The Jyrobike has a motor-driven, battery-powered flywheel inside the front wheel. It came out of a Dartmouth University project where they were studying gyroscopic precession. They theorised they could simulate a bike travelling at 14-20kph by putting another disc inside the front wheel and spinning it at high speeds. A child’s instinct is to pedal slowly because they expect to fall over, but as the bike simulates the high speeds they can do exactly what their instinct tells them to do.
What do you mean by gyroscopic precession?
Gyroscopic precession is a force, just as gravity is a force. When something is spinning at high speeds it creates an invisible gravity field that counteracts normal gravity and keeps the bike upright. When a bike gets up to about 14-20 kph it becomes much more stable as the wheels have become natural gyroscopes and are keeping the bike upright and stable. If you push a bike quickly it will travel for 50 yards but if you push it slowly it will only travel a few yards before falling over. The flywheel inside the front wheel makes the bike think it is travelling at 14-20 kph when it is really only travelling a few kilometres an hour.
What about turning corners though?
It doesn’t stop you turning corners at all. I was teaching someone to cycle without a Jyrobike at the weekend and when it came to turning they put on the brakes and turned slowly. This lost them speed, stability and they fell over. The Jyrobike simulates high speeds. Gyroscopic precession is what allows motorbike riders to turn corner with their knee almost touching the ground. It gives you stability but doesn’t limit movement.
Who does this benefit?
It makes for a much more easy and less stressful learning experience for kids and parents. As an adult product we could see this helping a lot of people with disabilities like dyspraxia, autism or seniors whose balance has started to degrade. It will provide that balance assistance, similar to the effect traction control has on cars.
How long does the battery last?
The battery takes about two to three hours to charge and at full speed, which is 1600rpm, the control hub will run for three hours. There are three speed settings on the flywheel, 750rpm, 1000rpm and 1600rpm, giving different levels of assistance.
When can we look to buy one?
Backers of our Kickstarter project should be getting their bikes in January/February 2015 and then we’re looking at getting into stores in the new year and adult models in early 2015 as well.