Trailcart: World's First Pedal-Powered 4WD Off-Road VehicleS

It seems like something that would have been invented before, and by red-blooded Americans for whom off-roading is a way of life, but the Trailcart, according to TreeHugger, is the world's "first pedal-powered four-wheel-drive off-road vehicle," and it was invented by a clever German fellow named Frank Fraune.

From a technical point of view, the Trailcart is like a hybrid mountain bike and four wheeler. It's got permanent four-wheel-drive and is powered by roughly 290Nm of torque. In terms of conquering rockey terrain, it has 400mm of axle displacement. TreeHugger adds that it has a "double-action mechanical hydraulic braking system" and a Shimano Nexus 8 shifter coopted from the cycling world. The developers are trying to keep the weight at 50kg or less, in order to be transportable on automobile bike racks.

At the moment Trailcart is getting some serious investment from some heavy hitters, including Land Rover, and speaking of Land Rover, the little four-wheeler is involved in testing at Land Rover's "obstacle park" in Wülfrath, Germany. I really really want to try one of these out. There's no word on how much exertion is required to get that thing really moving, but if it takes any kind of physical strain at all, chances are it'll never make it to America. [Trailcart via TreeHugger]