The ConferenceBike is a 7-seat human-powered vehicle designed in Germany by Velo.Saliko after an idea of Eric Staller.
The Conferencebike is a bicycle for seven people which are sitting in a circle and are looking inwards, towards each other. It is tricycle-shaped but has four car wheels, two of them as double tyres at the rear. The frame consists of steel tube arms which are bent upward and have bicycle saddles on their top ends. The arms are arranged in a radial pattern, leaving space to step in between them and mount easily. The power transmission is completely covered. It consists of standard bicycle cranks, chainwheels, chains and freewheels which are fixed to a shaft. This shaft gathers the driving force from the seven directions of the frame by means of universal joints or cardan joints which connect the sections of the shaft. This is called a circular shaft. The gathered power is then conveyed to the rear axle by a motorcycle chain. There are two independent brake systems with disc brakes and a parking brake. Lighting consists of a double bicycle lighting system with dynamos. Steering employs a rack steering gear from a car. The saddles can be adjusted in height in a wide range, thus enabling people with a size from 1.40 to 2.00 meters to ride the ConferenceBike. As a completely Human Powered Vehicle it has the legal status of a bicycle. (In Germany and most European countries, at least.) It is allowed on the streets and is not bound to bicycle lanes because of its width. In Germany it is free of permission by the Technical Control Board (TÜV), registration approval and tax.
The concept of the ConferenceBike was developed by the US-American artist and designer Eric Staller who lives in the Netherlands. In the late 1980s in New York he had the idea of a circular multi-person bicycle which would make the riders and the spectators simply smile and be cheerful. The prototype was built around 1989 in the USA and was called "Octos". It was an eight-seater with outside circular frame and four wheels. Some time later Eric Staller built a three wheeled five-seater with a heart-shaped frame, the "Love Bike". Later in the Netherlands several three wheeled six-seaters were built which had a multi-angled elliptical outside frame. All of the three wheelers had a steered single wheel in front and two rear wheels, one of them driven. The gathering of the driving force was accomplished by bicycle chains which were twisted and joined on a short vertical shaft. In 2001 the company Velo.Saliko in Hannover, Germany, developed a completely new concept and general design with ergonomic radial frame, two steered front wheels and lower center of gravity. Now the driving force is gathered by a compact circular shaft. Since 2003 the new ConferenceBike is manufactured in serial production and is distributed worldwide.
By the unique arrangement of the seats all riders start conversation very easily. The ConferenceBike is a "social tool", a "communication catalyzer" which brings people together and creates team spirit. It can be used for teambuilding, seminars, and guided tours with small groups over longer distances. In the area of bicycling with blind or otherwise handicapped persons it can provide exceptional experiences and sometimes even amendment. Several rental stations use the ConferenceBike but more in terms of attraction and fun and making money. A growing focus is the use as a marketing or promotion tool. By applying several kinds of advertising space the ConferenceBike is on the way to more commercialisation.
length: 2,50 m width: 1,80 m weight: 220 kg turning circle: 6,50 m