Velomobile gathering, Almere, Netherlands, 2008

A gathering of velomobiles in the Netherlands, 2008

Creative Commons Licensed Image. Source: Flickr user wim harwig

1945 Mochet Velocar 1945 Mochet Velocar

Charles Mochet invented popularised both the velomobile and recumbent bicycle in the early 20th century. His velocars, are the forerunners of all modern velomobiles.

Most commercially available velomobiles are very similar to each other, with few layout variations. Most are 3 wheeled, normally with two wheels at the front (tadpole trike); only a few have a single front wheel (delta trike).

There are two main styles of velomobile:

Cab Style:

With an upright seating position, cab-style velos are comparatively tall, with an eye line at a similar height to a small car. They often have the shorter wheelbase of the two styles, because the rear wheel is brought closer to the rider’s back. This seating position gives a taller body and screen.

Cab-Bike velomobile Cab-Bike velomobile

Ped velomobile Ped velomobile

Leiba velomobile Leiba velomobile

Bullet Style:

With the rider seated reclined, the bullet style keeps the rider’s shoulders in line with the highest point of his feet when pedalling. This gives a characteristic shape of a bulbous nose leading a flattened top and sides that taper towards the back. Either the rider’s head protrudes just above the bodywork, or a bulged canopy is used to enclose them.

Mango velomobile] Mango Sport velomobile

Versatile velomobile Versatile velomobile

Sunrider velomobile Sunrider velomobile

WAW velomobile WAW velomobile

Alleweder velomobile Alleweder velomobile

Go-One(3) velomobile Go-One(3) velomobile

Alternate Designs:

Alternatives exist to these forms. The Birk Butterfly does not have the wheels integrated into wheel wells that are typical of the bullet-style and they are mounted outboard in spats for reduced frontal area. In the Trisled Avatar Supervelo, the wheels are completely enclosed for reduced drag. Others have tried to move away from the bullet shape with alternative designs, like the Velayo.

Birck Butterfly velomobile Birck Butterfly velomobile