Urban Transport

Pedalist velomobile hits Kickstarter

Virtue Cycles has turned to crowdfunding in order to finance production of its Pedalist velomobile
Virtue Cycles has turned to crowdfunding in order to finance production of its Pedalist velomobile
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Virtue Cycles has turned to crowdfunding in order to finance production of its Pedalist velomobile
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Virtue Cycles has turned to crowdfunding in order to finance production of its Pedalist velomobile
The Pedalist has a footprint that's reportedly about one-third that of an automobile
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The Pedalist has a footprint that's reportedly about one-third that of an automobile
The Pedalist comes with a full lighting package
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The Pedalist comes with a full lighting package
The Pedalist is 35 inches (89 cm) wide
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The Pedalist is 35 inches (89 cm) wide
Pedalist riders will be able to fit an adult passenger in a seat behind theirs, plus there will be space in the front cargo compartment for a toddler in an approved bicycle child seat
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Pedalist riders will be able to fit an adult passenger in a seat behind theirs, plus there will be space in the front cargo compartment for a toddler in an approved bicycle child seat
The Pedalist should have a motor-only range of over 50 miles (80 km), and an electronically-limited top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) in the US
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The Pedalist should have a motor-only range of over 50 miles (80 km), and an electronically-limited top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) in the US
Along with the motor-only throttle mode, users will also be able to extend the Pedalist's range by not using the motor at all, or using it to augment their pedaling power
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Along with the motor-only throttle mode, users will also be able to extend the Pedalist's range by not using the motor at all, or using it to augment their pedaling power
The Pedalist's polycarbonate body that provides protection from the elements along with a reduction in wind drag
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The Pedalist's polycarbonate body that provides protection from the elements along with a reduction in wind drag
Other features of the Pedalist include an 8-speed hub transmission, disc brakes, magnesium wheels, and a 35-inch (89-cm) width that should allow it to fit in bicycle lanes and go through owners' doorways
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Other features of the Pedalist include an 8-speed hub transmission, disc brakes, magnesium wheels, and a 35-inch (89-cm) width that should allow it to fit in bicycle lanes and go through owners' doorways

Last September, we spied a prototype of Virtue Cycles' Pedalist electric-assist velomobile at Interbike in Las Vegas. Now, the San Diego-based company has turned to Kickstarter to fund production of the vehicle, plus it's provided a little more in the way of specs.

As mentioned in our previous coverage, the Pedalist is essentially a tadpole-style trike (two wheels in the front) with a full lighting system and a polycarbonate body that provides protection from the elements along with a reduction in wind drag. It also has an electric motor, to help propel its target weight of 150 to 200 lb (68 to 91 kg).

Virtue now says that the capacity of that motor will be 750 watts, and that it will be powered by a 48-volt 32-amp lithium-ion battery pack. It should have a motor-only range of over 50 miles (80 km), and an electronically-limited top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) in the US. Along with the motor-only throttle mode, users will also be able to extend its range by not using the motor at all, or using it to augment their pedaling power.

Pedalist riders will be able to fit an adult passenger in a seat behind theirs, plus there will be space in the front cargo compartment for a toddler in an approved bicycle child seat
Pedalist riders will be able to fit an adult passenger in a seat behind theirs, plus there will be space in the front cargo compartment for a toddler in an approved bicycle child seat

Riders will be able to fit an adult passenger in a seat behind theirs, plus there will be space in the front cargo compartment for a toddler in an approved bicycle child seat.

Other features include an 8-speed hub transmission, disc brakes, magnesium wheels, and a 35-inch (89-cm) width that should allow it to fit in bicycle lanes and go through owners' doorways.

Interested parties can now pledge US$3,999 to receive a full motor-equipped Pedalist of their own, when and if they reach production. Planned retail pricing starts at $4,499, with a non-electric version going for $3,499 (or $2,999 via Kickstarter).

Sources: Virtue Cycles, Kickstarter

8 comments
Alexander Lowe
Pleasantly styled, but surprisingly tall: I imagine it could be very susceptible to crosswinds and the 'wake' from other vehicles. Presumably, the rider is fairly upright to keep the wheelbase short and allow space for passengers or cargo, but I can't help thinking that this kind of velomobile works better as a single-person recumbent, even if that sacrifices some of it's versatility.
Observer101
Good luck! $4K for that? I wouldn't buy one, as it is UNSAFE, difficult to park, SLOW, and too expensive. WHO would want to arrive at your destination all hot and sweaty? (Especially in Las Vegas...) As I said, GOOD LUCK!
Badger Watkins
Power vehicle cannot use a bike lane.
Bruce H. Anderson
Does it tilt? Maybe like the Emcycle? Or with a Noomad front end? I couldn't find anything that says it does, so I wonder about cornering. Seems unstable. The rear turn signals are WAY too low. And I think the value proposition is not quite there. But some people will jump on that bandwagon.
Freyr Gunnar
An expensive solution looking for a problem. A bicycle is the perfect solution for short travels in cities. For longer rides, try a recumbent, possibly a folding one such as this one: http://www.gizmag.com/evolve-folding-recumbent-bike/20073/ Against the rain, use either a rain cape or add a roof top which also offers protection from the sun: http://bostonbiker.org/files/2010/08/bike-rain-roof1.jpg www.google.com/search?q=recumbent+rain&tbm=isch Good solutions don't have to be high-tech.
Tom N
Looks good to me. I've tried the tilting trikes like Noomad or ButchersBicycles alike: good when i was traveling lite, counter productive when I have heavy cargo. They'd also use kickstands during stops to stay upright. I've also tried Nihola, non-tilting trike; surprisingly stable! I can understand why Pedalist uses similar concepts to Nihola for riding & stability. I'm pretty sure it'd have no problems on bike lanes; I've been riding electric Nihola on bike lanes for quite some time now... I figured the Pedalist would be just the same... Electric bicycle. @observer101: It's a super-slow-car, but it's a super-fast-bicycle :) @freyr: "good solutions doesn't have to be high tech"... Really?... I had a walmart bike, which was a good solution... Until someone gave me a Trek hybrid... Until my wife got me an electric Nihola... Until... Anyway, i'm getting the non-electric Pedalist. The plan is to move the electric motor from my Nihola to the Pedalist :)
unklmurray
I have to read a few comments then wait for an hour or so B 4 I can be nice about my comments.....Yes the price is outrageously High....as for the height Vs' recumbent....I used to like the semi-recumbent position until I started riding in NON California areas where the majority of the other drivers think they own the road,and 2 & 3 wheeled vehicles have no right to be on the road,I now have my trike in the more up-right stance so as 2 B seen... the "Tadpole Recumbent" style is Okay....but here in Washington is Rather dangerous,you are too low 2 B seen,and the full recumbent position is great in flat lands' and for young people,but I am 62 and muscle power alone sucks!!I haven't been able to put a "BaFang-8fun"on a tadpole trike yet butt yer still too low!!...LOL
FlorianMaderebner
Nice one - but i know a guy who is going through europe without any support with a similiar name: THE PEDALIST. There will be a movie about him - check it out and support him: www.thepedalist.com
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