This year we've seen an overabundance of bike concepts aimed at urban commuters. At SmartPlanet alone we've looked at a folding e-bike, an ultra-light e-bike, a super-thin bike for a small apartment, a wooden bike, a glowing bike, and a bike with a reimagined basket, and, of course, the "bicycle of the future." But they're all designed with basic bicycle concepts intact: a handlebar, pedals, gears, two-wheels, and a seat.
That's why a new bicycle concept out of Germany might be the strangest bike concept we've ever seen. It's called the FLIZ and it's a hybrid between biking, running, and (in a way) flying. Instead of a seat you're harnessed in, and instead of pedals you use your feet. Other than that it's works mostly like a bike, a running bike. Or as Grist puts it, "it’s a cross between a bike, a scooter, a lifejacket, and a Flintstones car."
The designers explain the bike concept like this (in Google-translated English):
FLIZ comes from the German “flitzen“ and means speeding... with your feet... Based on the very first bike - the “Laufrad“ - it is a velocipede concept of healthy, ecological mobility in overcrowded urban space. Its laminated, innovative frame with 5 point belt system does not only mark the outstanding appearance, but first of all it provides a comfortable, ergonomic ride between running and biking. The frame integrates the rider and due to its construction it works like a suspension whereas the belt replaces the saddle and adjusts your position. These aspects reduce pressure in the crotch and distribute the body weight while running, which is a unique feature. On the bottom of the rear stays special treads are located to place and relax the feet.
Having never ridden the bike, it's hard to argue with the designers when they say the ride is "comfortable" and "ergonomic," but to me being strapped into your bike seems far from comfortable. I like the ease of hopping on and off a bike. I also wonder if the harness might actually compromise safety. I can imagine that steering and mastering the motion would take some practice. The first place I would take this bike would not be on a crowded city street. Ironically, the phrase "like learning to ride a bike" wouldn't apply here.
Still, if you're looking to get a little running (and flying) in during your bike commute, the FLIZ might be for you. There's no doubt it looks like fun a ride. Check out the video:
Photos: Via James Dyson Award