With a totally unique upright riding position, front wheel drive, and the ability to assemble it in different configurations, the Bellcycle might just be weird enough to catch on.
I've been sitting on this post for quite some time now, waiting for the actual campaign to be launched, but it's just so dang cool that I can't wait any longer. And even though I'm already the proud owner of 3 very well used bikes and have never bought a bike without riding it first, I'm seriously considering one of these.
The Bellcycle, which is the brainchild of Alex Bell, a cyclist in NYC, is completely different from just about any other bike out there, except for perhaps the penny farthing, and its compact design, modular nature, and distinctive riding style are a fresh take on bicycle design. It's not only the configuration of the bike that is different, it's the idea behind it that really stands out.
"The goal of this project is to create a bicycle which is smaller, cheaper, and more modular than "regular" bicycles. It can be assembled from a variety of materials and does not require any welding. You can build it in a NYC apartment or an Antarctic research station." - Hackaday
According to the Bellcycles website, the bike will be able to be built into a two-wheeler, a tricycle, a cargo bike, or an e-bike, depending on the rider's needs, and although it will be sold in kit format, the 100+ piece bike will be able to be built with just a few tools. Learning to ride the completed bike is said to take a little bit of practice, and cyclists can expect to ride it "a few hours before they are riding in traffic."
You've got questions, I've got questions, everybody has questions about the Bellcycle.
It’s different. It’s fun. It’s weird.
At this point, the design of the bike isn't better than a conventional bike, according to the website, but as Bell writes, "it has some characteristics that could make it smaller. That could make it simpler. That could make it cheaper. That could make it modular."
The Bellcycle is open source, modular, and looks to be DIY enough to appeal to the cycle-hackers and pedal-powered experimenters, as well as those looking for a new mechanical and physical challenge, and those who just want to ride a bike that turns heads. It's also got a strange and yet somehow effective drivetrain:
Here's a full playlist from Bell that gives a lot more details on the bike:
This penny farthing-ish bike isn't for sale yet, and it isn't even in the crowdfunding phase, but rumor has it that a campaign is in the works. If you want to stay in the know about Bellcycles, there's an email signup form on the website, or follow along on Facebook or Twitter.