Bicycles

Varibike Extreme gets riders' arms and/or legs rowing and/or pedaling

Varibike Extreme gets riders' ...
The Varibike Extreme, pictured here being arm- and leg-pedalled in the traditional fashion
The Varibike Extreme, pictured here being arm- and leg-pedalled in the traditional fashion
View 4 Images
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
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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
Although the Varibike Extreme is steered by turning the whole front end, doing so is claimed to not interfere with the arm and leg movements
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Although the Varibike Extreme is steered by turning the whole front end, doing so is claimed to not interfere with the arm and leg movements
The Varibike Extreme, shown here being rowed with both the arms and legs
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The Varibike Extreme, shown here being rowed with both the arms and legs
The Varibike Extreme, pictured here being arm- and leg-pedalled in the traditional fashion
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The Varibike Extreme, pictured here being arm- and leg-pedalled in the traditional fashion
View gallery - 4 images

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.

The Varibike Extreme, shown here being rowed with both the arms and legs
The Varibike Extreme, shown here being rowed with both the arms and 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."

Although the Varibike Extreme is steered by turning the whole front end, doing so is claimed to not interfere with the arm and leg movements
Although the Varibike Extreme is steered by turning the whole front end, doing so is claimed to not interfere with the arm and leg movements

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.

The new Varibike Trike Extreme. Bike, Handcycle and Rowingbike

Source: Varibike

View gallery - 4 images
5 comments
5 comments
BlueOak
Cool stuff. How does one execute an emergency stop?
MarylandUSA
Can you steer it safely (quickly, predictably, controllably) while you're arms are rotating?
Nelson Hyde Chick
Low enough to be runover by a car or truck without the driver even noticing.
Ligfietser
Couple of years ago the Varitrike was introduced at the SPEZI, the Special Bikes Exhibition in Germersheim, Germany. Got the opportunity to make a short test ride. There is a learning curve of sorts, but that can be overcome by practice. For me it was a bit heavy machine, as far as I seem to remember. So about 22kgs. Anyway heavier then my Kettwiesel titanium (totally naked it would be 13kgs) or the trike Velomo makes. Hope that this year, I mean 2022, there will be a SPEZI again real life; missed that years outing very much.

Huh? How does one execute an emergency stop? There’s cool invention, called brakes. Even with my 40+ year old Weinmann brakes ob my upright bike, I can stop radically quick. With present day brakes you stop on the dot. With a tadpole recumbent you can even easily lift up your hind wheel.

Steering and rotating arms? A bit of practice will do the trick, but you can pause your arm movements while rounding a corner of course.

Dangerously low? Depends on the continent. Here in The Netherlands and Europe we have excellent bicycle lanes and paths. I can cycle from Amsterdam to Berlin and never share a road with a car let alone a truck. Situation in California (?) may be very different. Anyway riding the Varitrike can also generate quite some adrenaline. 8-))

To Everybody a Great & Healthy 2022!
Ligfietser
The video I am pointing you to is already from 2010, but still it shows the ingenious design of a hand/arm & feet/legs driven trike
Unfortunately it never reached the production stage and the prototype is still lingering in storage with the designer. Couple of yours ago I wrote to him asking about any progress. No, rien, niente, niks, nichts.
Pity because I liked it very much, even as a prototype as it is very versatile.
Enjoy!

It is called : Fizalis
Title at youtube: “arms feet powered recumbent trike tricycle velo couché ligfiets hpv rameur propulsion bras jambes”
Link below, don’t know if it’s allowed in a post here, but with the above info you will surely find the movie.
https://youtu.be/t_hnSSBmZRs