It’s one thing to try and innovate on the principles of the bicycle, a technology that had its last major shakeup when we made the wheels the same size and added brakes. And a seat. Everything since then has just been refinement of the standard, like frame redesign and component tweaks. What the Stringbike does, chucking out the traditional chain and replacing it with a bit of string, probably counts as a radical departure from the cycling norm.
And yet it moves. Stringbike hails from Hungary, with the bulk of design for the innovative cycle taking place in Budapest, and the company is making and shipping some of the weirdest cycles you’ve ever seen. At least, they’re weird if you’re taking a hard look at the StringDrive which replaces the chain system we’re so used to. Or if you opt for one of the company’s Dsigners series cycles. We’re particularly confused by the Alligator.
The string-powered conveyances have some advantages, though only a proper cyclists would be able to tell you if they’re all that effective. StringDrive bikes should be quieter, require less grease and, since they’re chucking the chain, even lighter than most. They should also allow for different resistances for each leg due to the drive’s construction (see below). Handy if you’ve suffered a slight injury, we’d think. The bike as a whole is a little famous as well, having made an appearance in Blade Runner 2049 — that’s how futuristic they come across.
If you want a Stringbike you’re going to have to leap through a few hoops to get one, though. They’re mostly only available in limited quantities in overseas retail at the moment, though the company is shipping internationally online, and you’re going to be paying at least R68,000 for the carbon road bike version — not counting shipping and all those lovely extras that come with buying goods from overseas. Still, worth it for the heads you’ll turn on the Sunday cycle. Right?