Hand Cycle Project: HP Velotechnik Cooperates With University

Together with the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, the development department of HP Velotechnik is exploring the possibilities of designing a hand pedal bike drive for the recumbent company’s trikes.


Kriftel (November 26, 2020). Jonas Engelhardt (picture) is a diploma student at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences in the Department of Design. At present, however, he is not to be found in the lecture halls and seminar rooms of the academy. Rather you will meet him in the development department of recumbent bike specialist HP Velotechnik. Here, the 25-year-old is developing a hand cycle drive in close cooperation with the recumbent engineers. This could be used on both the Gekko and Scorpion series trikes as an alternative to the usual foot drive.

The project is supervised by Professor Tom Philipps, holder of the chair for industrial design. On one hand it is a prerequisite for Engelhardt’s university degree. On the other hand, the recumbent experts themselves want to gain insights. Their interest is to learn more about the feasibility and technical challenges of such a drive. Daniel Pulvermüller, Managing Director and Head of Development at HP Velotechnik, comments: “For many years we have had inquiries from people with disabilities who are particularly enthusiastic about our trike design. So far, however, we have not been able to provide them with anything that would have convinced us in terms of both function and design”.

Hand Cycle Project Puts Focus on Needs of Users

With Engelhardt now a prospective designer originating from the Rhine Main region could be won. He not only brings along technical knowledge and bicycle enthusiasm. Beyond that, the bicycle fan sets the concrete application into the focus of his work: “Good design is beautiful, inspired and leaves a lasting impression.” For him, the concept of design means much more than just aesthetics: “It is about developing ideas and concepts that focus on the user and his needs.” His credo: “Innovations that can be implemented in the end are created at the junction of the disciplines.” The designer’s task is to unite different levels: aesthetic design, function and user experience, he says. “The cooperation with HP Velotechnik and thus the connection between industry and applied science offers exactly this field of tension.

On their Facebook channel, the recumbent bike builders keep interested parties up to date on the progress of the hand cycle project.