At first, a bike that can be pedaled six different ways sounds wacky, but when you think about it, the Caron bicycle (which recently launched on Indiegogo) is actually pretty brilliant. It’s not just a gimmick — different pedaling options open up a range of new possibilities for training, rehabilitation, and recreational biking.
The six different ways of riding relate to the pedaling motion, rather than the configuration of the bike or frame. What this means is rather than the opposite-leg 360 degree rotation of traditional pedaling, there are five other options that all offer a variety on biking’s usual muscle activation.
First; you can use the same motion (360 degrees around) but with both feet in sync. It’s like doing crunches while you ride; it burns gut fat faster and builds the great lateral muscle on the back of your thigh.
Second, you can pedal in a 360 degree motion with one foot at a time while leaving the other straight on the pedal. Pro riders have recommended this as a training technique for building strength in the weak leg. People recovering from injuries can either focus on the leg in need of rehab, or leave the bum leg relaxed to avoid strain.
The third, fourth and fifth Caron pedaling formations let riders use an up and down pumping motion that’s more like walking. Riders can pump-pedal with alternating feet or with both feet in sync. Pedaling with an up-down motion of both feet together is good for the hamstring, spine erector muscles, and the tibialis anterior (the muscle going from the outside of the knee across the calf and down to the inside of the ankle), as well as the abs and vatus lateralis.
Of course, if you can also pedal with a one-foot pumping motion. In this case, the individual motion builds the vatus literalis and the tibialis anterior up to three times faster than the pedaling we’re all used to.
The different pedaling types all build balance, and each type has specific muscular applications. With Caron’s variety, it’s easier to target specific muscles for training or rehab. It also makes biking easier for people with disabilities who find traditional pedaling too hard.
Independent testing by KISS (Korean Institute of Sport Science) proved that the different pedal strokes make you work just a little harder. Rotating through each type of stroke (M1 – M6) spending 30 seconds on each resulted in an additional 30 calories burned over the same period of traditional pedaling, as well as increased BPM, respiratory exchange, and oxygen consumption.
Uniset is the patented core of the system that makes this flexibility possible. It acts as a chain ring modifier. Using a clutch spider, the cranks and clutch rings can be fixed at 180 degrees for traditional pedaling, or released to allow multiple pedaling motions. Riders switch between modes using a shifter on the handlebars.
Before we even take into account the Silent Twin cassette hub, indoor trainer, and the complete adult and kids’ bikes Caron is including in the campaign as perks, the Uniset kit has incredible potential. Biking has always had certain limitations as far as muscle development and therapy. This six-way system negates a lot of these by making the rider use different muscle groups. You might still have to do a squat or ten to build up your VMO (vastus medialis oblique, or the second knee that pops out of the mid-thigh on super-cyclists), but the Caron ends up offering a wider range of low impact exercises than traditional biking.
The perks for the Caron campaign include the Caron DIY Kit, which comes with everything you need to have pedaling variety on your own bike, plus a Silent Twin hub and pedals. The Silent Twin Clutch Hi-Tech Cassette Hub is Caron’s creation that promises 100 percent chain efficiency with their clutch bearing design. The hub produces no pawl noise; owners of notoriously noisy Hope hubs understand what we mean. The pedals have a side opening with an inward facing hook making them easy to slip on and off.
Also on offer as perks: Complete bikes. The Hexagon is Caron’s adult hybrid. The company has it set up with a special edition configuration for Indiegogo contributors only, including Alivio 27-speed gearing on a DP 780 (ferrite martensite) frame. Magico is their junior 21-speed bike. Both come with the Caron vari-pedal system included, of course.
The Caron Lite trainer seems like a nice additional touch, since riders can use the control knob rather than the wireless control button to shift, but there are other trainers out there. The star of the show here is the Caron vari-pedaling system. Grab the DIY kit for $190 after shipping, saving more than half off the $350 retail. A Hexagon will cost no more than $670 if you grab it before Aug 24, while a Magico will run you $375 during the sale period.
People must see Caron’s potential – it’s already nearing its $29,000 funding goal, with a little under a month to go.