ONDA Cycle puts riders in control of all three wheels
Three years ago, Joe Hadzicki of Revolution Enterprises and son Tyler (both from San Diego) started designing their perfect trike. Seven constantly-evolving designs and at least two prototypes later, and the ONDA Cycle is finally ready for launch. If you want to be dull and boring, this rather odd-looking, recumbent-like three-wheeler can be steered using the handlebars ... but if you really want to have some fun, the rear swivel wheels can be unlocked and controlled with a handle at the back for spins, drifting and tight, precision turns.
The ONDA team says that the creation of this dream machine started with a few basic requirements – a seat, pedals, handlebars, and wheels – and a blank sheet of paper.
"We wanted the ONDA to be extremely agile so we used caster wheels, like you'd find on a grocery cart, for the back two wheels," Tyler Hadzicki told Gizmag. "The real break-through was attaching a handle to one of the swivel wheels so that it could be controlled independently of the front wheel. Moving the handle precisely moves the back half of the bike. Push hard enough and you'll go into a spin."
The steering mechanism was patented in September 2011, and followed a year later with another broader patent that's an extension of the first. When the rear wheels are locked in forward position, the ONDA trike is steered like any other three-wheeler – with the obvious exception of the thoroughly entertaining, if somewhat unpredictable RipRider 360 from Razor – by turning the front wheel using the anodized aluminum handlebars. Releasing the wheel lock on the left gives the rider control of both back swivel wheels using the handle to the right.
ONDA's angular frame is made from powder-coated steel tubing for strength and durability. A custom leatherette seat between the back wheels sits about five inches (12 cm) off the ground for low center of gravity and stability, and there's a 16-inch (40.6 cm) aluminum rim with a heavy-tread rubber tire to the front. The trike can be adjusted to accommodate rider heights from 4.5 to 6.4 ft (1.37 - 1.95 m), though the designers recommend a user weight not exceeding 180 pounds (81.6 kg).
"The forks, the main tube, the seat section, the rear wheel handle, the actual seat, and the rear wheel tube are all bent/crafted in-house," Hadzicki said. "Everything else – the handle bars, wheels, tires, pedals, and cranks – are all average components with unimpressive names. Bike manufacturers usually spend an exorbitant amount of time listing their components because it is the only way to separate their bikes from the thousands of other bikes available. The ONDA isn't about components, but about the unique design and unparalleled performance."
Out front, there's a 3:1 gearing ratio and freewheel hub that's said to offer a top speed of about 20 mph (32 km/h), depending on the rider. A coaster brake can be brought into play by pedaling backwards.
The ONDA Cycle has undergone over a thousand hours of road testing to make sure it's safe to use.
"The steer tube failure tests and others that are performed on bikes are really irrelevant to our design because our trike doesn't experience the same forces that normal bikes do," said Hadzicki. "The ONDA is unique in its design and is incomparable to bikes. Most of the weight is centered on the two rear wheels, basically eliminating most of the strain on the angular joints. The main force on the front of the cycle is a coupled force between the handle bars and the pedals, hence the heavy duty motorcycle style steering tube design."
The ONDA team has launched the 35-lb (15.8-kg) trick trike on Kickstarter in a bid to increase production. A pledge of US$350 or more will snag either a black, white, red or blue model (if the funding goal is reached), with expected delivery slated for July. The funding campaign closes on March 28.
Hadzicki told us that even if the campaign target isn't reached, the team will continue to build ONDA Cycles in limited numbers, while searching for distribution partners capable of broadening the sales field.
The pitch video below shows the ONDA Cycle in action.
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I love weird bikes, but I just struggle to see why anyone but young kids would want one of these.
It would probably help their cause having a few to show off in the colours that will be available - the matt black paintjob makes it look very much a home garage-built experiment.
Keep this "bike" off the roads completely no matter how beautiful, intriguing, or fascinated you are by it.
When I was middleaged I befriended Gordon Buehrig and his friend Bill Allison. Bill was something else. He was a suspension designer and held close to 80 patents on suspensions. He invented the Packard "Torshion Ride" that Jay Leno extolled and Clive Moulton remebered playing with when he was a teenager. It seemed that the self leveling aspect totally intrigued him.
I once commented to Bill that I loved the Mog or Morgan 3 wheeler. He quickly said that it was inherently dangerous, stay away from 3 wheels! He insisted that it was nothing more than a motorcycle.
That proved to be true during the Progressive Insurance Automotive X-Prize. I stood in the stands watching one of the 3 wheelers repeatedly spin out during the brake tests.
Mentioned it to one of the Consumer's Mag reporters and she broke out in incredulous laughter.
Bill knew what he was doing. and saying.