Odyssey's electric recumbent trike can reach speeds of 50 mph


March 11, 2014

The Odyssey electric trike from Milwaukee-based inventors Dustin Herte and Ryan Bass

The Odyssey electric trike from Milwaukee-based inventors Dustin Herte and Ryan Bass

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The top motor-only speed of an electric bike can be limited by law to 20 mph (32 km/h), but those taking their rides off-road or to the streets of more lenient jurisdictions may push their vehicles that little bit further. Looking to allow even more scope for performance are Milwaukee-based inventors Dustin Herte and Ryan Bass, whose Odyssey electric trike, fitted with a 4 kW motor, can reach speeds of up to 50 mph (80 km/h).

Five years in the making, the pair have arrived at what they are calling a proven and sufficiently-tested prototype for their electric trike: the Odyssey Mk. 5. Fitted with an 80-volt 1.6-kWh lithium-iron-phosphate battery, one charge will be good for a range of 50 miles (80 km) on power only, which if you are prepared to pedal, can be stretched out to 80 miles (129 km).

Herte puts the recharge time at approximately three hours with the charger using a standard 110-volt two prong plug, though he says it also features a switch that makes it compatible with a 220-volt source.

The 3-phase electric motor is computer controlled and, though the trike is shipped with a programmed power limit of less than one horsepower, the included cycle computer allows the user to modify this to anywhere between 80 and 4000 watts (0.1 hp to 5.3hp).

This means the trike can be programmed to match a certain power output and in effect, a desired top speed in order to keep it street legal. Though the computer allows the user to significantly up the output, the company only recommends doing so "if the local law allows for it, or if the vehicle is operated on private property."

Fitted with disk brakes, the 8-speed Odyssey Mk.5 weighs in at 105 lb (48 kg), 40 lb of which are attributed to its steel frame. "This was chosen for ease of modification and more importantly strength, as these trikes are put through some rigorous driving conditions," Herte tells Gizmag.

By way of comparison, what the Odyssey Mk. 5 holds over other electric recumbent trikes in power, it sacrifices in range. Outrider USA's 422 Alpha has a top speed of 40 mph (64 km/h), but can cover 111 miles (179 km) on one charge in motor-only mode, while the HP Velotechnik's dual-battery option allows for a pedal-assisted range of 130 miles (210 km).

Also included with the Odyssey are saddle packs which can be fitted to the battery pack for storage, and the battery itself is removable, allowing for at home or in the office charging. In addition to enabling the user to modify power output, the cycle computer offers an abundance of useful information.

"The computer can display speed in miles per hour or kilometers per hour, amp draw, battery voltage, watt draw, torque, RPM, has a remaining battery capacity gauge and a diagnostics feature," says Herte. "It has three throttle curve settings to facilitate novice riders and also cruise control."

With a Kickstarter campaign underway, an early bird pledge of US$4,500 will put you in line for one of Odyssey's electric trikes, while higher pledge levels include accessories such as head and tail lights and a heated seat. The team is planning to begin shipping in June 2014 if everything goes to plan.

You can see the inventors take the trike for a spin the video below.

Sources: Odyssey Trikes, Kickstarter

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches. All articles by Nick Lavars

Slap this e-drive on a Tripendo (tilting recumbent) chassis, and you'll have something there.

(Wondering here if they edited the sound on the video clip... the guy is driving the trike down several obviously gravel/dirt roads in complete silence... every gravel drive I've been on, you'd likely hear the tires "scrubbing" the dirt at the very least...? maybe I'm wrong?)


I imagine that the 'changing power parameters' page would be almost the first one accessed by any self-respecting 'hoon' who bought one! You would think that authorities are crazy though, putting these restrictions on motorised machines, a fit cycle rider can go racing past a radar camera-wielding policeman without penalty, but a powered bike - recumbant or standard - will get fined, it is ridiculous! Isn't the "speed kills" money-making mantra applicable equally in both cases?

The Skud

It is completely asinine that electric bikes can be used on bike trails but ICE assist bikes with no more power can not.


This is not an invention. This is a retro-fit Electric Power Assist System bolted to an otherwise bone stock Taiwanese made KMX. Any decent bike shop can do this and many have. Be more discerning please Gizmag.

Mick Allan

unrestricted E-bikes are all well and good if your countries laws allow it, in Europe we are limited to 15.5mph. So using this bike would be illegal and would require 'type approval' safety testing',registration, road tax, vehicle inspection, insurance and a licence.

Its like driving an F1 car to the bakery. Completely illegal but fun.


From an aerodynamic point of view, recumbent cycles of any kind make sense. BUT from a visibility point of view - both seeing and being seen - they are positively dangerous. Give me an upright (reverse) trike so that I can ride it all the year round, even on icey roads, and it begins to make sense, especially if it has some load space for my shopping. Yes, I know that there are cargo bikes available, but they are far from cheap and perhaps overkill for my needs.

Mel Tisdale

It looks like a very fair price when you compare it to any good 3-wheeled recumbent bike as you can easily spend that much for one that is only pedal powered.

Ron Olson

I agree with Mick Allen. This is not innovation.

Iwould lump this report in with the ''more of the same'' category of taking existing, known tech and just adding a bit more power. I take exception to this type of fakery when I see it with 1-more-horsepower supercar 'upgrades' and I take exception here. After all, it's just a bigger motor and battery, right? So what? What's the big news with that?


It's hilarious that we can buy a Bugatti Veyron capable of upwards of 260mph, and use it on the public highway, but when it comes to electric bike/trikes capable of exceeding 14.5 mph everyone gets their panties in a bunch.

Mick Allan

That is a Crystallite motor, and if you push 4kw through it for more than a few seconds, eventually you will fry the leads - I know, already been there and done that. You have three 14 gauge wires going through the center of the axle, and there is not enough room for anything larger. You can get these motors as a kit from Amazon, through an outfit called Electric Rider and fit them to almost any bike or trike. Mine is just a Sun EZ3, and you can go lead acid batteries and save a lot of money - just a lot heavier. So, this is just putting kits together - no unique "invention" here what so ever, although I am sure they have gone through some rework. I had to re-do the torque arms to hold the beastie in place, it will spin the tire if you aren't careful, it does put out some torque! I have hit 45 mph, but that is with only 72v lead acid batteries. Real danger is that other drivers see a pedal vehicle, and have no idea how fast you are really moving. Make sure the brakes are in first class condition - you will be hitting them hard.


@ Mel Tisdale The risk of not being seen on a recumbent is highly overstated and you can put up a aerodynamic light bar to improve visibility.


I'm not sure being able to disappear under a truck or bus at 50 mph is any improvement on be able to do it at 15… MW

Martin Winlow

Holy S**T! What is with all the negativity? These are a couple of college kids that set out to make a project & have stuck at improving it for 5 years to bring it to it's present state. We should be encouraging this type of innovation to get the Western economies moving again not finding any excuse to ridicule their efforts. We need the environmental impacts as well as the innovators so unless you are making & producing Super Trike XYZ that is way better & cheaper your negative criticisms are best directed somewhere else.

Glen Aldridge

Seems like Gizmag would pay more attention to the state of the art in electric bikes. I built an electric recumbent three years ago that completed a century ride up Mt. Hood, does 45 MPH on the flats, and has provided reliable transport for three years--other than toasting a lot of tires, but that's mostly me. I built it by bolting together a bunch of available stuff. A Cattrike witha two-speed internal shifting front crank and a 7-speed Alfine rear hub, a 1200 watt mid-drive motor from EcoSpeed, and two massive 48V, 40AH LiFe batteries. Total cost buying everything retail--less than five K (I think). For those people pooh-pooing the high price of such commercial endeavors, I'd say try building one. Hard to do it cheaply and keep it together, or get any range. I built it to help rehab my knee after surgery. I wasn't supposed to ride a bicycle--too likely to re-injure, and I couldn't crank up steep hills, so I added some variable boost to get just the right amount of power. The difference in a trike like this and one that's purely human powered is how far you go on a casual ride. Doing 50 miles in a typical two hour ride is a lot more entertaining than 20. Cost to charge is indistinguishable. My next step is a NuVinci rear hub, which I hope will work. I'm exceeding the rating potentially by a factor of three--didn't know that when I bought it (duh) but the wide range of ratios is interesting, as is the smooth shifting. Bottom line, if these things interest you. stop reading and start building. The bits are out there.

Bill Babcock
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