Weird reciprocating drive

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Rick Onanian, Dec 20, 2003.

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  1. Rick Onanian

    Rick Onanian Guest

    Went to buy a digital camera as a christmas present. On the way back, saw something weird. Couldn't
    find my own digital camera while driving, but I was able to get the new one out of the box and
    running, to take a few pictures of this.

    I saw, strapped to the back of a car, a bike with what must have been some sort of reciprocating
    drive. It was a road bike. It had very long cranks, which were NOT offset from eachother by 180
    degrees, but instead were parallel to eachother. There was a sprocket on each side of the wheel. On
    each side, also, was a short, un-joined section of chain going from an assembly above the pedals,
    wrapped around the sprocket, and terminating in a cable; I wasn't able to see where the cable went,
    but it appeared to go past the BB.

    A picture is at http://members.cox.net/thc/4.jpg

    You can see that 7 links are visible on the bottom and 8 show on the top. At the top, they terminate
    in a bracket; at the bottom, although you can't see it in the picture, the chain becomes a cable.
    The cable appeared to go PAST the BB and up the DT; and you can see in the picture that there's two
    pieces of hardware hanging from the DT about halfway up.

    What IS this crazy contraption, why would anybody ride it, and where do you find a frame with 6
    inches clearance between the seat tube and the wheel?
    --
    Rick Onanian
     
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  2. Rick Onanian wrote:
    > Went to buy a digital camera as a christmas present. On the way back, saw something weird.
    > Couldn't find my own digital camera while driving, but I was able to get the new one out of the
    > box and running, to take a few pictures of this.
    >
    > I saw, strapped to the back of a car, a bike with what must have been some sort of reciprocating
    > drive. It was a road bike. It had very long cranks, which were NOT offset from eachother by 180
    > degrees, but instead were parallel to eachother. There was a sprocket on each side of the wheel.
    > On each side, also, was a short, un-joined section of chain going from an assembly above the
    > pedals, wrapped around the sprocket, and terminating in a cable; I wasn't able to see where the
    > cable went, but it appeared to go past the BB.
    >
    > A picture is at http://members.cox.net/thc/4.jpg
    >
    > You can see that 7 links are visible on the bottom and 8 show on the top. At the top, they
    > terminate in a bracket; at the bottom, although you can't see it in the picture, the chain becomes
    > a cable. The cable appeared to go PAST the BB and up the DT; and you can see in the picture that
    > there's two pieces of hardware hanging from the DT about halfway up.
    >
    > What IS this crazy contraption, why would anybody ride it, and where do you find a frame with 6
    > inches clearance between the seat tube and the wheel?

    Evidently he thinks he is going to put out a lot of power at least if you start counting all the
    spokes he put on those wheels ;)

    --
    Perre

    You have to be smarter than a robot to reply.
     
  3. Rick Onanian wrote:

    > Went to buy a digital camera as a christmas present. On the way back, saw something weird.
    > Couldn't find my own digital camera while driving, but I was able to get the new one out of the
    > box and running, to take a few pictures of this.
    >
    > I saw, strapped to the back of a car, a bike with what must have been some sort of reciprocating
    > drive. It was a road bike. It had very long cranks, which were NOT offset from eachother by 180
    > degrees, but instead were parallel to eachother. There was a sprocket on each side of the wheel.
    > On each side, also, was a short, un-joined section of chain going from an assembly above the
    > pedals, wrapped around the sprocket, and terminating in a cable; I wasn't able to see where the
    > cable went, but it appeared to go past the BB.
    >
    > A picture is at http://members.cox.net/thc/4.jpg
    >
    > You can see that 7 links are visible on the bottom and 8 show on the top. At the top, they
    > terminate in a bracket; at the bottom, although you can't see it in the picture, the chain becomes
    > a cable. The cable appeared to go PAST the BB and up the DT; and you can see in the picture that
    > there's two pieces of hardware hanging from the DT about halfway up.
    >
    > What IS this crazy contraption, why would anybody ride it, and where do you find a frame with 6
    > inches clearance between the seat tube and the wheel?

    That's an Alenax, probably late '70s vintage. A guy at the shop has one of those squirrelled away.

    There is a separate freewheel on each side of the rear hub, and a short length of chain. The upper
    end of the chain attaches to the arms connected to the cranks. The lower end connects to a spring.

    When you let up on the pedal, the spring pulls the chain back so the crank goes up to its top
    position again.

    I believe there's also a cable and pulley that makes one crank go up while the other is being
    pushed down.

    This is actually quite an old idea, originating in the 1880s with the American Star.

    It's a solution to an imaginary problem, gets re-invented every generation or two.

    Sheldon "Cycle History" Brown +-----------------------------------------+
    | If a fool would persist in his folly, | he would become wise. | --William Blake |
    +-----------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts Phone 617-244-
    9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
    http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  4. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    Rick Onanian wrote:
    > .... What IS this crazy contraption, why would anybody ride it, and where do you find a frame with
    > 6 inches clearance between the seat tube and the wheel?

    Having briefly ridden an Alenax bicycle, I would say it is the type of bike that could be fun to
    have around as a curiosity if one can be found for a low price. I would not plan on using it for any
    serious riding, however.

    The treadle motion is similar to that of some exercise machines. Getting started is harder than on a
    regular bicycle and the acceptable cadence range is smaller than with a conventional crank.

    Tom Sherman - 41 N, 90 W
     
  5. x

    x Guest

    RE/
    >A picture is at http://members.cox.net/thc/4.jpg

    A StairMaster on wheels!

    Looks like that's one solution to the "continuously-variable gearing" thread...just slide the
    cable's attachment point on the lever arm.
    --
    PeteCresswell
     
  6. Rick Onanian

    Rick Onanian Guest

    On Sat, 20 Dec 2003 19:04:23 -0500, Sheldon Brown
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Rick Onanian wrote:
    >> A picture is at http://members.cox.net/thc/4.jpg
    >
    >That's an Alenax, probably late '70s vintage. A guy at the shop has one of those squirrelled away.
    >
    >There is a separate freewheel on each side of the rear hub, and a short length of chain. The upper
    >end of the chain attaches to the arms connected to the cranks. The lower end connects to a spring.
    >
    >When you let up on the pedal, the spring pulls the chain back so the crank goes up to its top
    >position again.

    OIC...I could see on the bike that there were separate freewheels on each side (indeed, I described
    that way) and I considered how they would be independent as I thought about it; but I completely
    missed that the pedals could be operated independently. I didn't think outside the standard BB.

    Well, that ought to be easier to ride than what I thought, where the cranks stayed parallel. I
    couldn't imagine it being possible to ride jumping down with both feet at the same time, over and
    over again.

    >I believe there's also a cable and pulley that makes one crank go up while the other is being
    >pushed down.

    That may explain the stuff hanging from the DT.

    >This is actually quite an old idea, originating in the 1880s with the American Star.
    >
    >It's a solution to an imaginary problem, gets re-invented every generation or two.
    >
    >Sheldon "Cycle History" Brown +-----------------------------------------+
    >| If a fool would persist in his folly, | he would become wise. | --William Blake |
    >+-----------------------------------------+
    --
    Rick "Those who do not learn...doomed to repeat..." Onanian
     
  7. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    "Per Elmsäter" wrote:
    >
    > Evidently he thinks he is going to put out a lot of power at least if > you start counting all the
    > spokes he put on those wheels ;)

    36 spokes are not an excessively high number - 9 of the 11 wheels I have are 36 spoke.

    Tom Sherman - 41 N, 90 W
     
  8. R15757

    R15757 Guest

    Sheldon Brown wrote:

    << <snip>

    This is actually quite an old idea, originating in the 1880s with the American Star.

    It's a solution to an imaginary problem, gets re-invented every generation or two.
    >>

    I believe there were a few Scottish guys messing around with rear-wheel drive treadle bikes around
    1836, which actually pre-dates the boneshaker/highwheeler era.

    When the American Star came out, it was by then a (bad) solution to a real problem: front-wheel
    drive bikes.

    Thank god for Starley.

    Robert
     
  9. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > Went to buy a digital camera as a christmas present. On the way back, saw something weird.
    > Couldn't find my own digital camera while driving, but I was able to get the new one out of the
    > box and running, to take a few pictures of this.
    >
    > I saw, strapped to the back of a car, a bike with what must have been some sort of reciprocating
    > drive. It was a road bike. It had very long cranks, which were NOT offset from eachother by 180
    > degrees, but instead were parallel to eachother. There was a sprocket on each side of the wheel.
    > On each side, also, was a short, un-joined section of chain going from an assembly above the
    > pedals, wrapped around the sprocket, and terminating in a cable; I wasn't able to see where the
    > cable went, but it appeared to go past the BB.
    >
    > A picture is at http://members.cox.net/thc/4.jpg
    >
    > You can see that 7 links are visible on the bottom and 8 show on the top. At the top, they
    > terminate in a bracket; at the bottom, although you can't see it in the picture, the chain becomes
    > a cable. The cable appeared to go PAST the BB and up the DT; and you can see in the picture that
    > there's two pieces of hardware hanging from the DT about halfway up.

    It looks like the pedals go up and down (as you speculated), pulling on the chain on the down
    stroke, and then recovering with a ratchet mechanism in the rear hub. The gearing must be changed by
    sliding the anchor point up and down in that cage behind the seat tube.

    What the supposed advantage might be, I can't imagine except that it must be to eliminate the small
    dead spot in a normal pedaling circle.

    > What IS this crazy contraption, why would anybody ride it, and where do you find a frame with 6
    > inches clearance between the seat tube and the wheel?

    I'll bet it has to be a custom frame.

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  10. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > Rick Onanian wrote:
    > > Went to buy a digital camera as a christmas present. On the way back, saw something weird.
    > > Couldn't find my own digital camera while driving, but I was able to get the new one out of the
    > > box and running, to take a few pictures of this.
    > >
    > > I saw, strapped to the back of a car, a bike with what must have been some sort of reciprocating
    > > drive. It was a road bike. It had very long cranks, which were NOT offset from eachother by 180
    > > degrees, but instead were parallel to eachother. There was a sprocket on each side of the wheel.
    > > On each side, also, was a short, un-joined section of chain going from an assembly above the
    > > pedals, wrapped around the sprocket, and terminating in a cable; I wasn't able to see where the
    > > cable went, but it appeared to go past the BB.
    > >
    > > A picture is at http://members.cox.net/thc/4.jpg
    > >
    > > You can see that 7 links are visible on the bottom and 8 show on the top. At the top, they
    > > terminate in a bracket; at the bottom, although you can't see it in the picture, the chain
    > > becomes a cable. The cable appeared to go PAST the BB and up the DT; and you can see in the
    > > picture that there's two pieces of hardware hanging from the DT about halfway up.
    > >
    > > What IS this crazy contraption, why would anybody ride it, and where do you find a frame with 6
    > > inches clearance between the seat tube and the wheel?
    >
    > Evidently he thinks he is going to put out a lot of power at least if you start counting all the
    > spokes he put on those wheels ;)

    With those long crank arms, I imagine he could put some pretty high torques into the rear wheel. Or
    maybe he just weighs 300 lbs and wants to avoid wheel problems.

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  11. Carl Fogel

    Carl Fogel Guest

    Rick Onanian <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Went to buy a digital camera as a christmas present. On the way back, saw something weird.
    > Couldn't find my own digital camera while driving, but I was able to get the new one out of the
    > box and running, to take a few pictures of this.
    >
    > I saw, strapped to the back of a car, a bike with what must have been some sort of reciprocating
    > drive. It was a road bike. It had very long cranks, which were NOT offset from eachother by 180
    > degrees, but instead were parallel to eachother. There was a sprocket on each side of the wheel.
    > On each side, also, was a short, un-joined section of chain going from an assembly above the
    > pedals, wrapped around the sprocket, and terminating in a cable; I wasn't able to see where the
    > cable went, but it appeared to go past the BB.
    >
    > A picture is at http://members.cox.net/thc/4.jpg
    >
    > You can see that 7 links are visible on the bottom and 8 show on the top. At the top, they
    > terminate in a bracket; at the bottom, although you can't see it in the picture, the chain becomes
    > a cable. The cable appeared to go PAST the BB and up the DT; and you can see in the picture that
    > there's two pieces of hardware hanging from the DT about halfway up.
    >
    > What IS this crazy contraption, why would anybody ride it, and where do you find a frame with 6
    > inches clearance between the seat tube and the wheel?

    Dear Rick,

    I dunno, but I suspect that something like it can be found in Berto's "Dancing Chain" or Sharp's
    "Bicycles and Tricycles." Treadle-drive?

    Thanks for a perfect excuse to demand copies of both books for Christmas.

    Carl Fogel
     
  12. Carl Fogel

    Carl Fogel Guest

    Rick Onanian <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Went to buy a digital camera as a christmas present. On the way back, saw something weird.
    > Couldn't find my own digital camera while driving, but I was able to get the new one out of the
    > box and running, to take a few pictures of this.
    >
    > I saw, strapped to the back of a car, a bike with what must have been some sort of reciprocating
    > drive. It was a road bike. It had very long cranks, which were NOT offset from eachother by 180
    > degrees, but instead were parallel to eachother. There was a sprocket on each side of the wheel.
    > On each side, also, was a short, un-joined section of chain going from an assembly above the
    > pedals, wrapped around the sprocket, and terminating in a cable; I wasn't able to see where the
    > cable went, but it appeared to go past the BB.
    >
    > A picture is at http://members.cox.net/thc/4.jpg
    >
    > You can see that 7 links are visible on the bottom and 8 show on the top. At the top, they
    > terminate in a bracket; at the bottom, although you can't see it in the picture, the chain becomes
    > a cable. The cable appeared to go PAST the BB and up the DT; and you can see in the picture that
    > there's two pieces of hardware hanging from the DT about halfway up.
    >
    > What IS this crazy contraption, why would anybody ride it, and where do you find a frame with 6
    > inches clearance between the seat tube and the wheel?

    Dear Rick,

    Once it was identified as an Alenax, it became fairly easy to find a page like this, where a bemused
    owner mentions some of its less obvious peculiarities:

    http://www.eandsweb.com/cgi-bin/bikes.cgi?bike=AlenaxTRB-5000

    Carl Fogel
     
  13. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Sat, 20 Dec 2003 19:28:05 -0500, Rick Onanian <[email protected]>
    may have said:

    >On Sat, 20 Dec 2003 19:04:23 -0500, Sheldon Brown <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>When you let up on the pedal, the spring pulls the chain back so the crank goes up to its top
    >>position again.
    >
    >OIC...I could see on the bike that there were separate freewheels on each side (indeed, I described
    >that way) and I considered how they would be independent as I thought about it; but I completely
    >missed that the pedals could be operated independently. I didn't think outside the standard BB.
    >
    >Well, that ought to be easier to ride than what I thought, where the cranks stayed parallel. I
    >couldn't imagine it being possible to ride jumping down with both feet at the same time, over and
    >over again.

    Indeed. The early versions of the Alenax allowed both pedals to be depressed at the same time...and
    this makes it very difficult to traverse bumps and avoid obstructions while standing, since you
    can't keep one pedal up in that case.

    >>I believe there's also a cable and pulley that makes one crank go up while the other is being
    >>pushed down.
    >
    >That may explain the stuff hanging from the DT.
    >
    >>This is actually quite an old idea, originating in the 1880s with the American Star.
    >>
    >>It's a solution to an imaginary problem, gets re-invented every generation or two.

    In a museum in Britain about 15 years ago, I saw a 19th-century high-wheel bike with a similar drive
    system that used a pair of leather straps. It permitted a higher wheel than could be employed with a
    standard crank. The idea, then, is over a century old.

    --
    My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail.
    Yes, I have a killfile. If I don't respond to something,
    it's also possible that I'm busy.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  14. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    Rick Onanian wrote:

    -snip-
    > I saw, strapped to the back of a car, a bike with what must have been some sort of reciprocating
    > drive. It was a road bike. It had very long cranks, which were NOT offset from eachother by 180
    > degrees, but instead were parallel to eachother.

    -snip- Alenax, mentioned here before.

    --
    Andrew Muzi www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April, 1971
     
  15. Doug Goncz

    Doug Goncz Guest

    This is marketed currently as an alternative for riders with limited mobility.

    There are stand up versions.

    My senior project at ODU: Google Groups, then "dgoncz" and some of: ultracapacitor bicycle
    fluorescent flywheel inverter Equipped with BoBike Mini removable child seat, too!
     
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