Cal Poly students create streamlined trike capable of 2,752 mpg

The Black Widow, as it’s called, is the winner of the Shell Eco-marathon. Looks the business doesn’t it? What’s thoroughly amazing is that they did it without any electrical propulsion at all. Just a 3 hp Honda 4-stroke engine no doubt geared to the ceiling. Good stuff. More details here.

Two more nifty trikes

The Cree SAM



The Cree SAM is a product of Swiss company Cree Ltd. The SAM is an environmentally friendly zero emissions vehicle powered by an electric motor. Only 80 Cree SAM’s have been produced so far, and most were bought by private consumers for public testing in Switzerland.

The electric motor of the Cree SAM is capable of propelling the 3-wheeler up to 53 mph (85 km/h). And on a full charge the SAM has a range of 30 – 45 miles (50 -70 kilometers).

The lightweight Cree SAM is built on an extruded aluminum chassis, and the two occupants, seated in tandem, are protected by the air-filled, double wall, thermoplastic body.

The SUB G1


Also via

The SUB G1 is a 3 wheeled sports vehicle which was first unveiled in April 2005. SUB is a small company based in Southern California run by three design professionals with impressive resumes, and between them the skills to design, model, engineer, and construct, high quality production machines like the SUB G1.

The G1 is a development of a similar concept vehicle (the 1up) created by one of the group, Niki Smart, years earlier. Smart, along with Jay Brett, an industrial designer with experience in constructing concept vehicles for films, and Nick Mynott, a digital modeller with experience in race and concept car construction, decided to develop an attractive, single seat, high performance sports vehicle, specifically designed for entertaining handling and extreme fun.

So far, three SUB G1’s have been built and handed over to their owners, 2 in the US and one in the UK, and each has covered over 1000 miles, with no problems.

One of the most noticeable features of the G1 is the outstanding build quality and level of professionalism visible in the overall design. Each part, down to the nuts and bolts, has been well thought out and made to fit with the finished product. By using computer models, the team was able to digitally create and adjust components before manufacturing, therefore reducing costs and unforeseen construction problems.

Power for the SUB G1 comes from a 1000cc Suzuki V-Twin taken from the Suzuki TL1000R sportsbike. The group had originally envisaged an inline 4 cylinder taken from the Yamaha R1, however early on in the mockup stages the group realised they would run into some packaging issues which would upset the 50/50 weight distribution, and the layout they wanted. The Suzuki V-twin fits perfectly, and is mounted to the right of the driver in its own compartment. Developing 135 horsepower and 105 Nm of torque, the engine is force-fed by the noticeable snorkel sitting above the bodywork. Transmission is handled by a 6 speed sequential gearbox connected to the rear wheel by a chain. Current prototypes have no reverse at the moment. But then again, if you’re to lazy to get out and push the diminutive G1 a couple yards it’s probably not your type of vehicle. The instrument gauges also come from Suzuki, and the cutoff sports steering wheel can be removed to ease entry and exit – while also providing a simple security device, if you take it with you.

The Brudelli Leanster

Thanks to the Yahoo! tilting vehicles group, I just discovered the Brudelli Leanster. The front end geometry is functionally the same as the Aprilia Magnet and the Tilting Motor Works design. One thing it does differently is that it has a tilt limit mechanism that keeps the bike from leaning over too far. As the photos show, the bike is able to lean over full tilt and not fall over. That’s what I want for Project Streetliner. It’s very nice to see that it’s possible. I’m also encouraged by the structural details of the frame and suspension components. They seem to be the kind of things that would be straightforward to fabricate. Very cool.

For more, check out their website:

Fantastic correspondence from Bob from TMW

In the past few days I’ve had a terrific email exchange with Bob from Tilting Motor Works. His company has developed a fascinating kit to convert essentially any standard motorcycle into a leaning tadpole trike. But more importantly, he’s done over 10,000 miles of real world road testing on his tilting suspension design. I asked him if directly linking the shocks to each other had any adverse effect on handling. Specifically, I wondered if hitting bumps while leaning or in other tricky positions would give the vehicle any proclivity to change course suddenly or alter its tilt. This was his response:

Yes, the force can be transfered directly to the other wheel but my experience shows me that it is no issue even while cornering or going over railroad tracks.  Actually all suspensions ultimately transfer the force to the other wheels, just not as directly. I tested my suspension by laying 2×4’s all around my cul-de-sac and running over them at different speeds and angles.  The bike performed great.

This is such great news! A front suspension setup similar to what Bob’s developed seems the perfect match for Project Streetliner, but I didn’t know how capable that kind of dampening really was. I also asked Bob about comfort and he was happy to report that his front end is far more comfortable than stock and that his VMax prototype is always his first choice in a stable of fun vehicles. He’s graciously offered his time and expertise and I’ll be giving him a call very soon. Thanks, Bob!

Tilting Motor Works

I got an email a few days ago from Bob over at Tilting Motor Works. His tilting trike system is designed to be bolted onto the front of virtually any motorcycle. It appears to be using the same basic geometry as the German Tripendo recumbent bicycles and the Aprilia Magnet concept trike. His 10,000 miles of road testing seem to be a pretty sound endorsement for this kind of geometry. Good stuff. $10k is definitely beyond my budget for Project Streetliner, but I appreciate Bob reaching out and hope to still have him involved somehow.