Sunday, December 15th, 2019

New meaning for Water Cycle

Published on October 14, 2014 by   ·   No Comments


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Us human beings are an innovative lot and, not content to be land-bound, we’re always looking for new ways to take to the water.

The geared safety bike was invented in 1876 and, lo and behold, only 50 years later, the concept was used by an anonymous Frenchman (whose name sadly appears to have been lost in the mists of time) to produce the first amphibious bike – the Cyclomer.

In the intervening 80-odd years, all sorts of people-powered vehicles have braved the waves ranging from the humble pedalo (with or without slide), an array of pedal kayaks, and a number of hybrids – the weirdest being the aqua skipper whose hydrofoil wings and fibreglass spring let you fly across the water by hopping up and down.

In a neat twist, the bike sinks when you stop – there’s nothing like the threat of drowning to encourage you to burn off those extra calories.

The latest and coolest water bike to be launched is the Schiller X1 created by Californian Company Schiller Bikes.

According to Schiller, the X1 is “the most advanced production water bike in the world”. It may look like a floating exercise bike, but it tops out at eight knots, which is not to be sniffed at.

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Schiller Bikes started life as the BayCycle Project, a group of likeminded individuals trying to find a safe way to commute across San Francisco Bay on a bike.

It was as part of this project that company founder, Judah Schiller, crossed the Bay on a water bike.

“Last September I made the first ever bike ride across the San Francisco Bay”, explains Schiller. “Back then I was using an old Italian Da Vinci-esque flotation system that I attached a road bike to, which actually worked, but it was not a very good user experience.

It had all sorts of inefficiencies and I said I’m going to make the best water bike in the world and that’s where this all started.”

Da Vinci-esque is very apt as the crossing was achieved using a rebranded, off-the-shelf Shuttle Bike Kit, or SBK, which was designed and built near Da Vinci’s stomping ground in Milan, northern Italy.

The SBK consists of two inflatable pontoons which pack down into a rucksack and enable any bike to be converted into a water bike.

Schiller also ran an Indiegogo campaign but the project failed to meet its $50,000 target before closing in November 2013.

However, it appears that the production money was eventually raised and the project went ahead and culminated less than a year later in the launch of the Schiller X1.

The X1 uses a two pontoon system similar to the SBK however, rather than just strapping on any old bike, the X1 comes with a hard-anodized aircraft‐grade aluminium bike.

The thrust comes from a proprietary drive train which employs Gates carbon drive belts, flexible shafts, and twin oscillating propellers which, for maximum conversion of energy to propulsion, uses pure rotary motion rather than right angle gears.

The whole kit and caboodle weighs in at only 45 lbs and fits easily in the boot of a car. Once you arrive at your destination it takes just ten minutes for an experienced person to assemble.

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All that technology doesn’t come cheap though – the recommended retail price for the X1 is $6,495. Or, if you want something a little fancier, a Founder’s Edition, only 250 will be manufactured.

With a “wet-dipped mirror-chrome frame”, and your name engraved on that frame, it will set you back an eye-watering $8,775.

If that’s out of your price range you can always invest in something Da Vinci-esque that fits in a rucksack, the SBK retails at around $1,500, but of course you have to buy your own bike.

www.schillerbikes.com
www.shuttlebike.it

 

 

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