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Tech

Chainless S1: on the bike without chains, and with two steering wheels

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Images courtesy of The Chainless

Bikers from all over the world, soon you will be able to break your chains. Literally. Just imagine to pedal free, without having to come to terms with pants, tube socks and shoelace entanglement; or to say goodbye forever to those annoying chain skips which more than once have probably made you fall down to the ground. Forget even about hands covered with grease after putting it back and starting pedaling again. Chainless bikes have always been a suggestion for everybody, because, let’s face it, escaping from that kind of slavery would be a big step forward. For years they have been put into the market spotlight, yet through models which do not convince entirely. Until now, until Sean Chan’s Chainless S1.

Images courtesy of The Chainless

Sean is a Venice Beach guy who used to ride his bike every day to get to the college. 
Some day he bumped into a young boy struggling with his chain, and he understood what he had to do. Therefore, he made up his mind and patented a brand new system, which makes use of a tungsten gear, and now aims to change bikers’ life. However, in order to do that, he needs to reach a 75K $ threshold on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter within 9th June 2017, otherwise the idea will remain so. 

To tell the truth, the prototype already exists and is perfectly functioning, and a video shows some of the vehicle specifications. The pedals are directly assembled on the rear wheel, and this fact, according to Chan, allows for a more natural posture, closer to the running one, which keep the body forward and the feet backwards; generally, instead, the position forces bikers to bring their knees upwards. All in all, it’s easier. Also because the chain or belt absence prevents energy leakage, which goes directly and entirely to the tungsten gears, allowing to increase the speed and to pedal less. Chainless S1 is light (its weight is 25 pound, just a little bit more than 11 kilos), adjustable and maneuverable. More agile than a normal bicycle thanks to the system whose inventor called Rts, Rapid turning system: indeed, thanks to a gear shift lever Shimano, it can unlock the rear wheel allowing it to spin; in this way, the bike can face the tightest curves and carry out 360° rotations in a small space. Moreover, it may be bent in half and put in the trunk of the car very easily, and it is ready to be re-used in 15 seconds. 

In order to develop it, instead, Chan worked for many years, and he was helped by his father during the design stage. Chainless S1 is not the very first bike without chain, but rather, if we think about the bicycle, it is possible to state that cycling was born this way and then it changed. 

Over the last years many have tried to get rid of the chain and even Ikea created its model. 
However, so far, regardless of any inconvenience, the chain has proved to be the best system at optimizing performances. As a matter of fact, fixed belts are hard to assemble and to adjust, they are stiff, the friction may overheat them easily, and, as a consequence, they are not that much effective. 

Images courtesy of The Chainless

The shaft drive system has revealed to be eventually too heavy, and this aspect as well turns out to be a speed loss, under equal stress. Chan managed to go beyond through its tungsten gears and its wheels made by a high-density magnesium alloy, both of them provided with disc brakes making the driving easier. Even the price is highly competitive, definitely cheaper than the majority of the chainless models already on the market: by taking part to the Kickstarter crowdfunding it is possible to purchase your own Chainless S1 for an introductory price of 799 $, 200 $ less than the one that, according to the campaign, is supposed to be the market price. By reducing to its bare essentials the vehicle components, removing the chain, getting rid of the down tub to which the pedals are usually attached, enhancing the seat adjustability that may be moved back and forth in addition to the chance of raising or lowering it, Chan promises less effort, easier maintenance, a lighter and more enjoyable vehicle. Will he manage to overcome the skepticism of all those cyclists who cannot imagine a chainless life? 

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