"The Incline Corp has shattered the biking world by introducing the Gearhedz shaft drive system, rendering the bicycle chain obsolete," states a bullish press release from ski industry veteran Rick Sceery, president of The Incline Corporation of Providence RI.
"Our shaft drive is changing the bike industry as we know it," claims Sceery.
The Gearhedz system is only available on The Incline Corp’s own-brand bikes.
"We had a number of competitors who wanted to licence our shaft drive," Sceery told BikeBiz.co.uk.
"We do not plan to do so. We will only offer on our brand."
The Incline’s bike brands are Makin sport-comfort, cross and cruisers, and Bizo BMXes.
When asked how the Gearhedz shaft drive system compares in performance terms to other shaft-drive systems, Sceery said it came down to quality of manufacture and design refinements:
"Previous and existing shafts were very heavy and they did not work properly due to the shaft angle. They also could not incorporate the performance. Our shaft is only 6 oz more than a chain system and we created our shaft over the last 10 years to work within existing geometry of today’s frames. The patented and tested shaft is made with 100 percent chromoly encased in alloy to eliminate dirt and grime with no maintenance."
Sceery also claims the Gearhedz system "improves transfer of energy" and is "industry changing technology."
Shaft-drives were in use on bicycles in the late 19th century and generally work at 90 percent efficiency. In comparison, chain-drive bikes work at 98.5 percent efficiency, although efficiency does tend to drop when chains are exposed to dirt and the elements
For a UK company already supplying shaft-drive bikes, see http://www.zerocycles.co.uk Zero uses Sussex shaft-drives from Taiwan, a system first manufactured in 1991. http://www.sussex.com.tw
And in the December edition of VeloVision, there will be news of another direct drive bike: "The direct drive chainless bike returns, with a fascinating design from South Africa." Cranks and hub gear are built into the front wheel of a recumbent(see also BCQ 18 p. 55). http://www.velovision.co.uk
For a Danish take on the shaft-drive thing, see http://www.biomega.dk/ This site opens with a graphic of a nude, flying woman, mimicing a famous 19th century poster.