Three-Wheeled Car by Odin

Car meets motorcycle with this unique three-wheeled car, or Cyclecar.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
September/October 1982
Add to My MSN

The Odin Cyclecar performs like a motorcylce and handles like a small sports car.

Content Tools

Related Content

A Cardboard Pet Carrier the Homemade Way

This simple cardboard pet carrier project is great for the little rascals in your life.

Nine New Indicators that Bicycle Travel and Tourism are Booming

Recent studies and stories from around the world indicate that bicycle travel of all kinds has incre...

Keeping Chickens in Winter

Many people who keep chickens or other poultry have concerns about how to manage their flock when co...

How Do I Clean the Carburetor If Old Gas Has Clogged It?

Try these tips for cleaning a carburetor.

The staff of MOTHER's Experimental Vehicle Newsletter ™ recently received a production model of the Odin Cyclecar for evaluation. And the little three-wheeled car attracted so much attention that we thought some of our regular readers might be interested in learning about this enjoyable yet relatively inexpensive (and fuel-efficient) form of transportation.

As can be seen from the photograph, the Odin is no ordinary automobile. In fact, despite its appearance, it isn't technically an auto at all. Instead, it's a vehicle that's licensed as, and assembled around, a motorcycle ... thus the name "Cyclecar."

Furthermore, even though most people would, if asked, swear that they'd never seen anything like it before, a good many folks seem to find something vaguely familiar about the little three-wheeler. The forward-mounted, air-cooled engine, the swoop fenders, and the torpedo-shaped rear cowling do emulate the charm of some classic old touring cars. And that similarity is due largely to the Odin's being patterned after the 1930-vintage "Beetlebacked" Morgan.

But looks are just part of the fun. Piloting the Cyclecar is definitely a unique driving sensation. The runabout successfully combines the performance and openness of a motorcycle with the handling and familiarity of a small sports car. And even though the version we tested was assembled around a four-cylinder, 350-cc. Honda bike (with a little, high-revving engine not particularly noted for an abundance of power), it still had vigor enough to cruise at 65 MPH, hold its own on the freeway, and negotiate the mountainous roads of the Blue Ridge. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The car in the photo is equipped with a 450-cc. Suzuki powerplant.)

The Cyclecar concept allows its owner to custom-tailor the machine to fit his or her driving habits. By using any one of the virtually hundreds of bikes available between 350 and 600 cc., you can give your three-wheeler about as much power as you want.

Mileage of the Three-Wheeled Car

The folks at Odin are not trying to market their Cyclecar as a high-mileage vehicle. In fact, they haven't provided any MPG estimates at all ... simply because each machine's mileage rating will vary depending on the engine size used and the owner's driving habits. However, from our testing, it seems that a rule-of-thumb estimate can be made by deducting 10 to 20 percent from the rating of the unaltered bike used as its base. And, in most cases, this will still be far better mileage than could be expected from a conventional automobile.

Since its arrival at our North Carolina office, the Odin "trike" has been extensively used by the staff for daily commuting, without a hitch. Practically everyone who has ridden in the car has been thoroughly impressed with the stability and performance of such an inexpensive mode of transportation. (Oh, by the way, the price of the Cyclecar has got to be one of the lowest on the kit car market. The basic package — which includes everything but the motorcycle parts — starts at just $1,400!) Several versions of the kit are available, with options such as a convertible top and belt drive.

Post a comment below.


10/7/2010 6:41:24 AM
I have a brochure from The Cyclecar by Odin from the early 80’s. The mailing address on the brochure is Odin, 515 Water Street, P.O. Box 152, Cambridge, Iowa, 50046. If you find any information about what happened to the company, the molds, etc. please post.

Roland Green
2/20/2010 10:12:52 AM
Looks like the Morgan three-wheeler of the 1920's which were very popular for racing. In the 1960's/70's there were two notable three-wheelers in Britain, the Reliant Robin and the Bond Bug and just after the War there were the little two-seater bubble cars and the Messerschmitt three-wheeler which looked for all intents and purposes like a tandem airplane cockpit on wheels minus the wings. The Robin was popular for cheap motoring, (low raod tax, cheap insurance and high milage), but was eventually regulated to the scrap heap and vintage enthusiats by people's desire for more luxurious, faster, safer and spacious cars. They also became synomonist with two particular TV shows which did nothing to enhance their reputation. Morgans are still produced, though are four wheeled sports cars now, but each is hand-built by the original firm to individual order.

2/18/2010 10:00:16 PM
does the odin cyclecar still exist or any production?? if not where was it made and what happened to the molds??? any help would be appreciated--gary

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.