Fliz Bike

The Dandy Horse returns with a new name and a new mojo.

In 1817, the Baron Karl Drais of Mannheim invented a device that would change the world. Drais had studied architecture and physics at the University of Heidelberg, and he wanted to create a machine that a man could ride and move with his own power. The result was a seat balanced between two wheels, which, if kept at a reasonable speed, would seemingly defy gravity and stay upright. Karl Drais had invented the Luftmaschine, otherwise known as the Dandy Horse.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Drais died in poverty, and his invention was eventually modified to produce what we recognize today as the bicycle. Like sharks, bicycles haven't evolved much. The two-wheeled, pedal-driven, chain-clicking, hand-braking bicycle is a universally recognized model of consistency. People have experimented with bicycles with one wheel, or three, or with no brakes at all, but the standard-issue bicycle prevails.

But now, out of Drais's own Germany, comes a model that no one (to our knowledge) has tried since the heyday of the Dandy Horse. Designers Juri Spetter and Tom Hambrock have come up with the Fliz Bike, a knowing tribute to Baron Drais that seems ride-ready for the streets of Brooklyn. The name comes from the German word Flitzen, which means "speeding," and the project is currently a contender for the James Dyson Award for international student design. As one YouTube commenter points out, it could difficult going uphill.

Here's the design:

And here's a video of the Fliz in action:

All Fliz Bike images courtesy of Fliz Bike.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a photo of a man surveying a home garage.
    Transportation

    How Single-Family Garages Can Ease California's Housing Crisis

    Given the affordable housing crisis, California cities should encourage single-family homeowners to convert garages into apartments and accessory dwelling units.

  2. Equity

    The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

    Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.

  3. Design

    The Many Lives of Notre-Dame

    Far from being a single author’s definitive text, the beloved cathedral’s history is a palimpsest.

  4. Transportation

    Electric Scooters Aren’t a Transportation Revolution Yet

    New data show a staggering rise in shared dockless e-scooter use nationwide. But commuting habits have seen little change since the dawn of micromobility.

  5. South Lake Union streetcar with an advertisement for Amazon passes by an Amazon office building.
    Equity

    Amazon’s Slow Retreat From Seattle

    Amazon has long fancied itself an urban enterprise. Is its pivot to smaller communities a way to avoid messy politics?