Digging through the picture collection I ran into the photo of a recumbent prototype developed by someone at the Technical University of Delft (Netherlands) in 1996. A company named Flevobike (Dronten/Netherlands) picked up the design and wanted to turn it into a mass-market-low-price-low-maintenance HPV. (Does anybody know where I could get a copy of this TU-Delft study ?)
Whatever it was projected for ... one thing was for sure: It was a real beauty.
The major design ideas of the Greenmachine have been:
The missing revolutionary ideas for load carrying or rain protection this machine seemed to compensate pretty well with its elegant appearance.
Knowing how long the way from a design concept to a final product is I feared that this was all way too perfect to ever come through. But this machine made so much sense to me that I was willing to buy one ... even if it were just a prototype at a horrible price. In the summer of 1997 I packed the car and drove up to Flevoland to visit Flevobike. I wanted to find out the hard way that there was no chance to take a Greenmachine back home.
The people at the small factory were very friendly and willing to share their tea and knowledge with an unknown visitor. Most of the Greenmachine's concepts have been tested and adjusted to make a working prototype out of the design prototype. The recumbent was planned to enter mass production and the market at approx. 2500.- DM (~ $ 1700). For this to happen Flevobike teamed up with Batavus, one of the biggest bike manufactures in Europe.
Sadly in the end too many small problems caused this bike to not get out of the door:
The risk of running a mass production with an obviously unfinished design was too high. A small failure could ruin the company ... or at least their reputation. So they decided to halt the Greenmachine project.
At least I was able to see the final prototype and take a seat. It is so sad to see this beauty only inside a livingroom in Dronten (my "prototype", which is shown in image 4 and build by using the LEGO system, is limited to "inside use" only as well).
But if you can't get a Greenmachine, maybe an Amigo could suite you just fine.