Pneumatic tires provide a great ride, great grip, and yet have one fatal flaw — they’re always getting punctured and leaving you stranded. [The Q] decided to solve this problem with a unique design: tires that use tennis balls as the cushioning medium instead.
The build begins with small cut sections of plastic water pipe. These are used as housings to hold tennis balls, which are pressed in with a unique tool of [The Q]’s own construction. The individual ball assemblies are then bolted into a standard bicycle wheel, and a tread from a regular bike tire is stretched around the outside for grip.
It goes without saying that these tires won’t offer the same quality of ride as regular pneumatic bike tires. Nor will the performance be as good, due to the significant extra unsprung weight. They are eye-catching and fun, however. Plus, if you live in an area with tons of nails or prickles, you might find these are just the ticket. Maybe.
We’ve seen some other great bike hacks before, too.
Continue reading “Tennis Balls Serve As Decent Bicycle Tires That Don’t Easily Puncture” →
Sometimes, you just want to go ride your bike in the great outdoors, but you can’t be bothered throwing it in the back of the car. That wouldn’t be a problem if you rode this latest build from [The Q]: a bike small enough to fit in a handbag.
The build starts by customizing a rollerblade wheel to act as the driven rear wheel of the bike. It’s fitted with a tiny sprocket allowing it to be chain driven. Welding some steel tubes then nets a small diamond-layout bike frame. It’s fitted with a chain ring, pedals, and steering assembly just like a full-sized bike, just in absolute miniature.
Riding the bike is “uncomfortable,” in [The Q]’s own terms, but entirely possible. It basically requires the same level of contortion and technique as displayed by the clowns of your local circus. Don’t expect to use it as viable transportation, though. Walking would be much faster.
We’ve seen [The Q] build some wild bikes before, too, like this great hubless design. Video after the break.
Continue reading “Tiny Yet Functional Bike Built From Scratch” →
While bicycle gearboxes date back to at least the 1920s, they’re relatively unseen in bike racing. One exception is Honda’s race-winning mid-drive gearboxes, and [Alee Denham] gives us a look at what makes these unique drives tick.
Honda has developed three generations of bicycle gearbox as part of their company’s R&D efforts, but none have ever been released as a commercial product. Designed as a way for their engineers to stretch their mental muscles, the gearboxes were only used in bike races and seen at a few trade shows. In 2004, the third gen “derailleur in a box” led to the first gearbox victory in the Downhill World Cup Circuit.
The third gen gearbox differs significantly from the CVT drivetrains in the first and second generation gearboxes, but it is unclear why Honda abandoned the CVT. [Denham] has a nice animation detailing the inner workings of these CVTs based on information from the original patents for these rarely seen gearboxes.
Derailleurs remain the primary drivetrain in racing due to their lighter weight and higher overall efficiency. While still expensive, the decreased maintenance of gearbox drivetrains make a lot of sense for more mundane cycling tasks like commuting or hauling cargo, but only time will tell if the derailleur can be supplanted on the track and trail.
For more on bicycle drivetrains, check out this chainless digital drivetrain or the pros and cons of e-bike conversions.
Continue reading “A Look Inside Bicycle Gearboxes” →
E-bikes can replace car trips for some people, and adding a solar panel can make the fun last longer. [Luke] did some heavy modifications to his RadWagon to make it better, stronger, and faster than it was before.
The first step was replacing the stock 750 W controller with a 1500 W model to give the motor twice the power. [Luke] plans to replace the motor if it gets fried pushing too much juice, but is planning on just being careful for now. To stop this super-powered ride, he swapped the stock mechanical discs out for a hydraulic set which should be more reliable, especially when loading down this cargo bike.
On top of these performance enhancements, he also added a 50 W solar panel and maximum power point tracking (MPPT) charge controller to give the bike a potential 50% charge every day. Along with the OEM kid carrier and roof, this bike can haul kids and groceries while laughing at any hills that might come its way.
Checkout this other solar e-bike or this one making a trip around the world for more fun in the sun.
Riding a bike is a pretty simple affair, but like with many things, technology marches on and adds complications. Where once all you had to worry about was pumping the cranks and shifting the gears, now a lot of bikes have front suspensions that need to be adjusted for different riding conditions. Great for efficiency and ride comfort, but a little tough to accomplish while you’re underway.
Luckily, there’s a solution to that, in the form of this active suspension system by [Jallson S]. The active bit is a servo, which is attached to the adjustment valve on the top of the front fork of the bike. The servo moves the valve between fully locked, for smooth surfaces, and wide open, for rough terrain. There’s also a stop in between, which partially softens the suspension for moderate terrain. The 9-gram hobby servo rotates the valve with the help of a 3D printed gear train.
But that’s not all. Rather than just letting the rider control the ride stiffness from a handlebar-mounted switch, [Jallson S] added a little intelligence into the mix. Ride data from the accelerometer on an Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense was captured on a smartphone via Arduino Science Journal. The data was processed through Edge Impulse Studio to create models for five different ride surfaces and rider styles. This allows the stiffness to be optimized for current ride conditions — check it out in action in the video below.
[Jallson S] is quick to point out that this is a prototype, and that niceties like weatherproofing still have to be addressed. But it seems like a solid start — now let’s see it teamed up with an Arduino shifter.
Continue reading “Smart Bike Suspension Tunes Your Ride On The Fly” →
Many gearheads dream of owning a supercar, but their exorbitant prices make them unattainable for all but the most affluent. [Andrzej Burek] decided to make his dreams come true by building his own supercar with a human-powered twist. [YouTube]
At first glance, [Burek]’s SLS AMG looks like the real thing. Pop the hood, and you’ll find this “car” is missing it’s V8 which has been replaced by a beefy speaker pumping out engine sounds from any car you choose. Both driver and passenger can provide propulsion for the sociable tandem, and the power is routed through a differential to the rear wheels. [Burek] decided to install the differential to make installing power assist motors simpler in future revisions of this quadracycle.
[Burek] said it’s taken him four years from buying the first component to the bike’s status in the video after the break. Other than the front and rear bumpers, he built the body himself out of fiberglass to learn how to work with the material. He welded the frame himself as well, and, in a testament to good measurements, the two parts fit together when united despite being built in separate locations. You can checkout more pictures on his Instagram.
If you want some more bike hacks, check out this Open Source Bike Computer or this Exercise Bike Game Controller.
Continue reading “SLS AMG Velomobile” →
While bicycles appear to have standardized around a relatively common shape and size, parts for these bikes are another story entirely. It seems as though most reputable bike manufacturers are currently racing against each other to see who can include the most planned obsolescence and force their customers to upgrade even when their old bikes might otherwise be perfectly fine. Luckily, the magic of open source components could solve some of this issue, and this open-source bike computer is something you’ll never have to worry about being forced to upgrade.
The build is based around a Raspberry Pi Zero in order to keep it compact, and it uses a small 2.7 inch LCD screen to display some common information about the current bike ride, including location, speed, and power input from the pedals. It also includes some I2C sensors including pressure and temperature as well as an accelerometer. The system can also be configured to display a map of the current ride as well thanks to the GPS equipment housed inside. It keeps a log in a .fit file format as well so that all rides can be archived.
When compared against a commercial offering it seems to hold up pretty well, and we especially like that it’s not behind a walled garden like other products which could, at any point, decide to charge for map upgrades (or not offer them at all). It’s a little more work to set up, of course, but worth it in the end. It might also be a good idea to pair it with other open source bicycle components as well.
Thanks to [Richard] for the tip!