The Lybe

The Lybe Motorcycle of 1893

The Lybe employed a spring drive similar to a large clockwork motor. The spring was intended to recover on downhill sections some of the energy used on uphill sections. Arm and foot assistance was required. The inventor, D Lybe of Sidney, Iowa, claimed that it afforded a mild and pleasing form of exercise in addition to its speed advantages. The top speed was claimed to be 30mph. Lybe is supposed to have reached that speed over a distance of 700m in 1893. After that the spring had to be rewound which took more time and energy than that required to walk the same distance. The design died a quiet death.

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Murray Barnard, Perth, Western Australia

1996 mbarnard