Jyrobike - Auto Balance Bicycle - Thoughts

by Mombee   June 4, 2014  

Just spotted a video on BBC News for a kid's bike with a gyroscopic front wheel to maintain stability while they learn to ride a bike, and I'm really torn with the concept.
Having gone through the anguish of having one son who seemed to take an age to learn how to ride a bike (but who is now unstoppable), I can see how this wouldprobably help to calm a parent's concerns - but is it creating a very false sense of security around the child's development?
My gut-feel is that, while the gyroscope arrangement helps give the child those first few metres of confidence (adding balance to the bike), does it then limit their natural learning process… and when the gyroscope ultimately gets switched off, do they then take several steps back in that learning process as they re-adapt their cycle skills to a 'normal' bike.
The really exciting area where I do think that this could work wonders is with children and people with compromised motor skills, where the jyrobike could be the perfect alternative to a trike.
Like I say, I'm torn on this idea, but I do hope that it gets off the ground… Their Kickstarter site is at - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/529668138/jyrobike-auto-balance-bic...

5 user comments

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Great idea, It has me thinking now. Could I get a 16" control hub and lace it into a folding bike. Thus giving me the ability to travel with a bike and actually be able to ride short distances without having to rely on taking my recumbent everywhere.

OR if I could lace a 700c wheel together with some adjustment to the hub to take small spokes.... Nerd

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8902 posts]
4th June 2014 - 11:37

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I saw the link on bbc news website, but have not yet listened to/watched the video.

Isn't the idea that you start with a high rotational momentum (fast spinning gyro) to begin with, which gives very high stability, but then over time as the child gets more and more familiar with it all, you dial back the rotational momentum, making the balancing effect smaller and smaller? Eventually, you are at the point where you just have the rotational momentum of the wheel.

If that's right, then it sounds pretty good - I have found stabiliser wheels a bit of a nuisance in certain situations with my children. However, question of whether they can do it at a low enough price to make it attractive vs. alternative options (given how fast children grow out of bikes at that age).

I am sure this is not a new concept. I saw a video/TV programme featuring exactly the same idea quite a few years ago.

posted by Tjuice [111 posts]
4th June 2014 - 17:17

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That is just how it works Tjuice and then you can remove it totally.

It is not a bad price just now, considering what you would pay to get a small bike with stabilisers or a balance bike and then a bigger bike once they can pedal properly.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8902 posts]
4th June 2014 - 19:39

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$129 for the control hub and $299 for the complete bike and wireless controller?

That does seem to be pretty good value, I would have expected this to be way, way more expensive.

posted by farrell [1483 posts]
5th June 2014 - 10:15

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Hi Mombee, and everyone else!

Rob here, founder of Jyrobike Cool Glad to see some discussion going on around the product! Thought I'd drop in to answer a couple of queries. We have made a short video explaining the key features of the Control Hub and I'd recommend you have a quick view as it covers most of your questions. You can find it on our Kickstarter page under the heading "How it works".

Yes, most children will be riding by themselves after one days session on a Jyrobike. However, only with the gyro turned on. The rider still needs several outings with the gyro at its highest setting to learn correct turning, countersteering, braking and stopping.

Parental encouragement and coaching is critical. If a parent thinks that a Jyrobike will do all the work for them, unfortunately they will be disappointed. As the riders skills improve, you can slowly dial down the gyro (balance assistance) so that the bike does less and the rider does more, until it is eventually turned off. Think of it like a gradual helping hand that promotes and actually teaches correct riding skills. Unlike stabilisers, it does not do 100% of the work. If a rider leans heavily, they will fall using a Jyrobike. The rider must be accompanied by a parent or teaching. In a lot of ways, it helps both parties make the learning process much easier, but can’t do it by itself. Yes, you can definitely turn, steer and lean when riding a Jyrobike. It provides just enough balance to build confidence (half the challenge) whilst forcing the rider to learn the rest by themselves.

We think it gets kids playing outdoors without the anxiety of falls. It gets them exploring, exercising and enjoying the art of riding from the very first pedal. Lastly, when you are ready, simply remove the flywheel (the heavy bit) and the wheel becomes as light as a standard bicycle wheel. If you want to train another rider, re-install the flywheel. Keep the feedback coming. It is really appreciated and we learn so much from listening to the community. Check our website blog and Kickstarter.com for lots more info.

Cheers! Rob.

posted by Jyrobike [1 posts]
5th June 2014 - 15:14

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