I recently received a Gyrowheel from Gyrobike to try out. I have a six year-old geeklet that demand his training wheels be removed due to peer pressure. The only problem is: he cannot balance very well or put his feet down when he wants to stop. These are the two main reasons to have training wheels, but explaining details like that are lost on six year-olds. Here is the science behind the Gyrowheel from the creators:
Gyrowheel essentially has a gyroscope inside. Gyroscopes are spinning wheels that exhibit a special property called precession. When a force is put at the top of a spinning wheel (such as a rider falling on a bicycle), rather than falling, the gyroscope simply turns, or precesses, in the direction of the fall. This occurs on normal bike wheels when the bike is traveling at higher speeds. Hence, it is easier to ride a bicycle once you “get going.” Gyrowheel takes advantage of this property even when the bike is moving slowly. The disk inside Gyrowheel spins independently of the bike wheel. Thus, even when a rider is moving very slowly on the bicycle, the precession of Gyrowheel is still felt. If the rider begins to fall, Gyrowheel precesses under the rider’s weight, restabilizing the bike.
I know what you’re probably thinking: “They’re trying to re-invent the wheel!” — and you’d be right! Instead of little training wheel “crutches” on the side of the bike, the child has an electronic balancing system built into their front wheel. The most important aspect is that it works and it teaches children to ride with good balancing habits.
When we first unboxed the Gyrowheel, I was very surprised at the weight. It was fairly heavy. Once it was activated however, it wanted to balance itself – very cool. Here is a short video I made before we put it on the bike:
Here is the geeklet showing off his lack of skills without the Gyrowheel activated:
And here he goes with the wheel powered up:
Now do not let the end of this clip fool you. He enjoys riding his bike, he just does not like be a guinea pig on film…
Visit TheGyrobike.com to find our more information about the Gyrowheel or to get your own. As a bonus, Gyrobike is offering GeekDad readers a special limited-time offer of 15 percent off, plus free shipping. Just enter “GEEKDAD411” during checkout to receive the discount!
[Editor’s Note: You can also read Nathan Barry’s preview of the Gyrowheel on GeekDad from 2009.]