Even after bikes were built using chains, other power transmission modes were tried in early years and continue to be tried today. The chain is just so efficient its hard to beat. An early alternative to the chain and gears utilized a drive shaft. Some added gears to the drive shaft to form a transmission like the early cars were using. This one from 1897 even had a shift lever and a real transmission and a drive shaft that operated with bevel gears to the rear wheel. Having machinery and machinists capable of making bevel gears and transmissions such as this made the transmission to automobiles much smoother and faster.