O2's Air-powered Bike is Oh-Too-Cool

After a few months of regularly commuting on two wheels, I have come to a conclusion: two wheeled rides are awesome. That said, two-wheeled vehicles of all kinds are not without their drawbacks.

Pedal-powered bikes, for example, are great exercise and good for the environment – but no one wants to get sweaty and gross on their way to work. Gas-powered scooters, on the other hand, do get great mpg – but they spit out harmful emissions and send American greenbacks to … let’s just say “elsewhere“.

There are solutions, of course, with electric and pedal-assist bicycles cutting down on the sweating and (constantly improving) electric motorcycles and scooters cutting into the ICE bike market. Electric bicycles and scooters , however, still have limited range (and you have to have the “You know the electricity for that comes from coal and oil, too, right? So it makes no difference.” conversation all the time, which is a pain).

Design student Dean Benstead thinks he may have a two-wheeled transportation solution that provides powered transport, while side-stepping most of the “problems” associated with alternative energy tech.

Benstead’s o2 Pursuit is based on a Yamaha WR250 dirt bike and uses one of Engineair’s DiPietro air engine for power. In its current “project” form, the bike can hit 60 mph (about the same as a 125 cc gas scooter). Refueling is snap, too, with easily swap-able air canisters that can be safely stored just about anywhere. Check out one vision of a canister-swap station that could serve bike like the Pursuit, below.

The bike remains a student design project, but plans are already underway for a “version 2” Pursuit bike, which Benstead says “would involve a total re-style, different material choices over the current steel tube chassis, such as aluminum or even a futuristic printed titanium, reducing the weight comparable to a heavy-duty mountain bike.”

Not that anyone asked, but a bike like this would be a great merchandising opportunity for a company like Campbell Hausfeld or Sears’ Craftsman brand.

For now, I suppose, there’s little to but hope that someone jams some money into Benstead’s hands soon. I hope someone does – but not because it’s clean tech with cutting-edge style, but because I want one!

Source: o2, via Gizmag.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.