Found in the supermarket
The origin story
Most of us have done it at some time or another when behind the shopping cart – that thing you do leaning forward on the handlebar, letting it take your weight as you float above the polished floor. It’s one of those unique pleasures in life you can enjoy as much as an adult as when you first tried (despite the odd looks you might get from other shoppers).
For Tom Mackenzie, the creator of the Levicle™ bike, this sensation of freedom and ease of movement was one he felt compelled to emulate with his invention.
Inspiration and exhilaration
When it came to designing a small, efficient and durable bike, one that could effectively move across different terrain, we looked close to home – and close to our hearts.
The Kiwi is New Zealand’s national bird. Small, flightless and with a large beak, it is beloved by all cultures in our country and valued for its uniqueness and rarity. There’s nothing quite like it in the world.
Despite the lack of working wings the Kiwi can nonetheless cover a lot of ground. With powerful, muscular legs an adult bird can traverse kilometres of territory in a single night. While this landscape is often rugged and steep the Kiwi is perfectly adapted to suit the terrain. With speed and agility this bird can run as fast as a person, it’s strong legs pumping away as it tears through the dense New Zealand bush.
Tom's vision for the Levicle™ bike
“I founded Energy Mad in 2004 with a vision for making sustainable lighting available with far greater efficiency. In 2011 we were listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. There are now over two a half million homes in 14 countries that have Energy Mad ecobulbs.
Growing a company from a small start-up into a multi-million dollar business I learnt a thing or two about getting the right balance. So when it came time to follow my dream and build the Levicle™ bike I knew it had to be equal parts efficient, easy to use and, ultimately, incredibly fun to ride.
We’re a small, passionate and expert team of engineers, designers and general enthusiasts. Together, we’ve taken an unwieldy, cobbled-together invention in my garage to where we are now – a world-leading bike that is already being used and enjoyed by many.
I’m proud of where we’ve come from and believe wholeheartedly in the final result.’”
Tom MacKenzie. Inventor of the Levicle™ bike.
Wheels in motion
Gaining momentum on the modern Levicle™ bike may be easy. But it wasn’t always the case.
The first prototype was built by Tom in his garage in 2012. With a basic wheel between the rider’s legs and some handles attached to the wheel frame the bike was unstable and genuinely scary to ride. Adding a rear wheel helped create greater stability, and fixing it in place also helped.
With a solid working prototype the Levicle was then taken to bicycle designer Dylan Filbee. With his diligent attention further prototypes were refined and evolved to where, mid 2015, the final version rolled out for field-testing.
After more carefully planned research and development it was decided the bike should come in two models, the kids version built for the park and for the school yard and the commuter model designed more for ease of use and speed in the city.