Author Topic: A solution looking for a problem...  (Read 1921 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
A solution looking for a problem...
« on: 13 May, 2021, 01:17:35 pm »

A couple of years a go at fully charged, I met a guy who had a weird pedal car thing. I had a play with it, posted some photos of it on twitter, and generally took the piss out of it. It's £15k, for a pedal assist 4 wheel bike.

Well the publicity machine has managed to get the people at GCN to have a laugh at it as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B0eXmbrBIo

Speaking to the designer at Fully Charged Live, one of the key design aims was that the pedal reflectors be visible from front and rear, to comply with some aspect of the law. Which apparently all velomobiles do not...

I just don't quite get who would want to spend 15k on such an item. It's not an accessibility vehicle, as you need to climb into it. It's not quick, so not going to challenge the velomobile market. It doesn't have enough cargo space to be useful to the bakfiets brigade. So ultimately I don't see what 15k gets you, that you can't do with a pedal assist city bike and a good jacket...

What do people think?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #1 on: 13 May, 2021, 01:22:35 pm »
I know that Kim has mentioned the pedal reflector legality phenomenon, but I have a strange feeling she's not going to spend £15k just to solve it.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
  • Mrs Pingu's domestique
    • the Igloo
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #2 on: 13 May, 2021, 01:31:02 pm »
Seat belts!

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #3 on: 13 May, 2021, 01:32:53 pm »
It's a decent cafe though I prefer the one on the other corner of Kingsmead Sq.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #4 on: 13 May, 2021, 01:36:05 pm »
(I genuinely giggled when I realised that the pedal reflectors were compliant.)

Putting aside the cost for a moment, which is simply the result of tiny production volumes...

Like a Smart car it's not an entirely impractical vehicle, though there are a few interesting design decisions, and it's clearly optimised for short urban journeys in all weather.  They've managed to avoid falling into the Sinclair trap of completely ignoring everything that's going on in the HPV world and re-inventing the wheel, badly.  The way I see it, if a Flevobike Orca were a hybrid, this would be a Dutch city bike.

I could see businesses using them to get around campuses, or tourists hiring them to ride around in, or whatever.

But the sticking point is the price.  The manufacturer reckons they'll probably sell ten or so, which seems like a reasonable estimate.  But for that money you could buy a posh German e-bike, a cargo trike and a Brompton and still have enough change left over for a pre-crashed velomobile, so I don't think they'll appeal to cycling enthusiasts.  Perhaps there are enough rich people who aren't legally allowed to drive a car but aren't afraid of being unfashionable?


Here's John's take on it, which is - as usual - a bit more intelligent than the GCN coverage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFO5d2hw7Yg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zRvbs6wHaA
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #5 on: 13 May, 2021, 01:41:11 pm »
one of the key design aims was that the pedal reflectors be visible from front and rear, to comply with some aspect of the law.

Are panniers illegal then?

the sticking point is the price.  The manufacturer reckons they'll probably sell ten or so, which seems like a reasonable estimate.  But for that money you could buy a posh German e-bike, a cargo trike and a Brompton and still have enough change left over for a pre-crashed velomobile, so I don't think they'll appeal to cycling enthusiasts.  Perhaps there are enough rich people who aren't legally allowed to drive a car but aren't afraid of being unfashionable?

I'd add the Citroen Ami and similar non-pedallables to that list, which are drivable without a proper license in some countries. Probably cheaper too.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #6 on: 13 May, 2021, 01:50:52 pm »
one of the key design aims was that the pedal reflectors be visible from front and rear, to comply with some aspect of the law.

Are panniers illegal then?

Only at night.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #7 on: 13 May, 2021, 01:51:07 pm »
I didn't hear anything in the GCN video about pedal reflectors. Did I miss it? Also, are they actually compliant in that respect, seeing as the pedals are not visible? And if they are, then so must be everything else which has pedal reflectors, regardless of whether they can actually be seen or not. And that's ignoring the point that it's effectively a non-existent law.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #8 on: 13 May, 2021, 01:53:03 pm »
I didn't hear anything in the GCN video about pedal reflectors. Did I miss it? Also, are they actually compliant in that respect, seeing as the pedals are not visible? And if they are, then so must be everything else which has pedal reflectors, regardless of whether they can actually be seen or not. And that's ignoring the point that it's effectively a non-existent law.

I think it was referenced in a conversation the OP had in person, not the video.

The GCN video does clearly show the reflector stalks attached to the pedals spinning in their little reflector-visibility bubble.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #9 on: 13 May, 2021, 02:22:12 pm »
the sticking point is the price.  The manufacturer reckons they'll probably sell ten or so, which seems like a reasonable estimate.  But for that money you could buy a posh German e-bike, a cargo trike and a Brompton and still have enough change left over for a pre-crashed velomobile, so I don't think they'll appeal to cycling enthusiasts.  Perhaps there are enough rich people who aren't legally allowed to drive a car but aren't afraid of being unfashionable?

I'd add the Citroen Ami and similar non-pedallables to that list, which are drivable without a proper license in some countries. Probably cheaper too.
Or plenty of electric motorbikes/mopeds available for cheaper than that. Yes, you would need a CBT, but means you can legally ride at 30mph+ without needing to pedal.
There's even a few with roofs, if you want to keep the rain off.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #10 on: 13 May, 2021, 02:24:54 pm »
Yes, it immediately reminded me of the BMW C1. https://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/bmw/c1-125/2000/
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #11 on: 13 May, 2021, 02:31:22 pm »
I didn't hear anything in the GCN video about pedal reflectors. Did I miss it? Also, are they actually compliant in that respect, seeing as the pedals are not visible? And if they are, then so must be everything else which has pedal reflectors, regardless of whether they can actually be seen or not. And that's ignoring the point that it's effectively a non-existent law.

I think it was referenced in a conversation the OP had in person, not the video.

The GCN video does clearly show the reflector stalks attached to the pedals spinning in their little reflector-visibility bubble.
The plastic window on the side. Maybe that satisfies the legislation, I'd always assumed the pedal reflectors were meant to be visible from the rear not the side.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #12 on: 13 May, 2021, 03:05:16 pm »
I didn't hear anything in the GCN video about pedal reflectors. Did I miss it? Also, are they actually compliant in that respect, seeing as the pedals are not visible? And if they are, then so must be everything else which has pedal reflectors, regardless of whether they can actually be seen or not. And that's ignoring the point that it's effectively a non-existent law.

I think it was referenced in a conversation the OP had in person, not the video.

The GCN video does clearly show the reflector stalks attached to the pedals spinning in their little reflector-visibility bubble.
The plastic window on the side. Maybe that satisfies the legislation, I'd always assumed the pedal reflectors were meant to be visible from the rear not the side.

Yes; the window sticks out, so the reflector within is visible from the front and rear.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #13 on: 13 May, 2021, 03:44:29 pm »

Here's a couple of prototype photos.





My original tweet on the subject:

https://twitter.com/quixoticgeek/status/1137016279049605120

You can see in the picture without the body that it has weird stalks on the pedals so the reflector sticks out more. You can then see a clear window on the bodied version where the stalks are visible, even from behind.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #14 on: 13 May, 2021, 04:09:02 pm »

A couple of years a go at fully charged, I met a guy who had a weird pedal car thing. I had a play with it, posted some photos of it on twitter, and generally took the piss out of it. It's £15k, for a pedal assist 4 wheel bike.

Well the publicity machine has managed to get the people at GCN to have a laugh at it as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B0eXmbrBIo

Speaking to the designer at Fully Charged Live, one of the key design aims was that the pedal reflectors be visible from front and rear, to comply with some aspect of the law. Which apparently all velomobiles do not...

I just don't quite get who would want to spend 15k on such an item. It's not an accessibility vehicle, as you need to climb into it. It's not quick, so not going to challenge the velomobile market. It doesn't have enough cargo space to be useful to the bakfiets brigade. So ultimately I don't see what 15k gets you, that you can't do with a pedal assist city bike and a good jacket...

What do people think?

J

I would think it's an (expensive) eco alternative to the motor car as personal transport, not a bike for hobby cyclists. Well, its name hints at something, weather protection. It's a big thing for most people. And you get more crash protection than on any bike. I suppose a trailer could used if more luggage space is needed.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #15 on: 13 May, 2021, 04:12:29 pm »

Here's a couple of prototype photos.





My original tweet on the subject:

https://twitter.com/quixoticgeek/status/1137016279049605120

You can see in the picture without the body that it has weird stalks on the pedals so the reflector sticks out more. You can then see a clear window on the bodied version where the stalks are visible, even from behind.

J

Coulda done with one of those when I was commuting over the Cairn o'Mount!

Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #16 on: 13 May, 2021, 04:38:41 pm »

I would think it's an (expensive) eco alternative to the motor car as personal transport, not a bike for hobby cyclists. Well, its name hints at something, weather protection. It's a big thing for most people. And you get more crash protection than on any bike. I suppose a trailer could used if more luggage space is needed.

A mobility scooter with full rain cover costs significantly less, and is also an eco friendly alternative personal transport.  OK it may be slightly slower, but it does have a basket for beer and flowers.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #17 on: 13 May, 2021, 04:40:34 pm »
I would think it's an (expensive) eco alternative to the motor car as personal transport, not a bike for hobby cyclists. Well, its name hints at something, weather protection. It's a big thing for most people. And you get more crash protection than on any bike.

Quite.  It's like a Smart car: Something I've always seen as a car for people who don't have a decent coat and a bicycle, and largely pointless for the sort of things I usually want to use a car for.

But a lot of people don't have a decent coat and a bicycle, and just want their little personal bubble to drive around in without getting cold or wet.  Hence the popularity of silly little cars with no luggage space.

Where this falls down is the cost (maybe if you could lease it for £100/month or something?), the weirdness (probably an insurmountable barrier, but the crash protection is obviously an attempt to normalise it for the motorist's point of view), and the complete inability to put any children or much in the way of shopping in it.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #18 on: 13 May, 2021, 04:58:34 pm »
I would think it's an (expensive) eco alternative to the motor car as personal transport, not a bike for hobby cyclists. Well, its name hints at something, weather protection. It's a big thing for most people. And you get more crash protection than on any bike.

Quite.  It's like a Smart car: Something I've always seen as a car for people who don't have a decent coat and a bicycle, and largely pointless for the sort of things I usually want to use a car for.

But a lot of people don't have a decent coat and a bicycle, and just want their little personal bubble to drive around in without getting cold or wet.  Hence the popularity of silly little cars with no luggage space.

Where this falls down is the cost (maybe if you could lease it for £100/month or something?), the weirdness (probably an insurmountable barrier, but the crash protection is obviously an attempt to normalise it for the motorist's point of view), and the complete inability to put any children or much in the way of shopping in it.

There are some electric assist cargo trikes that were being trialled for the Post Office, in Yorkshire IIRC (is it still the post or has it now become something new and modern?) that would have been cheaper than that I think, that had hugely more luggage space and, if I remember the photo correctly, reasonably decent weather protection. OK the styling was a bit Edwardian era but at least that's style, this is rather more bidet on wheels!

I think the Twizy is rather more appealing (and reasonably cheap to hire) but won't give you the same exercise - but then who would do exercise where you couldn't be showing off to your mates and dragging the others wives in the bar afterwards?

Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #19 on: 13 May, 2021, 05:01:36 pm »

I would think it's an (expensive) eco alternative to the motor car as personal transport, not a bike for hobby cyclists. Well, its name hints at something, weather protection. It's a big thing for most people. And you get more crash protection than on any bike. I suppose a trailer could used if more luggage space is needed.

A mobility scooter with full rain cover costs significantly less, and is also an eco friendly alternative personal transport.  OK it may be slightly slower, but it does have a basket for beer and flowers.

Hardly comparable, mobility scooters go at, what, 5mph? A rain cover is nothing like a fully enclosed vehicle.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #20 on: 13 May, 2021, 05:04:48 pm »
There are some electric assist cargo trikes that were being trialled for the Post Office, in Yorkshire IIRC (is it still the post or has it now become something new and modern?) that would have been cheaper than that I think, that had hugely more luggage space and, if I remember the photo correctly, reasonably decent weather protection. OK the styling was a bit Edwardian era but at least that's style, this is rather more bidet on wheels!

Plenty of good electric assist cycle options for last-mile cargo emerging,  https://www.velove.se/ is another that springs to mind.

But last-mile delivery is a more sensible use-case.  The DryCycle ultimately appeals to one that's extremely niche, if not outright silly.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #21 on: 13 May, 2021, 05:19:49 pm »
I would think it's an (expensive) eco alternative to the motor car as personal transport, not a bike for hobby cyclists. Well, its name hints at something, weather protection. It's a big thing for most people. And you get more crash protection than on any bike.

Quite.  It's like a Smart car: Something I've always seen as a car for people who don't have a decent coat and a bicycle, and largely pointless for the sort of things I usually want to use a car for.

But a lot of people don't have a decent coat and a bicycle, and just want their little personal bubble to drive around in without getting cold or wet.  Hence the popularity of silly little cars with no luggage space.

Where this falls down is the cost (maybe if you could lease it for £100/month or something?), the weirdness (probably an insurmountable barrier, but the crash protection is obviously an attempt to normalise it for the motorist's point of view), and the complete inability to put any children or much in the way of shopping in it.

Like I said, it's personal transport. Luggage space is similar to a motorbike or a bike. Trailers are available for monthly shops (like I said).

A jacket doesn't magically transform a wet bike ride into a dry one.

Maybe a big manufacture can make something similar for a lower price, maybe around £5,000 would be more sensible.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #22 on: 13 May, 2021, 05:28:28 pm »
John W (? the London video guy) pointed out that if your typical use of a car is London (or other city) commuting, this does the same job and in many ways is easier. It's just that it only does that one thing, and it makes you look dorky. Storage must be a problem too. You can't bring it inside unless you've got a big house and wide front door, I guess you could leave it in the garden if you have one, but leaving it on the street would invite vandalism and/or theft. It's perhaps telling that he seemed to be shooting it in the company of velomobilists.
Riding a bike through a city is like navigating the collective neural pathways of a vast global mind.

Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #23 on: 13 May, 2021, 05:28:59 pm »
I'd hate to corner that thing a speed (say, drop down off telegraph hill in london) and corner. Which would happen first, rolling or wheels collapsing from side forces?
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: A solution looking for a problem...
« Reply #24 on: 13 May, 2021, 05:35:47 pm »
I'd hate to corner that thing a speed (say, drop down off telegraph hill in london) and corner. Which would happen first, rolling or wheels collapsing from side forces?

Err...use the brakes?