This is the world's first self-balancing bicycle

LAUNCHPAD: Jyrobike wants to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter next month to make its auto-balancing children's bikes.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 27 May 2015

Think back to childhood and, blowing aside the rose-tinted haze, the hours spent wobbling around and crashing to the floor when you tried to ride a bicycle without stabilisers (and in MT’s case seeing your younger sister effortlessly cycle past). Now, Jyrobike is aiming to exorcise this painful rite of passage, claiming children can learn to ride a bike in an afternoon with the world’s first self-balancing bicycle (assuming they can then make the transition to a normal bike…).

Jyrobikes use gyroscope technology in the front wheel to stay upright, similar to that which keeps a helicopter stable in flight. The company is hoping to raise $100,000 (£59,000) for production through a Kickstarter campaign in June, which will offer bikes as one of 12 ‘rewards’, before their own e-commerce site is launched.

The standalone bike front wheels will cost less than $100, although exactly how much less remains to be seen, and the cost of the whole bike hasn't been decided. At the moment they’re just for 3-9 year olds, but adult bikes are in the pipeline for 2015 for anyone who didn’t make it past the grazed knees stage.

The technology was originally invented for a graduate project at US Ivy League university Dartmouth College and Australian-born founder Robert Bodill originally planned to be the distributor in Europe when he came across it in 2011.

However, the US company ran into trouble, which Bodill attributed to it selling a separate ‘Gyrowheel that only fit on 30% of other bikes. It was also branded as ‘not quite a toy and not quite a bicycle accessory,’ said Bodill, who bought out the patents in 2012 and developed his own bike.

After raising seed capital from angel investors and the £16m Northern Ireland government fund Co-Fund NI in November and getting a grant from Invest NI (both amounts are being kept under wraps), most of which went into R&D, the company relocated to Belfast – talk about keeping your investors sweet.

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