DEVELOPED BY DESIGNERS from Schwinn Csepel Zrt, the Stringbike swaps out the chain and gears of normal bikes for a pulley-driven system that uses a polyethylene cord. According to the group, their “symmetric driving system” both balances out the weight of the Stringbike along its central axis, making for a more comfortable ride and allowing injured cyclists to favor one leg while recovering.
Chainless bikes have been around for well over a century. The conventional design replaces the chain and Derailleur gears with with a closed drive shaft mechanism, much like in a car. The setup has some advantages to it, including less mess and the ability to change gears while stopped. It also requires less maintenance.
The most serious downside to shaft-driven bikes is that they’re up to 5% less efficient than chain-driven models. They also have a relatively smaller gear set, and therefore range of speeds.
The Stringbike purports not only to fix that shortcoming, but to improve on chained bikes’ performance as well. When the cyclist pedals, the motion rotates a pair of kidney-shaped plates, which drive a pair of metal arms up and down. As the arms move, they push and pull the drive cable, causing the bike’s wheels to spin.
The designers say that the cable makes for a smoother ride than a chain. I’m excited to find out how the bike performs, but it might be a while: no plans to release the Stringbike in the US have been announced yet.
Read about three recent developments in bicycle tourism on Matador Trips.