Monday, May 9, 2016

Coming Unhinged: Trocadero Twisting Frame Bike

Every now and then, an idea comes along that makes any rational person think "Why?".

Often, the answer is simply, "Why not?".

I suppose that's the only way to explain this new bike from a trio of French cyclists and inventors including professional rider Johan Le Bon (of the FDJ team): The Trocadero Fixie.

Truly bizarre.
The unique feature of the Trocadero Fixie (which is not actually a fixed-gear bike, but rather a single-speed, from what I can tell) is that it has a pivot in the downtube which lets the frame become "unhinged" so that the front and rear wheels can move in different planes to one another.

In this still-frame from the video, you can get a pretty good look
at the frame -- notice that it has very little triangulation behind
the head-tube -- which means it would probably give a fair bit
of flex even when it's NOT intentional.
There is a video on the company's website where one can see the bike zipping around the city. The articulation of the frame does appear to give the riders a very small turning radius, as they can use their hips to turn from the back as well as the front. The bike's inventors claim that it takes about 10 minutes to master. Also, the pivot can be "locked out" so that the bike can be ridden as a conventional bike. I've read that the company has made about 30 of the crazy machines.

Purely for the sake of unintentional (and juvenile) humor, I suggest visiting the Trocadero website, which is only available in French, then have it translated to English using Google Translate. Some highlights:

"The bike seems almost to dismember before our eyes." (Ewww!) "In question ? its frame is not fixed. Both sides of the vehicle can then rotate integrally in one way or another."

"An unusual and entertaining bike launched by three young Britons who has the gift to challenge! Its uniqueness, it detonates! Thrills guaranteed!"

It detonates? Somebody call the bomb squad. But it would definitely be thrilling.
Bitchin' Bellbottoms,

"An approach that recalls the invention of the ATV. Initially, it was only tinkering and a lighted sports. Today it has become an Olympic sport, where the French excellent."


OK - so is the Trocadero "Fixie" a truly original idea? Maybe not exactly. Anybody out there remember the Swing Bike from the '70s? It was kind of like a Schwinn Sting-Ray type of bike, but the rear wheel (and drivetrain) of the bike could pivot on a fork much like the front. Little Jimmy Osmond used to appear in their ads. If one could master the technique, it was supposed to be very maneuverable, and capable of some pretty cool tricks - or the pivot could be locked out, and it would ride like any normal banana seat "muscle bike" of the era.

You can watch the Trocadero Fixie video right here:



  1. I would say this bikes' most useful attribute is the ability to freak the hell out of onlookers. Lol.

  2. Needs some downtube shifters

  3. Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.

  4. Philip--Yes, I agree.

    Puke--How about a water bottle cage?

    Tumble--Hmm. Sounds like what someone wanted me to be one night.

    "Dismember"? "Detonate"? I love translations!

  5. not new, the freak bike club at my school already has one of these.

    1. When I was searching for a picture of the swing bike, I found many variations on the same idea.

      What? You have a freak bike club at your school? Cool!

  6. Vertically stiff yet laterally defiant.