Gyroscopic Wheel Replaces Training Wheels on Bicycles

(YouTube Link)

Bicycle maker Gyrobike has invented the "Gyrowheel" -- a wheel with a motor-driven gyroscope inside that helps keep it upright. The manufacturer hopes to market it as a replacement for traditional training wheels on kids' bicycles. Nathan Barry of GeekDad writes:

It aims to replace traditional training wheels or stabilizers and to eradicate the bad habits that they teach kids when learning to ride a bike - leaning away from a turn and constantly putting a foot down at the first sign of a wobble when they’re eventually taken off. The Gyrowheel uses the “gyroscopic precession” of the independently spinning disk inside it to stabilize the bike. The force created when the disk is turned - via a rechargeable battery - is powerful enough to hold a wheel upright at very low speeds (i.e. virtually stopped), and can actually make a bike look like it has a “Ghost Rider” as the videos below show (and there are plenty more on the Gyrobike site).

Product Page via GeekDad (where there's an additional video)

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Training wheels only make it harder to learn how to ride a bike. If kids start on a "kick bike" they learn to balance naturally and can transition to a regular bike earlier and easier. You can make a kick bike by simply removing the pedals from a regular bike. When they are coasting with their feet up for a good percentage of the time they are ready for pedals.
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I saw the gyro-wheel at Interbike last week. Two immediate things stand out: First, while the wheel stands up on its own, it seems as soon as a child is put on the bike it will begin to tilt to one side. The gyro wheel will not keep a child from falling. Secondly, the presenters said it is designed for kids 4-8 years. Unfortunately, they’ve already missed the market. Balance bikes in Europe (and now in the US) allow children as young as 2 years to learn balance, coordination and agility…..the three hardest things about riding a bike. The pedaling is the easy part. So, the inventors of the gyro wheel seemed to have missed the world progressing around them (young children learning the skills at age 2) while they worked on their product. It is a cool concept. I just think it has a very limited audience given the success of balance trainers.
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