While there are those of us who are strangely attracted to velomobiles - recumbent tricycles with full aerodynamic fairings - the idiosyncratic vehicles certainly have their drawbacks. Among these are the fact that the fairing, which is usually a hard shell, adds weight and traps heat inside with the rider. It also contributes to the sky-high price of the trikes, which can reach around US$15,000. Hase Bikes has taken an interesting approach with its KLIMAX 2K recumbent tricycle by using a weatherproof fabric fairing, that folds down and comes off when not wanted.
The KLIMAX trike itself has an aluminum frame, Shimano Tiagra gearing with SRAM Centera shifters, Avid Elixir 3 hydraulic brakes, a Cyo headlight, and 20-inch wheels. It weighs a hefty 29.5 kilograms (65 lbs), but comes equipped with a front hub Protanium 180W electric assist motor. Matching the rider's pedaling power, that motor allows the tricycle to maintain speeds up to 24 km/h (15 mph) - it also makes it possible to climb hills.
What makes the KLIMAX special, however, is its fairing. When riders want a more aerodynamic ride, see the first drops of rain appearing, or find the wind too chilly, they just take the fairing out of its stow bag and attach it to a mounting point at the front, then spread it open like an umbrella and attach it at the sides. The bottom of the trike is still open, although fenders should help minimize the road spray ... somewhat.
If there is no rain and they find themselves getting hot, riders just fold the fairing up and put it away.
About that 24 km/h, though. Some riders might find that top motor-assisted speed to be kind of slow, for a vehicle that's wide enough that cars may not be able to pass it easily. Fortunately, however, Hase is now working on the KLIMAX 5K. It will feature a 500 watt motor, that should allow for speeds up to 45 km/h (28 mph). Unlike the present 2K, its motor will operate independently of the pedals. Because of its higher top speed, the 5K would have to be licensed as a moped - in its native Germany, at least.
Prototypes of the KLIMAX 5K are currently being tested, and Hase Bikes tells us that it should be commercially available next spring (northern hemisphere) at a price of EUR7490 (US$10,517). The 2K sells for EUR5590 (US$7,862), plus EUR89.25 ($125) for shipping within Europe. Dealers in other continents are listed on the company website.
The video below shows the 5K in action.
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