Relatively obscure though recumbent bicycles are, many people appreciate the ergonomic and aerodynamic advantages of the quirky two-wheelers. If quirkiness is your thing, however, then a recumbent tricycle might be even more to your liking. Not only do they look pretty sharp, but they're also more stable than the bicycles. Unfortunately, however, most of them are also quite cumbersome to transport - can you imagine trying to carry one up a flight of stairs, or fit it inside a car? Fortunately, there are some recumbent trikes that fold up. One in particular has been lighting up the recumbent forums lately, as it folds very small, very fast.

The new, as-of-yet unnamed folding tricycle is made by Australia's Evolve Trikes.

According to the company, some existing folding recumbent trikes have been able to fold small, fold fast, fold without having to come apart, or fold without the use of tools, but none have been able to do all four - until now.

The Evolve trike can reportedly be folded into the back of a smart car (the litmus test for whether or not things are small) in under 13 seconds, or into an oversize suitcase in about 18 seconds - in that case, with the back wheel removed. If you just want to fold it part way, enough to get it through a doorway, that can be done in six seconds.

Its footprint when folded is said to be little more than that of a standing person, and it can still be wheeled when folded, so users don't have to lift it when on flat ground.

Many people are leery of any kind of folding bicycle, as they don't want the things to fold on them as they're riding. In the case of the Evolve trike, this apparently shouldn't be a problem. It uses self-reinforcing compound hinges, that close under rider weight and pedal force. Its frame is said to be as rigid as a non-hinged frame, and stable even at speeds of over 50 mph (80.5 km/h).

Unfortunately, as with so many other enticing-sounding things, you can't buy one yet. The Evolve folks are still experimenting with different parts configurations and wheel sizes, to determine what should ultimately go to market. While one of their prototypes currently weighs in at 40 pounds (18 kg), they state that this weight should drop for the final version.

In the meantime, should you be in Pomona, California on the weekend of October 21st, you can check out the still-evolving Evolve folding trike at the Recumbent Cycle-Con trade show. You can also see one of the prototypes being stuffed into the back of a smart car, in the video below.

Source: Bicycle Design