Contes Quad

Walking onto the show floor this year, one object grabbed my attention more than anything else, and that was the Athos from Contes Engineering.  This pedal quad monstrosity weighs in at 80lbs and is one of several different Athos that have come into existence.  The first was a BMX / dirt jumper.  This one, as you may have noticed is rolling on fat bike wheels and tires.  Those wheels are built on Chris King hubs, and were laced up by Jude at Sugar Wheel Works.

For the rest of the Athos, including video of it in action, hit the jump.

Contes Quad Suspension The Athos is made up of 56 custom fabricated parts (mostly the suspension), and 60 off the shelf parts including the Shimano Alfine 8 speed drive train and parts from the automotive industry that make up the steering.  The suspension uses 2″ travel shocks, but overall articulation at each wheel totals 8″.  This particular Athos is built for sand and snow riding, and makes use of a more mountain bike stance, vs. the BMX stance of the original.  The frame is aluminum, and weighs in at 11lbs.  Looking forward, Contes Engineering is planning an electric assist version, and is exploring special needs applications.  The Athos here runs $9200 and takes about one and half months to produce once ordered.

Contes Quad Suspension 2

Contes Quad StreeingContes Quad Front End

Contes Quad Drivetrain




  1. The only use is to show off the builders skills..

    As for the rest: As useful as a rectum on your elbow.

    Would you please stop this nonsense.

  2. Yeah, stop doing fun things! This is cycling, and it has to be completely serious!

    Nonsense comments aside, that is über cool I’ll have one, thank you.

  3. Would be good to see it in the dirt. @Sark dude lighten up….I am sure you must be a roadie as your head is up that arse on your elbow so there you go it does have a use.

  4. The pedal efficiency on that thing must be awesome.
    300watts at the pedal results in 24.87 watts at the wheels!
    Like the bike, hate the fatness of the tires.
    I’d rather [deleted] then go fat tire.

  5. Sideburnz: I totally agree. The new pressfit bb’s are garbage. Maybe someday they will come out with a reliable BB standard where actual threads are cut into the bottom bracket shell and you won’t have to glue or loctite your janky bb into place.

  6. According to my calcs, this thing should float including the weight of the rider ? Amphibious quad fat bike ? I wonder if the guys fancy trying it out.

  7. @ sark- read-“handmade bike show”. that’s like askin what’s with all the clowns at a circus. you’re sitting on your elbow..

  8. You all are without a doubt the crankiest, most close minded group of people on the internet. That’s a tough badge to earn, so wear it proudly. Quit acting like this guy came over to your house and kicked your dog.

    That’s some great looking fab work being displayed at THE HANDMADE SHOW.

  9. i get the handmade part but hasn’t this been done before? Honda, Yamaha, Arctic Cat, Polaris, Can-Am, Suzuki – i know i am forgetting a few.

  10. Can we all stop moaning and complaining about the fat tires and actually appreciate the REALLY nice fab work that was displayed at a Hand made bike show?

    I for one would love going for a ride on this thing, because I think it would be super fun. Not necessarily fast, or efficient, but I know I would get off the bike and have a huge smile on my face. Isn’t that what biking is about, after all?

  11. @Kenny, kudos bro for calling BS on these boneheads. Enjoy this work for what it is, an example of imagination (which apparently this crows has none – probably took their kids LEGOS away for being to creative), hard work and drive.

    We should reward it and stop complaining about it.

    Will I buy it, I wish. I can’t afford much right now expect to keep my current rides rolling, but I appreciate the investment, effort and love that goes into these projects.

    MUCH ALOFA from Mowin Samoan.

  12. The individual wheel articulation and the rear drive system with the u-joints
    and driveshafts are totally bitchen! And at 8o lbs. I would imagine you would get quite a
    nice workout on the sand with that thing.

    F the haters… Keep more of this stuff coming… Because it’s fun!
    (Does anyone remember what fun is?).

  13. At 80lbs plus rider weight, if you get any amount of good speed going downhill don’t you think it might need some hydro’s instead of those mechanical brakes??? Awesome though and I still want one!

  14. What!? – a four to one leverage ratio on the shocks. Was ready to place an order for two until I read that. And it needs some tubular control arms ‘made with hands’. Seriously, nice craftsmanship tho.

  15. i love this site!

    @ Lloyd Flanders, you’re right…i am a roadie.. Just wiped my elbow:-)
    Loved your remark..laughed out loud..:-)
    Exuse my sark-assm…
    Handmadebikeshow allows everything…even the fatwheeled quad.


  16. This quad is extraodinnaire entraiment for my dogs in the absence of snow. Especially as the stability with four wheels must be awesome! Congratulations on this great quad!! When will available in France???

  17. Hold up!!!! Let’s get back the important bit shall we?!?! A rectum on my elbow would be amazing and would be fantastically useful.
    Where can I get one and is it sold in carbon? I’d settle for ti at a push…

  18. I like the idea, especially given that they acknowledge it’s application with special needs riders – but I’d rather see a balance bike that keeps the weight down to something more on par with a regular bike – maybe using smaller wheels and a recumbent frame? Furthermore, while the flexibility and off-the-shelf parts availability of chain drive is a given, I think the shaft drive rear wheels are just begging for a shaft drive right off the crank! Though, on the other hand, shaft drive robs so much power with every bevel gear encountered – the best solution is a toothed belt drive ideally with an enclosure like an old’s cool motorcycle, just to keep out the dirt and rocks, keep it dry and extend the life of the belt and pulleys as long as possible. And then there’s the ergonomics of the thing! With a recumbent you could even put some slip-streaming on the thing. Though, I suppose that’s been DONE.Me personally I’m more of a motorcycle guy, though light-weight bikes of the ’50s & ’60s are my overall favourites….

    Today I spent a lot of time looking at vintage Mini-Cars, scooter based stuff from post-war Europe – and I couldn’t help but think of how we need something similar today! For ciimate change if nothing else – As a young guy I was in the top tenth of a percentile in fitness, but I hurt my back at 26 and have walked with a cane for nearly 15 years – How in hell are people like me supposed to get on board the bicycle revolution?

    I look at a four-wheeled bicycle and yeah on the one hand I think of my mentally handicapped brother-in-law and the trike he used to ride – And on the other hand I also think of how cutting edge bicycle design, especially four-wheeled bicycle design has also been intended to inspire us all to think of the problems of sustainability in transportation, of urban congestion, pollution – global warming, etc etc etc. But while I believe the bicycle will some day be the most prolific transport in a sustainable future society, at the same time I don’t see it as a serious solution to all of the other transportation needs – for freight and industry, produce, commerce etc etc – I’ve never seen the bicycle as a solution to ANY of that stuff. For those applications where a bicycle would be suited, current designs are already far advanced and yet they sit mouldering in the garage – as much as anything because they aren’t suited for long-distance trips with people of average fitness levels – for THAT the recumbent is better suited just for the faster speeds and greater endurance allowed from the lesser wind-resistence, maybe with more mass-produced recumbents with smaller lighter wheels and more powerful brakes, maybe electric regenerative brakes and electric assist or more to the point rechargeable electric drive for long-distance riding – Really though, a serious solution to future transport solutions compromises to people’s fitness levels, and even their laziness – and even to the carefree wasteful habits of current automotive use – compromises somewhat with ALL of these factors – Of course electric is the way of the future, but beyond that it’s the physical object, the chassis itself and the ergonomics of the interior, this is what I see as meeting halfway between a bicycle and a car. That doesn’t mean it has to be un-safe however – First of all just getting people out of the invincibility bubble, out from behind the TV screen that is their windshield – and more vulnerable more to the point IN the element as is the scooter-jockey or the bicycle rider – I think we could keep the rain-proof roof, the wind-shield, -definitely the air-bags – the roll-bar, etc. And the way people relate to their cars could even persist too, we could keep the stupid reeling around in circles, the recreational use of the automobile, if only we apply current electric auto technology and safety innovations – to light-weight micro-cars! Motorcycles and scooters in the vein of 60s Honda twins, and yes – bicycles – would take up the brunt of summertime commuter traffic, especially throughout the US, so micro-cars would only come out when the weather is inhospitable. – But up here in Canada with the winter – heck we’d need to deal with the snow rather than keep clearing it away and salting it etc – So we’d need to go even more hard-core with the light-weight scooters and bicycles etc in the summertime in order to make up for the snowmobile tracked “snow-cat” type vehicles we’d need in winter. That is, IF snow is to be expected to last in the decades ahead…. But yeah, just with the given infrastructure of asphalt roads, how much longer they’d last if we used light-weight micro-cars on them – how much greater capacity for growth if we needn’t widen the roads and could put three lanes where now we have two – If there weren’t so many gargantuan hulks on the road, if speeds were more sensible – just think of how much safer driving would be, and how much lighter a car could be built and still maintain a decent standard of safety. One problem up here in the North country is we’d still have frost-heave under the roads, which stinks. But if we could reduce the weight of commercial vehicles down to that of typical family cars of today, and of course make use of railways for heavy freight, as was done in the past – then current road infrastructure would last for a lot longer than current expectations. It’s a radical change, but far less so than the cataclysm many have predicted will result from the past century’s over-consumption of fossil fuels…. SOOO much about “modern living” needs to change. We need to live in homes that don’t have to look like the archetypal wooden-framed McMansion at the expense of belching smoke up the chimney. Local produced agriculture and other goods, agriculture which isn’t so dependent on fossil-fuel based insecticides, a wind-powered electrical grid, constitutional and legal systems that don’t favour corporations over human beings – etc etc. There is a LOT that needs to change. But personal transportation is gonna be a big one. Pretty much everything we would need is all available to us today, there’s no nee for some imaginary fusion-based free energy source straight out of a science fiction movie. The financial incentive to to live in a sustainable home is already enough to convince most folks, so too with a high efficiency vehicle – but while you can get a mortgage for some ridiculous over-the-top too large home, it’s far more difficult to get the same financing to build a true sustainable home. Same goes with all of the insurance, registration, litigation, etc – that revolves around the manufacture of vehicles. At risk of sounding like even MORE of a nut – a paranoid ranting nut at that: it’s the lobbying of the automotive industry itself, let alone the oil companies, they’re the ones holding up the whole show. If you were to manufacture a decent light-weight electric micro-car today, anybody who sat in the thing would need to sign a waiver! It’s bullshit, but it’s bullshit that people take seriously. All the same – I can still picture the parts of the above pictured pedal-quad, applied to a panel on tube chassis in the vein of the “Henkel Kabine” of the 1950’s, with wire spoked wheels and tires straight off of a sporting motorcycle, maybe even a “camber car” with leaning wheels for greater traction and stability – I’d love to see the aesthetics of a traditional drum brake translated over to the modern regenerative electric brakes – on the one hand it’s tempting to use hub-centered drive but then that’s limiting too, given the limitations of that hub’s dimensions vs the amount of power you’d want to cram into the thing – but yeah heavy-duty magnetic-electric regenerative braking, backed up with some old’s cool drum brakes or even some small external disc brake hidden away…. Whether it’s an old motorcycle or an early Hot-Rod I just love the look of enormous alloy drum-brake hubs in a wire-spoked wheel. Then again, when it comes to autos I also love the minimalist pressed-steel wheels with five or so lightening holes, ventilation for the brakes what have you – the VW beetle had great rims, so did the Fiat 500, there are countless examples – But for weight, you can’t beat the wire-spoked stuff. Much as I visualize small light-weight auto wheels with fat little tires, there’s something to be said for the Model-T type of stuff, with the tall skinny rims with tires more like bias-ply motorcycle tires. The Model-T had better off-road capability than the Hummer! Not surprising really. But thinking of the small low-powered motors and light-weight chassis, the soy-based plastics and composites used on certain early Ford models – An electric copy of the Model-T would also be a very successful desing. Though, I picture something more along the lines of a pick-up truck from that era, with the micro-cars for commuter traffic. There are the Kei cars of Japan, and their delivery trucks of course – but I picture something much more radical, with much more old-fashioned aesthetics and far lighter weight chassis…..

    ANYWAY yeah – I’m sorry for ranting about global warming and shit on a bicycle forum. Obviously, that’s what you call “preaching to the converted”! But hey – I really do love to see the type of structures which I’d expect to find on a small auto, already scaled down to where they ought to be for one of these machines I’m babbling about – it’s some bonafide inspiration right there!

    You know, I’ve got some rims for a motorcycle side-car project right now, they’re 3.00″ wide 16″ Borrani rims, ’60s vintage – And a 3.5×16″ “Super-Akront” for the rear wheel – using Maxi-Scooter tires on ’em which are basically scaled down crotch-rocket rubber, slightly smaller & proportionally narrower but otherwise the same thing – I’ve also been looking at some 12×3″ Borranis that were made for automotive use. Well, the 16’s were originally auto rims too. Anyway, it really has me thinking of what sort of auto wheels I could make with a set like that. I had been picturing the 12″ Borrani auto wheels on a scooter, but now I’m picturing the 16″ rims as a set of FOUR. Maybe – in the same vein as how scooters were originally used to make micro-cars in the ’40s and ’50s, maybe I should be looking at a QUAD of some type – stripped right down to the suspension and with the central section replaced with a stretched widened flat monocoque pressed from one sheet of alloy – my motorbike ideas also follow on the pressed-steel frames of the early Honda bikes – But yeah, from there, pick your motor, electric of course – and then it just needs a lovely bubble top with lots of moulded Plexiglas windows all around, very curvey flowing lines …. from for two skinny young people to cuddle up, maybe room for a child seat inside of a crash-cage type structure … at least as many air bags as they use in leading modern sedans so that’s gotta be more than a dozen – really simple interior maybe a file-folder sized glove box, a little fan for air conditioning the deluxe model could have a little spray-mist bottle with water to go along with the fan … the stereo would be a simple dock for MP3 player, tiny little speakers – a rack on the trunk for a picnic basket – a tow hitch for a small utility trailer of the type made for motorcycles – but this one would be made to match the car & colour coordinated … maybe some bespoke camping gear that packs up neatly with the whole package? If an equivalent battery to what’s on the Zero-S electric bike could be fitted, it would be an effective urban commuter. But if batteries equivalent to the Chevy Volt or new Prius, or the Tesla better still – this little guy could cross the country and back. Of course, with recharge docks in place of parking meters, with small wind generators atop every street-light and telephone pole, then you wouldn’t need much in the way of batteries. Every time you stopped for groceries you’d be charging up. How about legislation putting solar cells on the flip-side of all road-side advertisement signs, heck that right there would power everything we could possibly need.

    This whole idea of needing a CAR is what’s gotta go, first of all. Sure when the weather is shit it’s nice to get out of it. If you’ve ever been on a motorcycle at highway speeds and hit a HAIL STORM you will have come to an EPIPHANY about fairings and convertible tops etc. But I don’t see why everything has to come with a hard top. At the very least, it should be completely removable (which is better than a convertible top that adds weight to the vehicle when not in use) and I’m thinking along the lines of simple canvas covers with clear flexible windows rather than ridiculous full enclosure slipstreaming. I’m not crazy for recumbents – when it comes to motorcycles I prefer a “café racer” posture with low bars and rear-set pegs, rather than an upright or worse still a feet-forward posture. But when we’re talking about lower powered machines and human-powered stuff like bicycles, the recumbent position allows for a very low wind-shield and sharp wedged fairing. Oooh – there’s ONE type of slipstreaming I enjoy on a motorcycle, that’s the DUSTBIN fairing. Yeah that’s cool stuff. Well anyway – the thing’s gotta be designed for utmost efficiency, in order to attain moderate speeds we’re used to without wasting power and battery life etc. The thing about a vehicle like I’m talking about here, is it could be built with off-the-shelf components. It doesn’t NEED any breakthrough to bring the power up or the weight down, not even the costs. It’s al a question of intent, of human will, of politics. What’s more, fat old out-of-shape people could ride around in them. Maybe they’d get in shape riding their bicycle on the side, maybe not. But they’d be able to travel in the same little car as everybody else, without having to enslave a pack of spandex-clad castro-clones to pull them around rick-shaw style.


  19. I love the idea for the gas mileage alone. Plus serious off-road tires? Yeah, this will be paying for itself long after petro goes out of style.

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