For many, this unique bike will be a trip down memory lane.
It’s environmentally friendly, definitely won’t make you saddle-sore – and also resembles a hobby horse bike. But it might take a bit more than that to convince people to invest in a Fliz bike, which replaces pedals and saddle with a harness.
THE BIRTH OF THE BICYCLE
In 1817 a ‘walking machine’ was invented by Baron von Drais, who wanted to tour stately gardens faster.
He constructed a wooden machine, with two same-size in-line wheels, the front one steerable, mounted in a frame that the rider straddled and then pushed with their feet, so they ‘glided along’.
The machine became known as the Draisienne or hobby horse and was briefly popular – but its impractical function and inability to manage rough terrain meant it’s appeal quickly faded.
It’s unique frame resembles the old style of hobby horse bike, which lacked pedals and dates back to the early 19th century. Unlike the hobby horse, it curves over the spine, whereas the older model had a rigid, flat, frame with a seat on it.
To operate the Fliz, the user has to build up speed by running and then lifting their legs to settle on foot rests at the hub of the rear wheel. Momentum then sends the rider and bike on their way, a little like cartoon stone age man Fred Flintstone’s car.
The unique bike was entered into the annual James Dyson Award for technology, innovation and design open to international students and founded by the Dyson vacuum cleaner inventor. FLIZ comes from the German word ‘flitzen’ and means speeding – but with your feet.
The concept is to provide healthy, ecological mobility in overcrowded urban spaces.
The frame has a five point belt which, despite appearances, provides a comfortable, ergonomic ride between running and biking. The belt replaces the saddle and adjusts your position.
The inspiration was the world’s first personal transport device; a two-wheeled frame which resembled a modern day cycle but without pedals. It was built by German inventor Karl Drais and unveiled in 1817.
Known as a velocipede, the student team behind the FLIZ wanted to revive that principle but making it more modern with additional benefits. The team even tested a replica of the Drais machine to pinpoint it’s failings such as the unsafe steering and over large seat. The FLIZ prototype which was made of wood and tension belts has been tested and proved to offer a comfortable ride.
The designers said: ‘The frame integrates the rider and due to its construction it works both like a suspension and like a top carrier whereas the belt replaces the saddle and adjusts your position.’ The bicycle’s website boasts about how the bike will revolutionize cycling.
The Fliz may be reminiscent of the prehistoric past, but in actuality it is a new concept bike of the future. It is currently still in the prototype phase but it is scheduled for immediate mass-production.