Every once in a while, a vehicle designer questions the normal way of doing things. Sometimes that results in an iconic machine from a mainstream manufacturer, such as the original Suzuki Katana or the Harley-Davidson FX Super Glide. Other times, it results in an oddball creation like the Comanche.
The Comanche Wanderer is the creation of Dak Steiert, an aerospace engineering graduate from Stanford University (which may or may not explain a few things). He says he built the machine to address a long-standing problem faced by offroad enthusiasts: how do you get your dirt bike from your home to the trails if you don’t have a truck or a trailer? Steiert designed the Comanche to solve the problem by folding up for storage in your car trunk, as well as serving as street-legal around-town transportation if built into moped configuration.
Steiert has plans to build a version of this machine powered by a 6.5 hp gasoline engine, as well as plans for a version with a bigger 450 cc gasoline engine. The smaller engine is reckoned to power the trike to 72 km/h, the bigger engine supposedly powers it up to 112 km/h.
Should you wish to take on the trails in a more environmentally friendly fashion, Steiert also plans for a version with a 5 kW motor and 24 Ah battery. He says this should have about 110 km range on a five=hour to eight-hour charge.
But wait, there’s more! Steiert also plans a moped version, to allow street use. These will be available with either a 50 cc gasoline engine, or a 3 kW electric motor.
Along with the engine options, there are also several options for different suspensions; in its base form, the Wanderer has eight inches of front suspension travel for the offroad model, but there are other configurations available, including one version with 30 inches of suspension travel, which Steiert says turns the recumbent trike into “your own lightweight trophy truck.”
Now, Steiert is trying to raise money for the Comanche Wanderer project via IndieGoGo, and you can see many more details on the crazy project there. Will he be successful in his drive to market? Hard to say—a recumbent three-wheeler on skimpy tires will be a hard sell to the jaded offroad enthusiast. But maybe, just maybe, Steiert will build his own new market, of owners who can’t get behind existing products, for whatever reason.
Still, it’s not cheap. He plans to sell the moped and offroad versions for $2,475 US, and that’s before adding any fancy pants options. Springing for the full-bore 450 cc version will set you back $9,675 US—more than enough to buy a nice dirt bike and a beater truck to haul it …