A Collection of Velomobile Links- Part 1

HPV / Recumbent 12 11911

I don’t own one (yet), but I do have a fascination with velomobiles and mention them here at BicycleDesign from time to time. They are certainly not as common in the United States as they are in parts of Europe, but I think that is changing…slowly.  If internet activity is any indication, they seem to be rapidly increasing in popularity because I have been noticing them everywhere on the web lately. I started a list of a few velomobile related links to share a couple weeks ago, and it has been growing longer each day. At this point, I think it is too much for a single post, so here we go with the first in a two part series.

If (like me) your knowledge of velomobiles isn’t what it should be, don’t worry. Mads Phikamphon, of the Danish site Cykelvalg.dk, recently shared an infographic they created to illustrate some of the most popular velomobiles that are currently available. He writes:

 “Velomobiles might never really have caught on amongst most people, but there are still a lot models available if you want a bicycle that is far more effective than a normal bike (you use less energy in a velomobile because of the lowered air resistance).

Depending on your needs, you can get velomobiles with room for 2 persons, wooden velomobiles and super fast velomobiles that weight almost nothing.”

You can see a portion of the infographic below, but be sure to visit Cykelvalg.dk to see it in its entirety.

Update 7/10/15: Mads just added the graphic to his English language site, Icebike.org, so check out that post if you don’t speak Danish.
People aren’t just buying velomobiles though. Mads points out a great Instructable for building your own. The Facet V1 Velomobile (seen below) was designed and built by Jeff Schmidt using Coroplast, a material that is relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and fairly durable.  He created the shell around a Catrike Expedition recumbent, and now has a one of a kind human powered vehicle that seems to perform pretty well based on the videos he shared.
Nico van Baar also designs and creates homebuilt velomobiles, but instead of Coroplast he builds with bent wooden slats (similar construction you might see on a classic wooden boat). The beautiful wooden dual drive two seater seen below is also a solar powered pedelec, so it is capable of accelerating to speeds over 40 kph with two riders inside. See this post at Velomobiel.nl for additional pictures of this project, along with another one of his creations… a wooden Quest clone.
I have shared Christophe Sarrazin’s velomobile designs on this site a few times.  His old Pixelman blog doesn’t seem to be around anymore, but you can still find his latest work on the web. He now maintains the Velomobile Design page on Facebook, where he shares his designs… along with a few others.
Finally (for this post at least), I’ll mention a rather nontraditional velomobile from the The Future People, the husband and wife design team of Cameron and Rachael Van Dyke. They were the designers behind the Firefly concept, a backlit velomobile that was also featured in that 2013 post I just shared. With the CYCLONE concept though, they chose to eschew the aerodynamic shell and create a human-powered luxury vehicle” with an interior that featurebrushed aluminum, leather, and mahogany.  The CYCLONE is a two person vehicle that is powered by both riders, and it also has space to carry cargo.  The Future people took their Model T inspired CYCLONE, as well as the electric assist aluminum and polycarbonate ZEPPELIN, to the Detroit Auto Show last month, and apparently generated a lot of buzz… enough for Fast Company to write, The Most Interesting Car At The Detroit Auto Show Is Actually A Bike. So whether you call them velomobiles, HPVs, or even human powered cars, it is great to see pedal powered machines stealing the show in Detroit. Let’s hope that is a trend that will continue.

Follow Bicycle Design on Facebook , Twitter , Pinterest , and Google + … and subscribe to the email newsletter.

Related Posts


    • James Thomas February 25, 2015 at 2:22 pm -  Reply

      Very nice, indeed! Thanks for sharing the link.

  1. JImm February 26, 2015 at 1:12 am -  Reply

    Gah…I really dislike it when articles mis-quote, re-hash bad info, or just take ‘literary freewill’ to content about velomobiles. Other models are hardly “currently available” when production time can be anywhere from 6 months to a year.

    “…to illustrate some of the most popular velomobiles that are currently available…” um.. no, no, no. Six of those velomobiles shown in the info graphic are not production units. The Fantom and Velocar Type H barely exist outside museums, the DuoQuest was basically a one-off experiment with no intention of being produced, the HEPAV was a one-off (only seen one in the wild), the Arion1 is a university experiment to go 90mph on pedal power alone, and the Velotilt is still in it’s design phase.

    And several velomobile builders in Europe have cringed when the topic of the work by ‘The Future People’ comes up, as their designs are *not* the future, and certainly not practical. If anything, they are a step backwards in promoting human-powered sustainable transportation that is actually affordable *and* useful for day-to-day use.

    • James Thomas February 26, 2015 at 10:51 am -  Reply

      Jimm, as I mentioned in the post, I am definitely not an expert on velomobiles, so I am happy for those who know more to correct me here in the comments section.

      I don’t see how any human powered vehicle that is making headlines in mainstream publications can be considered a step backward though. Fine if you think the design is impractical, but it is planting a seed in the minds of people who have NEVER considered the idea of human powered transportation. That seems positive to me.

      • Jimm Pratt March 30, 2015 at 5:40 pm -  Reply

        Completely agree on your point about planting a seed to create a positive impression. But when the seed contains a poisonous example of bad design, bad development, and ignoring the progressive work in velomobiles in the last twenty years where a lot of the design and development problems have been solved or are being solved by people with actual cycling-mechanic experience and/or engineering backgrounds, the work of the ‘Future People’ will give the public the *wrong* impression.

        It is already a struggle with most velomobile producers in fighting mis-conceptions related to usefulness, safety and cost. We really don’t need HPV concepts like the Cyclone and Zeppelin to make it even harder for the general public to consider these kinds of vehicles.

  2. michael roelink February 27, 2015 at 2:19 am -  Reply

    Velomobile racing in Australia – http://www.pedalprix.com.au
    Primary school, high school students and “open category” (mostly former racing students) in teams race 6 hour and 24 hour races. There are LOTS of manufacturers in Australia (mainly in South Australia and Victoria), although on a very small scale. Greenspeed also have a commuter velomobile in development.

  3. Arnold February 28, 2015 at 8:11 am -  Reply

    Bicycledesign wrote about the Velotilt project before. Progress is slow but steady and I am personally no longer involved in the project (due to lack of time). The team recently solved the tilt-lock issues and has created a working prototype: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA1BoVPPhow

  4. Matteo March 1, 2015 at 12:27 pm -  Reply

    I have lately discovered one of this Velomobile made close where I’m from…

  5. Matteo March 1, 2015 at 12:28 pm -  Reply

    ..forgot to write the name… Zephyrus 🙂

  6. Tony August 17, 2015 at 10:02 pm -  Reply

    Mouchet is of course French and not German. The Vélocar was born from petrol rationing in Paris during WW2

  7. Rob alex October 5, 2015 at 10:30 pm -  Reply

    I’m glad you are showing coroplast velomobiles. They are the least expensive way to try out velomobiles.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Competitive Cyclist - Santa Cruz  
Bicycle Design Merchandise=