his confidence halfway through…
The Top Tube Beer Holder
Unnecessary? Probably. Inspired? Definitely.
The Wheel With Springs Inside It
After seeing one of those enormous prams with bulky, industrial grade shock absorbers at an airport, British product designer Sam Pearce thought: “Why not try and put the suspension inside the wheel?"
It sounds mental, but other people had tried it before. While working his day job at the patent office Sam found ideas for similar concepts stretching back “to about 1914."
Where all previous attempts had failed was with the material they used – usually steel. But Sam’s ‘loopwheels’ are already being sold on commuter bikes and wheelchairs and he even has plans to introduce a full-sized mountain bike wheel soon.
The Hobby Horse Bike
Doesn’t this look like something you’d find in a Victorian child’s toy box?
The Rocking Chair
What’s going on here? No, we’re not sure either. But it looks like it’d be very difficult to get going without falling over…
The Most Hipster Bikes in the World, Ever
Yes, this brand’s bike display includes carefully arranged craft ales, a vintage record player and some artfully chosen old vinyls.
Not an innovation as such, but mind-boggling nonetheless. Did we mention they also do a bike called the Portland?
The Ghanaian Bamboo Bike
These bamboo bike makers grew out of a charitable project in Ghana. Max Schay and a university friend then improved the design and now sell the bikes commercially as MyBoo.
“We wanted to do something with bikes, but something that had social value" he told us. And yes, that one does have Hakuna Matata written on the top tube.
The Electric Merkin Muff
Honestly, we have no idea what’s going on here. Probably the less said about this furry thing the better.
The Plastic Elastic Front Forks
Made by a company called Lauf (don’t laugh, it means ‘leaf’ in Icelandic) these leaf-sprung forks are the result an innovative attempt to do away with heavy shock absorbers.
They’re “designed for cross country and marathon riding, where having something lightweight is very important," according to tester Helgi Berg Fridtjofsson.
We tried them and they’re actually surprisingly effective. The only thing that isn’t in fact, is their marketing.
Until recently they were apparently sold under the slogan: “Shocking Technology, Shocking Performance." We think something might have been lost in translation there…
The Bike You Have to Pedal With Your Hands And Feet
How you even begin to ride this? It seems you have to pedal with your hands and feet, but then how the hell do you steer the thing?!?
The Electric Unicycle