• Apr 28th 2010 at 8:57AM
  • 13
Lexus hybrid bicycle concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

When we think of the term hybrid, we tend to conjure up images of cars like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. The "hybrid" part of these machines is their dual powertrains, most often consisting of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor and battery.

Really, though, a hybrid could be any vehicle that gets its motive force through multiple sources... no matter what those sources may be. Hence, Lexus' newest hybrid concept proudly carries its moniker despite the complete lack of an engine. It does, however, have a 240-Watt electric motor powered by a 25.9-volt lithium battery pack, along with... pedals?

That's right. Though it managed to escape our attention up to this point, Lexus actually displayed a duo of hybrid electric bicycles at last year's Tokyo Motor Show, and the Japanese automaker is now touting the bike as part of its sponsorship of the Great British Bike Ride.

According to Lexus, the frame is constructed of carbon fiber (the same composite that makes up Valentino Rossi's MotoGP bike, gushes Lexus) and uses an eight-speed internal gear system sourced from Shimano, in reference to the LS 600h's eight-speed automatic. There are no plans to put the bike into production. Want to know more? Check out the high-res image gallery below and see the press release after the jump.

[Source: Lexus]


Introducing the Lexus Hybrid Bicycle Concept

Lexus has established itself as an industry leader in bringing advanced technologies to the premium car market. Now it has applied the same thinking on a smaller scale to create the Lexus Hybrid Bicycle, a design concept the captures the fundamental engineering and design values of the brand, but with two wheels rather than four.

In every aspect this is Lexus, from the L-finesse design language of the engaging and elegant frame, to the application of hybrid power, an electric eight-speed transmission and lightweight carbon fibre construction.

Lexus has brought what is one of the only two examples in existence to the UK for the first time, following the bicycle's debut at the 2009 Tokyo motor show. Its arrival coincides with the announcement of Lexus's title sponsorship of the Great British Bike Ride, a four-day charity fun ride that will see hundreds of cyclists following a course from Land's End to the home of English rugby at Twickenham.

Lexus has pioneered high performance, low emissions and optimum fuel efficiency with its full hybrid Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain technology. The Hybrid Bicycle adopts similar principles, with the pedal power of the rider boosted by assistance to the front wheel from a 240W electric motor, via a 25.9V Lithium-ion battery, with a choice of Eco or Power modes. And, as with Lexus Hybrid Drive, there is an energy regeneration function that helps recharge the battery by capturing kinetic energy generated under braking.

The Lexus Hybrid Bicycle has all-wheel drive, by means of a belt system. It is equipped with an electric eight-speed Shimano internal gear system, which references the sophisticated eight-speed shift-by-wire automatic transmission of Lexus's LS 600h limousine. The carbon fibre construction shares the same light-but-strong composite materials technology that was used on Valentino Rossi's MotoGP-winning motorcycle.

There are no current plans for the Lexus Hybrid Bicycle to become a production model.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Interesting x-shape triangulation instead of your typical giant triangle...I feel like this could be a lot stiffer than most other bike frame. That's gotta help efficiency.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually the center of the x-shape is a huge weak point on this bicycle because at that point there is only a single linkage. All other portions of the bike use stiff triangles which will further transfer force to the weak point. This means it is very likely that the bike would snap in half at any time as bumps and rotational forces act on the bike frame.

        Designers think that bikes are simple, but it takes a real engineer with a science background to properly construct a high tech bike frame.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Designers think that bikes are simple, but it takes a real engineer with a science background to properly construct a high tech bike frame."

        I think Lexus probably has some engineers, but never mind... you're right of course about this frame being junk. I am sure it was designed by 'designers' not by engineers.

        The more important point is that the conventional double triangle frame is just about the most efficient structure it could possibly be. Any significant departures (such as this) are uniformly worse when it comes to strength/weight ratio.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ah, you guys might be right. I was thinking that the 'X' up front would help handle a moment about the fork support column better than normal frame designs, but with an axial load thru the fork, your point of failure would be right at the cross point like you suggested.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have to ask: is this to avoid the whole "unintended acceleration" issue?
      • 5 Years Ago
      This bicycle would fit perfectly into Lexus CT200h.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Back in the day we called these mopeds. I see an electric moped, not a bad idea as a short distance fair weather commuter.
      • 5 Years Ago
      shouldn't lexus be making plugin hybrids instead of pointless gimmicks like this..
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder how much electric motor drag it would have? that's always been my problem with electric bikes. ( i want to do more pedaling than electric riding ).

      Interesting nonetheless.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love the hybrid electric bicycle. Especially the carbon fiber part! 8 speeds is not enough though, but it does make for a clean crank.

      I am on my second hybrid electric bicycle and both have been a blast to ride. I use my current hybrid bicycle mostly for exercise after I have already jogged for the day and don't want a really tough second workout. I occasionally use it to replace a car trip (about 5-10 miles roundtrip) to the post office, bank or coffee shop.

      My first electric bike had a NiMh battery, but the current one has Li battery.

      I still have a regular bicycle I ride for exercise too. But I also ride the hybrid bike when I otherwise wouldn't go for a ride at all, so I really couldn't say whether the hybrid electric bike saves energy or causes me to use more. My thinking is that an ICE car uses so much energy that replacing even a few trips helps offset the additional recreational rides.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Lexus shows off new hybrid concept... bicycle? bldc motor driver.. http://www.leafmotor.com/
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wonder if the brakes work on this model.

        • 5 Years Ago
        The brakes probably do, but I assume the shifting is just for show, since STI is not compatible with Shimano's hub shifters (I'm a big fan of both, just not together). Also, the odd angle at which they are mounted means that the action to shift or brake would be pretty awkward for your hands.
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