Every once in a while, you come across something that is so out there in terms of awesomeness that you just can’t believe your own senses. This is exactly the feeling that you get when you see the video of the Trisled concept 4-seater velomobile on its first test run.
Shrouded in mystery, the custom-made vehicle was built specifically for one purpose, but hasn’t been seen or heard of since the sale actually happened.
Velomobiles for all situations
Trisled is a company that builds a wide range of velomobiles for many different purposes. One of their most famed is probably those that have been made for the race track. These are built for speed, from the material to the design. As is usual, the velomobiles are usually single-seater for more speed and reduced weight.
Their featured velomobile is the Formula Trisled, which is a very reliable beginner HPV that makes use of a Coreflute fairing that is easily replaceable by the user. The frame is made out of a Chromium-Molybdenum alloy, made to aircraft specifications, and includes roll bars, disc brakes, 8 speed gears and special alloy seats.
In addition to this the Trisled range features a number of other great looking velomobiles for a variety of different situations, but all of them had the limelight stolen away the second the concept 4-seater was thought of.
A ride to save lives
This velomobile was designed for a charity ride that was to take place across Australia. Trisled was specially commissioned and tasked with the building of an idea that was largely unheard-of. A 4-seater velomobile? Impossible. However, the brains at the company were more than a little intrigued by the idea of a vehicle that would actually seat 4 but manage to remain aerodynamic.
Of course, the customer also had some very specific requirements when it came to the design of the velomobile, thereby restricting the design engineers at Trisled from making it a true speed demon. Since it was meant for a charity ride across the vast continent of Australia, Trisled had to do their best to make it durable enough to last through the entire ride.
A formula for success
This was accomplished by adapting the design of their featured entry-level HPV, the Formula Trisled. Of course, the size of the vehicle needed to be increased to accommodate 4 passengers instead of the standard single driver. The width and the length had to be increased. The design was also changed, even though the base materials and specifications stayed close to the original.
For example, the frame went through a complete redesign. In order to take 4 riders instead of one, a double tandem design was used for the frame. This meant that at least two people needed to be present in the velomobile at any time if they hoped to get it moving. The larger size meant that there was extra weight as well, but with all four riders actively participating this velomobile was bound to zoom along just fine.
Of course, the HPV design had to be modified to make it suitable for road use as well. This was to be a long distance ride, not one that required much speed. Because of this, the standard aerodynamic design of the Formula Trisled was taken and changed just a little. The aerodynamics were made rougher in order to offer far more sun protection.
The side by side tandem design made for a 4-wheeled velomobile. Even though the ride was way heavier than its base velomobile, the power to weight ratio was nearly the same as the Formula. This meant that while the velomobile was now ready for road use, it still had the same capabilities of the HPV after which it was designed.
The Coreflute body was kept, because of how good it managed to look out in the open and because of the aerodynamic design. However, it had to be modified so that there was enough space on the sides and top for signing from sponsors of the charity ride.
The seat placement was for two riders towards the middle of the velomobile and two at the rear. Behind the heads of each rider was a protective protrusion that doubles as roll protection, while being solid and large enough for extra signage space. In addition to this, these were streamlined for added aerodynamics. The two in the rear had the brake lights on them as well.
While testing was carried out on the concept 4-seater velomobile, Trisled never had the opportunity to record any statistics or data readouts. According to Ken Houghton, a Composites Technician at Trisled, “The ride was fun, and felt quite quick, but no serious data was taken before the vehicle was delivered.”
The video below was posted by the Trisled team and showed what must have been the only test drive of the velomobile that was carried out before delivery. Taken on a country road, the ride seems to be a whole lot of fun indeed. It seems smooth, professional, and able to last out in the Australian weather conditions quite well.
An unsolved mystery
“Current status of project is unknown.”
Ken Houghton had just this to say when replying to a post on the BentRider forum. The velomobile’s design was completed, and it was built to perfection. Trisled was incredibly happy with what they had achieved. However, when they did deliver it to the client, it was with the expectation that the trans-Australia race would happen within at least a year.
Until now, there has been no word from the recipients of the velomobile. The people that the velomobile was built for have disappeared, with no way at all to contact them. Where is she today? No one knows. She could be parked in a garage, repainted and waiting the day when she is finally taken out and used for what she was built.