An Irish inventor claims to have invented a bike wheel that offers pedalling assistance without the need for a motor and battery. If his claims were true then the invention would have massive potential, revolutionizing cycling as we know it. We're yet to be convinced that it actually works though.
The wheel has been developed by Hong Kong-born Simon Chan and he says it is a "basically... a simple idea."
The Super Wheel has been in development since 2014 and Chan claims it uses springs and a "patented ‘Weight (mass) to energy conversion technology' (WECT)" to power the forward motion. Chan believes his wheel offers "over 30% improved assistance" but is hoping to increase that to 50% as his design gets more refined. Currently, no data has been published that demonstrates the efficacy of his invention and we are certainly very skeptical of his claims.
In his own words, the wheel works because "the action/reaction force caused by weight compresses the springs in the upper section of the wheel and decompresses in the lower section. Using the centre as the pivot, this converts energy and reduces the frictional force in the opposite direction and facilitates the rotation."
He later tried to explain it again to irishtechnew.ie
and said, "SuperWheel is using the ‘Conversion of energy’ method to convert the reactive force of weight to turning power... The reactive force/energy is the extension/ link to weight, which is always there, but has never been used before. SuperWheel’s Weight-to-energy conversion technology diverting this force/energy to facilitate rotation, therefore, improve cycling efficiency."
A video showing the wheel in action is below:
If that word salad doesn't convince you or you're as skeptical of the claims of 'free energy' as we are then there's a patent application for the system, here
. It's worth bearing in mind, patents are granted for originality, not functionality. It's also worth noting that the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris stopped accepting proposals concerning perpetual motion in 1775.
It shouldn't be all that hard to prove if it works, and we'd be happy to try it the next time we do a Field Test efficiency test if Simon is keen.
Two versions of the wheel are available for pre-order now. One for riders under 75kg and one for riders over 75kg. The wheel costs €395 although we'd strongly recommend against placing an order until the technology is proven. More info, here