Triobike is a Danish company that makes a family tricycle with a nifty “Multi-purpose Design” which can be converted from a tricycle to a bicycle to a stroller. On paper it has many of the design features that families are looking for such as 5 point harnesses for kids, front & rear lights, disk brakes, etc. It’s sleek minimalist European industrial design will send hearts aflutter anywhere. Who wouldn’t want a tricycle you could drive the kids to daycare with, convert into a bicycle, and then ride to work with.
However in the case of Triobike, it’s Achilles Heal may be that it does neither of it’s intended purposes very well. As a tricycle, reviewers are beginning to talk about it’s dangerously unstable ride. As a bicycle, it’s sporty design doesn’t lend itself well for city riding (no fenders, uncomfortable forward leaning style, men’s style swing over frame) Finally as a stroller it’s unwieldy bulk makes it impractical. Imagine a parent struggling to load it into a car or better yet trying to get it through the doorway of a local store with a sleeping toddler on board.
Hybrid designs in and of themselves are a neat idea. They take up less space but serve multiple purposes. However, history has been marked with endless hybrid designs that try to do too many things and fail to do any well. Airplanes that convert into a car, cars that convert into a boat, and so on.
In the case of Triobike, it’s a great idea with flawed execution. Like any groundbreaking innovative design there will be growing pains and hopefully an evolution to an ideal form. If the makers of Triobike continue to refine and iterate the design, then it has a great future. Otherwise, it’ll remain another industrial design study where style has won out over function, with the added bonus of a $3000 USD price tag.