Bicycle Industry Innovation
I’ve heard it said there are more patents for bicycle related inventions than for any other industry. Is that true? If it is, then what drives bicycle industry innovation?There is definitely a lot of it. Please put your thoughts in the comments below.
Head Tilting Innovation
Most innovations are subtle and sometimes hard to see. Others, like this bike recently spotted at the Colorado Springs Velo garage sale, are head turners. While most people walked right by without noticing, this is a stand-out piece. If you happen to glance down and see the mega-length crank arms, it causes a double take. What? The instant thought is “Wow, how long are those cranks?!?! Then, you notice there’s more to it.
This is a cool bike from many years ago. It’s the child of breeding a stair-stepper with a bike, and though it’s a bit weird, it serves those that have limited mobility in their legs. (At least that’s one explanation.) Others, like Weird Bike Stuff has some different comments, but it’s all history now.
The cool thing about innovation is seeing the light go on as people wrap their heads around something different. No, those are not just really long cranks in a traditional sense. In this case, the feet go up and down instead of around. The the result going down the road is exactly the same — riding 2 wheels, human powered, down the road — but the leg / pedal action is definitely different.
It’s fascinating to watch as people look and think and finally start to see the picture. (That’s not a judgement, just an observation because we all do it to some extent or another.)
Does it work? Yes, it does, but would you want it? Let’s go with the historical perspective and note that these bikes are only collectors items at this point. They did produce them, but they were not widely distributed. Perhaps the acceptance would have been more if they had been more visible? Or, probably not.
That said, the concept of hub drive in this generalized way is not dead. The String Bike of this post is new and similar – but different. The idea is at least good enough to get a second go by another inventor.
I love seeing bicycle industry innovation in all its forms. And, I also enjoy innovating with you in the bike industry, because invention breaks out of “the box”.
From the kooky to the genius, it all has a place. Some ideas are entertaining, others are thought provoking, and we wonder what brought on that creativity? In our society we expect the new and improved, and that’s so true of bicycle industry innovation too. Websites and YouTube are full of new tech. I love seeing creativity, and I love meeting creative people.
Perhaps most fascinating for me is how some inventors succinctly see areas for invention, but fail to see reasons others won’t embrace their innovation. NIH is one reason, and money is another. Yet, looking at bikes like Alenax and knowing the effort that goes into producing them, it gives room for pause.
Bicycle Industry Innovation
What cool or crazy bicycle industry innovation have you seen? Send a picture if you have one. More importantly, what inventions have you seen that you thought should have come to market, but didn’t for some reason? I’ve seen a few at shows like Interbike (when that existed) and Outdoor Industry Markets, among others. Too bad I don’t have photos. If you’ve seen some, or can describe some, please share.
Have a wonderful day!