Not quite ready for prime time

I’m a fan of velomobiles, don’t get me wrong. When I saw the go-one display, my pulse picked up a bit. Low, sleek, and bright yellow, it looks fast sitting still, and it’s quite the attention-getter. My photo wasn’t as nice as their stock photo, (below) but you can see how eye-catching it is.

It’s got a 9 speed Shimano drivetrain with drum brakes, (no disc option) and a chassis built from carbon-fiber, fiberglass and Kevlar. So while the construction is somewhat exotic, the drivetrain is pretty basic, meaning any shop mechanic can work on it, and parts are readily available.

A velomobile for the masses, right? Maybe not. When I saw the price, it became obvious why there’s only roughly 50 of them on the roads, worldwide. This is definitely a premium ride. With a base price of just under US$10k, and topping out at almost $15k with all the options, we’re not going to see too many more any time soon. I know R&D costs money, and that composite bodywork doesn’t come cheap either. Add in 40-60 hours labor per build, and you’re looking at a pretty substantial cost per unit. But the market for an HPV at this price is still limited.

Go-one makes a fine product, but very few can afford it, which is really a shame. I’d really like to see a lower-priced version available. You can get a pretty sweet trike for around two grand these days, so surely someone can come up with a body for less than $8k retail.


3 comments for “Not quite ready for prime time

  1. October 2, 2007 at 8:10 am

    I wonder how fast you could go if you put one of those bionx electric motors on this bad boy. Being able to sustain 35 mph on my morning commute would be awesome.

  2. October 2, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Over 10 G …. *swoon*

  3. October 4, 2007 at 10:38 am

    I’ve researched many of these sorts of bikes/vehicles and have been keeping tabs on the go-one for several years now. I had hoped that they would find a way to drop costs but alas it looks like they’re still hovering around the used BMW price.

    There are covered bikes that might do the job but lack the style of this cool ride. So there’s little demand for the less-stylish geeky version and little demand for the exotic race car flavoUr like the go-one due to price. This doesn’t bode well for this whole market until someone can marry both style, price, and weight.

    The world could use something really inexpensive along these lines that might push non bikers into rolling around on something other than a car.

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