Meet TwiCycle: the radical new concept bike that combines the strenuousness of hand-powered cycling with the practicality of riding a see-saw in traffic.
Are you ready to play Bad Bike Design Bingo?
What issue is the TwiCycle aiming to address? The non-issue every seasoned cyclist has joked about and ignored because it's not an issue: lack of upper body workout while riding. Want another efficient way to address that? Pushups. Or schlep a bike bag in each hand once you're off the bike. Or buy a $24.95 set of weights. Or carry gigantic cans of peaches around at all times because that's still less irrational than this design.
Workouts aren't supposed to be comfy per se, but balancing your body weight on the sternum and lung region while pumping your appendages around doesn't sound like a relaxing way to work up a sweat. It sounds totally goddamn uncomfortable. Moving the densest part of your body up, down, back and forth while riding would be a giant ache producer. You'd need a great bike fit (and existing fitness) to avoid overexerting your lower back and neck, and if there are boobs involved I bet all bets are off.
I'm not even going to talk about the chest callouses.
TwiCe the chest pain. But cheaper than breast reduction surgery?
3. Proprietary Parts
Props to TwiCycle for apparently using readily available parts on the front drivetrain, but uh… there's a front drive train. Rotating handlebars are not industry standard, shall we say. And what type of modern road fork would accept a wheel spaced wide enough for gears? This adds up to a lot of adding up.
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Riding this thing in traffic looks like a death wish. The effective "stem" length varies dependent on the position of the hands, while the position of the chest-post seems to put your center of weight unusually far forward. To stay stable, riders are likely placing their hands at the bottom of their cycle, putting them weirdly low and wide like a fixie rider's upside down riser bars. (But not fixed in place.) None of these sound like great ingredients for a long sporty ride, and at kindest the handling is probably quite twitchy.
It probably isn't. It puts inconsistent load on your hands (which you still need to steer) while your hips are still in motion. This rests more weight than usual farther inboard than normal, and I'd bet you end up taking pretty gentle curves in order to steer steadily. You also can't reach the shifters unless you take a hand all the way off the (rotating) bars, which is an annoying and unsafe setup left behind in the early '80s. This POV video shows the bars wambling around while turning, and made me break out in a sweat. A hand-assisted AWD bike is a cool engineering problem, or fun freak bike to build for yourself.
See 3, then remember how much people enjoy paying for a bike with a single mass-produced drivetrain. Hint: they don't!
While I appreciate their no-pain-no-gain dedication, the auto-impalement system at the front seems only slightly adjustable for rider height, bike size, riding position or rider proportions. Tsk tsk.
The way they describe this thing you'd think they were selling an ATV, or were the first to invent hand powered locomotion. They aren't.
9. Wild Card
We could have stopped at 3, but these guys filled the entire board. They even nailed the Wild Card slot by putting a sharp chainring inches from your face and calling it efficient innovation, which takes some guts. Well done!
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Hand cycles are in no way laughable on their own. Appropriate technology in sports equipment has come a long hard way towards being light and well-designed, but this is… something else entirely. If you want to see what serious hand bikes actually look like check out Bike-On.
I'll give the TwiCycle credit: it is eye-catching. But above all else it aims to shoehorn a minimally demanded "improvement" into an existing system without accounting for industry standards and crucial concerns around safety and comfort. Also if you say the name out loud you sound like a toddler.
The final Bad Bike Design Bingo score: 9/9. Nice work!
Would you ride one? Do you have other Bingo contenders?