Bicycles

Two-wheeled Lightning F-22 velomobile has a soft touch

Two-wheeled Lightning F-22 vel...
The Lightning F-22 is presently on Kickstarter
The Lightning F-22 is presently on Kickstarter
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A zipper on the back of the Lightning F-22's shell allows for access to a nylon seat-back bag featuring two small pockets and a single large one, along with an Axiom aluminum alloy cargo rack
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A zipper on the back of the Lightning F-22's shell allows for access to a nylon seat-back bag featuring two small pockets and a single large one, along with an Axiom aluminum alloy cargo rack
A top view of the Lightning F-22's shell, all zipped up
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A top view of the Lightning F-22's shell, all zipped up
At the heart of the Lightning F-22 is a fairly regular-looking chromoly steel-framed recumbent bike
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At the heart of the Lightning F-22 is a fairly regular-looking chromoly steel-framed recumbent bike
The Lightning F-22 is presently on Kickstarter
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The Lightning F-22 is presently on Kickstarter
The Lightning F-22's rider's legs extend out through two holes in the bottom-front
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The Lightning F-22's rider's legs extend out through two holes in the bottom-front
Lightning F-22 riders are able to get in and out through a zippered side opening
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Lightning F-22 riders are able to get in and out through a zippered side opening

When we think of velomobiles (for those of us who think of them at all), we typically picture recumbent trikes with rigid aerodynamic shells. The Lightning F-22, however, is a little bit different – it's a recumbent bike, that has a full-body shell made from stretchable spandex.

California-based Lightning Cycle Dynamics has been making speed-oriented recumbent bikes for quite some time, and also offers custom builds of a record-setting fabric-shell model known as the F-40. The F-22 is essentially a more practical, much less expensive version of that machine.

At the heart of it is a fairly regular-looking chromoly steel-framed recumbent bike, which is also available on its own. The F-22 treatment adds a fiberglass aerodynamic nose on the front, along with an aluminum-rod "truss" (for lack of a better word) that gives the stretched-over shell its shape.

The Lightning F-22's rider's legs extend out through two holes in the bottom-front
The Lightning F-22's rider's legs extend out through two holes in the bottom-front

Riders are able to get in and out through a zippered side opening, with their legs extending out through two holes in the bottom-front, and their head sticking out of an opening in the top. A zipper on the back allows for access to a nylon seat-back bag featuring two small pockets and a single large one, along with an Axiom aluminum alloy cargo rack.

Other features of the bike itself include an ergonomic seat with a foam bottom and mesh back, front and rear Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, a 27-speed drivetrain consisting of a triple-ring crank and a 9-speed Shimano Deore rear derailleur, and an aluminum kickstand. The whole thing, including all the velomobile add-ons, weighs a claimed 31 lb (14 kg).

Lightning F-22 riders are able to get in and out through a zippered side opening
Lightning F-22 riders are able to get in and out through a zippered side opening

According to the company, the recumbent seating position combined with the drag-reducing shell make it possible to cruise on level ground at speeds of up to 30 mph (48 km/h). Like other recumbents, the F-22 is also said to be more comfortable to ride than a traditional upright bike. Its shell additionally provides some protection from inclement weather, although it should be noted that the spandex is not waterproof.

If you're interested, the Lightning F-22 is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of US$2,780 will get you one, assuming the crowdfunding project is successful. The planned retail price is $3,230.

Source: Kickstarter

4 comments
fred_dot_u
A velomobile is traditionally three (sometimes four) wheels while a two wheeler is called a streamliner. That's a bit of a stretch (pun intended) when using lycra to provide the streamlining. It's not a particularly new concept, as Easy Racers has been manufacturing the Gold Rush Replica since well before the turn of the century. I have the Gold Rush Replica with the lycra sock and polycarbonate fairing. I wish them the best of luck with the campaign. At least one can be assured of dealing with a reputable business. I have also owned a Lightning T-38 back-to-back tandem (not streamlined) years ago, perhaps also last century.
Kpar
Okay, what happens when you come to a stop, and your legs are stuck through those holes in the front? Are there some automatic kickstands, or does one just fall over?
ljaques
Suicide is usually a lot cheaper. Taking away all your vision on a bicycle is sheer suicidal stupidity, Velo. Jeeze, for that price, they couldn't even throw in a 4-cam video for your phone? Ebay has something for $86. Proving that even more, it's not even waterproof! Just Say No! folks.
KaiserPingo
Aero values are a joke !