How Cool is This Air-Powered Bike?

Cory Little and Josh Powell designed the prototype for a bike powered by air.

I’ve always been an advocate for cycling instead of driving, and one of the big obstacles for people making the switch to pedal power is that riding a bike is hard. If you’re riding for transportation rather than for fitness, you don’t want to get super sweaty powering up a hill or from carrying a heavy load. And if you’re not in the best shape, even relatively flat terrain becomes cumbersome after a while.

Related: Summer Bike Commuting Tips

When I worked across town and biked in, I used to envy folks who had a motor assist on their bikes. As I sweated my way up the hill that Atlanta locals call Mount McClendon, these lucky cyclists just flipped on their motors and cruised to the top.

Motor-assisted bikes usually use a rechargeable battery, which is sort of a pain. You have to remember to charge it up, and when you do you’re probably using dirty coal power to do it. That’s what makes Little’s and Powell’s idea exciting!

Their “Little Motor” is a double-acting cylinder. It’s basically a small steam engine. Instead of electricity or gas, it uses air compression to help you pedal when you need it. As you can see in the video, the air gives you a burst of speed. It’s pretty cool!

How cool is this air-powered bike?

The only downside to the Little Motor is that it’s on the bulky side. If this bike is going to go to market, it’s going to need work. Florin Tibu at Auto Evolution suggests, “a better idea would be to design and engineer a bike frame that stores compressed air. The frame would be beefier, but an industrial designer with enough experience could definitely make it look at least marketable if not even gorgeous.”

It’s a bummer that the bike needs more of a pretty factor to succeed on the market, but Tibu does have a good point. People like a pretty bike.

Little and Powell are looking for funding to further develop their prototype. If you want to learn more, you can check out their Go Fund Me page.


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Kathryn Irby
Past Member 3 years ago

Very cool, I'd say! Thank you

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Sen Senz
Sayenne H3 years ago

Cool idea

Alvin King
Alvin King3 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Thank you

Genoveva M M.
Genoveva M3 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper3 years ago


Ricky Thamman
Ricky T3 years ago

A little tweaking with the design, and this could be a neat product...super Christmas gift!