I mentioned in my last post that Mark Sanders shared a few entries from the recent “commuter bike for the masses” competition in his keynote presentation at the Taipei Cycle Show. I just realized that one of the entries he included in his presentation is one that I had not yet posted.
Skua is a velomobile trike concept that was submitted by Adam Lazenby. I have to admit, when I first saw Adam’s boards, I was definitely swayed by the nice form and excellent renderings, especially the one showing the concept in the rain. The Skua made my top ten list, but I felt like the fully reclined recumbent position might be off putting to many of the targeted users (current non cyclists). In some ways, this full fairing design looks more like a land speed record oriented HPV than a vehicle that would appeal to those who don’t currently ride any type of bike.
Rear wheel steering has advantages and disadvantages, some of which were discussed in the comments section of a recent post. I won’t rehash those points here, but I do like the way the fixed front wheels allow for a tightly enclosed front end on this concept.
Skua: Giving the Car Some Competition
Automobiles are effortless. Their interiors are comfortable, dry and climate controlled. They allow the occupants to bring cargo. In order to encourage the world to use their own strength as a form of transit we must first encourage the world to get out of their cars. Why not create a bicycle that possesses these same qualities? Why not give the car some competition? That is the mentality behind the Skua (skyoo-uh), to provide the cyclist a smooth, dry and climate controlled ride that requires minimal effort.
This style of vehicle has been in existence for some time and is generally referred to as a velomibile. Velomobiles are essentially recumbent tricycles with aerodynamic body work. The Skua pushes the concept further.
Most velomobiles have exposed front wheels to allow the cycle to steer. This creates drag. The Skua is able to tightly close in the front wheels by using a trailing linkage rear wheel steering system. The two front wheels drive the bicycle. The shell of the Skua is thermoformed plastic from film and foam coextruded sheets. Gracefully forming the sheets yields an appealing, aerodynamic and sound deadening ride. Competition for the car has arrived.
While I am posting, I will mention this link to the press release of the final results of the International Bicycle Design Competition. Check back for more from the Taipei show next week.