All-aluminum ebike camping trailer makes for tiniest, homiest micro RV
The idea of pedaling a camping trailer via bicycle always seemed like too much calf-torturing squeeze for the juice – an awful lot of weight and bulk behind the rear wheel for a small comfort boost over a much lighter, more packable tent or hammock. But with the advent of ebikes, towable bike RVs are slowly becoming a more attractive (and available) option. The latest is a single-person angular teardrop made completely of aluminum and outfitted with automotive camper standards, like a solar-connected battery, electrical command center, skylight, hanging tableware and an indoor/outdoor table.
With hordes of amazing and affordable camper vans and small motorhomes, Europe has long been a world leader in compact RV design. And now that a different type of motor vehicle is becoming popular around the continent, it's also becoming a world leader in the design of an even smaller breed of RV: the bicycle/ebike camper.
Flip the calendar back just two years, and we've watched Germany give us the Mody teardrop and Scout transformer, while Latvia kicked in a wild bike-boat motorhome. Throw it back a few years more, and you can count an inflatable two-person from Austria and a curvy folding teardrop from Denmark.
Now we can add another point to Germany's tally with the launch of today's subject, a solo drop trailer known as Fahrrad Wohnwagen "Martha," brought to life by Wernigerode-based Maxmess Design. The name translates quite simply as Bicycle Caravan Martha, but we'll just keep it simple and call 'er Martha.
The Martha trailer design certain isn't as pretty or refined as the rounded Mody or Wide Path bicycle campers, but it's optimized for practicality, not aesthetics. Maxmess admits that the shape is simply easier to manufacture than a rounder teardrop.
Continuing with that theme, Maxmess chose a 2-m (6.6-ft) body length so it would work more easily with standard 2-m aluminum sheets while supporting 195 cm (77 in) of interior length to house the 193 x 76 x 7-cm (76 x 30 x 2.6-in) mattress capable of sleeping an average-size adult. The trailer body also measures 100 cm (39 in) from the floor to the high ceiling, offering ample headroom.
What the Martha trailer lacks in exterior styling, it makes up for in its cozy, feature-packed interior. While some bicycle camper manufacturers are content just to give cyclists a set of walls and maybe a window or table, Maxmess delivers a more thoughtfully equipped micro-home. In addition to the included mattress, the Martha comes complete with a small electrical system with 30-Ah battery and 50-W solar panel. That battery runs the inside LED reading light, exterior LED taillights and front ventilation fan. It also powers USB ports for charging phones, flashlights and other small electronics. There's even a simple command center inside the doorway for users to switch the lights on, adjust fan speed and access power readings.
Another handy feature borrowed straight from the world of automotive RVs is the indoor/outdoor table. It sets up across the width of the interior, supported by the in-wall storage cubbies, to work as a dining table or laptop desk. Users can also secure the table to the outside of the trailer for holding a stove, French press, cups or whatever else they want.
Maxmess prevents the tiny solo trailer from feeling like a tomb by equipping it with polycarbonate porthole windows on three sides and two skylights on the roof. The uppermost skylight opens for better ventilation. Fabric wall trim, meanwhile, provides insulation and a softer, warmer touch than the bare aluminum. The lockable, strut-assisted flip-up door can be left open during nicer weather and serves as a small, integrated awning, much like the lift-gate of an SUV or small van.
Other thoughtful details include integrated straps and holsters for storing included gear like the coffee mug and utensils, four interior storage compartments, two under-body storage compartments accessed from outside, a clothesline, a carbon monoxide detector, and even a weather station with inside/outside temperature and humidity readings and date/time. Maxmess classifies the Martha a three-season camper and says it's working on a heater solution for cold-weather use.
The Martha trailer weighs 50 kg (110 lb) fully equipped and rolls on 24-in wheels that offer 22 cm (8.6 in) of ground clearance. It can carry a payload up to 25 kg (55 lb). The trailer works with bicycles compatible with a Weber E coupling and measures 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in total length when including the tow bar.
Maxmess launched the Martha trailer this (Northern Hemisphere) summer and is currently offering it for a special introductory price of €4,450 (approx. US$4,550). That offer ends next week, and as of August 1, the price will go up to €4,850 (US$4,950).
This minute-long video shows the Martha trailer out and about.
Source: Maxmess Design
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This design may not be pretty, but it is very functional.