Varibike Extreme gets riders' arms and/or legs rowing and/or pedaling
We've seen bikes that are powered by both the arms and legs, plus we've seen ones that are rowed instead of (or along with) being pedaled. The Varibike Extreme, however, combines both types of exercise in a unique new fashion.
Taking the form of a recumbent delta-style tricycle, the Varibike Extreme is an upgraded version of the existing Varibike Trike.
Created by German mechanical engineer Martin Kraiss, the latter vehicle features a set of arm-operated cranks and a traditional leg-operated crankset, which can be used separately or simultaneously. Additionally, the arm cranks can be utilized in a side-by-side configuration (for a rowing-like motion), or in a more traditional one-up-one-down setup.
The Varibike Extreme takes that same either/or functionality and adds it to the pedals. This means that riders can still pedal in the regular oppositional style – with one foot up while the other one is down – or they can pedal with both of the leg cranks (and thus both feet) sitting side-by-side, essentially rowing with their legs.
Depending on what sort of a workout they want, riders can choose between going arms-only in either of the two "pedaling" modes, going legs-only in either of the two, or opting for a combination of arms and legs in the same or different modes. Kraiss claims that rowing with both the arms and legs – alternating the pulling and pushing motions between the two – is a particularly good choice.
"A disadvantage of classic rowing is that the full use of force only goes in the direction of pull," he tells us. "The return movement (push movement) when rowing is almost force-free. With the Varibike Extreme, you can perform the entire rowing movement with power. This creates more forward drive power. Additionally, you can exercise more muscle groups in the high power range for a maximum-strength workout."
The Varibike Extreme features a 7020 aluminum alloy frame, a mesh seat, mechanical disc brakes, 20 by 2-inch wheels, and a SRAM GX 10-speed drivetrain (a Shimano Alfine 11-speed or Rohloff 14-speed hub transmission are optional upgrades). It reportedly tips the scales at approximately 22 kg (48.5 lb), and can be purchased via the company website for €5,461 (about US$6,194). The Varibike Trike, along with the original two-wheeled upright Varibike Bike, are also both still available.
You can see the Varibike Extreme in action, in the following video.