All-terrain tilting BiTrike features independently suspended rear wheels
If you were pedaling over rough terrain while carrying a big load, you'd probably appreciate the stability offered by three wheels. The BiTrike was designed with such considerations in mind, as it features front and rear independent suspension, plus it tilts into turns.
Currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, the vehicle was designed by Greek inventor Kostas Simelidis. And yes, it is a bit unusual in that the load is carried between two rear wheels, instead of between two front wheels as is the case on many cargo trikes.
Simelidis explains that he had previously built a tilting trike with two independently suspended front wheels, but the setup resulted in overly stiff steering when turning. Additionally, if the two front wheels were momentarily on different grades of terrain – such as if the trike were coming from heaped dirt onto smooth asphalt at angle – the handlebars would get twisted to one side.
The BiTrike was designed to address those shortcomings, by moving the two-wheel tilting action to the rear. This layout is additionally claimed to make riding the thing feel more like being on a bicycle than a tricycle – hence its name, the BiTrike.
A differential in the rear axle delivers pedaling power to both of the rear wheels simultaneously, even when they're tilting or are at different heights. A trailing-arm suspension system allows them to independently move up and down, while a Marzocchi Bomber CR coil spring shock lets the whole rear end absorb bumps in the trail. The front wheel is equipped with a Fox AWL E-SUV suspension fork.
Some of the BiTrike's other features include a powder-coated stainless steel frame, a Shimano Altus 7-speed drivetrain, a handbrake that locks the tilting mechanism when the trike is parked, plus Shimano hydraulic disc brakes on all three wheels – both rear brakes are activated simultaneously via a single lever.
Optional extras include a wooden cargo compartment, fenders, cork bar grips, and a 500-watt Tongsheng TSDZ2 mid-drive electric-assist motor powered by a downtube-mounted LG 48V/13-Ah lithium battery. There's currently no word on range.
The whole thing, equipped with the cargo carrier and ebike kit, is claimed to tip the scales at 37 kg (81.5 lb).
Simelidis plans to initially build 20 BiTrikes, which should be complete by the end of next August. Assuming everything works out, a pledge of €2,600 (about US$2,710) will get you one of them in its standard configuration, with the addition of the ebike kit and other extras bringing the total up to €4,000 ($4,168). We're told that retail prices should run from €4,200 to €4,500 ($4,377 to $4,689).
You can see the trike in action, in the video below.