Crazy trike with rear wheel steering! - The Halfbike
So do you guys remember the tall bike I rode last week? Yeah, that thing is normal compared to this. Meet the half bike, which was hatched from a very successful kickstarter campaign last year.
So first of all, the Halfbike arrived fully assembled in a box. All I needed to do was unfold it and pump up the tires. It’s like a reverse trike. You steer the Halfbike by leaning left or right, which flexes the frame and compresses the springs on the rear axle. The frame is made of aluminum and the—stem we’ll call it, is made from wood. The engineers also went as far as to add a 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub… totally unnecessary but awesome nonetheless. There are also brakes which end up coming in handy.
Instead of making bold claims about it revolutionizing human powered transportation, the inventors have taken the honest route, saying on their website that the true advantage of the Halfbike is the fun you’ll have riding it. I can certainly get behind that. I also like the fact that it’s compact enough to easily throw in the trunk of a car or carry up some stairs. So before you make arguments about it’s practicality, you need to understand that the Halfbike is built for fun.
The day I received the Halfbike it was raining, but it cleared up late in the afternoon. The plan was to ride it for a few hours and get footage for Friday’s video. I neglected to account for the learning curve.
At first glance the Halfbike looks like it would operate like a scooter, but it feels like nothing you’ve ever ridden before. I immediately hated it, and regretted my commitment to ride 2 miles to the park. Look at how I hunch over the bars, and struggle to steer it. Look at how I’m dripping with sweat after less than a mile. I thought, why not just use a bike, or a skateboard? Hell, my unicycle is easier than this, but that’s when it clicked—my unicycle took me over an hour to even get a few feet on. To pass judgement on the Halfbike after 20 minutes wasn’t fair. At the park I let some people try the half bike, and most could barely go a few feet on it.
As more people tried the Halfbike I realized that the engineers really had created something totally new. This felt nothing like a bike, or a scooter, or anything. Imagine if you had never seen or tried a bicycle before, how skeptical you would be about staying up on it. Just like a bike or a unicycle, the Halfbike becomes second nature once your brain figures out how it works.
So the real question is, what is the Halfbike like once you get comfortable on it? Well first of all it’s nowhere near as tiring. On day one I would have rather walked than ride the Halfbike, but that’s because I wasn’t standing up straight and relaxing. Steering is also a lot like a skateboard, where you lean your body first and naturally let the board follow. The rear wheel steering lets you make some pretty sharp turns, and it actually reminds me a bit of the swing bike. Although I’m not a pro yet, I think you could pump the Halfbike by zig zagging fluidly.
I was able to go pretty fast too, but I rarely shifted out of the lowest gear on the Sturmey Archer hub. That tells me that the Halfbike has plenty of headroom once you get more comfortable on it. I’m sure I’ll get faster as time goes on.
As you could imagine, my ultimate plan was to jump stuff. Because its design is so simple, the Halfbike is pretty rugged. I also crashed it quite a few times with no issues.
I made an executive decision to stop trying 360’s on the Halfbike, for now. But, I think a 360 could absolutely be done on a Halfbike with some practice.
As for getting around town, it’s really not too bad. The fact that it’s so compact does make the Halfbike convenient to grab and go on. The only problem is that it’s hard to ride with one hand for any distance, so if you like to sip a coffee while riding around town there’s no easy way to do it. On a bike or skateboard this isn’t an issue, but I think I found a solution.
The Halfbike does in fact deliver on its promise of being a totally unique experience. Most human powered transportation devices claiming to be new are really just variations of bikes and scooters, but your brain actually needs to write a new algorithm to ride a Halfbike. Just like the other freak bikes on this channel, the Halfbike doesn’t solve any problems or revolutionize transportation. It’s just a new way to have fun. So kudos to the Halfbike team for creating something that’s actually original. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll see you next time.
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+2 1. Judge-Jake commented 5 years ago