Ecomobile - A Motorcycle for Cagers

The Ecomobile is a motorcycle built by a Swiss company named Pereaves . It's basically a motorcycle with body encompassing the entire b...

The Ecomobile is a motorcycle built by a Swiss company named Pereaves. It's basically a motorcycle with body encompassing the entire bike, protecting the rider from wind, rain, and debris.

Safety is the main issue addressed by this motorcycle. The body is made from Kevlar carbon fiber, the same stuff they make bullet proof vests out of. Dan Whitfield, who runs an Ecomobile dealership in the USA, believes its the future of personal transportation.
"If you're driving a normal motorcycle and you strike a deer at night, you're in trouble. (With) this vehicle, if you strike another vehicle, your survivability chances are 200 percent better than on a motorcycle."
200 percent better is just a more impressive way saying that its only 3 times better.

The cager-motorcycle is powered by a 1200cc BMW engine and gets about 50 mpg, which is not any better than most motorcycles out there. It has air conditioning and a stereo. But it costs $80,000.

My point is "why bother?" If you want safety, gas mileage, and comfort, then get a hybrid car.

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  1. The Ecomobile is brilliant! Think of everybody on the freeway alone in their cars now in Eco's. Think of the space we would now have around us. How could an Eco not be ten times the fun of a cage. Cages don't lean. Cages don't do 170 or accelerate like an Eco. Eco's don't waste two more tires that end up as mile high moulding waste piles. Eco's could help save our dumb asses in this time of planetary crisis.

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  4. Dan Whitfield would have been more accurate to say that the Eco is 200 TIMES safer than a standard motorcycle, not 200% safer.
    If you doubt that statement, I ask "Have you ever barrel-rolled a motorcycle and walked away unhurt, having been completely surrounded by and protected by the structure(ok..the cage) of your motorcycle?" Your answer is "no" because your bike isn't an Ecomobile.
    How can I be so sure an Ecomobile would offer this protection? Simple. You see, I DID barrel-roll an Ecomobile at the Brno race-track in the Czech Republic in August of 2004. Though the Eco received extensive non-structural damage, except for a minor scratch on my left arm I was unhurt, just shaken up.
    Although the Eco does not offer the same kind of wind-in-your-face riding as my Harley, it's high performance level, safety and all-weather utility make it a great companion for a traditional motorcycle.
    I look forward to the day when I can afford my own Ecomobile. With both an Eco and a Harley in my garage, only a blizzard will stop me from making every day a motorcycling day!

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  7. As it happens I run website and mailing lists for this type of vehicle. A quick summary

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    For the last 30 years I've been involved with a group of people who follow a particularly left field branch of motorcycling. The basic belief is that motorcycling can still be fun without being quite so damn cold, wet and uncomfortable and that it can be made rather safer. We call the design "Feet Forwards" or "FF". I'll try and put it into terms that both motorcyclists and non- motorcyclists can understand. Start with the classic chopper riding position. Feet forwards, leaning slightly back with arms outstretched but relaxed as if you're sitting in a sports car. Now add a car seat back so that you're comfortable and don't get lower back pain. Then add an aerodynamic fairing and tail to keep the wind and rain off you. There's some echoes here with the recumbent bicycle movement. There are also echoes in Kaneda's bike from the Anime, Akira.

    Now because many of the followers are engineers and also fast road riders, use the best suspension you can and investigate alternatives to telescopic forks, particularly hub centre steering. Add competition level brakes. So although we started with the chopper riding position, form follows function in a way that is totally at odds with the Chopper aesthetic where form is everything and function above 55mph almost completely irrelevant. In fact FFers are pretty scathing of what they term "Motorised Bicycles". Even though 100 years of R&D has produced some amazingly effective machines, they've evolved to be almost completely useless off the race track or custom show circuit.

    For a long time if you wanted to ride an FF you had to build one from the ground up. There have been a few attempts to build production machines and the Quasar (30 units), Voyager (7 units), Ecomobile (100 units) and Dan Gurney's Alligator are good examples. But these are small volumes and most machines so far are one-offs, either completely custom or built by modifying existing motorcycles.

    In the last 10 years the Japanese have started building large scooters such as the Honda Helix, Suzuki Burgman 400 and 650 and the Honda Silver Wing. Here at last are machines that are close enough to the end goal that it's possible to start thinking in terms of kits that can be used to produce an FF by somebody who can do a bit of DIY but can't weld.

    In the last few weeks, the community has thrown up a prototype that is now really close to being a basis for such a kit. It's built on the Yamaha T-Max which is not available in the USA but is a 500cc twin with a CVT fully automatic gearbox and a top speed of around 110mph. We know it as the ComfortMax. It has a Volvo car seat back, aerodynamic GRP top box and an extended frame for forward foot boards. The seat back and top box are on a frame that allows these to be moved back and up to expose a passenger seat. What's particularly interesting about this for Make magazine is that the designs for the metalwork have all been published on the web as PDFs. This whole project begins to look like Open Source hardware design.

    Resources.
    ComfortMax builder's website
    http://www.angib.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/tmax/tmax00.htm
    Build process description
    http://www.angib.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/tmax/tmax01.htm

    ComfortMax photos
    http://www.bikeweb.com/image/tid/37
    Comfortmax PDFs and description
    http://www.bikeweb.com/node/856

    Bikeweb
    http://www.bikeweb.com A Drupal based community forum and image gallery for the
    FF community.
    Image gallery
    http://www.bikeweb.com/image

    FF Mailing list
    http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/feet_forward/
    428 members, 30,000 messages

    QuasarWorld
    http://www.quasarworld.plus.com/index.htm

    Voyagers
    http://www.hightech.clara.net/

    Ecomobile
    http://www.peraves.ch/ndexe.htm

    Dan Gurney's Alligator
    http://www.allamericanracers.com/alligator/alligator_home.html

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  8. HI. I am also a member of the Feet Forward Club. I have spent the last year building a vehicle that is known as the Genesis project. Genesis is based on the Suzuki 650 Burgman. The original vehicle was purchased as a technical write off (damaged plasticwork)The bodywork was stripped off and a specially designed safety cell was constructed. New seating was fitted which included built in protection and seatbelts. The vehicle also had the position of the fuel tank moved into the rear of the safety cell and a windscreen, heater,wiper system, radio, Sat nav and cup holder were added. The bodywork behind the driver is also enclosed giving room for 5 bags of shopping or camping gear. The bike has been used nearly every day in all types of weather, with the rider wearing only street clothing (+ crash helmet)I have never got wet, or cold, I have dropped the bike 5 times while fooling around or trying to find the edge of the envelope, without any injury, and only minor damage to the bike. The bike still retains the speed of the original bike, but the fuel consumption has dropped enormously (it has achieved 105mpg on one occasion). So, It combines speed, safety,comfort and enormously improved fuel use. With people aggitating for the banning of all motorbikes, there might just be another way......

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  9. Isn't it obvious that anything as complicated as the Eco is going to cost a lot to build until it is mass produced? It's a waste of time to harp on how much it costs now with only a hundred handmade units in existance. If the design were modified so that the struts dropped down as nearly vertical as possible from inside the shell instead of swinging out and down it would satisfy a collective problematic yearing about the design. That combined with a Harley TC engined Eco doing a burnout for the crowd wouldn't hurt either.

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  10. Just came accross the Acabion (.com) in a Discovery Channel program. Also swiss? New name for Ecomobile? I'm finding out...

    Sorry, it nothing. Just a 281mph half throttle bike.
    http://www.d4center.ch/content/2000_MIETER-D4/_2413_acabion.cfm
    Acabion.com does nothing for me but a teaser screen.

    My personal obsession is multi-man-powered bicycle around the ecomobile design. A good aero shape and a good pedal push from each "passenger" might make it a pretty fast thing. Especially with more than 3 in line. Imagine recumbent bicycles being so efficient that everyone can pedal them past enough (50mph?) to join the highways? Maybe a tiny solar cell powered engine to aid overtaking and to climb hills.

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  11. For anyone interested the Genesis Project has just finished a phase three conversion (now Genesis v3). this included lengthening the chassis by 8", providing a stunning heating system, adding a full seat unit from a Honda sports car, inertia reel seat belts and Carbon Fibre bodywork. All this work was completed in 3 months and the vehicle driven 200+ miles to my home address.
    I have not been able to check out the MPG figures, but I am hopefull of improving on its previous 105mpg best. Pictures of the new bike can be found on Bikeweb, under Genesis.

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  12. Has it clicked with anyone else that you should be able to drive/ride these bikes in the Diamond Commuter lanes in Los Angeles. It usually requires two to three carpooling buddies to use these low traffic lanes - or you need to be on a "motorcycle". Awesome.

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  13. First, I'd like to point out that hybrids only get 50 mpg in the best conditions. Drive a hybrid on the freeway for four hours and see what your gas mileage is like. They still can't beat a motorcycle.
    Second, I completely agree with “Anonymous, 9/17/2005 12:31:00 AM : Isn't it obvious that anything as complicated as the Eco is going to cost a lot to build until it is mass produced? “ How much did the first concept hybrid cost?
    Third, the best part of riding a motorcycle is tiling on the turns (in my opinion). It is more fun than a roller coaster.
    Last, as far as riding on the Diamond Lane in Los Angeles, I hope you’re right. There is no telling how this machine will be legally classified. Will you need a motorcycle license? Insurance rates? Taxes? . . . I think it will be a legal challenge.

    As I sit in a traffic jam, I look around and see all the single people in a big car. I wonder if we’d still have a traffic jam if everyone was on a bike – they take up about ¼ the road space as a car. It addresses the safety and environmental concerns most people have with a bike. I believe it is a great concept and I hope to see it in the show rooms in a few years. Good Luck to Peraves!

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