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Friday Fun: Harnessing the Braking Power of a Bike

Isn’t it just the worst riding up a hill on your bike? If Maxwell von Stein’s invention catches on, riding up a hill or gaining speed after stopping at a red light will never exert much energy again.

The Cooper Union graduate integrated a 15-pound steel flywheel from a Porsche into a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) drivetrain to harness the bike’s braking energy. Basically, a transmission on the back hub of his bicycle wheel allows him to take the energy from that back wheel and put it into the flywheel, which he can then tap into to give himself a boost while riding up a hill or accelerating.

“It’s cool to get the boost, not from gasoline, but from your own energy,” von Stein exclaims!

The catch is that the flywheel only comes in handy if you’re slowing down, not when you’re coming to a full stop. Von Stein explains that in order for the flywheel to work in the case of a full stop, he would have to add a clutch between the flywheel and the rear wheel, allowing the flywheel to keep spinning, even after you come to a full stop.

The flywheel would only be a 10 percent increase in the bike’s weight, and considering the weight of the bike and the biker, the additional weight does not add much of a burden. “Why do you want a light bike? You want a light bike so it’s easier to pedal up to speed,” von Stein explained in an interview with Bike Radar. “That’s where the flywheel comes in. It’s another means of propulsion.”

Von Stein also explains that the device is best used in urban areas where bikers are required to stop and go multiple times during a commute. The flywheel would only slow down bikers during long training rides.

What do you think of Maxwell von Stein’s invention? Would you add one to your bike?

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