TWIKE Velomobile: a Look Inside the Best

In my opinion, the TWIKE is the best pedal-electric velomobile you can buy today.

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Earlier this week, we took a look at a new, enclosed bicycle concept from Virtue Bikes. It was nice-looking enough, and certainly got our attention, but (as I mentioned in that article) it didn’t provide the sort of 360-degree weather protection that you get from a “proper” velo. In light of all that complaining and negativity, it seemed like a good time to highlight something positive – so, here’s a look inside the German TWIKE.

In my opinion, the TWIKE is the best pedal-electric velomobile you can buy today. Between its low weight, fully enclosed bodywork, top-shelf components, and nearly emissions-free operation, the TWIKE has a lot going for it – but that’s not the most impressive thing about the TWIKE. This is: the TWIKE has been in production for nearly 20 years.

That’s right, the TWIKE is not a concept. It’s not some guy asking for your money in exchange for hopes and promises and (if you’re lucky) a refund if it doesn’t work out. It’s a for-real company that will sell you a for-real product. A for-real, 50 MPH human-electric hybrid product that’s good enough to nearly win the Automotive X-Prize. A for-real product that features proven, real-world capabilities in all kinds of nasty weather conditions. A for-real product you can buy, right now, for about $6800 (in “Pioneer” trim, no less).

If, you know, you live in Europe.

In the past, TWIKEs have been offered in the US for more than $26,000 (back in the heady days of 2007-2008, when gas prices first hit $4/gal. and people still had credit), but- for the moment- that barrel is dry. It’s too mad, too, because I think there’s a tremendous demand for a highly efficient, $6800 pedal-electric trike with a 20 year track record of reliability. What do you guys think? Check out the TWIKE’s cockpit and pedal drive, below, then peruse the specs and let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


Inside the TWIKE

Type of vehicle
EUThree-wheel motor vehicle (2002/24/EG)
CHDreirädriges Motorfahrzeug
USMotorcycle – Threewheeler
Dimensions / mm
Length x width x heigth2650 × 1200 × 1250
Wheel base1870
Wheel gauge1090
ChassisTube frame and aluminium space frame with roll-over bar, 3-point safety belts
Vehicle bodyThermoplast LuranS®
SteeringJoystick with connection rod and damper
Type3-phase-asynchronous motor with integrated reductiongearbox (11,6:1) and differential
Actual power output3 kW at 2930/min
Maximum power9 kW
Nominal voltage230 Volt
Drive systemIGBT Inverter with controller and HMI
Pedal driveintegrated
Driving performance
Drag coefficientCw=0,325
Maximum speed85 km/h
Acceleration 0-60 km/h9 sec
Range per chargingmore than 500 km
Max. climbing ability22%
TypeLiMn, 392 cells
Nominal voltage353 Volt DC
Capacity4,8 – 5,8 Ah
Energy1,7 – 2,1 kWh
Weight19 kg
Energy density96 – 116 Wh/kg
Charging timeabout 1 km/min
Efficient4 kWh / 100 km
City-cycle6 kWh / 100 km
Highway-cycle7 kWh / 100 km
Energy equivalent0,4 – 0,7 l fuel / 100 km
Mountains+1,77 kWh / 1.000 evelation gain
Weighti / kg
Empty weight without battery220 kg
Permissible maximum weight505 kg
Axle load limit, front wheel145 kg
Axle load limit, back wheel360 kg
Independent wheel suspensionOn rear and front wheels
WheelsAluminum rims, front wheel 1,35“x16”, rear wheel 1,85“x16”
Tirefront wheel 2 1/4 – 16” (20×2,25) or 2 1/2 2 – 16” (20×2,50),
Brake system2-circuit hydraulic system, front wheel disk break, rear wheels drum break, electric motor brake (recuperation with cruise control)
Luggage space
Dimensions / mm Length x width x heigth: 400 × 1150 × 650
Volume for luggage(with 2 seats) / co-pilot seat easily removable

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4 Antworten

  1. David Jones

    I,really like the looks of this its a pity that you don’t also make a bicycle version for those of us that can’t afford to pay for insurance, plates and tags if you did though you’d sell a lot more because then everyone could buy one, I could then go to the bank get a loan and get the bicycle version of this.

    1. Hi David, thanks for liking it. However, it is not really a bicycle. Of these, however, there are also enough good and equally very beautiful concepts. With our TWIKE, however, we fill the class of the classic passenger car with a vehicle that is three times as efficient. The goal is not to replace a bicycle, but to replace a car.

  2. David

    So, in the US this is considered a motorcycle even though I am pedaling it? So do I need a drivers license and insurance even though it is a bicycle??

    1. The TWIKE 5 goes up to 190 km/h and it can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 4 seconds. Even if you can increase the range with the pedal system, the TWIKE 5 is not a bicycle anymore, it is a (closed and three-wheeled) motorcycle. So yes, you need a driver’s license, an appropriate registration plate and the corresponding insurance.

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