Chainless KerVelo recumbent bike is back, in lower-profile carbon fiber form
It was back in 2016 that we first heard about the KerVelo, a recumbent bike that replaced the chain with a gearhub transmission built into the front wheel. Well, it's now more of a head-turner than ever, with the new carbon fiber Low Racer model being unveiled at last month's Spezi bike show in Germany.
Like the original version, the Low Racer completely gets rid of the long chain commonly associated with recumbents. Instead, it utilizes a 2.2-kg (4.9-lb) direct-drive "Kernel hub." This device places both a 12-speed gearbox (that has a 545-percent gear ratio) and the bottom bracket within the middle of the front wheel.
Norway-based KerVelo creator Marc Le Borgne tells us that along with being very aerodynamic, the Low Racer offers "better ergonomics to the rider with higher efficiency and stiffness to the transmission." He also claims that it's easier to ride than other recumbents, due to its frame geometry and the lower position of the bottom bracket.
Riders do have to guard against tire-rubs on the inside of their legs, when making sharp low-speed turns. At speeds of over 10 km/h (6.2 mph), however, Le Borgne says that the increased turning radius means no rubs should occur.
The Low Racer is currently in functioning prototype form, tipping the scales at 14 kg (30.9 lb) – although that figure may ultimately be reduced. It should be priced at around €4,100 (about US$4,606) when and if it reaches production. Marc is currently seeking early adopters, who will provide feedback on a first batch of the bikes.