The cycling tech world is changing rapidly, with innovations every year that offer the potential to revolutionize the sport.
However, some innovations certainly don’t offer such bountiful outcomes but are extremely unique bikes or, sometimes, just plain weird bikes.
These might be extremely creative, serving a specific purpose that can be actually used by some people, and some are just extremely cursed, a bizarre creation that might serve the needs of a certain person, but probably not anyone else.
But what are the most unique bicycles ever built? Why build such weird bikes?
In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on the weirdest bikes around. We’ll be covering:
- Ever Wanted To Fly Your Bike? The Flying Bicycle
- A Bike For Giants: The World’s Largest Rideable Bicycle
- A Whole New Meaning To A Coastal Ride: RedShark’s Water Bike
- Seat Tube? Who Needs It! Weird Bikes: The Viks Bicycle
- Fancy A Quick Lie-Down? Recumbent Bikes
- No Need For Pedals: The Walking Bike
Let’s dive in!
#1. Ever Wanted To Fly Your Bike?
Although “I’m just going for a quick bike fly” doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as “bike ride,” I’m sure many of us would be keen to fly our bikes.
But… how is that possible? Bikes don’t have wings, propellers, or any way to generate thrust without being in contact with the ground, right?
Think again! Clearly, you’ve never been confronted with the British-based competition, the (alarmingly-named) Icarus Cup.
Yes, there’s actually a competition where people compete with their self-built flying bikes.
But how do they work?
Well, there are a few different types that have been entered into the Icarus Cup, but the one that’s most recognizable as a bike is the Lazarus, a flying bike developed by the University of Southampton.
The Lazarus consists of a fuselage crafted around a fully assembled bicycle, with huge wings and a propeller that’s driven by the drivetrain.
Of course, the cassette and the chainset don’t possess the mechanical advantage to drive a large propeller by themselves, so an additional length of chain has to be added, connecting the back wheel to the propeller with some genius engineering trickery.
But, the question is, do they actually work?
Well, yes! However, they try not to take the bikes above an altitude of 15 m, just in case the wings fall off mid-flight (yikes!).
But they are actually so confident in their designs that the Lazarus – along with a couple of other bikes – are going to be ridden across the English Channel! You can watch these weird bikes take flight in this video.
Whether or not they’ll make it across the English Channel is another question, but regardless, these weird bicycles are definitely a genius invention.
However, unfortunately, they’re definitely not commercially available. They take a large amount of skill to fly and would be far too dangerous to fly around a city on your commute to work, for example!
#2. A Bike For Giants: The World’s Largest Rideable Bicycle
Well, not exactly for giants, since it can be ridden by anyone!
The world’s largest rideable bike was built by Didi Senft. Didi is a creative lover of bicycles who builds all sorts of weird and wonderful bikes, with 17 Guinness world records for various weird bicycles.
But he’s probably better known for his other profession as the Didi the Tour de France Devil.
He dresses in a full devil get-up, including horns, a trident, and red tights, and goes to each and every Tour de France. He’s become a bit of a legend in the cycling fan community for his devil exploits.
But, he also built the world’s largest rideable bike (recognized by Guinness World Records), which has a wheel diameter of a whopping 3.3 m. The total length of the bicycle is 7.8 m, with a height of 3.7 m.
Didi himself rode the bike for the Guinness World Record – dressed as a devil, of course.
Unlike the flying bike, this one doesn’t really serve a specific purpose other than to make a really big bike. Regardless, it’s an impressive accomplishment and a brave rider who wants to sit at a height of 3.7 m on their bike.
#3. the Water Bike
With land and air already ticked off, the next bold frontier for weird bikes was obvious: Water.
RedShark is a company doing exactly this. They have created a range of trimaran bicycles to allow the rider to practice cycling on water.
This is a particularly attractive concept for those who live by the sea, and like to practice water sports as well as cycling.
The bikes were designed by Josep Rudau, the CEO of RedShark, who has extensive experience in the automotive industry as well as a deep passion for bikes.
The RedShark Water Bikes consist of three entirely carbon fiber hulls for stability, as well as a carbon fiber bike frame, aero bars, and drop handlebars.
However, it doesn’t stop there. RedShark’s latest invention is the Bike Surf, which is essentially a bicycle-powered stand-up paddleboard.
RedShark claims its bicycles to be completely eco-friendly, as well as quick and easy to set up and transport. They’re basically machines that allow you to practice cycling out on the water.
Who wouldn’t want to try that!?
#4. Seat Tube? Who Needs It! Weird Bikes: The Viks Bicycle
Many bike nerds, such as ourselves at BikeTips, will claim that it’s necessary for bikes to have a seat tube for the stability and strength of the frame. But, apparently, we’d be incorrect!
The Viks Bicycle is a seat tube-less beautiful contraption intended for use in cities. The stunning stainless steel design is a fixie, something that’s obviously only for a certain type of rider, but has its place in the cycling tech world nonetheless.
The Viks was created by Indrek Narusk, a designer with Estonia’s Velonia Bicycles, as a beautiful “piece of art” commuter bike. Coming in at around 10 kg, it’s not the lightest option for commuting, but certainly not excessively heavy, either.
You might think that the lack of a seat tube would entail an unadjustable seat post. However, the Viks still accepts a standard 27.2 mm seat post that can be adjusted with a quick-release clamp.
Upon its initial creation, Indrek simply wanted to create a unique bicycle for himself. However, many others who saw the bike wanted one for themselves. So, Indrek decided to start making more of them and even pre-sold a huge number of them before the official sale.
#5. Fancy A Quick Lie-Down?
Less weird than the other weird bikes on the list, recumbent bikes are actually not such a rare sight these days.
These bizarre contraptions were actually invented in the 1800s, but have made a recent comeback with more and more seeking the comfortable recline of a recumbent bike.
They work in the same way as any bicycle: the power put through the pedals by the rider forces the drivetrain into action, which turns the wheels.
However, the pedals on a recumbent bike are placed far out in front of the rider with a reclined seat for a more comfortable position.
They’re not just a gimmick, either. They actually come with a set of serious advantages, too.
With superb aerodynamics, recumbent bikes are surprisingly quick. Although we’re unlikely to see them in the Tour de France any time soon, they are not nearly as cumbersome as they appear.
Of course, the biggest advantage of a recumbent bike is the extremely comfortable position. Say goodbye to saddle sores, back pain, and the risk of repetitive strain injuries; the recumbent bike is a supremely comfortable speed machine.
In addition, the position of a recumbent bike is far safer than that of a standard road bike. In the event of a crash, you’re very unlikely to go flying over the handlebars in the same way as is possible with a standard road bike.
Clearly, they’re not for everyone, but they are a genuinely creative and useful invention in the cycling world despite the fact that they’re undoubtedly weird bikes.
#6. No Need For Pedals: The Walking Bike
Instead of being powered by pedals, like most bikes, the walking bike is powered by a treadmill.
Complete with a gearbox, disc brakes, and even a seat at the back, there’s a lot going on here. You basically power the bicycle by walking at normal speed, though you travel significantly faster than you would walk.
Although it’s probably going to struggle in the Pyrenees, it’s a genuinely interesting and useful invention for cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen, with excellent cycling infrastructure and extremely flat topography.
The walking bike is supposedly “high-cardio exercise” but heart-safe. This makes it somewhat more accessible for those with chronic health ailments relative to standard bicycles.
Again, it’s not for everyone. But it’s clearly an interesting design and definitely qualifies as a weird bike!