By Tyler Falk
Posting in Architecture
Have you ever dreamed of a transportation device that combines biking, running, and flying? Probably not. But you should check out this bike concept anyway.
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
Sep 3, 2012
Having a crash with that bike will cause immensely more damage to the "rider" than with a normal bike. A normal bike crash the rider is thrown and usually dissipates the energy of the crash with a roll over a hood or on the ground (unless he or she dead stops into the side of a building or vehicle.) This bike, you're attached to it, and a crash will force a skid rather than a roll, or worse, the bike will act as a lever with the striking object causing a lever effect which will catapult the rider a much greater distance. Noooooo Thank you!
I'm pretty sure this video was going around 10 or 15 years ago, or at least a video of the same bike.
What is hang gliding but hanging in a harness beneath a great wing that carries your weight? What is this thing but hanging in a harness beneath a wheeled frame that carries your weight? The sensations would be almost identical without the risk of falling hundreds or even thousands of feet and killing yourself? In fact, this thing could probably mount a kite wing on the top of the frame and offer true lift-off capability when riding downhill. Control would be almost identical (though shifting your weight forward and back would be more difficult) and you wouldn't have to worry about stumbling and overturning when you land.
This is by no means flying. This is by all indications an over-complication of a very simple thing. Not only does this contraption not become airborn, it looks almost as fun to wear as a male chastity belt, however by a rough estimate of the pressure points which would be brought into play, a chastity belt may not be needed due to the eventual emasculation of the intrepid experimenter. Why do we allow these dirt hippies to think every odd thing they think up is an improvement? I knew a guy who built a small pyramid in his house and actually tossed his refrigerator. He said pyramid power was the wave of the future...uh,huh. I asked him where the ice maker was. Bad idea. He became ballistic over the idea that having ice in drinks was dangerous and could cause apoplexy or something, sucking down a warm soy karob smoothie(none for me thanks) he said this would cut his electric bill till it was "Too Cheap To Meter". I didn't mention that Reddi Kilowatt had said that very same thing about nuclear power. I didn't bother reminding him that his electricity was included in his rent. About a week later he had food poisoning, which was of course because secret agents from the electric company were plotting to make people who used alternatives to expensive electricity seem unhinged, unstable, and goofy...wow, they had him three for three even before the pyramid...those guys are good! Now he says he has a bigger pyramid in his bedroom, he says it makes sex better. His life partner says quietly (maybe for him). Who knows what he will find to do next with pyramid power...maybe find another girlfriend since the last one was "too hung up to relax and enjoy sex", I suppose that would be the 1.5 minutes she claimed he averaged. Yeah, she was just rebeling against pyramids. I can promise you one thing, he has already ordered one of these orthinoptors or whadevathahell it is, I don't go around him anymore, he got angry when I told him adding alkaseltzer tablets to spoiled goats milk and putting it in the tank would make his ancient Volvo get 300 mpg. I forgot to mention this was only if he drove it in a pryamid. Silly me.
I love the style. I noticed that he did not demonstrate the "mountain bike" technique. A light weight pedal version should be available based on the same style and materials.
Until 'designers' begin understanding basic engineering--instead of 'art'--we are doomed to a continual bombardment of items which have designs based not upon function, but upon eye apeal like culpture. At least with architects, we require them to have someone do engineering so we don't kill quite so many people. Nice sculpture. Impractical vehicle....
A design like this could only come from a nation that designed the lethal Auto Union Grand Prix cars (and the similarly lethal early VWs and Porsches), the Heinkel and Messerschmitt bubble cars, the plastic-reinforced-with-cotton Trabant and the Goggomobil. A great joke, but a joke nevertheless. And who knows, it might stimulate someone to move on from this idea and do better.
The very first models of a bicycle were a frame and two inline wheels, the front one steerable, no pedals or chains, etc. The earliest was made of wood. You sat astraddle the frame on the seat and awkwardly ran until you could balance after you get rolling, much like a modern standard bike with no crank and the chain off. That was it! No shock absorption, whatsoever! Ow!
Any idea is stupid or brilliant from some person's point of view. Try to keep an open mind - this is still a concept. I can see lots of pros, but I don't like the straps through the crotch! Additional places for carrying packages would be good, and a quick release for the harness, or maybe do something other than the harness...
There seems to be something there, bits and parts of it, but not as constituted. What I would like to see is the opposite, where instead of hanging from a harness, the person lays on top of the bike, distributing the weight across more surface area than just a seat and also lowering the center of gravity. You can even tilt it up a bit so that the person has better visibility. Then, I see no reason not to add pedals and a gearing mechanism to get the advantage of a wheeled bicycle. I do like the option of just propelling myself forward with feet only...very good for crowds, or at stop lights, crosswalks and so on. But at the same time, if your feet are ideally positioned to reach pedals that could be directly connected tot he rear wheel, but with some chainless gearing system. Needs work...but...keep working on it!
I see broken necks, ankles, and mayhem as soon as you get too tired and sloppy with that. You are trapped in a dangerous cage, there...
Its useless concept. Hover bike is much batter and great idea for future. Read here http://goodtechsystems.com/hoverbike-ride-of-the-future/
this contraption seems to be going back to the balance bike - recommended so that kids can experience "balance" without the complication of "power" (pedals) - these are coming back into popularity. cf the early Safety bicycle, the "hobby horse" &&&
If for some reason you are upset and find yourself flat on the ground, you will still be strapped to your vehicle. I think that this will be a very unsafe bike to ride. Think about all those little and not so little munchkins who will help you fall while riding/running in the city.
I'm afraid that once I started riding this bi-cycle, that I would not want to get off of it. I quiet sense of flight. Sure the ergonomics look bad enough, but really. It is not a mountain bike. It is not a racing bike nor road bike. It is a gently cruise that will wear out you shoes, but who cares I've got wind in my hair.
Smart Planet apparently has no QC at all regarding the submissions it accepts. Not every retarded idea deserves media attention and this one is so bad it's embarrassing to think it came from someone of the same species. Allowing the bikers body wt. to compress the chest cavity against/abdomen the straps is contradictory to the basic definition of"ergonomic:" "Designed to minimize physical effort and discomfort, and hence maximize efficiency." World English Dictionary. It also conflicts with optimizing basic metabolism - interferes with cardiac pumping efficiency, restricts with lung expansion and circulation in general - during physical exertion. The human rib cage is "free floating" with flexible attachment points for a reason - and anything that restricts it is counter productive - and generally unhealthy. Once again we have "designers" with an insufficient amount of technical training (physiology,biology, engineering, etc.) to adequately define the design problem and be able to propose realistic potential solutions - at least ones that aren't absurd. Of course tossing out mechanical advantage in the propulsion system (gearing) is also - counter "ergonomic" and difficult to explain logically if not intellectually. All in all - this "design" is neither "ergonomic," nor does it represent any advancement in the concept of the bicycle.
It offers no energy saving over running so why buy it. No basket, can't wear a backpack, not a commuter vehicle.
How many kilometers per shoe? It needs a better place to rest your feet. How is it uphill? It also appears you could injure your ankles if not careful.
I hate to say it, but that bike looks extremely uncomfortable!! You can't straigthen your back and staps in your crotch don't seem more comfortable than a bike seat. Sorry, not for me.
What do you mean by "Height adjustments"? What do you mean by "Emergency Stop"? Efficiency? Ok, I'll grant that a kid would need a smaller frame than an adult and a 6'tall + adult a larger frame than an average adult. Bicycles do come in various frame sizes, why wouldn't this. I'm puzzled about the emergency stop argument because if you even looked at the images you'd see this thing has not one, but TWO disk brakes--front and rear. Your feet are for GO, not stop. And the overall efficiency would be incredible because your feet aren't carrying your (average) 200 pounds, so all that walking musculature can go for acceleration, not load bearing. You could "walk" 50 miles in a day with one of these and hardly feel it. Get tired? Coast a bit. I believe it's far more practical than you think.
With this design you're somewhat protected by an exo-skeletal frame where you could possibly load a hundred pounds or more on top with no added weight on your shoulders. I could imagine an Infantry unit using these to travel 50-100 miles in a day with full packs and still arrive reasonably fresh and able to fight. I could see commuters using these to negotiate tight European or Asian streets with their typical outsized loads weaving between gridlocked cars. The quick-release harness would be a must, though.
Sketch it out and see if you can get a bike maker build you one. You could probably patent it and maybe even make money on it. Personally, I like the fact that the frame supports your weight on this design rather than a tiny seat supporting you on a thin metal tube. The harness is little different from a parachute or hang-glider harness where some flyers soar for hours without effort. To me, this is a great idea, albeit a little clumsy mounting and dismounting.
Unlike every other type of bike, you've got a frame over your shoulders that actually help protect you in the event of impact with another object and not send you flying into traffic. Remember, your car is a cage, too.
Though I would love to have one myself, I wouldn't consider the hoverbike in the same class as a bike, at least as a commuting alternative. It wouldn't fit in a bike lane, and would require a standard parking space, unless it could use its hovering ability to allow it to park above cars.
Some months ago, SmartPlanet suggested thorium reactors might be the solution to our energy problems with equal rashness and lack of expertise...
Think about it. You have no weight on your feet at all, so the impact on knees, ankles, hips and other joints is minimized--saving energy to the point that you could *walk* several miles in the same time it takes you to jog one mile with a lot less effort than jogging. I could see maybe a hinge at the shoulders so you could stand upright without having to lift the front wheel off the ground. You also seem to ignore the possibilities for carrying a lot more on this than a mere backpack--without carrying that weight on your shoulders. This thing is ingenious!
Looked to me, from the video, that the riders "package" was surrounded by the "5 point harness". At 250 pounds, I cant imagine having my manhood suspended from this contraption for very long. And IF I were to fall, where do those straps align ? No Thanks.
Way back before bicycles with pedals that was the same way a bicycle was moved. Using feet. This is not a new concept but a very old concept that did not work very well.
Looks like the inconvenience of walking combined with the awkwardness of a bicycle. It might have been more convincing had the guy in the video not weave so awkwardly. He never looked comfortable or relaxed. Also, wearing a daypack is out, so how does one carry personal items?
Looked like he would keep scuffing his heels on the back tire... I would also like to see what happens when the guy comes to a curb... I can negotiate a curb without any issue on a regular bike, I don't see this thing as handling modern obstacles very well...
at 1:30 he nearly runs over a kid. He should have been more careful around tots... and what does he do, just tuck his feet up by the rear wheels and hold them there? I hope he uses velcro, not laces on his shoes! And then there's the impacts at speed with the ground, no wonder he weaves. The last thing I want to do when I'm on my bike is put a foot down.
DWFields, you have made several posting attempting to defend the value of this design against the numerous criticisms. In most cases your defense seems based on a lack of understanding of the problems. I will try to clarify the most serious problems: 1. Safety. You claim additional safety relating the frame of this design to the cage of an automobile frame. This would only be valid for a car which required the drivers head to be sticking out the window wedged between two frame members with his arms wrapped around frame members to reach the steering wheel. In this design, the frame had a relationship to the rider's head analogous to a bottle opener opener to a beer cap....not a protective frame. Broken arm potential also looks intimidating. The frame further appears to disallow the possibility of wearing a helmet. 2.Function: The lack of pedals or foot pegs creates a lack of ability for the rider to shift weight meaningfully to the left or right. The frame further limits the riders motion by limiting movement vertically. This is harmful because it limits the riders ability to change position for maneuvering, balance, or in an attempt to see beyond obstructions. Numerous problems come to mind.Quick transitions from flat to uphill or downhill to flat can create conditions where neither of the riders feet can touch the ground...and with nothing to put them on to shift weight, if balance is lost, it won't easily be regained. Similarly, when riding on a ridge or riding transverse to a gradient (uphill to one side and downhill on the other), the bike will have a tendency to take the rider down the hill since increased lean will be required to place the foot down on that side...and since rider position is so restricted. Uphill travel has got to be difficult.....notice the video does not show any uphill scenes. . There are other problems but realistically the problems above are sufficient to eliminate it from consideration as a good idea.