Bicycles

Hang on tight – Outrider USA's electric recumbent trikes can go up to 40 mph

Hang on tight – Outrider USA's...
Outrider USA's line of electric recumbent tricycles can reach speeds as fast as 40 mph
Outrider USA's line of electric recumbent tricycles can reach speeds as fast as 40 mph
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All of the Outrider trikes can be either purely human-powered, pedaled with assistance from the 3-phase brushless DC motor, or purely electrically-powered
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All of the Outrider trikes can be either purely human-powered, pedaled with assistance from the 3-phase brushless DC motor, or purely electrically-powered
Outrider USA's line of electric recumbent tricycles can reach speeds as fast as 40 mph
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Outrider USA's line of electric recumbent tricycles can reach speeds as fast as 40 mph
The range per charge depends on how much the user is willing to pedal, how much motor assistance they select in pedal/electric mode, and the power of the battery
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The range per charge depends on how much the user is willing to pedal, how much motor assistance they select in pedal/electric mode, and the power of the battery
The lower two models, the 311 Solo and the 411 Hyperlite, have a reported motor-only range of 56 miles (90 km) when traveling at 20 mph – the 422 Alpha, by contrast, can apparently manage 111 miles (179 km)
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The lower two models, the 311 Solo and the 411 Hyperlite, have a reported motor-only range of 56 miles (90 km) when traveling at 20 mph – the 422 Alpha, by contrast, can apparently manage 111 miles (179 km)
Expect to pay US$7,995 for the 311 Solo, $9,995 for the 411 Hyperlite, and $11,995 for the 422 Alpha
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Expect to pay US$7,995 for the 311 Solo, $9,995 for the 411 Hyperlite, and $11,995 for the 422 Alpha
Weights of the Outriders range between 86 pounds (39 kg) and 99.5 pounds (45 kg)
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Weights of the Outriders range between 86 pounds (39 kg) and 99.5 pounds (45 kg)
Components are largely made by SRAM, with Avid mechanical disc brakes
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Components are largely made by SRAM, with Avid mechanical disc brakes
The trikes feature a lithium-polymer battery that can be fully charged from a standard 110-volt outlet in 90 to 180 minutes, depending on the trike model
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The trikes feature a lithium-polymer battery that can be fully charged from a standard 110-volt outlet in 90 to 180 minutes, depending on the trike model
The trikes also all feature head- and tail lights, a rear rack, and an onboard computer that keeps track of things like battery life, motor power, distance traveled, and speed
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The trikes also all feature head- and tail lights, a rear rack, and an onboard computer that keeps track of things like battery life, motor power, distance traveled, and speed

Electric bikes are becoming quite popular, although some riders might be frustrated by the fact that – in many parts of the world – they’re legally limited to a top motor-only speed of 20 mph (32 km/h). Any faster and they’re no longer classified as bicycles, and must be licensed accordingly. If that's not a problem for you, however, then you might be interested in Outrider USA’s line of pedal-electric recumbent tricycles. Not only do they look pretty spiffy and comfy, but they can reach speeds of up to 40 mph (64 km/h).

Based out of Fletcher, North Carolina, Outrider offers three main models of trikes – the 311 Solo, the 411 Hyperlite, and the 422 Alpha. Buyers can also mix and match components and functionality to create their own custom model.

All of the trikes can be either purely human-powered, pedaled with assistance from the 3-phase brushless DC motor, or purely electrically-powered. They also all feature a lithium-polymer battery that can be fully charged from a standard 110-volt outlet in 90 to 180 minutes, depending on the trike model.

The range per charge depends on how much the user is willing to pedal, how much motor assistance they select in pedal/electric mode, and the power of the battery – which varies with the model. The lower two models, the 311 Solo and the 411 Hyperlite, have a reported motor-only range of 56 miles (90 km) when traveling at 20 mph. The 422 Alpha, by contrast, can manage 111 miles (179 km).

The trikes also all feature head- and tail lights, a rear rack, and an onboard computer that keeps track of things like battery life, motor power, distance traveled, and speed
The trikes also all feature head- and tail lights, a rear rack, and an onboard computer that keeps track of things like battery life, motor power, distance traveled, and speed

The trikes also all feature head- and tail lights, a rear rack, and an onboard computer that keeps track of things like battery life, motor power, distance traveled, and speed. Components are largely made by SRAM, with Avid mechanical disc brakes. Weights of the trikes range between 86 pounds (39 kg) and 99.5 pounds (45 kg) – so yeah, it’s good that they’ve got motors.

As far as the licensing issue goes, Outrider company co-owner Jesse Lee thinks it shouldn't be an issue under the proper circumstances. "Each ultralight adventure vehicle we ship is equipped with three 'power modes'" he explained to us. "The first power mode, which is what the customer receives as stock programming, regulates the power to a 750 watt maximum and speed to a 20 mph maximum for legal use anywhere in America. The other two modes allow for incrementally higher power levels and therefore higher speeds. These are recommended for off-road use."

As for pricing ... expect to pay US$7,995 for the 311 Solo, $9,995 for the 411 Hyperlite, and $11,995 for the 422 Alpha. The 422 can be seen performing a record-breaking climb of Pike’s Peak, in the video below.

For another example of a rather impressive recumbent tricycle, check out Jim Artis’ extremely-augmented Catrike 700.

Source: Outrider USA via Inhabitat

Outrider USA [Formerly FFR] Recumbent Electric Trike Winning Pikes Peak 2012

18 comments
Heikki Kääriäinen
I am wondering about this trend of motorizing perfectly efficient human powered vehicles? Adding batteries and motors adds weight and problems with charging. Another thing is reduced exercise. But if this type of invention gets lazy people out of their couches and cars to experience outdoors and have some healthy exercise, I am for it.
Joe Blake
"... Adding batteries and motors adds weight and problems with charging. Another thing is reduced exercise ..." Adding batteries and motors INCREASES the exercise I should say. Why would one want to "get away from it all" with a vehicle which needs to be recharged if ridden without pedalling, and goes so fast you miss the scenery? Why not go for a smaller motor (say 250 watts) and then add some photovoltaic panels to the vehicle so the battery is recharged as the vehicle is ridden? This trike has been on the road since December 2009 and has not taken any power from the grid since that date. http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j245/saxeharp/trike/P2190002_zps1a0aa0a0.jpg
Freyr Gunnar
I agree that a smaller, lighter, PV panels-powered battery that can be used just to climb serious slopes is a good alternative to commute... provided people work within just a few miles/kms from their home.
sutski123
It is plain government stupidity to limit electric bikes to 25mph. My 7 yr old godson can do 30mph+ on his push-bike down a hill near where we live. Why is this allowed and uphill/flat is limited to 25 which is a slower speed than most normal bikes ride at???!!! Plain idiocy. I bet no member of any Government involved with draconian law making like this has ever even ridden an electric bike! Madness!
chomper
$8,000-$10,000 for a bicycle? Someone needs to pull their head out because there is NO WAY they are going to sell these at that price. Like all GizMag articles, either not yet in production or exorbitantly overpriced. I was going to say without even looking at the price that this was another $4,000 bicycle but decided to look first. Good thing I did, wouldn't want to look stupid... To ride the bus to and from work 5 days a week, 52 weeks per year, at $2.50 per ride, I could do so for over 7 years before this thing would be a cost effective alternative. That's assuming it lasts 7 years with no maintenance costs (especially like replacing the batteries which definitely won't last 7 years).
Daishi
@sutski123 I'm a sprinter and it's hard for me to sprint 30mph+ on a bike let alone sustain it for long. Bicycles are permitted on sidewalks with pedestrians so I can understand why you would limit speeds to 25. What do you propose, have motorized vehicles going 45 down the sidewalk?
Kwazai
maybe PV cells a smallish motor and a flywheel with a clutch? any traffic lights and it spins backup- like a thumper (thresher) diesel does. I'd heard stories of the old steel wheel tractors running all day on a quart of kerosene (grain of salt...)
Tom Phoghat Sobieski
These vehicles, and others like them, aren't being used for pedaling. They, for the most part, are being used as electric vehicles. The problem with these particular ones is cost. $9 or 10K. For that kind of money you can buy a safer, 4 wheeled, albeit gas powered ATV, and not have to worry about pedaling at all. The ATVs also get phenomenal gas mileage ( ~ 60 MPG ) so the only reason to buy something like this is for the cache of having an electric vehicle.
Bryant Drake
@sutski123 In Virginia, motorized or not, any two or three wheeled vehicle going over 35 is a motorcycle. If you speed on a bicycle, and said speeding was over 35mph, then you can also get a ticket for operating a motorcycle without a license. The law isn't so much about safety of the rider, but a few hundred pounds at 35 MPH can injure or kill other people.
apprenticeearthwiz
***I am wondering about this trend of motorizing perfectly efficient human powered vehicles?*** As someone who spends a lot of time being sedentary and will never waste time or money on a treadmill or in a gym, I get my exercise by using an electric bike for my transport. With 50+km round trips through lots of hills, that's never going to happen with me on a motorless bike. Whereas I can pedal all the time if I want and put in as much or as little energy as I want . It's not a bicycle, it's not an EV. It's a human/electric hybrid and yes, I get all the exercise I need. It not only replaces bus fares (if there were any buses here) it replaces gym membership too and is far more pleasant than either.