All photos: Monowalker
The Monowalker is curiously clever, but we wonder how big the market niche is for a bike trailer, that converts to a backpack, that converts to hand pulled wheeled sled.
It looks beautifully made of steam-bent ash timber and aluminium, with quality Schwalbe and Avid fittings. And yes, it can carry a payload of 45 kg (100 lb) but does makes for a rather heavy backpack at 7 kg (5.5 lb) unladen (although is about half that without the wheel and towing rig.) It even has it own disc brakes and suspension.
Initially we couldn't help thinking the Monowalker was an answer for which there was no real question. But then we dug deeper into the product's website and found a section entitled "Who is the Monowalker made for?" and things became a bit clearer.
The company figure it will appeal to: climbers who want to lug heavy ropes, hardware and supplies to base camp; photographers needing to carry heavy equipment into the backcountry; or parents backpacking with their kids yet needing room for a papoose style child carrier. Other suggestions run to youth leaders, carrying personal gear plus group equipment; disaster response teams humping heavy equipment on impassable trails, where vehicles can't go, as well as nature scientists hauling awkward instruments on narrow tracks, and finally hunters who need to extract animals from the woods.
These are largely practical examples of where the Monowalker could indeed be very useful, but the site's video confusingly focuses on the solo backpacker/snowshoer, which seems to be the least viable market for such a device.
Setting aside the issue of whether the product fulfills a real need, many aspects of the Monowalker do appear to be well thought through, given that the product is available for the real world, whereas most of those cute ideas we mention from Yanko Design seem destined to remain elaborate CAD renderings.
The Monowalker costs about 900 Euros in the wheeled sled or hiking trailer mode. If just wanting the low rider bicycle trailer your wallets will need around 700 Euros. Distribution seems limited to Europe for the moment.
Monowalker, via, err, ... wish we could remember, we've been sitting on this ages now.
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