Dear God, what is that thing?

treehugger | HyperBike: Hype or Hope?

HypeBike.jpg

Here at the Hugger, we love all kinds of bikes, and all kinds of riders: Low riders, tourists, commuters, racers, messengers. Even folks on trikes and those crazy MTV bikes from the ’80s where the rear wheel could pivot (what were those called?).

So it’s hard to harsh on somebody with something a little different. But the HyperBike reminds me of Mark Twain’s description of golf: It’s a good walk spoiled. Theoretically, it’s an attempt to take concepts from racing wheelchairs and upsize them to create a new kind of human-powered vehicle, one that uses hand as well as foot propulsion.

The HyperBike’s inventor has a working prototype and is looking for investors, so perhaps that excuses some of his more dubious marketing. He throws around 50 mph as an achievable speed, and says his bike will be better able to mix with car and truck traffic because its speed is closer to theirs. Unfortunately, in the demo video, we never see one exceed rest-home speeds. And each time the prototype approaches 5 mph, the outrigger wheel out front heads for the clouds until the rider (walker? prisoner?) slows back down. Maybe the production model will have wheelie bars

Also posted to Gizmodo, where many of the readers point out problems with the design: absurdly high aerodynamic drag (compared to recumbents or uprights) and a size that requires secure parking – you can’t just lean it against the wall of an apartment or office.

The inventor is interviewed in today’s Hamptons Online. Maybe there’s more here than meets the eye, but I’m dubious.