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Drymer: a Dutch electric assist trike

Commuter, Concept, Electric bike, Student Design 19 14108
Mitka Concept electric tricycle by Nike, Gazelle, Delft University

The Mitka concept e-trike

I have been busy this week and haven’t been able to think about the blog. I received an interesting message from an anonymous reader in Holland though, that I want to quickly pass along:

”In 2002, a collaboration between the Delft University of Technology, Gazelle, and Nike resulted in the ‘Mitka’. There is still a Prototype present at the University, and for me it always represented how companies and institutions can spend vast amounts of money on a project and just let it quietly die in some dark corner.

It seems the Mitka didn’t die though, well not just yet. The concept only changed names; it is now called the Drymer. Somewhere in a far corner of the Netherlands this thing quietly developed into an almost production ready bicycle. They said it would be for sale end of this summer (just in time for rainy autumn). Only nationally oriented, they haven’t bothered to put anything in English on their website.

Drymer electric assist trike

There is a chance this thing will be a success after those 10 years and many bankruptcies. As of this week fuel prices in the Netherlands are 1.70 euro/l (=8.75 $/gallon). Forcasts say prices will climb to 1.90 (9.80) in the months to come, and there is now a government grant for buying a bicycle with a roof! The Drymer does have an electric motor, but by law it can only travel at 25km/h (15.6 m/h).

I have mixed feelings about the Drymer, it would be nice if it offered an alternative for the car for people who don’t cycle now for various reasons, but I don’t like the idea of these things clogging up the cycle lanes like cars did to the road decades ago, I already imagine the lines at the traffic lights with no way of passing them. But I guess that is just Human Nature, wanting to keep that nice fast lane to ourselves. For the benefit of everyone, they should just make all the streets in the city a 35km/h zone and also up the speed of the Drymer to 35km/h so it can share the road with cars, I believe that would be safe enough for the Drymerist, even without a helmet, maybe just a seatbelt.”

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  1. Matt March 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm -  Reply

    If these things take up about the same amount of room as a bike (which it looks as if they do) and go approx. the same speed as most transit-oriented cyclists, I don’t know why your emailer would object to them. I don’t know that I personally would be prone to buy one… the roof can only protect from so much weather, so it seems you’d still need a jacket at least, and at that point I’d rather spend $20 on rain pants than on whatever it costs for the trike! Could be nice for older people though…

    On the safety concern (if speeds were upped) – I have no idea how a seatbelt would help anyone here – seems kind of like putting a seatbelt on a moped! Helmets, on the other hand, might…

    • James Thomas March 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm -  Reply

      It is hard for me understand that objection too. I certainly would rather share the road with these than the SUVs that I ride along side here in the U.S. In the Netherlands though, they have quite a few sidepath bike lanes that are separated from the roads. It seems that he is just debating whether an electric assisted vehicle like this belongs on the road for bikes, or (with the addition of a more powerful motor) on the main road with cars. It has been a while since I have ridden in Holland, but I do remember the sidepaths in some small towns being fairly narrow, so I can somewhat understand the concern of allowing slightly larger and faster vehicles.

      • Peter March 16, 2011 at 3:53 am -  Reply

        Here is a film of a typical Dutch bicycle rush hour
        I imagine that if a good percentage of these cyclists were riding three wheel bicycles with a roof, the flow would not be as smooth and fluid as it is now.
        Why cyclists can ride so close to each other is also because they can see past the other cyclists in front of them. Roofs do block that view.

  2. Gagandeep.S.Pejatta March 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm -  Reply

    If a five year old loves the spin then just imagine a fifty year off in dream land all the day threw!!!!

  3. Murray March 15, 2011 at 7:18 pm -  Reply

    Looking at this type of 3 wheel concept and dollars, I think I’d rather go for a Canam Spyder Roadster vehicle for t he road in North America – they are lazy comfortable, but more of a motorbike and pricey. None really address the rain!

  4. Nick F March 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm -  Reply

    A large part of me loves these types of concept… I’ve certainly thought a lot about designing and prototyping one myself.

    Unfortunately though, I think these “more than a bike, less than a car” designs inherently lose nearly all of the benefits of a bike while attaining very few of the benefits of a car.

    Cost is always going to be a huge issue, and keep the market for this type of design small. I work at a bike shop in what is arguably one of the richest neighborhoods in New York City, and even in our area, most people are reluctant to spend more than $500 on a bike for commuting. Beyond that, whoever you are, a certain amount of the utility of a bicycle derives from the fact that it isn’t an incredibly valuable object, due to crashes, the risk of theft, or being damaged by others while it’s locked up. I’m not saying people don’t use high-end bikes as daily riders, but I think doing so requires an a passion for cycling that predisposes you to be less interested in something like the Drymer.

    Then there is storage – where do you keep this thing when you’re not using it? You can’t bring it into your house/apartment, so you’ll have to leave it out like a motorcycle. This means you’ll need a cover, and some pretty good weatherproofing on the components ($$$), as well as a yard, some parking space in the street, or a garage. None of these things are deal breakers, but nonetheless, they restrict the utility of the vehicle and the size of the market for it.

    As others have said, this type of design poses a lot of technical challenges. There is a huge struggle between the convenience and simplicity of a partial roof, and the actual utility provided by a full enclosure. A windshield wiper is also a likely requirement for safe rain riding.

    I would love to be surprised and see these become a popular mode of transportation in my lifetime, but I’m skeptical.

    Perhaps the correct way to approach the problem isn’t by making a more ambitions bicycle, but by taking a light, efficient electric vehicle (aptera 2e?) and simplifying it until it makes sense to be a human/electric hybrid. (Also, while I’m at it, simpler than most velocars.)

  5. romu March 16, 2011 at 4:59 am -  Reply

    6 k€ for the covered Drymer, 4 k€ for the uncovered, not for everyone and, as already said, the rain protection is all but efficient.

  6. blackarmor March 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm -  Reply

    laws in belgium and netherlands state you may have a motor assist you up to 25 kph and only when you pedal . you can go faster if you want but only on your own power . if this is the case it still counts as a bicycle and must drive on the lanes fot bikes . if its wider than 74 cm it counts as a “rijwiel” (sorry no translation fount for it ) and has the choice of where he rides

  7. Conan Hatch March 16, 2011 at 7:34 pm -  Reply

    I think that these innovations are good in that they challenge our status quo to think outside the box and maybe lend to a whole new way of saving precious fuel. As to the difference between a car and a bicycle, I think this is not a bicycle per se as it is powered by a motor. Bicycles are their own creature and have their own world. I love bicycles and all they offer and I believe they will always be around.

    • Myron E. Jacobs May 23, 2013 at 4:25 pm -  Reply

      I have taken notes of all the comments, of and about the Drymer.
      I am about to purchase the Leisure, now that Drymer is ready for the market. As all new items and inventions at there 1st stage of taking of into the market are expensive ex CD, PL lamps, LED Lamps, so also the Drymer. I do own a Styriette bike by BionX, and we humans have to change our thought and start disconnecting from fossil fuel. I am very convinced that some time has to go by before we are so far to turn our back to fuel, but the beginning has all ready started a long time ago. The beginning of disconnecting from oil has to continue, and inventions like the Drymer need to get it’s place and time.

      I have studied this model after I was informed by the company,that the models are ready for the market . I have meanwhile, also in our market Curacao Neth.Antilles submitted the Leisure being the measurements 82cm wide including the front fenders, and we are OK here for the trike. The price is high, but that is may be for the beginning, as production increases, production cost may go down and the vehicle will drop in price. Again, this Drymer is a human transporter just like the Sagway human transporter. Also high dollar, but a state of the art piece of machine packed with electronics.

      It was great to be able to share my thoughts regarding all the reaction about the Drymer.

  8. Todd Edelman April 13, 2011 at 4:45 pm -  Reply

    Luggage? No cargo space? And agree that it has to be more enclosed, with a full enclosure option for rain and snow. Seems like most people would be able to see over it from behind.

  9. Gordon Hoffman July 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm -  Reply

    I would like to own one, or one very similar. The roof gives protection from the sun too. The sides need to be open so side winds won’t be so much of a problem. It needs to be narrow enough to push through a doorway, and fast enough to not be a bother in traffic. An areodynamic rear trunk would be an advantage.

    • Myron E. Jacobs May 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm -  Reply

      Yes it will go though a door way as it’s 82CM wide a little over 32″.
      The sides will also be like riding a Jeep Wrangler.
      Rear trunk is now available as accessories. Very neat.

  10. Andrew July 17, 2012 at 6:00 am -  Reply

    The advantage is aerodynamics. This vehicle with a more powerful electric motor would be one of the most efficient at say, 60km/h. Aerodynamic electric bicycles are far more efficient than pedalling a road bike and will have less carbon dioxide emissions even if you power it using coal sourced electricity.
    The disadvantage is that it is illegal in most western countries (legal in many states of the USA though). The pedalec limit of 25km/h is crippling the ebike industry.

    • Myron E. Jacobs May 23, 2013 at 4:33 pm -  Reply

      Just give Pedalec its’s time to prove it’s self. More and more people are purchasing Pedalec bike.
      BionX is in my opinion the best retro fit kit that you can equip a standard bike with. I know because I have 2 bikes with BionX, and this system is by far the best.
      25KM/H is set for the law, but they go faster, and remember faster requires safety, and safety require helmet, and that most people DON’T like!?

      But, once a Pedelec, always a Pedelec. Still rich people toy, but soon the price will come down. The differance between man and boys, are the price of there toys!!!

  11. JOÃO BOSCO LUZ KALIL September 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm -  Reply

    Gostaria de ver imagens dos detalhes sobre como montar uma bicicleta dessa

  12. Fantastic June 17, 2015 at 7:13 am -  Reply

    Fantastic bike…

  13. Seppo Vuori June 25, 2015 at 7:33 am -  Reply

    Drymer Dlider
    Ostamastani pyörästä irtosivat ohjaustanko ensimmäisen 10km aikana, kiinnitys pultin vasta kierteet olivat vialliset.
    Shimano Alfine8 vaihteet eivät toimineet, olen itse säätänyt ne nyt toimivaksi.
    Istuimen säädöt puutteelliset,istuin kokoa s,joka on liian pieni miehille.
    Info hyvin heikko,kyselyihin ei saa vastauksia, esim. Takuuasiat ei informoitu kyselyistä huolimatta.
    EU:n säännöt antavat kahden vuoden ajan.

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