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.
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.
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.)
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.
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!