Nikola Innovation – The Backstory
The idea was born while I was rollerblading with friends. After many miles of skating, I recognized the muscle fatigue associated with rollerblading, which felt significantly different, then when biking. This fatigue with my leg motion began my interest in understanding body mechanics and how to fully utilize my lower body muscles when riding a bike. As an avid cyclist who loved to ride and compete, I sought to find a better way to apply and transfer the power of the body into the bike. Realizing the similarities between skating and cycling began the theory for the idea. The hypothesis formulated was if a person can use a broader range of muscles to propel a bike, then they should realize higher speeds, or need less effort to ride with the added muscles. Think of a car out of gas and you need to push it. One person will be challenged, much easier with two people, and even easier with three. More people pushing the car require less effort from each.
HOW IT WORKS
In 1962 General Motors introduced the first production car engine with a turbocharger. “The Cutlas Turbo Jetfire” This was monumental because they discovered by adding a turbocharger onto and engine, it increases the performance with added power and efficiency. A turbocharger increases horsepower allowing the car to accelerate faster. Since the car now has more power and can move faster, this allows car manufactures to reduce the size of the engines while maintaining the same power of larger engines. A smaller engine size uses less fuel therefore improves the cars MPG (miles per gallon). Turbochargers are used in cars, jets, boats and many performance engines.
Nikola pedals do for cycling what turbo chargers do for engines. We determined by adding new muscle groups from our legs, you can increase your power on the bike. We took the motion of a speed skater and integrated it into a bike creating a skating/pedaling motion. The new motion works just like a standard pedal except it uses more of the inner thigh and glute muscles in addition to quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles. This creates additional power because just like the car out of gas example, with more people pushing, we have more muscles working. Because a Nikola pedal has more muscles pushing and pulling, they require less effort just like a turbocharger, which in cycling is measured in joules. Think of joules like MPG. If you have a turbocharged engine you need less gas, if you use Nikola pedals you need less effort.
The sensation you experience when riding the pedal surprises everyone because they are expecting something very different. Our team spent a year studying the motion and created a natural feeling movement unnoticeable to almost all riders. The pedal skates back and forth by the developed technology inside the pedal. The second most surprising realization from riders is that you do not move the pedal side to side because it does it for you.
When your foot is on the pedal and positioned at the lowest point nearest the ground the pedal is at the outer most position away from the bike. Think of skating and your legs extending outward to move forward. As you pedal your leg begins to move inward toward the bike and is closest to the bike at the top at 12 o’clock position. The pedal moves circularly and elliptically at the same time.