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The very first rowingbike

The very first rowingbike

8 January 1986

The very first rowingbikeThe very first rowingbikeThe very first rowingbikeThe very first rowingbikeThe very first rowingbike

The second version

The second version

May 1987

The third version

The third version

November 1988

The third version

The third version

With the streamline tent in the background.

The third version

The third version

With the streamline tent in place.

4th rowingbike a stainless steel model

1989: A full Stainless steel frame was used for this rowingbike which was Derk's first steel bike. The maintube turned out to be to light, it broke. After it was welded and reinforced this bike did some more mileage for Derk and was sold later on to the olympic windsurfer Bart Verschoor.
Unfortunately there are no pictures left of this early rowingbike.

prototype steel rowingbike of 220 model,

prototype steel rowingbike of 220 model,

Full carbon or kevlar wheels were used a lot end of the 80 ies. To cope with sidewinds the steering angle was made quite upright. That made this bike rather nervous. Nowadays rowingbikes have much more reclined steering angle which makes steering more stable and that brings the front wheel more forward. With the center of gravity further behind and lower nowadays rowingbikes can brake much more aggressive than these older high rowingbikes.

prototype steel rowingbike of 220 model,

Thys 220

Thys 220

1990 - 1998 production model THYS 220
Approximately 50 were made.

Early cable drive on THYS 220

Early cable drive on THYS 220

very soon; around 1990, the first cable drive rowingbike showed the potential of steel cable in stead of the chain.
Only the gearing system of al those speed hubs suck to much energy,
Energy loss that we poor human beings cannot spare.

low and long THYS 280 prototype

low and long THYS 280 prototype

1993. With this very low tree wheeled rowingbike ( there is a skateboardwheel on the lowest part of the frame for traffic bumbs in the road) in faired version Derk won the 1994 edition of the Paris Amsterdam human power race.

low and long THYS 280 prototype

Thys 280

Thys 280

A very low rowingbike, of which very few, 11 or so,were produced. Build from 1994.

Productionline around 1995/ 1996

Productionline around 1995/ 1996

All 220 and 280 models were made by hand and welded in Derk's small workshop. This is one of the rare occasions with a lot of finished bikes on stock.

Productionline around 1995/ 1996

Thys 240, prototype

1997

Thys 240, prototype

It is possible to add a fairing to this rowingbike. On the photo you can discern 6 water bottle of 0.75 litres each. According to Derk, this is not enough for a 6 hour race like the one on Cycle Vision in Lelystad, Netherlands. The Thys 240 is the precursor of the Thys 222, but was thought to be a little too extreme in terms of seat angle and height.

Thys 240, prototype

Thys 240, prototype

Thys 240, prototype

The Thys 240 (prototype) with fairing (rubber/carbon) during the 6-uurs race in 1998 (Cycle Vision, Lelystad). Thijs accomplished an average speed of 47.9 km/hour! He also did the one-hour race. Result: 53.8 kilometers.

First versions of the Snek transmission

1997/1998

First versions of the Snek transmission

The concept of the Snek transmission was designed by brothers Bert and Derk Thijs around 1992. it took until 1997 before Derk bought his first lathe and he actually started to make prototypes. This very first Snek was made out of aluminum with a 2 mm wide groove ( pitch 2 mm) for 2 mm steel cable. This fist version was a primitive version of the nowadays revolversystem. At that moment I found it hard to get that revolving principle working and it was not the only problem I had to cope with. As there were more problems i started with what appeared to me than as the most simple shifting system; by derailleur.
In retrospective that was one of the most stupid mistakes I ever made. I should have concentrated on that revolving system .....

First versions of the Snek transmissionFirst versions of the Snek transmission

Thys 240, Paris Amsterdam record in September 1998

Thys 240, Paris Amsterdam record in September 1998

Concentration at the start of Paris - Amsterdam (started at Eurodisney). Derk covered the distance of 510 km in 13 hours 53 minutes.
This record only lasted one week- Thank you Ymte- but it was still pretty fast.

THYS 222 first prototype and fotoshoot model 1998

THYS 222 first prototype and fotoshoot model 1998

The first 222 model was made in 1998 after the 240 model was thought of as a bit to extreme for the large public ; so a somewhat higher and less reclining model was made. That was a good choice for a change! This model was the first of which the frame would be produced in Taiwan ; in larger quantities.
In fact it was the wish for (expensive) university studies of my children Sara and Derk that pushed me to make this large step to production series of 100 bikes in stead of just 10 or so per year that I could weld on my own. Thanks guys; for pushing me in the right direction- and for finishing your studies by now!

THYS 222 first prototype and fotoshoot model 1998THYS 222 first prototype and fotoshoot model 1998

Goldbar ( goudklompje) first RR version

2000

Goldbar ( goudklompje) first RR version

This gold colored 222 was the first prototype for the RR version, A lot of modifications were made on the standard 222 frame to hold the asymetrical self made rear wheel that has the roller ramp freewheel clutch that improved the catch ( inpik) at the beginning of the stroke very much.

THYS 222 RR version

2001

THYS 222 RR version

The RR version of the 222 has the THYS design rear hub with roller ramp freewheel clutch. This- very expensive- clutch ensures A direct grip on the rear wheel in the beginning of the stroke.
The shifting system is improved but not perfect. Diameter of the snek is limited to 120 mm. Only tall people can shift to the lowest gear when riding.

222 RR Tour de France version

222 RR Tour de France version
Derk Thijs climbing the Alp d' Huez

An intermediate Snek was added to achieve the very necessary low gearing.
This system shifted very poorly and it was never sold.
It is almost a wonder that this shifting system remained in more or less working order during that tour de France in 2001.
It eated two steel propulsion cables a day on hilly days :-)

The Rowingbiketour de France in 2001 was a turn around in several ways; it encouraged new technical developments and it encouraged quite some potential rowingbikeriders to actually buy a rowingbike.

First CVT version on goldbar ( goudklompje)

Winter 2001/2002

First CVT version on goldbar ( goudklompje)

After my tour de France experience with a very poorly working intermediate Snek it was clear to me that i had to principally change the gearing system.
The CVT was a nice solution although the first version with the round shaped
wedgehousing jammed every now and than.

First CVT version on goldbar ( goudklompje)

Thys 230

Thys 230

The year 2002: the Thys 230 with 20" rear and 16" front wheel. This is one of the first CVT's.

THYS 222 prototype with 2 28 '' wheels

2003

THYS 222 prototype with 2 28 '' wheels

Sometimes tests of extremes can help you further.
After the compact THYS 230 with 20 '' and 16'' wheels it was interesting to know how 2 large wheels affect the speed and handling of the rowingbike.
I suspected it to be fast and spend a lot of extra time on machining and drilling the footslider and the wedge housing of the CVT system.
In the end, it turned out not to be fast and very unpractical.

THYS 222 prototype with 2 28 '' wheels

special rowingbikes for use with one leg

special rowingbikes for use with one leg

There are over a dozen rowingbike riders that only use one leg to propel the rowingbike. It turned out that the rowingbike is a great solution for people that can only use one leg. It is hard to learn how to start but it pays off.
As the rider also uses arm and back muscle force on the rowingbike the rider is not very much slower as he would have been using two legs.
Nowadays footslider already carry attachment points for extra bearings to cope with the high asymmetrical forces of these riders.

special rowingbikes for use with one leg

THYS 240, production model

THYS 240, production model

This picture shows the improved second version of the wedge housing of the CVT system . On the first round shaped wedgehousing you sometimes needed a hamer to unlock the wedges :-(
All clients have been given this new wedge housing with needle bearings free of charge.

THYS 240, production model

rowing trailer, April 2002

rowing trailer, April 2002

This was a nice try but it did not work; It was very unstable.

THYS 245 prototype

2002/2003

THYS 245 prototype
Ed Komen climbing to Males, Crete on his 245 model

a lowered 240 prototype with asymetrical frontwheel.
The seat is aprox 4 cm lower than the series 240.

THYS 250 very low & long rowingbike

2003

THYS 250 very low & long rowingbike

The THYS 250 was a further going study for a follow up model for the 222.
After the THYS 245 prototype I tried to build a similar very low and fast rowingbike but now with also an asymmetrical rear wheel. The frame tube was in the center of the bike; the wheel on the left side of the tube; the Snek on the right side.
Large wheel bearings were placed in the frame tube. A very interesting experiment but not successful.

THYS 250 very low & long rowingbike

THYS 250 45.1 km/h on one hour time trial

THYS 250  45.1 km/h on one hour time trial

After the 250 prototype was converted to a normal rear fork , the new one hour time trial record was set at Cyclevision 2003 to 45.1 km/h

Thys 222 Revolver

Thys 222 Revolver
Martijn Mateman on Crete

The year 2005: the THYS 222 Revolver with 2 x 20" wheels. A precursor of the 220 mm Snek was the 178 mm Snek on a 20" rear wheel. A desirable gear for really steep slopes like Calibier and L'Alpe d'Huez.

The new revolver shifting system was developed winter 2004-2005 and thoroughly tested before Introduction.
Thanks to the revolversystem and plastic Sneks dyneema cord can replace the heavy steel propulsioncable.
It is a real thrill to see a 28 gram dyneema cord pull up the heaviest testrider ( far over 100 kg) up the steepest mountains.

Tandem 2006 , Steel CrMo frame

Tandem 2006 , Steel CrMo frame

You can see a nice video of this tandem in the Crete mountains at:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvPucDbmUPo

After the introduction of the revolversystem there are no wishes left on the
field of the shifting machanism, it is a perfectly working system.

This gives space to go to the next challenge ; how to build a effective rowingbike tandem. this steel version already worked very good, but it turned out to have a few points that can be improved.

Tandem 2006 , Steel CrMo frame

THYS 209 prototype steel 2006

THYS 209 prototype steel 2006

After the experiences with the low and long prototypes a more compact
model , similar to the 222 model was designed, build and tested.
This was the steel version with aluminum steering bar, weighing 13 kgs

THYS 209 prototype 2007 Aluminum

THYS 209 prototype 2007 Aluminum

Another improved and lighter 209 prototype was made in 2007 ; 11 kgs.
Martijn Mateman confirmed the importance of weight in clims.
He improved his climb to Males, Crete by 5 minutes on 40 minutes with the 5 kgs lighter rowingbike.

Aluminum Tandem April 2007

Aluminum Tandem April 2007

It is a low, light and fast tandem with 2 20'' wheels.
Cables from the rear rider go straight to the left Snek; without intermediate axle.
The tandem performed very good on long distance's tours and races.
Long distance racer Theo Homan bought it and drove more than 600 km within 24 hours more than once with this tandem.

Concentration on optimal Carbon bike

Since 2007

Concentration on optimal Carbon bike

After the 209 prototypes it was clear how the followup for the 222 model should look like. It took a lot of time to find the right production company and to study their production proces. Than the 209 design was adapted to this production process to enable production and improve stiffness of several carbon parts.
First production samples came in Christmas 2009, series production started half a year later after thorough testing.

Concentration on optimal Carbon bike

Carbon tandem

Carbon tandem

Winter 2008 /2009 the carbon tandem frame was designed in the old fashioned way: take a piece of balsa wood and foam and shape it as you want it to be.
It took more than a year to finish the moulds but it was worth all the work and waiting. In april 2010 the first carbon rowingbike tandem was finished and it is a great ride!!

Carbon tandem
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