The ZIPcycle is the next evolution of the bicycle; increasing the efficiency and performance of the bicycle to require less input for more output. In the simplest terms, the ZIPcycle is a recumbent bicycle that has been aerodynamically optimized for less exertion and higher cruising speeds.
It is still as challenging to traverse a city by bicycle today as it was in1863 when the bicycle was invented. The bicycle has remained relatively unchanged for well over a hundred years. Meanwhile, the automobile bears little resemblance to its original form. It is time for the bicycle to change; to become more efficient. The ZIPcycle seeks to do this by applying the fabrication and aerodynamic innovations standard in the automotive industry, to the elemental and beautiful bicycle.
The standard upright bicycle hits an aerodynamic wall as it approaches 20 mph. If you have ever had the experience of riding with a 20 mph tailwind, you have experienced the elimination of this wall. By shifting and streamlining the body position of the rider, and enclosing the drag causing elements of the bicycle in a fairing, this wall again can eliminated. The modern road bicycle and rider has roughly a drag coefficient of .80, the ZIPcycle effectively drops the coefficient to .14. This reduction in drag means that about 40% less energy is required to maintain a cruising speed of 20 mph. While the average commuting bicycle cruising speed is 12 mph, imagine easily doubling that cruising speed, while eliminating the handlebar strain and seat pressure of the conventional bicycle, and preserving the open air experiential component of the conventional bicycle. This is the promise of the ZIPcycle.
+ Key Components of the Design Include
- A die stamped monocoque aluminum chassis;
- Linked steering mechanism, connecting the handlebar to the steering tube and front wheel fork (a mechanism found in underseat steering recumbent bicycles);
- Hub shifting in the rear wheel to accommodate the necessary gearing range;
- Lubricated bearings, gears, and chains enclosed within the chassis in an internal driveshaft beam (so you will never again get grease on your clothes);
- Hollow tail-box, accessible by tilting the ventilated seat forward, spacious enough for a medium sized bag;
- Option for an in-hub motor an lithium ion battery pack to provide hill and acceleration assist functions for cyclists in hilly and mountainous regions;
- Additionally, while the intent of this concept is to preserve the traditional open-air experience of the bicycle, the chassis has been designed in tandem with a fairing, and a fairing will be a future optional component of the design.