Would it be a good idea to have a flywheel on a bicycle to help smooth out the "dead zones" when pedaling, kinda like those oval sprockets were designed to do? Perhaps some design that can let the user try different weights and select the best one for them? This could be used on bikes that are not being raced but rather on those where smoothness is desired. The flywheel could be designed to work well with a moderate cadence such as between 60 and 90. For a simple flywheel, they could attach something to the front chainring to give it more weight. Perhaps a poor mans flywheel would be to attach magnets to the outside of the largest chainring just inside of the teeth so no contact with the chain.

As a side advantage, when going up a hill with a flat approach area, you can build up a high cadence and thus store up a little more energy. The total added weight should be no more than 1 pound.

Actually I think just installing heavy tubes should have a similar flywheel effect and I already purchased one of those.

A bike is different than a car since a bike has high torque but low horsepower so the flywheel design would have to account for that.

  • I think that a flywheel on the chainrings would cause more problems than it is solve. Being able to stop pedalling quickly as you go into turns is a pretty important feature.
    – Kibbee
    Jan 25, 2016 at 13:50
  • Somebody is downvoting all of my posts maybe to try to make me go away but it is not working. You need to be more mature whoever is doing it.
    – David
    Jan 25, 2016 at 13:51
  • 4
    Precise answers might make the world less interesting but they are what make Stack Exchange useful. You are getting downvotes because your questions are inappropriate for the venue.
    – jqning
    Jan 25, 2016 at 14:24
  • 3
    Any help a flywheel would bring (whether to smooth out pedaling or helping to accelerate from a stop) would be negated by carrying around all that extra weight.
    – jcbrou
    Jan 25, 2016 at 14:40
  • 2
    A flywheel would make the bicycle sluggish when it comes to direction changes and it would be harder to lean into turn because the gyroscopic effect of the flywheel will keep its axle always pointed in the same direction. Making the cyclist use extra force to change the direction.
    – Carel
    Jan 25, 2016 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


People who stomp down on their pedals are likely to experience dead zones, but the deadness is a product of the rider's creation. If you want to get rid of dead zones, attach your feet to the pedals and move your feet in circles.

Practically speaking a useful flywheel would need to be bigger that the chainring.

  • What about people that want their feet free on the pedals like I think most cyclists desire? I think the most practical "flywheel" is heavy (thick) tubes which serve another useful purpose as well. I just bought a 0.9mm thick tube at my local bike shop. I do not race and I like a nice smooth ride. As far as dead zones being "in my head" I disagree. When I pedal hard standing on the pedals I can hear a "whooshing" sound as I go thru the power strokes. It would be a cool invention to smooth that out.
    – David
    Jan 25, 2016 at 14:19
  • You're right, it's not in your head. I'll edit.
    – jqning
    Jan 25, 2016 at 14:26
  • Standing on the pedals is an inefficient pedal stroke. Can only be done for relatively short periods of time because it will "burn" your quad muscles. So smoothing this type of pedal stroke out would only benefit a very small period of time on the bike.
    – OraNob
    Jan 25, 2016 at 14:26
  • 1
    As a show of good faith I gave you a plus 1. But answering these questions is only encouraging these questions. You state in a comment the questions are inappropriate for the venue.
    – paparazzo
    Jan 25, 2016 at 14:29
  • OraNob - standing on the pedals can only be done for a short time? What about those stair stepper machines at the gym which is basically the same thing as standing on bike pedals. I would just lift my weight up onto the power stroke pedal and let gravity do the work on the downstroke. Check out the first biker in this video. 32% grade, 0.11 miles, standing off the seat and going straight up the giant hill. youtube.com/watch?v=FgIL6eHHgZU
    – David
    Jan 25, 2016 at 14:49

Bicycles are generally a balance of being a complex enough machine to be efficient, but simple enough to lessen the chance of mechanical failure. What you are talking about is a fairly complex mechanical upgrade to make up for lack of riding technique (smooth pedal stroke). Such a system would add complexity and weight to any bicycle one would own, rather than simply have a rider develop skills to be carried from one bicycle to the next.

Developing a smooth pedal stroke is a boon to any cyclist. What you are suggesting would actually prevent people from learning (or discourage) proper riding technique. Unlike training wheels, which offer a measure of safety while encouraging balance (when setup properly) you are proposing a mechanism to prevent proper technique and ultimately develop a alternate technique that would only work on bicycles with specialized equipment installed.

  • 2
    A variation of the first paragraph of this answer should be pasted as a comment onto every other of @David's questions.
    – jqning
    Jan 25, 2016 at 19:58
  • Why would anyone care about weight on a bike if it is just a simple playbike? My cheap MTB weighs in at a hefty 37 pounds or so but that is only a small fraction of my bodyweight. Instead of worrying about a few pounds on a bike and even ounces in some cases, why not just get a cheap heavy bike (like I did) and lose 10 pounds of bodyweight (which is in theme with exercising on a bike). Not all people want bike skills. Some people just want to ride without worrying about if they are doing something optimally or not. I like to enjoy the scenery and shift the gears.
    – David
    Jan 26, 2016 at 13:04
  • 1
    Your argument makes no sense. If you are just riding the bike as a plaything, then why bother trying to radically redesign the drivetrain? Bike skills are required to ride, period. If you can't balance the bike, you can't ride. If you are going to stop developing your skills and say "good enough", you might do well to adopt the same attitude with the bicycle you are riding. Jan 26, 2016 at 16:23
  • Cuz a better bike design can complement a less than ideal rider. Kinda like they make golf clubs specifically for people that tend to slice all the time. In that case 2 wrongs almost make a right. Who cares if it is a slice swing with a hook club if the ball winds up in the middle of the fairway? Proper technique is not required to enjoy a bike. The emphasis for many bike riders is fun and exercise, not getting the most of their watts. That is for "bikeheads" that like to race and analyze where their energy is going. That is fine but not for everyone.
    – David
    Feb 6, 2016 at 19:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.