The four-wheeled bicycle is not only a means for teaching children, but also a full-fledged vehicle with maximum stability. The first examples appeared literally immediately after the invention of the bicycle: thus, the found drawings date back to the mid-19th century, when engineers attempted to combine carriage technology with pedal drive.
It is noteworthy that 5 decades later, the first cars also had “bicycle variations”: with one or two pedals. Let’s not go too deep into the history, but let’s talk about what a four-wheeled bicycle is and where such an unusual design can be used.
Principle of operation
The design features are that the brakes and the main load are concentrated on the shaft of the rear wheels. Accordingly, the handlebars and frame of such a bicycle undergo a number of significant changes, taking into account a variety of parameters. In fact, the principle of the brake system and wheels remain the same, except for the number of frames (instead of one – two).
Designs of velomobiles come in single-seat and two-seat. In the latter variant pedals rotate two riders. The drive in such a design can take the form of a common shaft with two blocks of pedals connected by a chain, or equipped with a separate drive for each rider.
Suitable for whom
Adult four-wheeled bicycles are a very practical solution for the elderly. The design of the velobaggy is characterized by increased stability, which is vital for a person who, with age, the coordination of movements is impaired. Who else could benefit from such an exotic item? The scope of application is vast:
- Elderly people: when riding a velomobile there is no need to keep your balance; you can stop at any moment.
- Sports couples: remember how you can relax on a body of water, renting a catamaran – on the same principle, you can travel on a bicycle.
- Adults with children: if you install a bike seat, riding with a child on a bicycle will be much safer.
- Athletes: some velobaggy manufacturers produce special bikes for participation in cross country and trials; the velomobile is quite stable and provides maximum grip on any surface.
- Large cyclists and people undergoing a rehabilitation period: very often a person has to give up the usual cycling due to physiological features – with a four-wheeled model can keep fit and recover from illness.
Also four-wheeled bicycles are suitable for travelers. The model allows you to pack to the fullest and cover significant distances, albeit at low speed.
Pros and cons
Of course, such models are not common. But this does not mean that they have few advantages. We talked to several owners of bicycle buggies and found out what made them switch to this type of transport:
- Maximum stability on almost any surface.
- Comfortable positioning for the cyclist.
- Large carrying capacity and the ability to carry large luggage.
- Unusual bicycle design.
The disadvantages, of course, there are, and they are not a few:
- The complexity of maintenance: four-wheeled bicycles are difficult to assemble and repair in the field, and without proper experience to fix the bike yourself will not work at all.
- Unreliability. A complex drive mechanism, 4 wheels, additional elements of steering, a lot of welding connections – in the discussed model there are too many mechanisms and nodes subject to load. Accordingly, the probability of breakdowns significantly increases.
- Price. Buying a four-wheeled bike costs a pretty penny. Yes, and mass production has not yet been established. Independent manufacturing takes a lot of time, and ordering individual parts is fraught with high costs and time expenditures.
- Dimensions. You can not put such a bike in the winter on the balcony, so you need a garage to store it.
There is another significant disadvantage – on such a bike, sometimes you can not pass where it will be easy to pass the usual mountain bike. You need to consider the width of the design and the lack of maneuverability – the four-wheeled model is designed to ride on wide and flat roads.
Instructions for making
If you decided to make your own four-wheeled bike, then the following information will be very useful to you:
- Let’s start with the frame. It must be designed in a 3D editor or make a drawing by hand. The drawing should be as clear and detailed as possible, so that the maker has no questions. When designing, you need to take into account the height of the cyclist, the necessary space, the size of the wheels and other parameters. Do not forget about the resistance of materials – remember that the bike as a result will be heavy, and its purpose is to carry bulky loads.
- Making a frame. If you have a smart craftsman – good. If you can weld a frame yourself – great. But usually the specialists of a specialized company are good at this task.
- Assembling the running gear. First you need to mount the half axles for the wheels.
- Installation of the transmission.
- Installation of the brake system.
- Installation of the steering column.
- The final stage: installation of the seat, steering wheel, grips and other elements.
Of course, all the nuances are refined and adjusted as the four-wheeled bicycle model is assembled. There are many ready-made projects and drawings, according to which you can assemble the unit yourself. At the worst, if funds allow – you can go to a proven manufacturer and order the manufacture of a custom bike.
Tips for choice
If you decide to buy a custom four-wheeled bike, it makes sense to pay attention to some parameters:
- Determine the purpose of the purchase;
- Evaluate the ease and convenience of operation, and then – the external execution of the model;
- Pay attention to the materials of manufacture;
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the brakes;
- Decide on the equipment (it is good if the bike is equipped with a safety cage that can protect the neck and head in case of emergency).
When choosing a model, focus attention on the additional functionality. Often modern models are equipped with completely useless mechanisms and accessories that only increase the already high cost of the bike.
There are not many companies that produce four-wheeled bicycles. But they still exist, and the quality of their products is commendable:
- Berg. Bicycle buggies of the German company have an original design and a wide variety of colors. The models are equipped with a sturdy frame that can withstand a cyclist weighing 80-120 kg. Models are equipped with different types of chain drives. For example, bikemobiles with F drive are budget models, whose pedals constantly rotate, even when climbing Uphill—how-to-learn–tips. AF drive allows you to ride forward and backward.
- TVL Smart. This Chinese company specializes in producing various models of bicycles, among which there are velomobiles. A striking representative is the Speed Race – a stylish bike, made in red and black, equipped with a not very sophisticated drive type AF.
- Contes Engineering. American brand, which established the production of four-wheeled bikes. The Athos model, presented in three variants, deserves special attention. It differs by the different radius of the wheels and is made in white and blue colors. The model is equipped with disc brakes, air suspension and LED lights.
A four-wheeled bicycle is a good combination of an adult bike and a car. It is suitable for outdoor activities and allows you to travel with bulky loads.
Velobaggy is a rare phenomenon in the cycling world. For all its shortcomings, such a bike is practical in many situations. The high cost and low demand led to the need to independently manufacture such transport. As a result, truly original models, which cause admiration and outright envy, appeared on thematic forums and exhibitions.