Front Wheel Driven Bicycle

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On a rear-wheel-driven recumbent-bike the chainline is very long and the handlebars are complicatedly attached to the front-wheel. So several people had the idea to drive the front wheel in order to shorten the chainline.

There are three possibilities to steer a FWD:

  • Front Wheel Steering: The seat and the pedals are mounted on the reer part of the bike, the front part is the front wheel. This is problematic because of the torsion of the chain in case of steering. Another problem is, that the front-wheel-size is limited because of interference of your feet with the front-wheel. An Example is the Toxy ZR.
  • Center Steering or Moving Bottom Bracket
  • Rear Wheel Steering

Center Steered Bike

The pivot is mounted between the seat and the pedals. On center steered Bicycles, it is possible to have no handlebars, as you are able to steer with your feet through pedalling. Examples are the Python-Lowracer with negative Trail and Highracers like Flevobike, Airbike and Chinkara.

Moving Bottom Bracket (MBB)

A moving bottom bracket recumbent (MBB) is a more general term than "center steered". Additionally they include Tom Traylor like Bicycles:

  • Speculoos made of steel by Laurent Dechenne in Belgium
  • Kouign Amann made of carbon by Zockra in France (headed by Malric Leborgne)
  • "Cruzbike"

A problem with MBB's is Pedal/Steering Interference. So you may have to attach handlebars on such a geometry.

Rear Wheel Steered Bike

On a rear wheel steered bike the seat, the pedals and the front-wheel are mounted on the front part of the bike.

The construction of a rear-wheel-steered-bike is pretty difficult. Several attempts have been made to build a RWS but until today no bike which is easy handleable had been built.[1]

Meanwhile Dennis Renner built one which seems to be easily rideable.[2]


1 Page about RWS by Eric Wannee

2 Video of RWS built by Dennis Renner

Further reading

  • Human Power Magazine - Spring 1990
  • Recumbents with rear wheel steering, in: Safety and design: proceedings of the Second European Seminar on Velomobiles, HPV, Laupen Castle 1994 (Contents)
  • J. Schnieders: Theoretische Untersuchung der Eigenstabilität von hinterradgelenkten Fahrrädern, Oldenburg 1993 (Studienarbeit)
  • J. Schnieders: Hinterradlenkung fürs Liegerad. Eine theoretische Untersuchung, in: PRO VELO 35 - Velomobil statt Automobil (1993), S. 35-38
  • J. Schnieders: Hinterradlenkung fürs Liegerad (Antwort auf einen Leserbrief), in: PRO VELO 36 - Vom Glück des Reisens auf zwei Rädern (1994), S.29
  • Page about RWS by Eric Wannee
  • Video of RWS built by Dennis Renner