The Flywheel Bicycle

What if every time you put the brakes on your bicycle, you were actually storing energy that later could be used to propel yourself without pedaling? From a strictly physics perspective, whenever you do brake (whether that be in any moving vehicle), you’re losing all the kinetic energy you amassed while accelerating. Engineering student Maxwell von Stein thought all that overcompensating of pedaling was senseless. The New York City cycling commuter sought a way to harness “regenerative braking energy” to help him to ride more efficiently through perilous urban landscapes.

Maxwell von Stein, a 22-year-old graduate of The Cooper Union, built bicycle that uses a flywheel to store energy. Instead of braking, Max can transfer energy from the wheel to the flywheel, which spins between the crossbars. The flywheel stores the kinetic energy until Max wants a boost, then he can transfer the energy back to the wheel using a shifter on the handlebars.

Unfortunately, the Flywheel Bicycle is not yet on the market, though it’s definitely a transportation concept worth rehearsing in a future bike market.

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