The TWIKE Is the Only Hybrid Velomobile You Need, But Comes at a Price

TWIKE 5 photos
Photo: Fine Mobile GmbH
TWIKE interiorTWIKE interiorTWIKE interiorTWIKE interior
We recently took a glance at the Virtue Cycle Solutions Pedalist velomobile, which is basically a three-wheeled bicycle with a tall plastic shell on top to keep rain and wind away from the cyclist. Interesting enough, but it seems a bit uncomfortable, reason for which we’ll introduce you to the TWIKE.
The TWIKE is produced by the German firm Fine Mobile and has been on the market for about 20 years or so, but because people weren’t that concerned with fuel consumption and ecology back then, less than a couple thousands found an owner.

But the three-wheeled velomobiles appear to return into our attention these days and after a bit of research, the TWIKE appears to be the best on the market so far.

What’s this TWIKE thing?

The TWIKE is a three-wheeled two-seater hybrid velomobile, which means it can run on electricity, human power or even both. It looks like a lightweight aircraft without wings and it comes with two sets of pedals and different size battery packs, depending on your needs. Regenerative braking is there too for recharging the batt on a downhill drive or under braking.

What’s it made of?

The backbone is made out of an aluminum spaceframe while the outer shell is mostly made of thermoplastic material. The TWIKE measures 2.65 meters long (8.7 ft), 1.2 meters (3.9 ft ) wide and 1.25 meters (4.1 ft) high. Without passenger is weighs about 200 kg (441 lb) and has a maximum limit of 505 kg (1113 lb).

Said something about comfort?

Yeah, when you know you’ll have to pedal your way through the town, you’d better feel comfy, right? Well, the TWIKE seats its occupants in a rather laid back position in ergonomic foam seats, each having a pair of pedals mounted just in the right place.

Seating is not the only thing that offers increased comfort in the cabin because all controls are placed at hand - literally. There are two joysticks with buttons on them as well as a central panel with switches for lights and whatnot.

And lets not forget that this vehicle has a real enclosed cabin, unlike other models which lack a floor or side panels, so water and wind are not a problem here. There’s even a 250-liter boot for shoppings.

Optionals also allow for a soft top, a ventilation system with heater, LED illumination and a sound system.

Sounds all-right; how far can it go?

Depending on the battery you choose, the TWIKE can go over 500 km on a full charge, reaching a top speed of 85 km/h (53 mph). But don’t forget it comes with pedals so if you run out of juice, you can muscle your way around. It even comes with gears to minimize the effort.

How can you get one?

Well, here’s the problem. As far as we know, you’ll need to import one from Germany as it’s not selling in the US. More than that, the basic version comes at a rather steep price of around €12,000 (about $15,500).

That’s the biggest problem with almost every hybrid or nonhybrid velomobile - price. These machines should represent a cheaper alternative to owning a car but and a better alternative to classic cycling, yet still they cost almost double than a second hand one.

It’s a vicious circle after all - small constructors manually create these things in expensive small batches because not many people are interested because they are expensive. So until a big company starts to mass produce velomobiles, you’ll have to be a bit crazy to throw €12,000 on a three-wheeled plastic pedal car that might tumble over in a hard corner as history showed us.

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