Meet Kleine Johanna, the World’s Heaviest Rideable Bicycle

Kleine Johanna a 4,800-pound behemoth built almost entirely out of scrap metal, was recently acknowledged as the heaviest rideable bicycle in the world by the Record Institute for Germany, a national version of the Guinness Book of Records.

You’ve probably seen chunky bikes before, but surely nothing quite like Kleine Johanna. This unique contraption measures over 5 meters in length, is almost 2 meters tall, and weighs about 4,800 lbs (2,177 kg). That’s more than most sedans, so how on earth is anyone supposed to get it in motion with pedal power alone? Well, according to its creator, Sebastian Beutler, who lives in Köthen, a town in Germany’s Saxony-Anhalt state, it’s all thanks to the truck gearbox adapted to enhance the classic bicycle gear system. Kleine Johanna has 35 forward gears and 7 reverse gears and can not only be pedaled into motion by a single person, but it can also tow up to 15 tonnes, without any problems.

Photo: Record Institute for Germany

Sebastian Beutler has been creating scrap metal vehicles for a very long time. When he was just a kid, he tried building himself a bicycle out of scrap, but the hobby became more of a passion over the last decade or so. Beutler became seriously ill in 2011, and he has been trying to compensate for the fact that he can no longer have a ‘normal working life’ by building all sorts of outrageous metal machines.


Kleine Johanna has been in the works at Sebastian Beutler’s workshop for three years, and he estimates that he put around 2500 hours into the project. His family and friends tried to get him to stop working on it, but he wouldn’t listen, and today he is the proud owner of the heaviest bicycle in the world.


Interestingly, Kleine Johanna even has a built-in engine, but only for powering the alternator that charges the user’s cellphone. In terms of speed, it’s not going to impress anyone, and although the German tinkerer didn’t reveal the bike’s top speed, he did say he plans to ride to the Baltic Sea for a vacation in the summer, a 389-kilometer ride that he estimates will take him about a month to complete.


The Record Institute for Germany acknowledged Kleine Johanna – German for ‘Little Joana’ – as the heaviest bicycle in the world, and a Guinness World Records acknowledgment is probably just a matter of time.