Electric Recumbent Bike Hides Power In Flywheel

Want to completely eliminate the high cost and emissions associated with personal transportation? Swap your car for a bike. Cycling is cheap, allows you to avoid parking and traffic headaches and, best of all, produces zero tailpipe emissions. Riding your bike instead of driving will also eliminate the need for that costly gym membership, since you’ll be turning those extra calories eaten into miles traveled.

So why isn’t everyone pedaling their way to a cleaner planet and smaller waistline? Well, not everyone wants to put that much energy into getting from point A to point B. Especially if point B happens to be work or a fancy dinner date where sweating is frowned upon. The key to encouraging more people to downsize to two wheels is a bike design that makes it easier to travel fast. A recent entry into the James Dyson design contest is a new twist on the recumbent bike that could contain the magic combination.

Recumbent bike with flywheel storage.

image via James Dyson Award

The secret to this streamlined recumbent bike lies in its bigger rear wheel. As pointed out in this review, the carbon fiber flywheel acts as an electric engine, storing energy when the bike is already going fast, or releasing it when the rider needs an extra boost. After being plugged into a normal electrical outlet, the fully charged flywheel will run at the speed of 50 kilometers per hour for about 40 minutes. The flywheel uses only mechanical energy and then gives a power of 60 kilowatts.

Recumbent Flywheel Gear

image via James Dyson Award

The fast-moving technological world “more acutely raises the question of non-polluting form of transport,” said the bikes designers.  “Existing models typically use hybrid engines (not pure) or batteries (not enough to effectively and relatively quickly wear out). Besides their speed is not high. [We needed] to find a more economical/efficient energy source.” Anyone want to take it for a spin?

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog