Is this bike without a seat the end of saddle sores?

Rider pedals while suspended above the bike

A crazy new bicycle design, which does away with a saddle, has emerged from America. Instead of sitting, the rider is suspended in a harness above the bike. It's said that this enables more effective pedalling and gives a hang glider-like 'flying' effect.

This unusual bike is called the Suspended Rider Bicycle. It's the brainchild of architect and engineer DM Schwartz of Fair Oaks, California, who dreamed it up after the 2011 Tour de France.

"Watching an uphill section of the Tour de France in 2011, I thought all that bobbing up and down was a big waste of energy," explained Schwartz. "A frame with a place to push the small of your back against could take care of that problem."

The proof-of-concept design uses a mountaineering harness or belt hanging from an arched frame, with a padded crossbar at the top of the bike to give the rider something to push against. But it is intended that a custom-designed cycling jersey – with the harness already built in – will eventually be used instead.

"It's the same effect you get when pushing a heavy sofa by sitting on the floor with your back against the wall," says Schwartz of his novel approach to the frame.

Schwartz has now gained a patent from the US Patent Office for his design.

The innovative new design is said to enhance comfort because the rider's weight is distributed over a larger area. It also has both a basic pedalling mode and a 'flying' mode, whereby the rider uses the bike like a hang glider.

See the bike in action in the video below and also at the official Flying Rider site:

Video: the Suspended Rider Bicycle in action

Gregor is BikeRadar's Beginners and Family section editor after leading a cycling heavy youth and regularly clocking up more than 34 miles on the ride to work each day. He's interested in the lighter side of cycling, such as commuting, children's bikes and the occasional short sportive. He also helps to keep BikeRadar's forum in check, and can often be found joining in conversation threads on how to step chafing and the like.

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