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The next big thing in bicycle racing could come out of Cleveland
Inventor has incorporated rollerblading motions with standard pedal pumping to increase efficiency

Kevin Niedermier
Nick Stevovich quit his job to devote full time to getting his redesigned pedals to market. Here, he's testing the durability. So far, the pedal on the bench has traveled about 150,000 miles without breaking.
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The next big advancement in bicycling could come out of Northeast Ohio. A Cleveland inventor is getting ready to roll out a new pedal that appears to make riders more efficient by changing the way they turn the crank.

As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, inspiration for the new pedal came from rollerblading, and its creation has required a leap of faith.

LISTEN: The smallest of increments and a big difference

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In the upper echelons of bicycle racing, a small edge can mean the difference between winning and losing. Inside the workshop of MAGNET, a Cleveland product incubator, Nick Stevovich believes he’s created that edge.He uses last year’s Tour de France to explain what this slight advantage could mean for riders.

A little efficiency could go a long way in bike racing
“If you took only a 1 percent improvement in the Tour de France in riders -- their speed, power, efficiency, and took the 24th person and made him the first-place person, there’s only a 1 percent difference. In cycling, that’s a huge difference. We’re seeing 3 to 4 percent difference in some of test candidates in terms of power and efficiency, which is huge.”

Stevovich’s invention is a pedal that slides side to side horizontally as the rider turns the crank. It’s a relatively simple pin-and-spiral grove assembly in the pedals shaft that produces the motion.

Additional sets of muscles are brought into motion
“If you think about when you’re skiing, rollerblading or roller skating, in order to move forward on a flat terrain, you’re kicking out side to side, you’re pulling in your adductor muscles and your glutes and your hamstrings. That was the concept. Could you do that in biking, and if so, could you get more power? It’s very subtle, if you don’t ride frequently, you’re not going to notice you’re doing it. But if you ride a lot, you’re going to notice right away.”

Inspiration for altering pedaling motion came to Stevovich nearly 20 years ago when he was an aspiring bike racer who needed some help.

Rollerblading in the 1990s
“About the same time rollerblading was big, so I would rollerblade at the same time as racing. I found that after a lot of rollerblading, a different set of muscles were used. So, I thought ... is there a way to incorporate rollerblading and biking into one. The hypothesis was putting the two together should give you more output.”

Stevovich, who isn’t an engineer, made a simple prototype back then. But his idea sat on a shelf until five years ago when he decided to turn the concept into reality. He began seeking help researching, building and testing prototypes. A clinical trial at Cleveland State University showed potential, and an ongoing clinical trial this year at Kent State University is generating additional data.

Clinical trials underway to show safety and efficiancy
“Is there any detriment to my body? That’s one reason we’re doing the clinical trial to measure what’s happening to your knee, ankle and hip joints. Secondly, does it work?
"At Kent State, we want to make sure we’re getting the true benefit that we claim, more power and output. And the third (question) is, is it going to last? So, over here, we’re testing the pedal’s durability. This pedal, I believe has over 15 million revolutions, it has over 150, 000 logged on it. Is it going to last? Yeah, I can prove it now.”

A leap of faith is pushing the new pedals
Earlier this year, Stevovich quit his job as vice president at a business that helps companies move employees around the world. He did that so he could devote his full time to his pedal business, Motion-Resolution. He’s been talking to biking enthusiasts to find out how to market his product. And, he’s gotten some interest from exercise companies that think the pedal might be a nice addition to spinning classes.

The device has also caught the attention of medical rehabilitation professionals who think it could help people recover from certain injuries. But, for now, Stevovich’s primary market is road racers and triathletes, who he hopes will pay $200 to $300 for his pedals when they hit the market in the middle of next year.



(Click image for larger view.)

Listener Comments:

Cornering will be within the range of current pedals on the market and within standards under UCI. The prototype shown is only used for the clinical trial tests.

Posted by: Nick Stevovich on October 21, 2013 3:10AM
What about cornering clearance, the axle looks really long?

Posted by: mark S on October 18, 2013 10:10AM

Here is a link to the live video feed of the pedal test stand..


Posted by: Dave Pierson (United States) on October 18, 2013 9:10AM
I ride to and from work every day on a single speed road bike. Although I could ride a bike with multiple gears I enjoy the challenge and exercise I get. If these pedals are really what you say they are I would love a set to try!

Posted by: Ernest Cornelius (Akron) on October 17, 2013 7:10AM
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