If you're used to driving on rocky dirt roads and snow-covered asphalt, then you know the advantages that all-wheel drive can bring: increased traction, extra stability, better acceleration, etc. Since the traditional bike uses a chain and rear cogs for propulsion, it has been limited from enjoying the benefits of AWD, though it could certainly come in handy, particularly on off-road terrain.
Not letting the limits of traditional bicycle design stop it, California bike manufacturer Ophidian has developed an all-wheel drive mountain bike. As you can see in the picture, Ophidian's system features a few extra chains and a front-mounted gear. The joint above the front wheel allows the stem to rotate from side to side like normal without affecting the drivetrain.
The system is supposed to offer much better traction and control, particularly on uphills where it keeps you grounded and moving forward. I'd love to give this a test ride to see how it works. I'd also love to know about the trade-offs like added weight, chain rub, breakage, etc.
Via The GearCaster