Brendan’s Design Project Inspirations

For my design project, I am inspired to build a swing bike. What is a swing bike, you ask? Well it’s quite simple, it’s a bike that swings. An extra pivot is added to the seat tube, effectively decoupling the front of the bike from the rear. This allows the rider to do all sorts of things not possible on a normal bike: ride in tight circles, ride with the front and rear wheels not in plane, carve turns down a straight road the way skiers carve their way down a slope. They are said to be extremely fun to ride by the very small amount of people that ride them.

I’m a big cyclist who enjoys the latest and greatest new bikes being put out by manufacturers, but at the same time I’ve always had a mindset where I don’t like going with today’s trends and want something that stands out. For example, I like old music and despise today’s music (I don’t consistently listen to any band that’s formed after the year 2000). Around 94% of smartphone users today own iPhones, and that’s precisely the reason I’ll never own an iPhone. On the flip side, not many people ride swing bikes, you can’t buy one, and you can’t even find a lot of info on the internet about them. It fits my craving for something different and rare, and is probably the reason I’ve always wanted one since I found out about them 8 years ago.

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The above picture depicts an original swing bike. However, this iteration is largely useless outside of riding it around the block for fun due to its single speed drivetrain, small wheels, and short wheelbase. I intend to make it my own in a variety of ways. I will fabricate it by myself using full size bicycle components so it can be ridden further than around the block. This will be done by cutting two old junk bikes in half, and welding them together in the necessary configuration. While some people have used this method to make their own swing bikes, they often stop once it’s functional and it’s left looking like a welded piece of scrap. I intend to make my bike a more finished looking product by applying an aesthetic via a paint job. I got this idea from a company called Squid Bikes, who sell frames unpainted to their customers so they can take a spray paint rattlecan to it and customize it however they like.

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There are also a couple other creative elements that I could implement to differentiate my bike from the rest. I could weld the bike so that it resembles a chopper for a motorcycle aesthetic, although whether I have the budget and time to do that remains to be seen.  I could also see if I could design a robust locking/unlocking mechanism for the seat tube pivot for if you want the bike to function as a normal bike. I will decide on these later in the design process.

This is the inspiration for my design project. Hopefully it’ll turn out well.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • That’s a really cool idea! I had no idea these kinds of bikes existed till I saw someone riding one. It confused me at first until I saw the pivot at the seat. It looks like it would be really fun to ride one of these! It’s definitely a good idea to add a lock on the pivot in case you want to change the function of the bike.

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  • Sounds like fun! Will it pivot all the way around the seat post? Wow, I can’t imagine how hard this might be to ride. Maybe consider adding some damping, so it doesn’t swing out of control…I wonder if there is a way to use the twisting motion to impart forward motion. Then you might not need a chain/drivetrain at all.

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