Sometimes, your legs just get too tired to keep pedaling on your bike. And when that happens, your only course of action is to pause and take a breather. That doesn’t have to be the case with the Varibike, which you can alternately propel forward using your hands.
Armed with both a traditional bicycle drivetrain and a set of cranks mounted on the handlebars, the ride can be operated both with your legs and your arms. You can use just the cranks (it’s connected to the main drivetrain using a rubber-sheathed chain drive), just the pedals, or both, giving you more options in powering the bike.
The Varibike allows riders to increase their power output by as much 30 percent, which could prove helpful when you’re trying to get wherever you’re going much faster. Plus, using your arms provide a more complete workout, so it’s ideal for those who ride as a form of exercise. Because your hands will be working the cranks, you’ll need to lean your body into turns to steer the bike properly, which doesn’t sound all that bad. Granted, the small narrow handlebars look awkward as heck, but it’s necessary to give the cranks room to turn.
The base model, called an FR2, features an aluminum frame, a Shimano XT rear derailleur, a Ritchey Pro V2 seatpost, and Schwalbe BigApple tires. A new model called the FR3 is put together in a similar way, but uses arm cranks that come with separate freewheels that you can leave pointing forward for use as aero handlebars of sorts.
Pricing for the Varibike starts at €3,999.