Propellor-driven Bicycles

Gallery opened: 1 Dec 2018

Updated: 6 Dec 2018

Prop-tricycle added
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It is explained on the propellor-driven car page that a propellor is very inefficient at low speeds. This did not (if they knew it) deter the constructors of propellor-driven motorcycles. The impracticability is even greater in a machine where the only power source is human effort, and this probably explains why propellor-driven bicycles are rather rare compared with propellor-driven motorcycles.

Left: French prop-cycle: 1936

Given the light weight of the bicycle, there may have been some interesting gyroscopic effects when turning corners.

The propellor is chain driven from pedals in the usual place, and geared up to rotate faster. Presumably there was beve gearing to turn the drive through a right-angle.

From Popular Science Nov 1936

Left: British propbike: date unknown

It is of course perfectly possible to attain 15mph on an ordinary bike- in fact it would almost certainly be much easier.


Left: The MIT propellor tricycle: 2007.

As noted above, prop-bicycles are rather rare, so in the spirit of inclusion here is a prop-tricycle. This recumbent trike was built by Damon Vander Lind and some fellow MIT students. It is built from high tech aircraft-style chromoly tubing and salvaged bicycle parts.

The propellor is driven by belt and pulleys that appear to give a speed increase of about two times; it is 7 feet in diameter.

The tricycle was built in 2007.


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