There are lots of reasons to buy a DryCycle:
Fun - DryCycles are a really fun vehicle to ride, book a test ride and see for yourself!
Save Time - It depends upon your personal circumstances and the route options available to you but commuting using a DryCycle could easily save you time. Sometimes just being able to use cycle paths and cut through traffic will make your commuting time less than it was in a car, but even if that isn't the case, if you also factor in the time it would have taken you to visit a gym or do other exercise to the same level as DryCycling on your commute, then you'll most likely save time by using a DryCycle.
Be Healthy - People are more aware of their health than they have been in the past and many wish to stay healthy for longer. Organisations such as the British Heart Foundation make it clear that a good way to do this is by cycling regularly, but the 3 most cited reasons for people not using bicycles more are: Safety, Weather, and Not having enough energy to get to their destination. We remove all of these obstacles with the DryCycle though and enable people who want to get healthier through cycling.
Use Cycle Paths - The Mayor of London has committed to spending £169 million on cycling infrastructure in the five years to 2023. The PM announced £1 billion to be spent on cycling and walking infrastructure in February 2020. There are already a number of cycle paths, depending upon where you live of course, which can help to get you through build up traffic more quickly.
Crash Protection - Cycle paths aren't everywhere of course and in many places you need to ride on the road, so we think cyclists should be safe on the road as well as on cycle paths. The framework and bodywork of the DryCycle protects riders from other vehicles when they ride on the road, we are the only pedal cycle to have crash tested our vehicles at a professional crash test facility (to the very best of our knowledge) and shown them to provide a very good level of safety in two likely impact scenarios.
Increased awareness - Electric Vehicles (both Cars and Electric Assist Pedal Cycles) are becoming more popular and more widespread meaning that there is more realisation of the solutions, and fun, that is possible with an Electric motor and Lithium Ion batteries.
Will it replace my car?
That totally depends upon what you use your car for.
A DryCycle won't necessarily completely replace your car, it may be more likely to replace certain car journeys.
The most likely type of journey we think DryCycles will be used for is commuting, since in 2017 (latest figure available at time of writing), 88% of commuter cars had only a single occupant (source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/nts09-vehicle-mileage-and-occupancy), and the average distance commuted was only 9.1 miles (source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/nts04-purpose-of-trips), which is an easy distance to cover with a DryCycle.
Of course you can use your DryCycle for other trips as well, such as popping to the shops or any other local trips that you take on your own.
Obviously, cars have more seats and can travel at a higher top speed, which is especially useful for out of town transportation, so there are plenty of times when a DryCycle isn’t enough, so owning a DryCycle doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be selling your car.
It may be able to replace a second (or third) vehicle in some households, it may also replace a bicycle of course, but avid bicycle/car enthusiasts may not be so keen to get rid of their weekend wheels, so it certainly doesn’t have to.
We think it’s more likely to replace your gym membership than your car, but for any car journeys it does replace it will also save your wallet, as the fuel costs for a DryCycle are only about 15 pence per 50 miles, yes, personal transport really can be that efficient! And great exercise!
Will the DryCycle be the future of transport?
Well, we’re not expecting that everybody is going to suddenly rush out and buy a DryCycle because it fits EVERY transport need, no one type of transport does, but it does offer something very different to existing transport options.
Over millions of years people have evolved to exercise in order to get where they are going. Our bodies work best when they're being used for regular movement. This, and other lifestyle choices, is what keeps the plaque from building up in our hearts and artery walls, so wouldn’t your transport be far better if it were also better for your health?
There is joy in movement also, and numerous studies have shown that regular exercise can have a positive effect on people’s moods as well, so your daily commute could be used to start you off in a happier mood each day. Book a test ride and experience the fun for yourself.
This is really the crux of what the DryCycle is all about, having fun whilst exercising, and being motivated by an easy goal, getting to your destination, as part of having a healthier life. All the other design aspects stem from this main impetus.
The reason why it is a pedal cycle is because this is the only type of movement allowed by law for a road legal vehicle with an electric assist motor. It’s also great of course that a pedalling motion targets not only the largest muscles in the body, but also the muscles that are intended to be used when travelling and are naturally resistant to fatigue.
Cycling is a low impact movement for the joints, meanwhile your arms are needed for steering so it would be hard to come up with a better exercise for motion than cycling anyway, even if this legal restriction did not exist.
We also want the vehicle to be comfortable and suitable for all weathers which is why there is a fully enclosed body, and of course open-air pedal assist vehicles already exist in the form of EAPC bicycles.
The reason it is crash resistant is because the number one reason given in numerous surveys about why people don’t cycle more is because they feel unsafe on the road with other vehicles, so we really wanted to overcome this hurdle that was putting people off cycling.
Cycling is great, with the DryCycle it's even better! So give it a go, book a test ride and try it for yourself, there isn't as much in the way of entertainment going on in the world at the moment due to Covid, so treat yourself and tell your friends!
Is it crash worthy?
Yes, we crash tested at Millbrook Proving Grounds.
But you may be wondering why we crash tested it the way we did and what our thoughts were when designing it.
We researched the types of accidents that most commonly occur with cyclists and designed the structure around the cyclist accordingly.
The more statistically likely accidents are as follows*:
83% of all KSI (Killed or Seriously Injured) accidents were involved in a collision with another vehicle. 0.2% of all KSI accidents were involved in a collision with another pedal cycle. 0.7% of all KSI accidents were involved in a collision with a pedestrian. 16% of all KSI accidents did not collide with anything, so were presumably single vehicle accidents where the rider fell off the bicycle on their own.
We think our 4 wheeled stability will certainly help with this 16%. The 83% would likely be helped by the framework and rubber padding surrounding the rider, and the 0.2% & 0.7% would likely be helped by the rubber padding at the front of the DryCycle.
69% of all KSI accidents were involving a car or a taxi.
Out of that 69%, the main type of accidents were where a car was turning left or right whilst the cyclist was going straight ahead, or the cyclist was turning right whilst a car/taxi was going straight ahead.
The crash tests we have carried out are: a side impact with a car colliding at 20mph into the side of a DryCycle (people tend to break before impacts and just as cars are only crash tested up to 40mph, 20mph seemed a suitable limit for our vehicle); and a frontal impact where the Drycycle collides into the side of a car at it's top assisted speed of 15.5mph, to replicate these most common accidents. You can see the video of these accidents and a write up about them here
Another accident type reported was ‘vehicles passing too close to the cyclist’, this resulted in 25% of the KSI accidents involving larger vehicles. We imagine that these may be where a cyclist has been hit by a bus or lorry mirror. This is one of the reasons why we have a wide and tall rollover hoop behind the rider to take the hit in any such incident, as well as offering rollover protection.
The majority of KSI accidents involving larger vehicles were from a lorry turning left at a junction and a cyclist being on the left hand side of them whilst the lorry turned into them.
We’re not saying a DryCycle would necessarily survive that scenario, but it’s sensible to stay away from lorries that may turn left at junctions if at all possible no matter what you're driving, and in any case a DryCycle is a large bright white object that should be easier for a lorry driver to see than a bicycle.
Car dooring, where a parked car’s door is opened into the path of a cyclist was also mentioned in the report but no statistics given as to the percentage of KSI accidents this resulted in, so whilst we have considered this in the design we don’t intend to test it, due to cost, we do think it very likely that a DryCycle will fair better than a bicycle in such a scenario.
* The statistics are from Transport For London PPR 445 report. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/nts04-purpose-of-trips
This report is from 2009, but it is often referred back to in seemingly more recent reports as there seems to be a shortage of data in terms of the types of accidents bicycles are involved in. Due to this lack of data we also looked through hours of Youtube bicycle crash videos to see what types of accidents occur. Doing this was actually very helpful when designing the DryCycle as it allowed us to see the types of accidents that might occur and the way in which the vehicles reacted in those accidents.
In all of the crashes we watched on Youtube we would have been happier to have been in a DryCycle than on a bicycle. If you fancy doing a similar mental exercise in comparative safety try searching YouTube for 'bicycle crash test compilation' and watch videos of Russian cyclists crashing into vehicles, or just falling off their bicycles :)
What maintenance does it need?
The chain requires oiling every 2,500 miles, or 3 months, to give smooth operation, you could do it less often, but the wear on chain and sprockets will be increased and the vehicle will be less efficient. Though this is more frequent than the oil changes needed on on cars, this compares very favourably with bicycles or motorcycles as our drivechain is fully enclosed and so not subjected to road debris that those other cycles suffer from.
Oiling the chain is a simple procedure that you can perform with easily available and inexpensive 'dry conditions' bicycle chain oil and merely involves tipping the DryCycle on it’s back and applying oil at the designated locations, so it's not as big a job as an oil change on a car anyway.
The forward/neutral/reverse gearbox does require oil changes, but since it is a sealed unit this is even more infrequent at every 5,000 miles, or 12 months, you’ll need to unclick the undertray to do this and unbolt the gearbox.
Unlike motorcycles we have sprung chain tensioners on every section of chain so that you won’t need to tension the chains ever, with motorcycles this is a job you should do every 500 miles, so this is a big advantage of a DryCycle over a motorcycle in terms of maintenance, you will need to replace the chains and sprockets once they wear out or break of course, this is where oiling the chain helps to make the chains and sprockets last longer.
The electric motor is a sealed unit and does not require maintenance, it will eventually need to be replaced/refurbished when it wears out. Likewise, the differential is also sealed and does not require maintenance but after several thousand miles may need replacing. If either of these items breaks during the warranty period and this wasn't down to misuse or any other issue caused by the rider then the replacement will be fitted under warranty. The same is true of bearings, which are also sealed, and unless subject to misuse will be replaced by us if they fail within the warranty period.
Tyres and brake pads and discs will naturally need replacing by the customer as they wear out, we can do this for you at a reasonable cost, or you may find a local bicycle repair shop to do it as it's a simple enough job. The front pads are accessible through the front wheels, accessing the rear pads requires removing the undertray, which simply clips on and off, and can be done with the DryCycle resting on it's back. The tyres can be replaced using an axle jack to hold the axle up and without the need to remove the wheel, as it is only held on one side.
Almost all of the fixings are made from stainless steel and the frame is plastic so that corrosion isn’t really an issue, and any parts that corrode within the warranty period unless subjected to misuse will be covered.
The frame has been tested for strength and fatigue, so within the warranty period unless a Drycycle is subject to misuse, eg off roading on uneven terrain, jumping, or overloading the vehicle, issues with the frame should not arise.
Will it save the environment?
A DryCycle relases almost 25 times less CO2 per mile (10 grams) than an average car (248 grams - sources given below), so on a per mile basis if you are choosing between riding a DryCycle and a car then the DryCycle is a clear winner.
If you plan on keeping your car as well though you may be wondering how many miles you would need to ride in a DryCycle to repay the CO2 released in making that DryCycle in the first place?
The things we need to know when considering this are:
How much carbon dioxide (CO2) is released in the manufacturing of a DryCycle?
How much CO2 is released per mile from riding a DryCycle? (This needs to be a power source to consumption calculation as it is an electric vehicle.)
How much CO2 is released from the manufacturing of an alternative vehicle, in this case a car?
How much CO2 is released per mile from driving the alternative vehicle (car)? (This needs to be a well to wheel calculation to be comparable with the DryCycle power source to consumption calculation.)
The answers to those questions are shown immediately below, if you want to see how we worked out those figures then just scroll further down to see our workings out.
CO2 released in manufacturing a DryCycle is 550kg (550,000 grams)
CO2 released per mile in riding a DryCycle is 10g.
CO2 released in manufacturing an average car is 6.9 metric tonnes (6,900,000 grams)
CO2 released per mile when driving an average car is 248g.
So, if you were to buy a Drycycle instead of a car, then immediately from mile 1 a DryCycle is a better option as it has taken almost 6.4 metric tonnes less CO2 to make it and will release 96% less CO2 when you ride it.
But what if you’re keeping your car AND buying a DryCycle? Let’s face it cars are useful.
The question then becomes how many miles do you need to cover in your DryCycle, rather than in your car, in order for the CO2 savings per mile to offset the initial CO2 released in the manufacture of the DryCycle.
This calculation is written as follows:
‘Initial co2 released from manufacture of a DryCycle’ + (‘χ number of miles’ x ‘co2 released per mile from riding a DryCycle’) = ‘χ number of miles’ x ‘co2 released per mile from driving an average car’
We need to solve for χ, so let’s put the figures in.
550,000g + (χ miles x 10g) = (χ miles x 248g)
χ = 2,310 miles.
So, in a little over 2000 miles, a distance a DryCycle will cover easily, a DryCycle has offset all the carbon dioxide released in it’s manufacture and from then on it’s a vehicle that releases 96% less CO2 per mile than a car.
So, as long as you cover at least 2310 miles in your DryCycle, instead of a car, in your length of ownership of your DryCycle, (and let’s face it, why would you buy it if you’re not going to use it at least that much), then a DryCycle is definitely an environmentally good choice.
How much CO2 is released in the manufacture of a DryCycle?
We need to know how much CO2 is released in order to make a DryCycle in the first place. There’s a lot of assumptions involved in calculating this, as we don’t have the resources to do this in a more in-depth way, but here goes.
The aluminium frame for the DryCycle is welded together from lengths of aluminium tubing just 3 miles down the road from the final assembly factory, the plastic body panels are currently made next door to the assembly factory, but may be made about 20-30 miles away in the near future.
We mention this to show that there is not a lot of travel involved in getting the main bulky parts transported to final assembly. Having said that, the smaller parts: the motors, batteries, wheels and other small drivetrain parts, come from Japan and China, so these more compact components do have to travel quite a distance, but thankfully these are much more compact components, so the CO2 released in their transport is comparatively low.
Overall we consider that this is likely to be comparable to the way in which cars are made per kg of material in the finished product, albeit that the amount of materials involved in a DryCycle is only a tiny fraction of that involved in building a car.
So, we’re going to work out how much CO2 is released when a car is made and then scale that back proportionately by comparing the weight of the car and the weight of the DryCycle, the materials are quite similar so this should be a reasonable way to do this.
First then we need to know how many metric tonnes of CO2 are released in the making of the ‘average’ car. A report from the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership https://www.lowcvp.org.uk/assets/workingdocuments/MC-P-11-15a%20Lifecycle%20emissions%20report.pdf puts the figures as follows:
Standard gasoline car 5.6 metric tonnes
Hybrid Vehicle 6.5 metric tonnes
Plug-in Vehicle 6.7 metric tonnes
Battery Electric Vehicle 8.8 metric tonnes
The ‘average’ of those figures is 6.9 metric tonnes.
So, when an average car is made 6.9 metric tonnes of co2 is released due to it’s manufacture.
We want to scale this back based on the weight difference between a DryCycle and a Car to find out how much CO2 is released when a Drycycle is made though.
We know that a DryCycle is about 120kg, so we now need to know how heavy an ‘average’ car is.
According to https://cars.lovetoknow.com/List_of_Car_Weights the average weight of cars varies from 1354kg for compact cars, to 2460kg for large SUVs, these are American cars by the way, I couldn’t find a UK based source for the average car weight, so let’s be conservative and say that the average weight of a car in the UK is 1500kg, feel free to do your own research on any of these numbers of course, but we think this is a very reasonable 'average' figure.
The weight of a DryCycle is approx. 120kg, so there is 12.5 times less material by weight in a DryCycle than an average car.
Now that we know the weight difference we can divide the 6.9 tonnes (6900kg) of CO2 released when an average car is made by 12.5 (because a DryCycle is 12.5 times lighter) and we end up with a figure of 550kg of CO2 released when a DryCycle is made.
2. How much CO2 does a DryCycle release per mile? (this needs to be a power source to consumer calculation)
There are various sources for average CO2 emissions for UK grid electricity, we found this official source, https://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn_383-carbon-footprint-electricity-generation.pdf, albeit this is from 2008, which means that the CO2 released per kwh at todays levels is lower, so we’re being conservative.
This gives a figure of 0.5kg per kwh of electricity. More recent online caluclators give figures of 0.35 or 0.28 kg per kwh of electricity but they don’t look as official as the report we’ve cited, and in any case with the efficiency of a DryCycle these differences don’t alter the result very much anyway.
So, a DryCycle will travel 50 miles on boost mode on it’s total of 1kwh capacity batteries. So we need to divide 0.5kg by 50 to get a per mile CO2 release for a DryCycle. This works out at 0.01kg per mile, so about 10g per mile.
3. How much CO2 is released in the manufacture of an alternative vehicle, an average car?
We’ve already done this calculation in point 1 above, it was 6.9 metric tonnes.
4. How much CO2 does an average car release per mile (this needs to be a well to wheel calculation)
Here is a survey that shows that oil extraction, refining and transportation of the fuel add between 15-40% to the CO2 emission figures of any car https://science.sciencemag.org/content/361/6405/851.summary.
Knowing this percentage increase will allow us to give a well to wheel figure which is more representative of the CO2 released by a car’s engine when driving a fossil fuelled vehicle than just official CO2 emission figures for the vehicle alone, since the fuel needs to be extracted, refined and transported before it ever gets to the car to be burnt by the engine, and CO2 is released at each of these stages.
According to the SMMT https://www.smmt.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/SMMT-New-Car-Co2-Report-2018-artwork.pdf, the average CO2 emissions for all cars (including electric and hybrid) for 2017 was 121grams of CO2 per km.
If we take the average of the 15-40% addition (27.5%) to make this a well to wheel figure, then the average CO2 emission is 154 grams of CO2 per km. We tend to think in miles here in the UK, so this equates to 248 grams of CO2 per mile.
Will it save me money?
Beyond it just being a fun vehicle to ride, we think the main benefits from a DryCycle are in time saved by cutting through traffic and using cycle paths, and in getting exercise to improve overall health. Whether or not it 'saves' money may depend on the value you place on these things.
If you consider the health improvements you can compare it to the cost of a gym membership. If you use a DryCycle on a regular basis then you may not need to go to a gym regularly, this assumes that you would go to a gym for cardiovascular workouts rather than muscle building as clearly a DryCycle won’t bulk you up like weight lifting will.
This comparison applies regardless as to whether or not you currently pay for gym membership as it is an equivalent amount of exercise and will have an equivalent benefit for your health, this is making assumptions that you use it regularly over a decent length of journey and push yourself physically fairly regularly in order to get your heart pumping faster rather than always letting the motor do all the work of course. We think that cycling home faster where you have a shower waiting for you is the best way to do this, but you don’t have to do this every day, just like you wouldn’t visit the gym every day. If we assume that an average gym membership costs £50 per month, then you’re saving £600 per year by using your DryCycle.
If you have a 30 minute commute each way, and work out on the way home, then if you include a theoretical additional 30 minutes to make the detour to the gym on the way home, you may end up saving an hour a day for three days a week (most people don't go to the gym more than 3 days a week), by exercising in your DryCycle and not a Gym. So you could also add in 3 times what you consider an hour of your time to be worth each week, or as much as 150 hours over the course of a year, this may repay your DryCycle quite quickly.
In terms of electricity running costs, at the time of writing electricity was typically 15p per Kwh, and the range on is about 50 miles. So the cost per mile is about 0.3p in electricity, which is ridiculously low and surely compares well to whatever you currently use to make your journeys. We can make the comparison with a car that gets 30mpg for example. Petrol costs about £1.25 per litre at the time of writing, there are 4.5 litres in a gallon, so the cost per mile for petrol is 18.8p per mile. That makes the DriCycle more than 60 times cheaper per mile. To put this back into monetary terms, see the table below on the yearly savings at different amounts of mileage:
3000 Miles per Year (equating to less than 60 Miles per week) - £555 saving per year
4000 Miles per Year (equating to less than 80 Miles per week) - £740 saving per year
5000 Miles per Year (equating to less than 100 Miles per week) - £925 saving per year
The average in our table above gives a saving of £740 per year and you would do that number of miles if you have a 5 day a week commute of 8 miles each way, plus a bit of popping out to get the shopping occasionally to make up for any days that you’re not working.
So between gym membership savings and petrol savings you may well save about £1340 per year, plus maybe 150 hours per year that you would have otherwise spent travelling to and from, and being at, a gym.
You might save money in parking costs, for example; if you use a car to travel to a railway station and then commute by rail you might want to use your DryCycle to do the car part of the commute and save parking costs. At £5 per day, 5 days a week for 40 weeks of the year, this could easily be another saving of £1000 per year, you may have a similar situation where you need to pay to park at or near your workplace of course, it just depends upon whether or not you currently pay for parking of course.
You may save money on the Ultra Low Emission Zone or Congestion Charging Zones in London, which could otherwise cost thousands of pounds per year in a combustion engined car.
So, depending upon the alternatives that you would otherwise choose, for some customers the DryCycle might make a compelling ongoing cost saving argument.
This isn’t the end of the story of course.
Another cost is depreciation, which we cannot begin to guess at, because we don’t know how much DryCycles will be worth in years to come as there is nothing remotely similar on the market at the moment. Like all vehicles of course they will in all likelihood depreciate to a greater or lesser extent, there is also a slim possibility that if demand far outstrips our meagre supply, then they may be more valuable for a time, at least until our manufacturing capabilities catch up, this may depend upon how good our marketing is and how much word of mouth is spread by customers and potential customers, so your guess is as good as ours on this, but a good rule of thumb may be that if you want them to be worth more you should tell everyone about them ;)
There is also maintenance to consider, which on a DryCycle should be fairly straight forward, the cost of some bicycle brake pads and tyres, maybe chains and some oil and some other parts, depending upon how frequently you use your DryCycle in the first couple of years will likely cost a lot less than a couple of services on a car.
So a DryCycle might 'save' you money, it really depends upon what you would otherwise be using/doing.
Is it just a Sinclair C5?
Technology, the law and the world have moved on quite a lot since the 1980’s, and our design has almost nothing in common with the C5. Here’s a short list of ways in which the DryCycle is nothing like a Sinclair C5:
- It has 4 wheels not 3, for increased stability.
- It has suspension, the C5 did not, so you don’t feel every pothole with ours 😊
- It has 20 inch wheels, not 12.5 inch. So, you don’t get lost in every pothole 😊 and at 20 inches the DryCycle wheels are comparable to the circumference of car wheels.
- It has 11 electronically shifted gears, the Sinclair C5 didn’t have any gears at all, so the C5 did not use its motor efficiently at all speeds.
- The motor output limit in the 80's was 200 watts, now it is a nominal 250 watts.
- It has large adult sized crank arms, so that you can pedal efficiently/normally. The C5 had child sized cranks and no room to fit larger ones, so pedalling was far less efficient, try cycling on a child’s bike to see what we mean, the C5 had a throttle and seems to us to have been designed with the motor as the primary means of motion and pedalling as very much secondary.
- It is taller, the C5 was only 795mm tall. The DryCycle is 1560mm tall, which is over 100mm taller than a Tesla Model S. This obviously helps make the vehicle more visible as well as improving the rider's visibility out.
- It has full bodywork a windscreen and a roof, so you don’t need to check the weather when choosing which vehicle to take in the morning, the C5 had an optional rain coat that attached to the C5’s limited bodywork.
- It has energy absorbing rubber against impacts, the C5 just had an injection moulded plastic lower bodywork. We've crash tested our vehicle to show how it would react in an accident, the C5 was never crash tested against cars.
- It has a full aluminium framework surrounding the rider on all sides and a rollover hoop. The steel framework in the C5 was not used to protect the rider from impacts at all, it was simply structural and was limited to just a Y shaped frame that ran underneath the rider.
- It has disc brakes not drum brakes so stops far more effectively and reliably.
- It has 4kg lithium ion batteries rather than a 15kg lead acid battery. This gives a greater range from lighter batteries.
- It has flashing LED lights as well as solid state lights that are far brighter than the bulbs used on the C5, so far more visible to other traffic.
- The C5’s battery was only designed to last 300 cycles, our more modern batteries will last 1500-2000 cycles, so battery replacement cost is much more reasonable per mile travelled.
- It has been designed with pedestrian safety in mind as well, with Nitrile Rubber being used under the bodywork at the front of the vehicle.
- It doesn’t have a throttle control, so with the DryCycle you have to pedal, so you will always get some exercise in the DryCycle, whereas the C5 had a throttle control which encouraged people to think it was just an underpowered motor vehicle. The DryCycle, by contrast, is an overpowered pedal cycle!
- The world is different now. Emissions from cars are already much cleaner than they were in the 1980’s, and with the rise in electric cars already begun, emissions will all but disappear from our roads altogether eventually. Safety systems such as Automatic Emergency Braking also make the likelihood of a car crashing into the back of you whilst stopped at lights much less likely, as does ABS and ESC which have both arrived since the 80’s. The laws have also changed to allow a number of improvements such as flashing lights and 4 rather than 3 wheels, there is also no longer a weight limit on pedal cycles, so we can build a framework around the rider for crash protection.
- The C5 cost less, and so even ignoring technology advances could not have had as high a specification in any case.
We’re really not trying to knock the C5, but people who see our vehicle for the first time sometimes compare it to a C5, so we felt we should address that perceived similarity.
The C5 was a product of its time and nothing like it had ever gone before so they didn’t have the benefit of learning from others mistakes as we do now. We’re thankful that the C5 existed as it gave a baseline that was widely used and commented upon and gives a clear path to show us what needed to be improved upon. Of course, technology and law changes have allowed us to design and build a vehicle that could not possibly have been built in the 1980’s anyway.
If you’re still convinced that it’s just a C5, come and give it a try, that’s another way in which we’re different to the C5, which was only sold by mail order to begin with, so there was no opportunity to try before you buy, by contrast, we positively encourage potential customers to try out our DryCycle, as we’re sure that it sells itself on its own merits.
Does it lean into corners?
No, is the short answer.
Of course we thought about doing a leaning mechanism to try to keep the width down as much as possible, but there are many reasons not to do this, and only one reason to do it. The one reason to do it, making the vehicle narrower so that it can pass between traffic more easily, can even be shown as a disadvantage as it means that the vehicle will have less width to provide protection in its framework and bodywork to the rider in the event of a side impact. So even this one positive is not great. But for the sake of showing why we did not make a leaning vehicle let’s cover the other points. We didn’t realise all of this when we first looked into leaning mechanisms so they’re not always obvious. There are plenty of 4 wheeled vehicles on YouTube that lean over with people riding on them, so clearly it can be done with our type of vehicle, right? Well, no actually, not in a safe and/or cost effective manner. Let’s split them into two categories: 1) Vehicles with a powered mechanism that leans the vehicle as required into a corner, and 2) Vehicles that use the rider's weight to lean them over.
- We looked into this quite thoroughly, but for the point of this article we can quickly dismiss the idea of a powered leaning mechanism due to cost and also weight, regardless of cost even (and most buyers do regard cost) the weight of any such mechanism would seriously dent the performance of any vehicle equipped with a 250w motor, which is the legal upper limit allowed for an EAPC. So a powered system is definitely not practical.
- Moving onto unpowered systems, this is where a cursory look at 4 wheeled leaning vehicles on YouTube is really confusing, as they seem to work so well, so surely it must be possible with just driver weight alone. Well, we haven’t seen any vehicle that leans using driver weight that is also enclosed, this is because on some vehicles the rider has to put their feet down when they stop, or when they overcook the lean angle, which is a mistake they’ll certainly make from time to time, but they don’t show you that on YouTube. There is one particular quadbike though that looks great leaning over at angles whilst drifting around corners and even counter steering around those corners. They’ve achieved this by having a ‘lean lock’, which also means they don’t have to put their feet down when stopped. A ‘lean lock’ is a switch to lock out the angle of lean at the desired point to hold that angle of lean through a turn so that when the vehicles weight shifts as it enters the turn it nevertheless holds that angle. Seems great and makes for good YouTube videos, but in practise it’s easy to get wrong and not something you want the general public to be relying upon in traffic with other vehicles are inches away from them. The other reason why you don’t see enclosed vehicles using the rider's weight to lean them is that the rider needs to be able to move over to the sides quite significantly in order to give the vehicle the initial lean before then locking it in place whilst they go around a corner. With an enclosed vehicle you just don’t have the space for this, or you have to countersteer which reduces maneuvreability in tight traffic, which somewhat negates the width saving again. You also have to account for a lot of wheel articulation in the bodywork, and that brings its own problems, but the main problems are inherent with lean locks and space.
Bear in mind of course that the natural tendency for any vehicle is to lean outwards on any curve due to momentum wanting to carry the weight of the vehicle in a straight line whilst the friction of the tyres force the vehicle to go round the arc of the curve that they are following, so you are fighting the physics with any leaning vehicle, which is why a mechanised version is more reliable, but also very costly, power hungry and expensive.
To put a final nail in the coffin of a leaning EAPC, the amount that you would be able to reduce the width is minimal, because the vehicle has to be wide enough to accommodate a person in comfort, so at least 700mm, and any width over and above this can be used for side impact protection, and at 100mm each side a 900mm wide vehicle, which is the width of a DryCycle, is the result of this anyway. For good measure, the other reason to not do it is simply because there isn’t a need to due to the speed of the vehicle, it will rarely travel at speeds that would require a leaning mechanism to prevent it flipping over, and if you feel you are approaching those speeds, eg. going down long hills, or approaching sharp bends simply slow down.
Can it be made quicker / faster / more powerful?
We’re limited by law to a maximum continuous rated power of 250 watts for the motor. The motor we use is the top of the range E8000 motor from Shimano, and we are unable (and unwilling) to change the power settings on it at all as it has been set to stay within the legal limits and has complicated software limiting designed to prevent any tampering at all, which is a good thing as it keeps it legal.
At 80Nm of torque the Shimano E8000 is one of the most torquey motors that we are aware of in the EAPC world, so it has plenty of shove to get the DryCycle going, as this motor is designed to be used for mountain bicycles in steep terrain, so is more than capable of pushing a DryCycle along at a decent lick in a relatively flat urban environment.
There is another way to make a vehicle quicker of course and that is to make it lighter, but we're more interested in comfort and safety, and also in using the motor to it's full extent. Since the law prevents the motor from assisting at speeds above 15.5mph we make full use of the power available to add luxury to your ride rather than having a lighter vehicle that could accelerate a little bit faster, only to top out at the same assisted speed of 15.5mph anyway.
Why are the front wheels positioned where they are?
Putting the front wheels further forward would mean there would be a wider turning radius. Given that the vehicle is designed to be used on bicycle paths which often have tight junctions and smaller spaces to manoeuvre in general, this wasn’t a compromise we wanted to make.
Our wheelbase is similar to a bicycles wheelbase to make the turning cirlce as small as possible, at just 4m outside kerb to kerb, or just 2m if you're more used to inside wheel measurements. A longer wheelbase would be more stable at speed, but our DryCycle is not designed to travel at high speed so this is of far less importance than the ability to actually make the turns necessary on the cycle network and around stationary traffic that our riders will encounter in every day use.
The other reason for the front wheels being further back than you might expect is due to the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations that requires the pedal reflectors to be visible to the front and rear of the vehicle at all times between sunset and sunrise. The pedals therefore can't be in line with the wheels as we have extended the pedals and fitted reflectors to the ends of them so that they are viewable through the see through sections on the front wings of the DryCycle.
Also, with the front wheels positioned as they are the weight distribution is very close to 50/50, with about 55% on the front wheels and about 45% on the rear wheels.
Does it have a glass windscreen?
No, that would make the vehicle considerably heavier, as you would need to use a laminated screen, that additional weight would be placed high up on the vehicle and make the vehicle less stable as well as affecting overall performance.
Instead, we have an Automotive grade UHVC3000K scratch resistant coating on the outside surface of the clear polycarbonate sections of the canopy (commonly used on headlight lenses). Polycarbonate is an exceptionally strong material and when coated like this is a very good alternative to glass.
The scratch resistant coating is also hydrophobic, so water beads off the coating and a windscreen wiper and washer jet system is an optional extra.
Does it have a child's seat/passenger seat in the back?
The DryCycle has been designed with crumple zones to absorb impact forces in an accident and reduce the injuries to the rider. Rear shunt type accidents may crumple the rear section of the DryCycle where any additional seat might be placed, so we really don’t want any customers to use the rear cargo area as a child carrying compartment.
Is there a trailer, or can one be added?
Adding a trailer would certainly blunt performance, and it may burn out the motor as well, so for that reason we don’t offer a trailer.
Customers should not add a trailer as you may burn out the motor due to the increased weight, and suffer from suspension and frame problems, waterproofing and other issues, as the vehicle has not been designed to take a trailer.
If a customer nevertheless decides to add a trailer then they would do so at their own risk and void any warranty claims that may be associated with this, and our list above of potential issues is not exhaustive.
Are there any solar panels?
Solar panels are great, the world needs more solar panels and other green energy, but we don't think putting those resources onto a DryCycle is a good idea, here's why:
Does it have a throttle?
No, it can't.
If it did, then it would not legally be a pedal cycle and you would need to register it as a motor vehicle.
There is a throttle of sorts that allows you to accelerate up to 6km/h, this is legally allowed for pedal cycles. This means that you can set off without having to push overly hard to overcome the initial inertia required to get it moving, it’s sometimes helpful on inclines or away from traffic lights. After 6km/h the throttle does nothing and you can pedal up to 15.5mph with the motor assisting you. You can then continue to pedal faster without motor assistance to whatever speed you can manage.
Does it have regenerative braking?
The type of motor and the rest of the drivetrain make regenerative braking impossible, largely due to the fact that bicycles have freewheeling, so that they don't force your feet to always keep pedalling.
To develop a system that would allow regenerative braking would have cost us a very significant amount of time and money as we would not have been able to buy in a mid-motor from the cycling world.
We estimate that in ideal circumstances the energy gained back from regenerative braking would be no more than 10% for most journeys.
This is a saving that is worth having in a car with an 800kg battery pack as it means another 80kg worth of battery weight is saved. But on our vehicle with only 8kg in battery weight a saving of under 1kg for a vast amount of research and build costs really doesn’t add up.
Some may say that we could easily use in wheel type motors which would allow for regen braking, and then we could just buy off the shelf in wheel bicycle motors, but we use a mid-motor as we need to be able to use the gearing to allow the motor to function efficiently at all speeds due to the weight of the vehicle compared to a bicycle.
We certainly looked into regenerative braking, a lot, but in a similar fashion to solar panels, it just doesn’t make sense on this type of vehicle with the standard parts that are available on the market today, if increased range is desired then it makes far more sense to simply increase the size of the battery, which is why we fit two batteries, and you can buy more, if you would like, they will be mounted in the boot space and then just swap them out as needed.
Is it easy to park?
We looked at the cycle park guidelines for multiple councils when considering the width of the vehicle for parking. The vast majority of councils that we looked at showed the required distance between Sheffield stands (Upturned U-shaped bicycle stands) is 1m. They intend that distance to fit two bicycles, one on each Sheffield stand, but the distance is there, and can just as easily be occupied by one DryCycle.
Of course, you can also just park it in a car parking space or even a smaller section of a car park, where ideally you would then secure it to something that is mounted to the ground, depending upon how long you’re leaving the vehicle and how likely you think it is that someone may carry it away in a van if not secured to the ground. You can also lift the front of the DryCycle up so that it rests on it’s back, and doing this reduces the footprint needed to store it from 2130mm x 990mm to 1600mm x 990mm, although you should only do this if the DryCycle is under cover and is not going to be rained on when it is resting on its back.
How fast can it go?
It can go as fast as you can pedal it :) or as fast as good sense and the length of a downhill road allows.
What is it?
It's a great way to exercise whilst travelling without getting rained on, having crash protection, a motor to give you a lot or a little assistance, and without license, tax or insurance, but you probably want to know what class of vehicle it is and how you can use it, so...
How much does it cost?
£14,995 + Options + Delivery. Full details are on the product page
How much does it weigh / what is the weight limit?
An unloaded DryCycle, without options, weighs approx. 120kg.
Is there a warranty?
Yes, there is a 2 year Warranty, details of which are available on our Warranty Page.
How do I charge it / how long does it take to charge?
There are 3 batteries in a standard DryCycle. The two 504wh Shimano batteries for the motor and the 870wh battery for the ancillary systems, such as lights, heaters, horn etc.
How long will the battery last?
Shimano (the Drivetrain batteries) batteries will last 1000 cycles with no significant power loss.
What wheels / tyres are fitted to the DryCycle?
The DryCycle comes with Schwalbe Marathon Plus 47-406 (20 x 1.75) tyres as standard.
How do I get replacement parts?
On a DryCycle a lot of the parts that are likely to need maintenance are bicycle parts, such as the chains, gears, motor, batteries, brake pads and discs etc. So these can be purchased either from us at normal retail prices, or from other shops if you prefer. Other bicycle shops may fit them for you or you can bring the vehicle to us for fitment of any replacements for worn out items and we will price the job reasonably. Other moving parts such as bearings can be purchased from bearing shops online, the owners manual will make it clear the size of bearings needed in the various locations where bearings are used.
What colours are available?
There is only one colour available for the DryCycle and that is white.
Can I charge my phone whilst riding?
Most likely yes!
Would I need to pay parking charges if I park in a car park?
The DryCycle is primarily designed to park in cycle racks rather than car parking spaces, at less than 1m wide you should find it will fit between sheffield stands in a cycle park quite easily, or you can simply leave it on the pavement in a place where it won't obstruct other people.
How should I wash a DryCycle?
Care should be taken when washing a DryCycle to avoid scratching the plastic or breaking apart joints and seals which can be easily broken apart by pressurised water. Pressure washers should never be used. Warm water and a mild car wash along with a suitable non-scratching car washing mitt should be used with a bucket of water to gently rinse it off.
Can I increase the range from 50 miles?
Can I ride it on the Road/Cycle Paths/Bus Lanes?
Yes, it's an Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle, so can be used anywhere you can legally ride a bicycle. with the possible exception of some bus lanes, as you can only use a bicycle, or DryCycle, in bus lanes that have a bicycle symbol on the signs denoting the bus lane.
Why are there windows next to the pedals?
There is a legal requirement in the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1989 (as amended). which states that pedal reflectors must be 'plainly visible' to the front and rear of any pedal cycle. This applies between the hours of sunset to sunrise, loosely night time, although the term 'night time' generally gives a half hour grace period after sunset and before sunrise, which the law regarding lighting and reflectors on pedal cycles does not, so that is why we're not simply saying at night time.
Is there a heater?
As standard all DryCycles come with two air heaters/fans mounted under the front windscreen.
Is there a windscreen wiper?
As standard all DryCycles come with scratch reistant UHVC 3000K coated polycarbonate, which is also hygrophobic, so that water beads off it easily.
Is there Air Conditioning?
No, this is not something we plan to offer. The UK rarely gets hot enough to need it, given the ventilation options with a DryCycle.
Will there be a passenger version?
The Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EAPC) regulations limit all EPACs to one motor, per vehicle, rather than one motor per rider, so one motor shared between two is obviously not as efficient as one motor per rider, and in any case that one motor would not cope well with the weight of two riders.
There is also the issue of where a passenger should be located, if placed behind the rider it is somewhat unsocial, but if placed beside the rider then the advantage of having a slim vehicle that can fit through traffic is lost. So for those reasons we will not be making a passenger version.
There is a simple solution of course if you want two people to ride in DryCycle comfort, just buy two DryCycles!