Picture it: You’re zipping down the road in a sleek, exotic vehicle that looks like it came straight out of Blade Runner. You pull up at a red light, and a gawking onlooker asks what sort of an engine it has. To their amazement, you open the top to reveal that it’s propelled by nothing but the superhuman power of your own body. Well, that fantasy can become a reality if you’re willing to spend several thousand dollars on a velomobile. There are a number of such vehicles being produced, but perhaps none are more lusted-after than the German Beyss Go-One3. That model may soon be upstaged, however, as Beyss is set to release their latest creation, the Go-One Evolution.
A velomobile is essentially a recumbent tricycle, almost completely enclosed by a streamlined shell. Most of them have headlights and turn indicators, and many offer an optional electric assist motor, intended for climbing hills. Due to the ergonomics of the recumbent seating position, and the aerodynamics of the shell, they can go significantly faster than regular bicycles on flat and downhill roads. They’re also more stable in slippery conditions, and offer more protection from the elements. As for their show-stopping exotic looks... Yeah, those are a plus, too.
What sets the Go-One3 visually apart from most of its competitors is its full-length clear canopy, and its exposed rear wheel. Most velomobiles are basically opaque pods with an opening on top for the rider’s head and shoulders, making them resemble really cool-looking Dutch clogs. The Go-One3’s canopy makes it look more like an F-16, although there have been reports of fogging problems, and of overheating on sunny days - These problems can be remedied somewhat by removing the rear hatch section of the canopy, and by using an anti-fogging spray. With the Evolution, Beyss is attempting to address these and some other shortcomings.
Company owner and developer Michael Beyss tells us that the Evolution has more luggage room and better aerodynamics than the Go-One3. It also features superior ventilation, a redesigned canopy, more room for tall riders, less chain noise, and a more sensitive rear suspension. Like the Go-One3, its outer shell is constructed from a carbon fiber composite. Although you can’t buy one just yet, Beyss is taking preorders on their website, and their US distributor is expecting a test model within the next couple of months. If you want a fully assembled Evolution with lights, turn indicators and hardtop hatch, be prepared to part with approximately $US14,000. A Go-One3 is about $2,000 less.
Velomobiles in general aren’t perfect. They can’t go as fast as a car, so usually end up traveling along the shoulder of the road, creating a larger obstruction than a bicycle. They also can’t be picked up and carried inside, transported on a car top carrier, or U-locked to a sign post... and would you want to leave yours unattended in a parking spot at the mall? You probably still want one, though, so check out some of the other makes and models at velomobiling.net
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