The following is excerpted from the Zenith website
April 1, 2009
, Mexico, Missouri:
Today, Zenith Aircraft Company announced the launch of a brand new product line for the kit aircraft manufacturing company. The flagship model in the bicycle line is the sleek Zenith Flyer.
This bicycle is completely new, designed from the ground up to meet the needs of real people and pilots, not just elite cyclists. Zenith’s contextual research, industrial design and aeronautical engineering teams worked with designer Chris Heintz over the course of numerous years to develop the bike. Zenith has conducted research on the road and along taxi ways with cyclists and pilots, in bike shops, and in people’s homes and hangars to uncover opportunities for problem solving and innovation. By delving into the goals, problems and aspirations of real people who cycle, the research guided Zenith’s development team as they created a striking design that communicates and delivers comfort and high-end performance.
The Zenith Flyer promises to deliver sought-after features, including excellent visibility, steerable nosewheel, responsive controls with very precise ground handling capability, comfortable seating (even for long cross-country trips), superior ventilation, and outstanding efficiency. With a choice of wheels and tires, the Flyer can be optimized to operate from both grass fields or paved surfaces.
Above, Zenith's demo pilot and test rider Roger Dubbert completes testing of the prototype Flyer.
Built exclusively from 6061-T6 aluminum and Avex blind rivets, the bike's "Bio-Tuned" frame geometry offers a more relaxed riding position, with a cantilever design frame. Multiple external gears have been replaced with an internal drive system utilizing a Rotax slipper clutch assembly housed in the rear hub. Standard equipment includes alloy rims, whitewall tires, linear pull brakes for effective ground handling, as well as a kick stand. The Zenith Flyer model boasts the most head and legroom of any single-seater in its class.
"A bicycle is a good companion product for our kit aircraft builders. Once LSA certification is achieved, we plan to offer quick build kits for registration as E-LSA (since meeting the "51% rule" is not required for E-LSA registration)," stated Zenith president Sebastian Heintz. "Our customers can keep their piloting skill current on the bicycle while they build their airplane, with the re-introduction of the 'Glide-a-Bike
' option which will be offered as a retrofit kit." A diminutive folding version
is also in the works for storage in the aircraft baggage area.
Planned options for the Zenith Flyer include a bell, all-terrain gear with full front and rear fenders, plastic streamers, new LED nav/strobe lights, belly cargo pod, seating options including the historically popular "banana" seat, a choice of water bottle holders, as well as an array of all-glass panel displays from Dynon and Garmin.
Additional models are currently being developed, including the tricycle-gear Zenith Flyer model, with direct-linkage steerable nose wheel for precise ground maneuvers. This model features a wide comfortable seat with lumbar support and a large cargo compartment located behind the driver. A tail wheel (taildragger) version is also being planned:
For those wanting to carry a passenger, a tandem version will be available with full dual controls and be offered as a ride-away S-LSA version for training purposes. The two-seater is also available for demo rides at the factory (by appointment):
In related news, Zenith Aircraft announced it is also pursuing federal grants (available as part of the federal government's economic stimulus package) to develop alternative energy transportation systems, including the dual-fuel ethanol / biodiesel multi-use propeller-driven power unit (PPU).
A long-rumored collaboration project with Rans Aircraft, of Hays, Kansas, maker of popular recumbent bicycles, will produce a reclined model that will easily adapt to the PPU for long-range cross-country trips and leisure flights. A BRS recovery chute system will be offered at additional cost.
As many followers of designer Chris Heintz
know, Heintz has been a cycling enthusiast for many years.
Here, he is pictured participating at the World Naked Bike Ride
in London in support of alternative transportation (cycling and sport flying) while also protesting against oil dependency and third-class medical requirements for private pilots.
For more modest riders, a line of attractive Zenith cycling clothes has been launched: http://www.zenithbicycles.com
End of Press Release - April 1, 2009
Read the Zenith website full press release