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  1. #1
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    1991 Legacy Ovation 2 wheel drive mountain bike

    Yep, one of those ideas that pops up every now and again. This one is from 1991 and uses what is basically an oversized speedometer cable to drive the front wheel. And in case you were curious, no, it doesn't work very well!

    More pictures and details @ MOMBAT: 1991 Legacy 2WD Ovation






  2. #2
    Schipperkes are cool.
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    It was a base line for the better 2wd MTB, Christini AWD [Bikes]
    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Better suited to non-aggressive 125# gals named Russell.

  3. #3
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    That first bit about it not working well? It actually wasn't (isn't) bad. There is minimal binding and only when the steering angles get extreme. It's surprisingly light considering the extra mechanical gear, but the frame, chromoly, is decently rigid. The other bits are aluminum or titanium. The frame geometry is appropriate for the intended terrain and the brakes are very strong.

    On sand and loose rocks it's actually is quite tenacious. The grippy original tires are a great match with the 2WD and allows the Ovation to creep up some pretty nasty stuff. You can feel it claw its way up. With crossover tires it can go about anywhere.

    I don't believe the bikes ever actually sold, at least from what I know. The "company" that developed the bike didn't have much capital and the people involved were not exactly experienced business people.

    I still own one of the last pre-production prototypes and ride it once in a while. Interesting bike.

    Next time something like this comes up, you might not want to just spew what you read somewhere else. If you haven't actually ridden it, tell us. We won't think less of you.

  4. #4
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    Nothing is perfected at the time it's invented. This looks like a concept
    worthy of some evolution.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2bhere View Post
    Next time something like this comes up, you might not want to just spew what you read somewhere else. If you haven't actually ridden it, tell us. We won't think less of you.
    Next time something like this comes up, you might not want to just spew at someone as if they have no idea what they're on about. Way to go for your first post!

    Sorry, but 2wd bikes are a kooky idea that hasn't taken because, well, it's a bit naff. Don't get me wrong, they're kooky enough that I would have one in an athletic heartbeat, but if someone told me they didn't work that well, I wouldn't get butthurt about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by rawly old View Post
    Nothing is perfected at the time it's invented. This looks like a concept worthy of some evolution.
    The concept was worthy of investigation, I'll admit that. But I think history resolved that it's a solution looking for a problem. If the concept was worthy of evolution it would have evolved by now. But it hasn't.

    Don't hate me, I'm just saying what history has already decided.

    Grumps

  6. #6
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    I was reading that post going, wow, this must be the guy who built them, I mean, who else would get so excitable about such a thing?

    Apparently not, but regardless, like Grumps said, way to go for a first post, I see you have a lot of experience making friends and influencing people.

    I've tried a couple different 2WD systems, and I'm a sucker for just about any gadget. I found nothing compellingly awesome about any of them.

    That being said, thanks for posting, that's a seriously cool piece of history there!

    Edit: If you DO happen to be the builder, and I just missed that somehow, welcome, and feel free to discuss the build, process, mindset, etc. We love history here, and meeting those who took part in it, but leave the huffy attitude at the door, unless you just enjoy the abuse that it brings.
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



    www.mendoncyclesmith.com

  7. #7
    Schipperkes are cool.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Better suited to non-aggressive 125# gals named Russell.

  8. #8
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    Schipperkes are really fur bearing frogs able to leap
    many times their own body length.

  9. #9
    the new Gilbert Grape
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    I remember this bike and several other "two wheel drive" bikes that appeared in an issue of MB Action of Mountain Biking back in the day. The idea behind this one seemed good, albeit clunky. If there were someway to run the drive cable through the frame it would look much better.

    I remember one of the other designs had the equivalent of bungee cords that attached on either end of a suspension fork. As the fork uncompressed after an impact the cords would somehow create rotation force on the front hub. In theory I guess you could bounce up and down on the front end and the bike would climb a hill. It was a cool idea, assuming that you wanted more power after each bump that you went over.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  10. #10
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    I've seen this design working, back in the day. It stole lots of power, and the result was a slow ride. Now I'm riding a Fat for snow trails, and thought this would be a fun idea to try, but it needs a shift on demand, so you could turn it on and off, depending on your needs.
    Cool idea, just needs modernization.

  11. #11
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    Hi, in the same style, my 2Wd Progear from 1995



    Philippe

  12. #12
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    Hmm? Maybe a shaft drive to the rear whl & a belt from the chain ring.
    .........Naah! Hand cycle front, pedal rear? ,,,,Naah! I can't think of
    anything that wouldn't drain off a lotta power.

  13. #13
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    Nothing personal, of course!

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Grumpy View Post
    Next time something like this comes up, you might not want to just spew at someone as if they have no idea what they're on about. Way to go for your first post!

    Sorry, but 2wd bikes are a kooky idea that hasn't taken because, well, it's a bit naff. Don't get me wrong, they're kooky enough that I would have one in an athletic heartbeat, but if someone told me they didn't work that well, I wouldn't get butthurt about it.



    The concept was worthy of investigation, I'll admit that. But I think history resolved that it's a solution looking for a problem. If the concept was worthy of evolution it would have evolved by now. But it hasn't.

    Don't hate me, I'm just saying what history has already decided.

    Grumps
    The only thing I reacted to is the "knowing" tone. The internet has created millions of "experts" and repeating something written by someone else who may, or may not, actually be telling the truth - or know anything - is getting really tired. If we don't know, we don't know.

    That said, anyone who loves two wheels has to be a good person :-)

    I was involved in the marketing, but not the building or engineering. The group worked out of the Bay Area, SoCal and Taiwan. They were not exactly a tight organization or particularly good business people. The person I knew the best was their attorney. He was a loose cannon and probably didn't help. He disappeared.

    The bike didn't make it because of funding, not because it didn't work. It was not, indeed, perfect, but it is quite capable off road. It couldn't compete with today's iron, but as an analog to something like a trials motorcycle (slow, steady, made for the treacherous), it would still shine.

    I tested the bike for them many times and spent afternoons in Goldengate Park on pavement, dirt, rocks and sand. It's amazing to feel the bike actually pull itself up a sandy hill. Sometimes there was a little winding up in the cable drive, but the front diff had a ratchet clutch that would just spin off the torque. Nothing ever broke.

    Years later, not riding much off road any longer, I took off the 2wd system, put on cross tires and used it for just about everything. The system has a bit of drag associated with it, as might be expected, most notably on the street. The bike had good bones, though.

    There is probably a lot room for engineering in that design. With better materials and processes, if someone had an inclination (and time and money) to improve it, 2wd could find a place in the market. Conceptually, for more extreme trips and slippery stuff, it's a good solution.

    I took out the Legacy a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it. But these days most of my time is spent commuting on a Spot Acme and Diamondback Insight RS. Like all of you, I'll probably breathe my last breath while on two wheels.

    Wheels down and happy holidays!

  14. #14
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    I'm sure there's room, it's just that I can't seem to come up with
    a suitable idea. I like the notion of 2 whl drive, devising a viable,
    practical system is what presently eludes me.
    Last edited by rawly old; 12-24-2013 at 04:58 PM.

  15. #15
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    I think much of that was left for dead, already. I saw some ingenious solutions with multiple driveshafts, etc. But the frictional loss and complicated articulations were too much.

    Though I still can't completely reconcile electric bikes (there's a good discussion to be had for some time) some of the things bubbling up now include in-wheel hubs that provide a boost with electric motors, like this: The Copenhagen Wheel official product release - YouTube

    Put two of these suckers on and there's no stopping us!

    Given the time and a business model that works, 2wd is not dead. Did we have internal hub and auto-shifting transmissions 10-15 years ago? Or hydraulic disk brakes? The ability to finite-element analyze frames to maximize frequencies? I think the golden years are just ahead.

    I get a boost of faith for things like this every time I visit a place like the Henry Ford Museum (Dearborn) or the Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago). Looking back at bikes, cars and machines built over 100 years ago re-sets my expectations quickly.

  16. #16
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    Try this...
    Wait for the end of the video..

  17. #17
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    I've seen the Copenhagen wheel before. Most electrics have a big
    carbon footprint before they're ever installed just from the metal
    recovery processes & milling it takes to produce them. This wheel
    is less so than most I think, I like the simplicity. Still, I suffer from
    range anxiety & sticker shock when it comes to electrics.
    Being an old man whose had more broken bones than I care to
    count, I've come to appreciate what a quiet little 35cc Honda
    whacker motor can do for my mobility. I still have to pedal the grades,
    but it simplifies things considerably for a fraction of the price of
    a comparable electric at 5 times the range. Totally impractical
    for trails, but a cheap way to get there with .15 % of the emissions
    of a V-8 hemi.
    The thing with 2 whls., as you're aware, is the more parts that go
    into a drive, the more power required. That's fine for an SUV with
    power to spare, not so much a bike. The true beauty of bikes is
    the simplicity that makes them so efficient.
    Boomers ain't getting any younger, but I'd rather see 'em on a
    powered bike than rollin' up behind me than in two ton wheel chair.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2bhere View Post
    The only thing I reacted to is the "knowing" tone. The internet has created millions of "experts" and repeating something written by someone else who may, or may not, actually be telling the truth - or know anything - is getting really tired. If we don't know, we don't know.
    You reacted to First Flight, who is one of those who knows. One of the cool things about this forum is the number of people who genuinely are experts. Rather than get all holier than thou in your first post, you might want to sit tight and work out who's who in the zoo.

    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2bhere View Post
    I get a boost of faith for things like this every time I visit a place like the Henry Ford Museum (Dearborn) or the Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago). Looking back at bikes, cars and machines built over 100 years ago re-sets my expectations quickly.
    Likewise, I do love looking at older mechanical devices and seeing the ideas that were implemented and how those ideas have been refined for use today. Most of all I love the fact those years ago, it was a clean sheet of paper for the engineers who really broke ground. Some ideas stick, some ideas fail. Some ideas get trotted out again and again by people who think they can take it one step further and do it better.

    Is the world a better place for not having 2wd bikes? I don't know, but we seem to be getting along okay without them, assuming 2wd bikes won't cure world hunger or broker a peace deal in the middle east.

    Grumps

  19. #19
    Retro on Steroids
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    Of course I have the literature for the 2WD bike.

    Scroll to the bottom of the page.
    It don't mean a feng if it ain't got that
    shui.

  20. #20
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    For my first post in a long time. I make a motion for Grumpy to take a Mydol.

  21. #21
    Phobia of petting zoos.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repack Rider View Post
    Of course I have the literature for the 2WD bike.

    Scroll to the bottom of the page.
    Wow, in context of the rest of the stuff on that page, the 2wd dealie looks tame. Though I have to say, given that "no single wheel drive bicycle will come close to matching the performance" of the Legacy and that an "11 year old said it kicked butt", I'm surprised it didn't capture 20-40% of the market.

    Now, if someone could combine the Legacy with the Body Sail above it, then you've got yourself a winner.

    Grumps

  22. #22
    What could go wrong ...
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    My neighbor still has an Alenax stepper bike shown in the link RR posted(the one on the left in the pic) ... I ride it once or twice a year. Can you imagine 300mm crank arms. It's not unridable on the street but I would never ride it off road.

    1991 Legacy Ovation 2 wheel drive mountain bike-dsc09176.jpg
    I used to ride to Win ... Now I ride to Grin

    While my guitar gently weeps, my bike sits there mocking me

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