The Tripendo

The Tripendo tilting recumbent trike is a big influence on my design thinking. Its wheels are set much wider than the Piaggio MP3, which should allow for a more substantial cabin, but seems to limit lean angle. Either way, I imagine that a bicycle-class prototype of my vehicle will likely have a lot in common with the Tripendo. What I have yet to figure out is exactly how the suspension pivots work. I’m going to have to build the geometry in scale before I’ll fully understand it, I bet. I’ve based my sketch template on the seat height and ground clearance of the Tripendo, while stretching the chassis and shrinking wheel sizes from 26″ to 19″ overall (allowing for a standard 14″ maxi-scooter wheel)


Shape Study #2

This is my Concept #2 Streetliner. As I sculpted Concept #1 in clay and later in birch, I realized that making a body style like that tilt and lean into turns was going to be pretty difficult without perhaps having the mechanics under the body shell lean independently of it. As much as I love those european curves, that’s a level of complexity I can do without. So for Concept #2 I knew I wanted to try a nearly open wheel design. Inspired by a modernist 1930s era kid car on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the initial sketches have taken shape. I’ve loving it! The single headlight up front gives it a feel one part airplane, one part streamliner locomotive. This is the front-runner aesthetic so far.

Streetliner Shape Study #1

This is my Concept #1 Streetliner. With so many converging inspirations, I’ve had to basically pick one and just go with it to see where it goes. This concept starts primarily with the classic Bonneville Speed Week streamliner racers that have set speedy fire to the salt flats for decades now. Specifically, while re-watching the movie The World’s Fastest Indian (Burt Munro being no small inspiration for this project himself) and seeing so many of those sleek, ’60s go-fast machines. I must also admit a bit of british roadster influence as well. I’m highly skeptical that I could make this body style tilt without some major wedge under-cutting of the shape under the car. As such, I probably won’t develop it much further. But it was definitely fun to get my hands dirty in modeling clay!

The Mercedes-Benz F 300 Life-Jet

Via Gizmag, this Mercedes Benz concept vehicle is trying a little too hard to be a car. Such an odd thing to come out of MB. As neither a cabin motorcycle nor a proper car, the balance point is pretty unappealing in my opinion. Perhaps I’m self-referencing too much, but it seems like the kind of person who’d be interested in a 3 wheeler is either looking for fun, style, or crazy economy. This doesn’t seem to offer any of those. Very interesting to see how they approach the front suspension and rear swing arm, however. I also wonder if the lean is computer controlled. That’s always my suspicion when I see a traditional steering wheel in one of these vehicles. Something tells me they’re not counter-steering.