I once asked a friend why he thought horses were so spooked by mountain bikes and he said it was because mountain bikers look like predatory jungle cats running through the woods. That image has always stuck with me, particularly when riding tight, twisting singletrack that requires cat-like reflexes. Now a designer in Argentina has taken that idea to the next level, designing a mountain trike called the Pardo from the Spanish word for cheetah.
The rider lies on the Pardo face forward and pumps his legs to propel the thing down the trail (see the diagram below). Aside from the sensation of speed from having your face just inches from the trail, the Pardo allows the rider to pump both legs at the same time which probably feels more like a hop than a jog.
Steering seems to be accomplished through leaning and the prototype doesn’t appear to have a braking system. The front wheels look like standard 26″ mountain bike wheels and tires while the rear wheel is a smaller knobby wheel. While there isn’t a traditional suspension system in place, the curved plywood (?) looks like it should flex and soak up some of the inevitable chest hits. The Pardo is also foldable so it doesn’t take up too much space in the trunk on your way out to the trail. Even without brakes or gears this thing looks pretty awesome – sign me up for one when (if) they go into production!
Images and info via treehugger.com. Check out the link for more pics.