Panasonic to Launch Power-assisted Bikes With 2 Child Seats

Apr 25, 2011
Yuka Ikematsu, Nikkei Monozukuri
The "Gyutto"
The "Gyutto"
[Click to enlarge image]
The "Gyutto Mini"
The "Gyutto Mini"
[Click to enlarge image]
The separately-sold child seat to be mounted on the rear parts of the bicycles
The separately-sold child seat to be mounted on the rear parts of the bicycles
[Click to enlarge image]

Panasonic Cycle Technology Co Ltd will release power-assisted bicycles that meet the Japanese standards for bicycles capable of carrying two infants May 23, 2011.

The accompanying child seat of the bicycles, "Gyutto" and "Gyutto Mini," is placed on the rotating shaft of the handle. The seat is located at a low position to improve the stability of the bicycles and to make it easy to load and unload an infant.

The sizes of the Gyutto's front and rear wheels are 22 and 26 inches, respectively, and those of the Gyutto Mini's are both 20 inches.

The loads imposed on the bicycles are intensified where people sit. When an infant or two are carried, the number of points on which loads intensify is two or three, respectively, leading to a lack of stability. Therefore, the new bicycles had to be designed so that they have higher stability than normal bicycles.

Panasonic Cycle Technology employed small front wheels to lower the gravity points of the bicycles and improve stability. But the company used a 26-inch rear wheel for the Gyutto so that the user can pedal it like other bicycles.

It is also important to ensure the stability of the bicycles being stopped. When a bicycle is being parked while a load is imposed on its front wheel, its handle and front wheel tend to be turned, turning over the bicycle. To address this problem, Panasonic Cycle Technology employed the "Sutapita" function, which automatically fixes the handle when the kickstand is deployed.

The head rest of the child seat can be moved up and down. The cover for the seat absorbs perspiration and can be removed for cleaning when it gets wet with rain or becomes filthy.

When a separately-sold child seat is attached on the loading platform located in the rear part, two infants can be carried. The weight of an infant who can sit on the rear seat is up to 22kg.

The Gyutto and Gyutto Mini feature three power assist modes: "Automatic," which automatically controls assist power; "Power," which keeps assisting pedaling effort strongly; and "Eco," which saves power consumption by using a relatively low power for assistance. Equipped with an 8Ah lithium-ion rechargeable battery, the bicycles can travel about 36km per charge with assistance.

Furthermore, when the bicycles are going up a steep hill, they are assisted with a higher power than their predecessors. This was realized by the rear wheel's hub called "Rakuraku Drive Unit." By improving the durability of this part, the bicycles became able to withstand a higher assist power.

The manufacture's suggested retail prices of the "Gyutto" and "Gyutto Mini" are both ¥132,000 (approx US$1,604, including tax) and that of the separately-sold child seat is ¥14,800.