The Problem  

Bicycle commuting is a poorly utilized mode of transportation within the United States. Many cities are working on infrastructure improvements to increase the amount of bike lanes. While this will help, it alone will not encourage people to choose bicycles as their transportation.

What can enable people to ride their bike more often?

Interested in cycling behavioral pattern, I interviewed casual and committed commuters. Sweating too much before work and being too tired to ride home at the end of the day were the major complaints of the casual commuter. A motor assisted bicycle seemed to be a logical answer.

Electric bicycles broke down into two categories, electric bikes and conversion kits. After test riding different products, I understood that the bicycle is as unique as the rider. To design a complete electric bike would drastically narrow the amount of people willing to ride more often. Alternatively, electric conversion kits require specialized mounting and large, bulky batteries while increasing strain the drivetrain.


The Answer 

TailWind is a motorized conversion kit that can attach to a wide range of bicycles, with no strain on the pre-existing drivetrain and minimal customization to the original bike. TailWinds electrical assist will increase the likelihood of people adopting a change in their transportation lifestyle. Not only does this benefit the cyclist’s individual health, it is also a positive change for the community and environment. Every time a person uses TailWind, it is one less car ride and one more step toward encouraging responsible personal and environmental behavior. TailWind gives the novice cyclist that extra needed push, to a healthier lifestyle.





Looking for a system that would both remove rotational weight from the wheel and be simple to install, I found inspiration from the maglev train. As the train passes over a track the train will turn on and off electromagnets that will push against magnets embedded within the track, causing the train to be pushed forward. Envisioning, the wheel of the bike as the train track and the electromagnet (train engine) could be mounted to the frame of the bike. As the wheel spins, the electromagnet would push the wheel, creating thrust for the rider.



Demonstrating that the concept worked, the natural location for the electromagnet motor was within the void in the frame above the rear wheel. The batteries are placed down the seat tube allowing them to be removed by the user so the could be charge anywhere without the need to carry the bike to a charging location. A magnet strip is placed between the tube and the inside wall of the bike tire, like a thorn strip and can be cut to length depending on the radius of the wheel, increasing the number and variety of different bikes TailWind can be installed on. After installation the rider is able to set up the amount of Electric assist depending on how strong they feel that day.





Tailwind is an electric bike conversion kit enabling even the most novice cyclist the opportunity and freedom that comes with riding a bike, without the need to get rid of the bike they already love.