Nowadays, I find that comfort on my bike is the most important thing I can aspire to. Perhaps that’s because I’ve spent so much uncomfortable time in the saddle. (Oh, and speaking of saddles, that Forte I put on the bike a few weeks ago is working out nicely. Who’d a thunk?)
So when I came across this oddball design this week, I had to stop for a closer look. It’s called the Roundtail, and instead of having a diamond-shaped frame, it uses two circular rings in the rear. They’re supposed to dissipate road vibrations before they make it up to the rider’s derriere.
Inventor Lou Tortola and the Roundtail bike.
The Roundtail is the brainchild of Lou Tortola of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He claims it absorbs 60 times more road vibrations than a standard double diamond frame. I don’t know anything about bike geometry, but if one can get past the bizarre look, I can see that there can be some relief in the design. Despite the rings, the frames are sized traditionally.
Here’s a YouTube video showing the Roundtail out on a ride.
The frame reportedly retails for $2,000. That’s just the frame, mind you. I’m not endorsing the Roundtail — I don’t know enough about it yet. But it will be interesting to see if the design takes off.
LJ Gould says
There aren’t a lot of RoundTails out and about yet, but if you’d like to hear feedback from folks who saw it in person and took the RoundTail for a quick test-ride at Interbike, click here: http://www.youtube.com/embed/1VTCSObZT-k
If this piques your interest, please visit us at http://roundtail.ca
And thanks for the blog mention!
I’ve seen this on various bike blogs going back a while – couple of years perhaps? Seems like one of those things many people know of but not many people have seen in person.
I haven’t tried one, so I can’t say for sure how it feels. However, for $2000 you can get a pretty nice complete bike… and a suspension seatpost like this one, which as far as I can tell does nearly the same thing.
Any production bike – roundtail or not – would have to be REALLY REALLY good/comfy/light for me to consider spending that much on just the frame when at that price point you can easily get a custom-made frame from a reputable frame-maker.
A bicycle is not a rocking chair.
LJ Gould says
Hmmm…well, the RoundTail certainly does ROCK! But no, a bicycle is not a rocking chair and neither is the RoundTail. This concept was only developed just shy of one year ago. The custom titanium RoundTail was made by the very reputable Lynskey Performance.
I have a hard time believing that the comfort of this bike outweighs the comfort of a seat suspension or a cheep Y frame bike. The weight/comfort seems to be the only advantage and even that seems to be outweighed by equally expensive conventional bicycles. The fact that it relies on the frame continuously contorting also leads me to believe that this design is a bad one. I could see this taking off if it cost $150 at Canadian tire but as it is I can’t see this as a viable alternative to equally priced bicycles.