Since the weather got worse last autumn I found myself browsing for velomobiles…
Velomobiles have many advantages over unfaired bicycles or trikes. Low Tech Magazine has a good article about velomobiles in general and an other good one about electric-powered velomobiles based on the authors test ride of an eWAW.
A quite comprehensive list of various models from most velomobile manufacturers are shown here: Velomobile Modellübersicht
Unfortunately prices are rather steep for these things. Delivery time from most manufacturers will be at least 6 month. Used velomobiles still command high prices and popular models some times sell within hours after ads are posted online.
Till now I haven’t even ride one. Stupidly I didn’t take that opportunity when a Quest and a Mango joined our little recumbent tour from Hamburg to Lüneburg last November.
At first the Alligt Alleweder A4 seemed interesting. Made from prefabricated aluminum parts you can assemble the kit in your garage with the help of 1500 pop rivets. The Alleweder A4 kit (34kg, €2995,-) is the most affordable velomobile in the market. Here in Germany there is even a street legal 45km/h e-bike version available (44kg, €8749,-).
Being based on a rather old design from the ’80 the A4 lacks the refined aerodynamics of a Quest or Mango but gets bonus points for its higher ground clearance and sturdy build for every day use.
I think I don’t like tiller steering but since the Alleweder in its various models is the cheapest and most build velomobile and frequently available used at affortable prices it stays on my short list.
From the more ‘common’ designed velomobiles the Leiba X-Stream isn’t the fastest nor lightest but went to the top of my velomobile shortlist due its 26″ rear wheel, small 7.7m turning circle and side stick steering. Being manufactured only 150km from Hamburg plays in its favor too.
While the Leiba X-Stream (32kg, €5499,-) is available in a lighter carbon fiber version (27kg, +€1200,-), the slightly wider and sturdier build Leiba X-Stream XXL (42kg, €5869,-) is used as the base for the street legal 45km/h Leiba Hybrid (53kg, €8600,-).
Since the included (!) race hood and door hatch will fit into the Leiba X-Stream when not needed anymore this looks like a highly practical commuter.
My current experiment in ‘slightly’ overvolting a small and light oil cooled Bafang SWXH geared hub motor is partly based on its possible use in a Leiba X-Stream.
Then the Velayo (32kg, €5640,-) got my attention. Its 26″ wheels, long wheel base, front wheel drive and rear wheel steering set it apart from every other velomobile in the market. The Velayo is bigger and the body design is different as well. That only the left front wheel is driven by the cranks (an optional electric assist drives the right front wheel) seems a bit strange, though. Having a with of 1.1m, a turning circle of 11.5m due to its long wheel base and the lack of suspension probably make it less interesting to me.
I’ll have to see and test it in person. That shouldn’t be too difficult since it’s build less than 70km from my home.
Go-One Evo K
Then there are the Go-One Evo K (22kg to 24kg) and the slightly smaller and a bit more aerodynamic Go-One Evo Ks (from 21.5kg to 24kg). Build with maximum stiffness for maximum speed at minimum weight in mind they might not be the perfect commuters but with their refined aerodynamic among the fastest velomobiles currently available.
Best take a seat before looking for prices. They shure look gorgeous.
The Leonardo Leuci velomobile
This amazing looking one-of-a-kind velomobile is unfortunately not available. Sadly there is not much info to find on the web apart from this source.
It can’t deny its Italian origin though.
A couple of weeks ago at the Fahrradsternfahrt in Hamburg I had the opportunity to take a seat in Dieter’s Go-One Evo Ks, while waiting to get the go ahead from police to cross the Köhlbrand Bridge, and later Jan’s Velayo (thanks guys!).
While the tiny Go-One Evo Ks fit me like a glove the huge Velayo lost some of its appeal in comparison.
Unfortunately there wasn’t enough space in the bicycle crowd to take them for a little spin around the block. I had a good look at an Alleweder A4 as well but it couldn’t compare. I still like to ride the A4 but I’m pretty shure I wouldn’t be happy with it.
Image: Malte Huebner
The Short List
For the time being my velomobile short list looks like this:
1. Go-One Evo Ks or the Evo K (damn, that carbon fiber feast impressed me…)
2. Leiba X-Stream (I really have to try this one out to get a better opinion)
3. Fietser WAW (light and fast, but I’d like a suspended rear wheel)
4. Velayo (with both front wheels driven by a Pinion 1.18?)
5. Go-One 3 (only available used but affordable)