Today, I added a 1903 Racycle Catalog to the Fat Tire Trading Post Catalog Archive .
Miami Cycle claimed the Racycle to be "America's most expensive wheel". The first thing that a person notices about the Racycle is the size of its front sprocket.
But what people don't notice at first glance, is what Miami emphasizes, the crank hanger. On a Racycle the bottom bracket bearings are in the crank, in line with the sprocket. Miami claims that "the proper place for the front sprocket of any machine is between the ball bearings, just as the right place for a man's nose is between his eyes." They go on to say that:
The driving mechanism is the vital part of every bicycle. It is here that the rider's strength must be wasted or saved according to the perfection of its design. The Racycle Crank Hanger is the only one in the world in which the ball bearings are furthest apart and in a direct line with the center of the cranks. It is the only construction which permits the sprocket to turn between the bearings, thereby cutting off all side leverage from the crank and the side pull of the chain. As the sprocket revolves the chain has a direct pull on the shaft, and thus reduces the presure on the bearings exactly 27%. Only three fourths the muscular energy is required for pushing the Raccycle as is required for other bicycles.
I will have to wait until I have my Racycle restored and rideable, before I can comment on the energy savings, I am skeptical. I do think that the position of the bearings could extend bearing life. As you can see in the picture below, My Racycle needs a complete restoration. This photo shows my Racycle and a Rollfast in the yard of their previous owner.