Inventor Maxwell von Stein, a recent graduate of The Cooper Union, has created a flywheel bicycle that stores forward momentum during braking to make acceleration quicker and easier when it’s time to go again.
Yes, adding a 15lb Porsche flywheel to any bike is bound to make the handling a bit off, but the concept is quite good. And it’s aimed at improving cars fuel efficiency, using our beloved bicycle as a test mule. Currently, flywheels are used in cars to maintain revs between shifts and keep the rotation of the driveshaft smooth while pistons are pounding away in an engine. They’re also partly responsible for helping slow the car when downshifting – like in this bicycle, which claims to help reduce speed by 20% when engaged during braking – by absorbing some of the rotational energy transmitted back into the system from the wheels. If Gran Turismo has taught me anything, it’s that lighter weight flywheels help the engine rev up faster, but they don’t carry the engine’s momentum as well when the foot’s off the gas, so striking the right balance between mass and weight will be one of the challenges in the progress of this design. We’d say this is a pretty great start.