If the funky, Segway-powered Centaur, shown in our recent look at Dual Mode transportation, is still too powerful and heavy for you, it may be time to go Athos. Sort of an unnatural cross between a pedal-powered bicycle and a four-wheeled quad, this burly "extreme quad-cycle" aims to give riders a new option in off-road travel that blends BMX, motocross and downhill biking.

According to its builder Contes Engineering, the Athos combines the stability and handling of a quad with the flexibility of a bicycle. We're not sure how Contes defines "flexibility," but we really don't see a wide-track four-wheel cycle being equal to a bicycle in that department. Unlike the Sway and Veliac three-wheelers, the Athos wheels do not tilt, so the turning radius has to be somewhat large and clunky when compared to a bike. However, we can dig the combination of a quad footprint and lighter, motor-less frame.

Though the Athos appears most fitted to dirt tracks and jump parks, it comes in three different configurations, including a cross country model. All three versions have four-wheel independent suspension, with up to 10-inches (25 cm) of travel, and front and rear disc brakes. The Freestyle/BMX version is single speed, while the Downhill/Trail and Cross Country models have 11 speeds. The BMX model uses standard 20-inch BMX wheels, while the other two models have 26-inch mountain bike wheels. Buyers can also customize their chosen Athos model with options like 29-inch wheels, extra gears, air suspension and LED lighting.

Contes Engineering launched last year and displayed the Athos at the Interbike show in September 2011. It currently doesn't list pricing or availability information on its website and our emails to clarify went unanswered. However, in tracking a bit of its social media footprint, it appears like Contes is quite focused on developing the Athos. Hopefully it will have it market-ready soon.

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