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Pedal-powered Segway rolls out.

Currently looking for funding on Kickstarter, here’s Halfbike, a short-distance urban bike that’s one of the more, erm, intriguing crowdsourcing pitches we’ve seen.

The invention of architect Martin Angelov, Halfbike is a seatless, short-wheelbase pedal-powered trike that you steer by leaning. Martin says it’s intended for short urban rides - between the office and the train, for example — and the idea is that it’s compact enough that you can take it on the train easily, and then get it in the lift up to your office.

It’s rather like a pedal-powered Segway, though Martin clearly hopes it will be used by more than just mall ninjas.

On Halfbike’s Kickstarter page, Martin says: “It all started from my passion to optimize things that surround me and my love for bicycles. I started sketching different concepts for a simplified bike and soon reached a point where I needed to test these concepts in real life.

“For some of the early prototypes I used old bicycles and parts I found at the attic. I was amazed how well people reacted to the idea and that made me want to keep up. Along the process other people were drawn into the project creating a small team.

“After further development and experiments with various rider positions followed by even more prototypes, the desired level of control was finally achieved. What we have now is a patent pending new type of personal vehicle ready for the market.”

Martin is looking for $80,000 and with 28 days to go $24,234 has been pledged, most of it from the 25 people who have signed up to get themselves a Halfbike for $799.

Here's the Kickstarter video:

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

18 comments

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flathunt [133 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks like fun but I'd love to know how he came up with £480 for the price.

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Kim [231 posts] 2 years ago
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Humm, isn't the point of the Segway that you don't take any exercise... ?

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KiwiMike [1225 posts] 2 years ago
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no. No. NO.

Apart from as a toy for hoodies in parks, no.

I defer to people with a much better grasp of human physiology, but fundamentally we either run or sit down and cycle. When we stand for very brief periods, we lean forwards and brace with both arms. This just looks an awful, unholy mess of trying to support your weight and press down on the pedals and steer all at once.

There's a reason Segways have not taken off, and this compounds all the bad while adding nothing good. We already solved the bikes-on-public-transport thing two decades ago - it's called a Brompton. And you don't have to learn anything to use one.

...oh, and when your Kickstarter video has to resort to waffle for 95% of its duration - that's a hint that your idea might not be as clear/good as you think it is.

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pjclinch [90 posts] 2 years ago
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If I really want something smaller than my Brommie and faster than my feet I'll take my inline roller skates. They cost me rather less...

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MarcMyWords [71 posts] 2 years ago
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Absolutely ruthless with that comment but 100% spot on. Pretty pointless idea and for not many more notes you can buy yourself a pretty nice entry level road bike and have much more fun riding for miles and miles...

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jova54 [659 posts] 2 years ago
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KiwiMike wrote:

no. No. NO.

I defer to people with a much better grasp of human physiology, but fundamentally we either run or sit down and cycle. When we stand for very brief periods, we lean forwards and brace with both arms. This just looks an awful, unholy mess of trying to support your weight and press down on the pedals and steer all at once.

I was thinking the same thing. The reason cycling is so efficient is because the mass of the body is being supported allowing the leg and lower back muscles to work as efficiently as possible.

What will the 'bike-fit' industry do if this takes off?  4

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pdw [55 posts] 2 years ago
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With the CoG so high and far forward, the braking performance must be terrible. The slightest application of brakes and you'll go over the front wheel.

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bikebot [2007 posts] 2 years ago
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Fantastic, something that may finally help me get my long planned staged production of Chorlton & The Wheelies off the ground.

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KiwiMike [1225 posts] 2 years ago
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bikebot wrote:

Fantastic, something that may finally help me get my long planned staged production of Chorlton & The Wheelies off the ground.

You, Sir/Madame, win The Internet.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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...The review for the Halfbike was merely a two word review which simply read "shit bike"....

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3cylinder [95 posts] 2 years ago
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Intriguing design, although unless I'm missing the point it looks like it doesn't fold so you've got a something that won't ride like a folding bike and won't fit in the luggage space on the train?

I'm also worried that if you had one you would have to weave from side to side all the time.....

I doubt that Segways would have ever made it big, but Segway has never had a chance to take off in the UK because it is illegal to use them on public roads or public pavements, thus they will only ever be a novelty act in center parcs or the like.

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Sudor [188 posts] 2 years ago
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Shouldn't half a bike be called an "Ike"?

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jova54 [659 posts] 2 years ago
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Sudor wrote:

Shouldn't half a bike be called an "Ike"?

More accurately it's a bi, a ke or my favourite; an ik.

It is in fact a trike, just like my first one which I had at 2 years of age and which was driven by the front wheel without gearing.

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Tovarishch [59 posts] 2 years ago
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And my pet hate - people wearing hoods to cycle (or drive). Worse than mobile phones, in my opinion.

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The _Kaner [840 posts] 2 years ago
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Is that a couple of planks that are holding the hand grip on?
Very IKEA...maybe it should be called a BIKEA
...goes and checks patents office/kickstarter funding rules...
 39 39 39

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Pub bike [164 posts] 2 years ago
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Is it possible to do a sharp turn on this, such as turning left at a traffic light controlled cross-roads?

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welly2 [11 posts] 2 years ago
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500 quid?! For that? They must be mad.

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DaveE128 [608 posts] 2 years ago
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pdw wrote:

With the CoG so high and far forward, the braking performance must be terrible. The slightest application of brakes and you'll go over the front wheel.

An excellent point!

It would appear that due to this severe flaw in the concept, the brake may work on the tiny wheels at the back. We all know how effective rear brakes are at speed.

For urban cycling, this thing seems to have all the disadvantages of a unicycle (braking distance, learning to ride a new thing), a folding bike (less efficient, small wheels are less comfortale), a kids tricycle (looks daft, tiny wheels fall into the smallest potholes), a bmx/trials bike (nowhere to sit) and a road bike (can't fit it on busy trains).

I can't think of a single advantage that this thing offers over any one of those bikes.

Quite happy to see someone try new ideas though. I just wouldn't consider spending any money on this particular one!