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Because before the invention of the chain drive, the driven wheel would only turn as fast as the pedals turned. and the only way to get some decent speed was then to make the drive wheel as big as possible

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11y ago
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14y ago

If you don't have chain drive you have to stick the pedals solidly to the wheel axle. But then the drive wheel can only turn at the same rate as you're pedalling, so to get any decent speed out of the bike you have to make the drive wheel really big.

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12y ago

Before the safety bike there was the Penny Farthing AKA the High Wheeler.

Real expensive, and quite dangerous as they tended to topple over forwards during braking.

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Q: Why were bikes built like they were before the safety bike?
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