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Published on August 5th, 2009 | by Christopher DeMorro

26

150 Miles Per Gallon In A Goblin

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I just want to pre-empt this post by saying I’m not a fan of pedaling. I always look awkward on bikes. Personal preference.

But I know there are millions of people out there who enjoy cycling (they always seem to get in my way on the road) and that there are plenty of people who would bike to work if they could. Inclement weather, distance, and rough terrain are probably the biggest factors in why most people don’t bike to work. For those of you still considering the trek, there is the Goblin Aero…and as awkward as it looks, these guys might be  on to something.

The Goblin is another simple idea that makes a lot of sense. Essentially a tricycle covered by a “speed sock”, this kite on wheels is offered with a gas motor assist to take the rider up to 40 miles on little more than a quarter gallon of gas. For 50 cents worth of fuel, that is a lot of travel. The motor used is either a 35cc or 50 cc Honda unit. Apparently, these “velomobiles” are quite popular in Europe, though I’ve never heard of them before.

Of course, you also have to pedal to help the motor out; its an assistant, rather than a self-propelled unit. So how easy is it to pedal, and how fast does it go? I dunno. I could never see myself in one of these. But according to the Goblin Motors website, this little trike went up to the top of Mt. Lemmon in Arizona from the Valley (vertical distance of 6500 feet) effortlessly. That rear pod can also hold five grocery bags, so it fits almost perfectly as a grocery-getter vehicle…for one person.

You better bring your iPod though, because there is no radio, no heater, no passenger seat, nothing, nada. This is bare bones transportation with a gas motor that will set you back about $6,500 without the EcoSpeed electric assist option, which can increase range to 100 miles and speed to 30 mph. As it stands, the gearing in the Goblin allows it to max out at 20 mph. Not highway worthy, in case you were wondering.

They are also developing an aluminum-sided “Hot Rod” version with a much sleeker design called the Rampage. That I might consider, if only I didn’t have to wear a helmet. I have a large, weird-shaped dome, you see…

Here in New England, this vehicle is a no go six months out of the year however. It gets too cold, too wet, and the drivers here are in a constant state of distraction. But for those of you in warmer climates, would you give this a whirl?

Source: Goblin Motors


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About the Author

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. When he isn't wrenching or writing, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Alex

    “(they always seem to get in my way on the road)”

    I would hope this website would not engage in autocentric propaganda, no matter how innocous it might be. Cyclists and other vehicles have equal right and access to the road. Cyclists are not in your way, they are utilizing the road. Driving is a privilege, not a right.

  • Alex

    “(they always seem to get in my way on the road)”

    I would hope this website would not engage in autocentric propaganda, no matter how innocous it might be. Cyclists and other vehicles have equal right and access to the road. Cyclists are not in your way, they are utilizing the road. Driving is a privilege, not a right.

  • Tim Cleland

    It’s a good idea for bikers, but why in the heck does it cost $6,500? It’s a tent on a three-wheeled moped. I could see it costing maybe $2,000 to pay for the motor and the ultra-light materials, but nothing else there looks too complicated. Does it have some kind of special suspension or something (i.e. to make it more stable around turns for a three-wheeler)?

  • Tim Cleland

    It’s a good idea for bikers, but why in the heck does it cost $6,500? It’s a tent on a three-wheeled moped. I could see it costing maybe $2,000 to pay for the motor and the ultra-light materials, but nothing else there looks too complicated. Does it have some kind of special suspension or something (i.e. to make it more stable around turns for a three-wheeler)?

  • http://theclutterwar.blogspot.com/ Christopher DeMorro

    @ Alex.

    Relax.

    @ Tim. It is a purpose-built piece. If you check out their website, they have a lot of pictures of the work that went into this. While yes, it is a simple concept and could be easily mass-produced, it appears to be just a few people in a garage doing the work.

    So while a good idea, I agree it costs a lot of money. But there are $3,000 mountain bikes too.

  • http://theclutterwar.blogspot.com/ Christopher DeMorro

    @ Alex.

    Relax.

    @ Tim. It is a purpose-built piece. If you check out their website, they have a lot of pictures of the work that went into this. While yes, it is a simple concept and could be easily mass-produced, it appears to be just a few people in a garage doing the work.

    So while a good idea, I agree it costs a lot of money. But there are $3,000 mountain bikes too.

  • Tim Cleland

    “Cyclists and other vehicles have equal right and access to the road. Cyclists are not in your way, they are utilizing the road. ”

    Yes, yes, yes, but the fact remains that bicyclists are a pain in the *** to car drivers. When you suddenly have to slow down from 45 mph to 15 mph (in situations where you can’t pass safely) to allow a biker to utilize the road, it can be a little upsetting. The same is true for slow trucks, tractors, heavy equipment, slow-moving cars, horse-back riders, etc. My guess is you’ve felt the same disdain for those legal road utilizers as anyone has.

  • Tim Cleland

    “Cyclists and other vehicles have equal right and access to the road. Cyclists are not in your way, they are utilizing the road. ”

    Yes, yes, yes, but the fact remains that bicyclists are a pain in the *** to car drivers. When you suddenly have to slow down from 45 mph to 15 mph (in situations where you can’t pass safely) to allow a biker to utilize the road, it can be a little upsetting. The same is true for slow trucks, tractors, heavy equipment, slow-moving cars, horse-back riders, etc. My guess is you’ve felt the same disdain for those legal road utilizers as anyone has.

  • Tim Cleland

    “But there are $3,000 mountain bikes too.”

    True dat!

  • Tim Cleland

    “But there are $3,000 mountain bikes too.”

    True dat!

  • http://engagingenergy.com Ian Falconer

    Apparently, these “velomobiles” are quite popular in Europe, though I’ve never heard of them before.

    As a resident of Europe I can state that neither have I. Recumbents, yes. Recumbents with a nylon sheath, yes I’ve seen one. Recumbents with a nylon sheath and a chainsaw engine, nope.

    For the same money you could get a Honda 50, the most popular motor vehicle in the world. Now I’ve seen plenty of those here in Yerp.

  • http://engagingenergy.com Ian Falconer

    Apparently, these “velomobiles” are quite popular in Europe, though I’ve never heard of them before.

    As a resident of Europe I can state that neither have I. Recumbents, yes. Recumbents with a nylon sheath, yes I’ve seen one. Recumbents with a nylon sheath and a chainsaw engine, nope.

    For the same money you could get a Honda 50, the most popular motor vehicle in the world. Now I’ve seen plenty of those here in Yerp.

  • Brian

    Just once I’m hoping to read an article that mentions bicycles on the wed and not have the comments turn into an us vs them battle between cyclists and drivers.

    Alas, today is not that day.

  • Brian

    Just once I’m hoping to read an article that mentions bicycles on the wed and not have the comments turn into an us vs them battle between cyclists and drivers.

    Alas, today is not that day.

  • http://www.technologyslice.com.au Technology Slice

    I don’t think anyone would want to be seen using one of those.

  • http://www.technologyslice.com.au Technology Slice

    I don’t think anyone would want to be seen using one of those.

  • http://thewaronbullshit.com Kavan Wolfe

    “they always seem to get in my way on the road”????

    Given that bicycles are orders of magnitude more efficient and environmentally-friendly than cars, YOU are in THEIR way.

    You don’t like it? Demand that your city create dedicated bike roads.

    Asshole.

  • http://thewaronbullshit.com Kavan Wolfe

    “they always seem to get in my way on the road”????

    Given that bicycles are orders of magnitude more efficient and environmentally-friendly than cars, YOU are in THEIR way.

    You don’t like it? Demand that your city create dedicated bike roads.

    Asshole.

  • Christopher DeMorro

    @ Kavan Wolfe

    Relax.

    If I had a problem with cyclists, do you think I would have taken the time out of my day to write a story on…a motorized tricycle?

    In the words of the Joker…”Why so serious?”

  • Christopher DeMorro

    @ Kavan Wolfe

    Relax.

    If I had a problem with cyclists, do you think I would have taken the time out of my day to write a story on…a motorized tricycle?

    In the words of the Joker…”Why so serious?”

  • Alex

    Christopher,

    I know you’re not meaning to disparage cyclists, but it’s important to note of the inherent bias towards cars that we all have, especially writers of articles. Take a moment to think about why it is that a cyclist legally utilizing the roadway is thought of by other road users as a nuisance, somehow less deserving of access. This is nothing new. Cyclists first fought for the right to use roads more than a century ago. As a writer, you have an obligation to present stories free of bias, or at least acknowledge it.

  • Alex

    Christopher,

    I know you’re not meaning to disparage cyclists, but it’s important to note of the inherent bias towards cars that we all have, especially writers of articles. Take a moment to think about why it is that a cyclist legally utilizing the roadway is thought of by other road users as a nuisance, somehow less deserving of access. This is nothing new. Cyclists first fought for the right to use roads more than a century ago. As a writer, you have an obligation to present stories free of bias, or at least acknowledge it.

  • http://theclutterwar.blogspot.com/ Christopher DeMorro

    @ Alex

    Cyclists have a right to the road. You are correct.

    But as plenty of studies have confirmed many cyclists plain old ignore the rules of the road.

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/city_room/spring_2009_bikestudy_2.pdf

    I respect a cyclist’s right to the road, but cyclists need to respect the fact that roads were built primarily for automobiles. They need to respect the two tons of steel bearing down on them when they ride two abreast so they can chit-chat. They need to respect that it is the taxes levied on gasoline that pay to maintain the roads. They need to respect red lights and stop signs and foot traffic the same way most automobile drivers do.

    How was this article biased? From one off-hand comment? I didn’t misconstrue or distort anything as far as I know in this article, I didn’t disparage anyone except myself.

    You and Kavan (especially Kavan) need to take a chill pill. One comment does not a biased article make.

  • http://theclutterwar.blogspot.com/ Christopher DeMorro

    @ Alex

    Cyclists have a right to the road. You are correct.

    But as plenty of studies have confirmed many cyclists plain old ignore the rules of the road.

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/nyregion/city_room/spring_2009_bikestudy_2.pdf

    I respect a cyclist’s right to the road, but cyclists need to respect the fact that roads were built primarily for automobiles. They need to respect the two tons of steel bearing down on them when they ride two abreast so they can chit-chat. They need to respect that it is the taxes levied on gasoline that pay to maintain the roads. They need to respect red lights and stop signs and foot traffic the same way most automobile drivers do.

    How was this article biased? From one off-hand comment? I didn’t misconstrue or distort anything as far as I know in this article, I didn’t disparage anyone except myself.

    You and Kavan (especially Kavan) need to take a chill pill. One comment does not a biased article make.

  • Bicycle car

    I’ve actually built several velomobiles at my house out of junk bicycles and ‘election sign’ plastic sheets, and I have ridden them in below 30 degree weather and I was plenty warm in just a few minutes. Your body heat, in the enclosed body of the velo becomes all the heater you need. In fact, I was opening my side windows to keep from being too hot! You can be very snug in just a shirt and jeans while riding in the cold. That goes for wet weather, as well. If only more bicycle companies could produce velomobiles, then we would see them being offered at lower prices.

  • Bicycle car

    I’ve actually built several velomobiles at my house out of junk bicycles and ‘election sign’ plastic sheets, and I have ridden them in below 30 degree weather and I was plenty warm in just a few minutes. Your body heat, in the enclosed body of the velo becomes all the heater you need. In fact, I was opening my side windows to keep from being too hot! You can be very snug in just a shirt and jeans while riding in the cold. That goes for wet weather, as well. If only more bicycle companies could produce velomobiles, then we would see them being offered at lower prices.

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