This is the most unusual bicycle I’ve ever owned. The crank has 14 gears built into it. The brake is a cable that squeezes the rim.

NordicTrack released its Nordic Sport Pro Performa Fitness Bike in 1992 featuring the Radial Gear Transmission first created in the 1980s by inventor Royce Husted. Husted introduced his own bicycle — the Yankee.

geardrive[1]

brake[1]
Rim band braking was another of Husted’s ideas that failed to gain popularity.
Husted’s invention, the radial gear, shifts from low through fourteen speeds to high by pressing a single lever on the handlebars. While the rider pedals a half rotation, it can be shifted down when the pedal is reverse pedaled, or shifted to a higher gear by pedaling forward. This is accomplished by the crank expanding or contracting in size.

husted-bike

The other unusual feature of the bike is the braking system. A single brake lever on the  handlebar tightens a steel cable that rides in a groove on the rear wheel rim (and creating a constant rubbing noise.)

husted-gear-brakes
The braking system on the Nordic Sport bike is a cable that rides in a groove on the rear wheel, operated by a handlebar lever.

I took the bicycle for a short ride and the radial transmission performed flawlessly, until a previous repair to a crack in the the plastic derailing ring came apart. Although the shifting system is ingenious, parts are no longer available. In fact, I was unable to find any of Husted’s bikes or the Nordic Sport on Ebay.

husted-gear
Royce Husted’s radial gear bicycle transmission.

After Husted perfected his radial gear invention, he sold the rights to NordicTrack which produced it for at least one year, but it never caught on. Read more about the Husted Yankee in the Chicago Tribune.

The usted Radial Gear Transmission deserves a unique place in the history of the bicycle. This promotional video is a laugh!

4 thoughts on “Nordic Sport Husted Radial Gear Transmission

  1. Only the Kevlar sheath of the brake cable appears damaged, not the stainless core, so I am looking for a small diameter sheath. BTW, my front “sprocket ” provides only 5 gear ratios. I do have a second rear wheel with more teeth on the sprocket which will alter all 5 ratios. Recently got an Imortor front electric wheel. Helps on hills but the automatic assist is unpredictable, so still testing. It doubles the weight of the bike.

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  2. Thank you for this beautifully constructed review of this interesting bicycle. Only from the internet and YouTube I was familiar somewhat with the radial gear concept, I believe called a curved cam by some, but I was unaware that it ever appeared on a commercially produced bike. If not too expensive, I would be interested in purchasing one. I surfed the web today and was unable to locate one.
    It is fascinating how many brilliant inventions for various reasons became forgotten relics. Because of your exposé, who knows, perhaps Husted’s worthy innovation will yet find its time.
    All the best.

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      1. I’m afraid my advice is not very inventive. Measure the diameter of the cable with a very accurate caliper the Google Stainless Steel Cable and start looking for the right diameter, length and price.
        I’m envious that you have this bike and glad to hear you ride it daily. Congrats and good luck on replacing the brake band. P.S You might also check with a local bike shop to see if the brake band matches some other kind of regular bike cable. Or just truck down to see a helpful hardware store to see what they have.

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