The team behind a novel gyroscopic bike wheel, which it claims will teach kids to learn to ride in an afternoon, has turned to crowd-source funding to take the Jyrobike to market.
The inclusion of the gyroscope means the bike gently resists the toppling forces associated with low momentum and gives learner cyclists an extra source of balance. The technology was first developed and commercialised by experts from Dartmouth University in the USA under the brand Gyrobike. Unfortunately the business initially lacked momentum and it folded. However Robert Bodill, an entrepreneur, has resurrected the technology under a new brand name, Jyrobike.
At the launch of the £100,000 crowd-funding campaign today in London, Bodill said: “For the last two years, we’ve been working on a new bicycle that is aimed at helping children learn to ride in a single afternoon – by any measure, our goal is no mean feat.
“Our gyroscopic technology helps the rider stay upright even when they tip or wobble, which will help put an end to the bumps and bruises usually associated with the learning process.”
Gyroscopes are used to keep helicopters stable in air and the Jyrobike works on the same principle: a motor driven, fast-moving inner flywheel (up to 2,000rpm) mounted in the front wheel gives the bike more gyroscopic force, meaning that the bike is inherently more stable. The gyroscopic effect can be tuned according to each rider’s progressing ability – and can be done remotely. That means a parent could incrementally reduce the extra force as the child rides.
The bikes are aimed at three- to eight-year-olds and come with a range of functions to make cycling more fun. They are fitted with speakers that are loaded with three sound effects: a siren, a classic bugle charge and – our favourite – a roaring dinosaur.
The mass that helps keep the bike more stable can also be removed entirely meaning that once youngsters have learned to ride without assistance, it can be removed and replaced as needed. However a video on YouTube shot at the Giro d’Italia, where the Jyrobike was being demonstrated, suggests that young kids might be keen to hang onto the gyroscopic power and practise their stunts.
Video: Youngster at the Giro display admirable no hands skills on a pre-production Jyrobike
If the Jyrobike makes it to market – expected to be January 2015 – it be available as a full build bike with either 12in or 16in wheels. Early price forecasts are attractive too: one 12in wheel will cost around £99 / US$129, and a full 12in bike £179 / US$249
The wheel system will also be sold separately and can be fitted to any kids’ bikes with the correct wheelsize.
The crowd-funding campaign, the range of pledge incentives and the time frame can be seen on the Jyrobike’s KickStarter page.