Cydekick bicycle generator, full bike shot

When Nicolas Zamora’s friend left a bike at his house for safe keeping, they probably didn’t realize it was going to become a rolling science experiment. Thankfully this experiment didn’t involve any chopping or reshaping, instead Zamora’s friend will get their bike back fully intact with a frictionless, on-board generator installed.

Zamora and Bethany Hamm, the creators of Spinetics Inc., wish to promote healthy and green bicycle transportation by making it more convenient. The Cydekick was created to provide eco-friendly electric power for your mobile devices as you ride, without producing any drag for your legs to contend with.

The pair have completed all sub-assembly level testing, and should have a fully functional prototype within the next few weeks. Their Kickstarter campaign will begin raising money to put the Cydekick into production on July 30th…

Cydekick bicycle generator, chainstay close up

The Cydekick contains magnets on both the rotor on your wheel and the portion that’s fixed to your frame, and creates power through electromagnetic induction. When the Cydekick’s rotor spins, the opposing magnetic forces create electrical energy without producing any mechanical friction. As the device is still in development, the creators haven’t yet measured exactly how much power the unit creates.

Two models will be available: The Cydekick Pro and the Cydekick Mini. No modifications or special tools are required to install either model, and they’re compatible with most commuter bicycles (without disc brakes). The rotor disc is zap-strapped to the wheel’s spokes, the generator mounts behind your axle nut or QR, and the electronics pod straps onto your handlebar. Both styles provide power for Cydekick’s integrated head and tail lights, but the Pro offers an additional USB port for charging a device as well.

Cydekick Pro, handlebar view Cydekick Pro, rear wheel

The Pro mounts at the rear wheel, and its extra port can provide power phones, GPS, action cameras, etc. It has an internal battery that can be charged up either by pedalling or by plugging it into a wall socket. A high intensity LED head light (with steady and flashing modes) is built into in the handlebar mounted electronics pod, and a tail light is available as an option. The Pro’s battery bank stores more than enough power to ensure that both will stay lit each time you come to a stop. The complete Cydekick Pro weighs 1.08lbs, and will sell for about $150 USD.

 Cydekick Mini, generator on front wheel Cydekick Mini with light

The Cydekick Mini is a much smaller unit that mounts to the front hub to provide power for lights, but does not include a USB accessory port. Like the Pro, it’s electronics pod includes an LED head light and a tail light can be added. The head and tail lights do remain powered when you stop but for much less time versus the Pro- The Mini is estimated to keep your lights flashing for over 5 minutes at full stop, and begins recharging when you pedal away. The Mini weights 0.6lbs, and will sell for around $40.

Cydekick- Chris Dudot designing a frame for kickstarter campaign
Artist Chris Dudot (aka DuWerks) customizing a fixie frame

To bring some flair to their campaign, Spinetics has enlisted three street artists from the Wynwood area of Miami, FL (Rigo Leon, Duwerks, Ruben Ubiera) to design and paint a number of fixed gear bikes to be sold through Kickstarter. The company also intends to donate 3% of their profits to cancer research at the University of South Florida. The campaign won’t begin until the end of next month, but in the meantime you can check out Spinetics’ website for further info.

spineticsinc.com

20 COMMENTS

  1. Measuring power output is a relatively simple task, and it looks like they have working prototypes. Seems strange that at this stage in the game they don’t provide at least an estimate.

  2. Electric power with no mechanical friction – like must dynamo hubs already on the market for decades, only bigger and heavier?

    Two advantages: You can fit it without rebuilding wheels, and you can put it on the rear wheel (good for some unconventional bikes). Not sure those would matter for many dynamo users. (Will read more closely later, maybe I’m missing something here.)

  3. I love the fact that you can just add it to an existing hub without rebuilding the wheel.

    But max power output, efficiency and drag when not in use are some very important numbers that are currently missing. So it’s hard to have an opinion on the final product.

  4. Unless I’ve misunderstood the physics, the moment you put any load on a dynamo, it will produce electric drag (first law of thermodynamics in action)

  5. What should be in noted in more detail is that this is a frictionless dyno that does not require any real modification to one’s bike. Hub dyno’s can’t do this (need a new wheel). The only other option is a wheel dyno (which to be fair are pretty efficient and the wheel can be popped away when not in use)

    or they invented the world most efficient (infinitely so) generator and in that case I think they need to expand their market.

  6. @Andy Yes, of course there is drag. Just not mechanical friction (which for example bottle dynamos have, and it comes in addition to the electromagnetic resistance that you always must have).

    The “frictionless” term can be seen as silly marketing, but it does mean a more efficient dynamo, all other things being equal.

  7. @Gunnstein – All other things being equal, it means nothing about dynamo efficiency. Efficiency is a ratio of input to output, and there are no variables with which to make the comparison.

    The “frictionless” term (and the device by nature) has only one demonstrable characteristic that could be an advantage depending on use, which is zero drag while turned off. Specifically, it could be less efficient or make less power than a traditional dynamo, but people might accept those trade-offs because they don’t always cycle at night (necessitating power for lighting), and they could avoid the drag most of the time.

  8. @Randall A dynamo without mechanical friction is more efficient than one with it, when all other parameters are equal. That should be obvious. X + 1 > X. (It doesn’t mean much since all other parameters are never equal, but it’s true as far as it goes.)

    What makes you think it has zero drag when turned off? Continuously engaged dynamos generally have a small drag even when not connected to anything. The only exception I know is one which a lever which moves the magnets away from the coils.

  9. My understanding is that the closer the magnets are to the coil, the greater the efficiency. A hub generator can be manufactured with tight tolerances to take advantage of this.

    The cydekick will have a wide variability of magnet-to-coil distance. Dropout thickness, spoke lacing, hub flange spacing will all affect this. Maybe they are including spacers or some other way of adjusting the clearances?

  10. Reelight has done induction lighting for a while. I’ve got two of the Reelight products and they are a decent supplementary lighting system. The capacitor on one crapped out though, but still blinks when you are on the move.

    Its nice to see Spinetics take the concept forward with USB charging.

  11. I want something like this built into a disc brake. The rotor is already there, and you can hang the stator off the brake so the tolerances will be nice and tight. The incremental weight would be a lot lower than a hub based dyno.

  12. Great product idea, but many questions remain:
    1. precise electric output specs of the two generators Pro/Mini with regard to powering lights/devices? (Road legality may vary depending on these specs in some countries!)
    2. Can the generators be combined with disc brakes, with existing hub dynamos on the front wheel and all types of axles/hubs and could they be installed on the right wheel side (front or back with gear hub)?
    3. Weight and compatibility with existing lighting solutions, especially energy storage (amount/duration) of the Pro

    I worry that the product configuration is not competitive. The integrated light increases price unnecessarily, and I would want the generator solo and do my own thing with it (lights or lights+USB or USB only) and would only want the generator to offer me the corresponding connectors. Never mind energy storage or integrated solutions.

    Prices on Bikerumor do not correspond with those on the Kickstarter draft website: there the Mini already costs $150 and the Pro costs $275. Not sure which one is correct here, but I much prefer the prices on Bikerumor! At the price points on kickstarter, neither the mini nor the pro are competitive with a good hub dynamo and lights+USB solution, I’m afraid…

  13. I think this is what happens when non-cyclists tackle a problem. Like so many people have pointed out, the hub dynamo has been around for years, and so have several improvements. I actually sold a bike with the hub dynamo still attached because it wasn’t worth undoing all that work in getting it on there. I upgraded to Bike2Power’s BikeCharge Dynamo because it’s got DIY installation. Does everything these guys claim there’s will someday do, but theirs does it for $119. http://www.bike2power.com/pedal-power-bike-phone-chargers

  14. Lorca, that’s a good point. However Bike2Power’s BikeCharge gets half SIVA Atom’s power output (at best), puts more drag on the wheel, and doesn’t fit most bicycles (we tried 5 different types of bikes and it didn’t fit 1). It’s good it works on your bike, but both the SIVA Atom and the Cydekick are much better products than the BikeCharge made all the way back in 2012 and a bunch of shops that stocked it removed it because of all those issues (see this as an example: http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/tigra-bikecharge-first-look/)

  15. If they aren’t publishing the power output at this point its because its very low … and the fact that the mini version can only generate enough power to keep the lights on for a few minutes when stopped is another clue …

    a typical bottle generator can generate 6 watts … I’ll bet this thing doesn’t hit 1 watt …

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