Christini Announces Return of 2 Wheel Drive Bikes, Fat Bike to See Production

Known for their 2 wheel drive systems on vehicles with only two wheels, Christini has been developing 2 wheel drive bicycles since 1995. The company got around to selling complete all wheel drive full suspension bicycles in 2001 which struggled to gain traction (in sales) and eventually turned their attention towards the motocross world. Christini is still building some of the raddest AWD motos around, but after a special project for Kate Leeming in 2013 it looks like 2WD mountain bikes are making a comeback.

Their first production bike? A fat bike, naturally. Honestly it makes a lot of sense as the fat bike probably has the most to gain in the traction department and Christini has already completed most of the R&D with Kate to prepare for her upcoming attempt to cycle across the entire continent of Antartica via the south pole!

Christini says they plan on launching a Kickstarter program in the near future to gauge interest in the 2WD fat bike, then move on to produce a separate hard tail in the future. Who want’s an all wheel drive fat bike?

Curious about Kate’s upcoming Breaking the Cycle: South Pole expedition? Check it out next…

The video above is a number of still photos taken from the first training rides in Spitsbergen, Norway.

Kate-Leeming-Breaking-the-Cycle-South-Pole-2015-16-1024x768

Last year was all about cyclists riding to the South Pole. This following winter (Nov-Jan 2015-16), Kate plans to ride across the entire continent of Antarctica in a 45 day epic. At the other extreme, Kate completed her Breaking the Cycle: Africa epic in 2010 which took her on a 10 month, 22,040 km route across Africa which illustrates she is no stranger to arduous tasks. A Christini 2WD fat bike will definitely help, but it won’t make the Antarctica trip easy. Good luck!

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COrider
COrider
7 years ago

Wow. That is all.

Stephen
Stephen
7 years ago

Every time you use a pair of cogs to turn power through a corner you will loose a significant percentage of the power. That doesn’t matter so much on a motorbike where you might have 40-100 kw to play with. But you will feel it when you are producing less than 1kw. My BMW only turned one corner because the boxer engine had a crankshaft in line with the bike. But this thing seems to have about 6 pairs of cogs before you get the power down to the front wheel.

Sorry but thumbs down from me.

Is there an option to disengage the front wheel drive for smoother roads?

Brad
Brad
7 years ago

Fat bike is a perfect match for this technology. Seems like they’ve done a stellar job integrating it into the frame… Love this stuff!

Callum
Callum
7 years ago

Seating that thing with cold numb hands, without a compressor. One can only pray for a flash charger.

Max
Max
7 years ago

Why does she need two brakes? Doesn’t appear there is a freewheel between the two wheels so why not just have one massive brake on the front and use the drive system for the brake distribution?

JBikes
JBikes
7 years ago

Stephen is right. This bike will work and the integration is very nice. But, it will be extremely slow and inefficient. That said, speed doesn’t seem to be it purpose, although I’ve rarely been in a situation when a single rear wheel had insufficient traction barring very steep climbs. Not sure a heavy 2wd bike would be better. Sometimes you just need to walk.

craigsj
craigsj
7 years ago

Drivetrain efficiency is critical in any human powered vehicle. This is a bad idea beautifully packaged. There’s a reason this approach isn’t used. It’s not new.

“Christini says they plan on launching a Kickstarter program in the near future to gauge interest in the 2WD fat bike…”

I find this greatly offensive. Once upon a time companies did real research and assumed financial risks to succeed. Now it’s the customer’s burden. Kickstarter is the new way to take money from fools and enrich established companies without risk.

Frank Lee
Frank Lee
7 years ago

Ask her when she gets back from Antarctica if it worked or not. I agree that it would be better for weight but getting even a small amount of traction on a front wheel when riding in snow and ice seems like a good idea when the speeds, temperatures, and tire pressures will be so low. Purpose built, and very nicely built at that!

F Almeida
F Almeida
7 years ago

A few numbers. The efficiency of a chain transmission can be as low as 88-90% for light loadings and crossed chains, and up to 98% for a perfect chainline, well lubricated. A single beveled gear has an efficiency of 90-93% in a clean gearbox, less when exposed to the environment; a change of 90º (a pinion gear) knocks off 5% or more from the drivetrain efficiency.

Antipodean_G
7 years ago

I ‘carpark’ rode an early Christini some years back. Wow, that was a strange ride… and noisy. I can attest to the power loss in the drivetrain but I am not sure it really mattered, I don’t think these are meant to race machines but more ‘adventure’… the added traction was indeed a wonderful if somewhat very strange feeling, especially when turning.

Kevin Hodgson
Kevin Hodgson
7 years ago

Check out the info on christini before making assumptions. It does have a freewheeling, and I think a manual disengagement. The whole system is very well thought out because it drives the front wheel a couple of percent slower than the back so that the front is freewheeling unless the rear slips. Traction control without any electronics. Sure they’ll be losses but I’m pretty sure you can completely disengage it until you need it.

Tom
Tom
7 years ago

“That bike is no longer a virgin”

Hahaha

Joe Haley
Joe Haley
7 years ago

Gene Spicer??

Dee
Dee
7 years ago

this chick has alot of free time!

Ryan
Ryan
7 years ago

What about a purely front wheel drive bike, would that have any advantages over a rear drive?

i
i
7 years ago

show of hands: who’s ridden a christini bike. Among the naysayers. None? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

There were Christini 2wd mountain bikes years ago. They worked. @stephen, your BWM had that problem because of shaft speeds in the 1000s of RPMs, it’s totally irrelevant to bicycles. Yes, there are some drivetrain losses when the front wheel is engaged that conventional bikes don’t have; it’s also impossible to spin out the wheel on a steep climb (if you’ve never done this on a conventional bike, you’ve never ridden a steep, loose hill).

I think the biggest thing on the original christinis was the fact that you needed some special components, particularly the fork; there was only one choice. It was heavy for an XC bike and steep and short travel for anything else (plus xc races are so rarely on anything you’d call technical terrain). Fatbikes… to me that seems ideal for this tech – traction is sketchy most of the time, and a few % loss will hardly be felt compared to rolling resistance and weight.

Dude
Dude
7 years ago

Kickstarter IS research.

Mindless
Mindless
7 years ago

What we need in fat bikes is a harder to turn freezable drivetrain. Because otherwise they have such poor traction…

Dinger
Dinger
7 years ago

Interesting and relevant info regarding geared drive-trains. I’d add a thought and a question:

1. The rear wheel still carries the primary drive load based on a bicycle’s weight distribution so load would figure into total power loss.

2. While there will be parasitic loss in the front drive, what amount of efficiency is gained by driving the wheel in soft media (snow, sand), versus pushing the same wheel/tire through it?

orben smith
6 years ago

Put men the list . Can a midships electric motor be adapted to one of your bicycles ? I am a 100% disabled vet. and can’t get in to places I like to fish . I can ride a bicycle but take one into rough places without assistance . It looks like it is doable . 1 unit would power both front and rear . thank you Orben Smith

robbie grant
robbie grant
5 years ago

I would like to see an electric version.