OK, so at the risk of seriously having to get a lock on eTrikeRumor.com, this one is hard to resist as a follow-up to the PodRide. While that contraption was about an all-weather commuter to get through Swedish winters by bike [sic], the IRIS leans a different way, pushing for a “superfast, supersafe & ultra efficient” alternative means of transportation. Built on the same platform and shell, the Iris gets two models that target different potential velomobile buyers with different output motors – the Eco & Extreme. While commercially Grant Sinclair has put most of his company’s focus on electronics product design over the last few years, he’s been a tinkerer & advocate of e-velomobile design since the 1980s. Now his latest sleek designs have a targeted production date later this year, and real prices. Get the details and find out how to preorder after the jump. You know you want to…
These things are really pretty crazy, but like a train wreck it’s hard to look away.
So fast is the big draw here. The streamlined molded plastic shell is meant to make these essentially consumer-friendly versions of the bikes created to try to set human powered vehicle records speed. It is the latest iteration, and a big improvement since the trike Sinclair was piloting back in 1985. But while the HPV record bikes aren’t at all practical, these add a third wheel for stability, a more-normal upright recumbent riding position and street-legal features.
The top of the shell is an optically clear acrylic canopy that hinges up like a fighter plane to get in and out, and even includes built-in air vents with anti-pollution charcoal air filters to bring in fresh air.
By sitting upright, like the PodRide, the rider is closer to a car driver’s perspective for improved visibility, which certainly is helped by LED headlights, taillights & turn signals. The Iris also is said to incorporate expanded polypropylene foam in its main body which acts as a crash absorbing layer, like in a helmet to protect the rider.
While it looks like a aero focused shell, inside there are some other creature comforts for everyday usability, like a universal smartphone dock to power your device and use it to track your rides via GPS, play music, and more. It also has built-in rear view camera that can stream real-time video to your docked iOS or Android device, and has a lockable trunk for 50l of storage.
Overall the Iris come in a a rather long 2.6m (8’6″), 1.28m (4’2″) tall, and 94cm (37″) wide. That makes it pretty bulky, and means it won’t be fitting through a regular sized door, so hopefully you have plenty of garage space. Rolling stock for the e-trike are 2x 20″ Velocity Aeroheat wheels up front and a single 26″ H Plus Sons Eero wheel in the back, all wrapped with solid (flat-proof) tires from Tannus. All this bolts up to the chromoly steel trike frame, that also supports the padded bucket seat.
The less expensive £3000 Iris eTrike Eco uses a 250W hub motor to deliver power-assist to regular pedaling with its 8 speed drivetrain. It also builds in regenerative braking which is said to boost its range just beyond 50km on a single charge. That all keeps it within the EU rules for pedal-assisted e-bike so gets a motor limit at 25km/h. Additional braking for the 55kg e-trike is handled by a pair of hydraulic disc brakes.
Step up to the £3500 Iris eTrike Extreme and you get a 750W mid-drive motor mounted to the cranks. Besides the obvious power boost, it is said to offer improved weight distribution for better handling. The bigger motor lets the rider operate it with a twist throttle to combine with pedaling when you want. That obviously take it out of any cycling category and just turns it into a motor vehicle, while otherwise sharing all the features of the e-bike version.
Both versions are slated for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2017, and you can reserve one now for a (non-refundable) deposit of just £99 over at their website. If you want to pay the full amount now, you won’t be charged until they set a firm delivery date.
You even get the option of tacking on an extra £800 to get a custom colored skin, as they seem to be hoping that some delivery companies might want to get a bunch for an alternative delivery fleet.
Eds: OK, sorry for the crazy weird continued e-velomobile coverage. But even if these things aren’t actually bikes, there is something undeniably cool and tech-y about them. And now we return to our regularly scheduled, actual bike coverage…