OK, forgive the pun, but Eline Bikes’ new string bike really doesn’t string riders along, even if it does use string. Bikes haven’t changed much—frame, pedals, seat, handlebars and gears. Outside of materials used, every bike has the same basic features. Eline Bikes took the one part you wouldn’t have imagined possible to replace, and did away with it: the chain.
When you look at the string bike, you don’t see anything that new or different. The frame has a nice shape; the seat and handlebars seem common enough, and wheels are wheels. It’s when you look a little closer that you see the difference. The gears are all wrong. The main sprocket, instead of being the traditional circle, is more of an odd-shaped triangle. Instead of a chain connecting the sprocket with the gears, you have a “string” (basically a nylon cord). According to Eline, the string drive more closely mimics the way you walk naturally, which increases the power transferred to the gears and allows for an easier ride. It’s more of a push-pull motion—think pistons on a train. The dual rear drums have 19 gears, and the bike is capable of reaching 52 mph. Because there is no chain, the bike is nearly silent. No chain noises or clicking when not pedaling. And, you can pedal forward or backward; both transfer power to the drums. And one other feature? The string is interchangeable and you won’t get all greasy changing it.