In 2004, a customer came to see me in my garage workshop to order an HP Velotechnik Streetmachine. I was not familiar with the company, but I was intrigued, contacted them, and ordered his recumbent in March of 2004. The recumbent they sent was gorgeous (the customer continues to ride it to this day), and a great relationship began.
At the time, HP Velotechnik was all about building comfortable, stable two-wheeled recumbents to ride all day long on tour. They focused on ergonomics, suspension for comfort over varied terrain, and custom builds with quality components to meet anyone’s needs. Over the years, I got to know Paul, one of the co-founders, and a few of the sales staff who were always available to help. I found a company dedicated to building durable, beautiful bikes that would last a long, long time.
In 2005, HP Velotechnik made two major changes. All of their bikes were now being produced in aluminum, and they introduced their first trike. In a time when the trike market still looked a bit clunky and home-built, HP’s Scorpion was as sleek and curvaceous as it was functional and comfortable. With amazing handling, rear suspension, and the usual selection of custom options, we found ourselves ordering more and more out of this amazing German company. Needless to say, HP Velotechnik trikes were here to stay.
By 2010, the trike world was in serious evolution, and HP Velotechnik was right there with it. Their line of trikes had expanded to include multiple options for folding and suspension. They also focused on developing their accessories, always thinking about what was needed, NOT what was easy to produce. Enter the HP Velotechnik mudguard. Who could imagine that a mudguard could be anything but a Planet Bike or SKS fender with a custom mounting system. HP took this rather mundane part and left everyone else thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” And so it continued.
I will never forget the first time I rode an HP Velotechnik Scorpion FS26 S-Pedelec at the Recumbent Cycle Con in Pomona in 2013. It was a revelation! I had always mocked electric assist – I have two legs for a motor! I rode their demo around the test track and took it back to the shop at the end of the weekend with promises that I would sell tons of these. It became apparent to me that electric assist didn’t mean the motor does all the work. Rather, you get a great workout while going faster and farther than previously possible. To this day, most of my Saturday mornings are spent with friends and customers riding electric assist in the foothills around Los Angeles.
Over time, HP Velotechnik added a selection of accessories for riders with special needs. In 2014, they went all-out introducing a complete line of products, including hand rests, walking aid mounts, exit assist bars, three different types of special pedals, and more. We have used these accessories extensively on work we do with the the Veteran’s Administration in Long Beach. We are able to fit riders onto trikes who never thought they would be able to cycle again.
If you want to read more about their history and development, click here.
Recumbents now and into the future
It is clear to me now, 14 years later as I look back, that HP Velotechnik has always remained true to their vision. They continue to be an innovative force in the recumbent industry. HP builds quality bikes and trikes for the long haul by investing in development, providing exceptional support for their dealer network, and taking pride in their products long after the sale itself has been consummated.
They are one of two brands that we sell that I never have to worry about selling directly to customers. They realize that the local bike shop is the best way for a customer to try and purchase a recumbent. As the owner of a small business, I can’t tell you how much this means to me. In this age of buy-it-now and internet sales, they still realize that the touchy-feely approach is best when purchasing a bike.
We have worked with many companies in Europe, with limited success. The 8-10 hour time difference will really strain a relationship when you are trying to get something resolved immediately. HP Velotechnik’s staff make this a non-issue. They are always responsive in a timely manner and a language barrier has never been a problem. We have shared many meals together at trade shows and I had the pleasure of visiting their factory for several days during a trip to Germany in 2016. Every time, they went out of their way to make me feel important to their own success.
I have seen exactly two HP recumbent frame failures in 14 years. One was an older Streetmachine with a steel frame that rusted through and broke. The other was a broken folding mechanism on a trike being ridden by someone over the weight limit. In both cases, HP Velotechnik was not at fault. But in both instances, they took care of our customer. That is commitment to your product.
We have many choices when it comes to which manufacturers we work with. We are proud to work closely with HP Velotechnik.