This is a two wheel drive bike done right (sort of)

Questionable aesthetics hides 2WD genius from Double

There’s been no shortage of attempts to build a workable two wheel drive bicycle over the years, but this latest effort from Double of Japan looks like one of the most compelling yet.

The crazy two wheel drive arrangement uses a custom hub — with a regular freehub on the drive side and a fixed cog sitting behind the rotor — to drive a chain that is protected by a length of tubing all the way to the front of the bike.

This then drives what we assume is a CV joint, which in turn is connected to another chain on the non-driveside of the front wheel, where a freewheel is fitted.

A chain runs from the rear of the bike to a CV joint...
A chain runs from the rear of the bike to a CV joint...

...which in turn drives the front wheel
...which in turn drives the front wheel

If you followed that, congrats! For those who can’t wrap their head around that slightly opaque description of how (we think) the Double works, check out this Japanese language user manual, which helps to sort of clear things up.

If you didn't follow our description of how the Double works, this video should clear things up

If you look closely, you can see that the fixed cog is located behind the disc
If you look closely, you can see that the fixed cog is located behind the disc

While a lot of effort has clearly gone in to designing this system — and in all seriousness, despite it’s slightly jarring looks, it actually appears to be pretty slick compared to other 2WD bikes we’ve seen in the past — the promotional videos for the Double have not had the same treatment.

This admittedly quite interesting bike is accompanied by some of the most low-key promotional videos we've seen in a while

Highlights of this rather endearing collection of videos include footage of a man riding up a river with remarkable ease, residents of an ice hotel scooting around a frozen lake on the bike and this rad dude hucking the Double in tennis shoes.

Crankworx here we come
Crankworx here we come

And just for good measure, here’s a video of someone doing rad wheelies on the bike.

Who doesn't like to watch a good wheelie?

A closer look at the CV arrangement
A closer look at the CV arrangement

Through the magic of Google Translate we discovered via a Japanese blog that the bike costs ¥97,200 (approx’ £685 / €755 / $885 / AU$1,200) and weighs around 19kg.

The ‘Double’ is distributed by Interjet, but is only available in Japan for the time being, which is a real shame as we’d love to try riding one over all sorts of ridiculous terrain.

Do you like the idea of a 2WD bike or are you happy with your single drivetrain thank-you-very-much? Leave your thoughts and any other examples of 2WD bikes you can think of in the comments below.

Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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