Friday, February 13, 2015

First industry update of the year

First industry update of the year

Sorry for taking so long between posts.  I will try to provide a synopsis of the velomobile industry news from the previous month.  I realize that sometimes it takes a long time to make sense of information found on the Internet in different languages where I am using Google and Bing Translate to understand.  The Googlish or Binglish as I like to call the translations are often very difficult to comprehend. 


The biggest new this month is the launch of the Milan SL MK3 announced by Jens Buckbesch of Raderwerk.  This is the third generation of the record setting Milan SL.

The new velomobile will be a lighter and stiffer version of the Milan SL.  There are no major changes from an aerodynamic perspective.   The new model also addresses issues with water leaks around the lid with a redesigned gutter that discharges the water in the wheel well and a new seal for the hatch cover.  Specifically here are the 10 improvements over the MK2.

1-    Addressing rain leaks issues around the hatch cover and hood.
Improved water tank in the hinge region. The water is discharged into the wheel well below.
The hatch cover has an improved seal with 4 levers that is completely waterproof.
The new hood is also upgraded to provide a rain-tight connection to the hatch cover.
2-    Stiffness of the drivetrain
The new design of the front and rear wheel arch provides new very rigid mounts for the two pulleys. Removing any deflection movement of the rollers thus improving drive efficiency.
3-    Weight-stiffness ratio of body
The shell is now built with an optimized power flow rail system to increase the strength and rigidity while reducing weight. This includes a central main spar Center under the entire bow, connects to the fastening of the standard aluminum mast or the optional custom-made carbon mast. This will reduce torsion and bending of the drive mast.  Other modifications will also increase stiffness of the drivetrain and minimize deflection of the roller bearing and will also provide a channel to evacuate the water from the hatch.
4-    Safety
An improved vertical support of the central frame will significantly increase the crumple zone available during a frontal collision preventing the frame to move towards the driver. By rail system, the passenger compartment is considerably more stable.
5-    A new hatch and one-piece hood based on the race version was developed for everyday use.
6-    The new central spar offers new ventilation options that can be used in conjunction with NACA air intakes.
7-    The front wheel wells have been redesigned to enable the use of wider tires than was possible with the earlier model and provides room for a much longer suspension travel. This means that the SL can be equipped with longer and much softer springs.
8-    The chain channel is now made with glued cover for added rigidity.
9-    The rear seat adjustment unit is replaced by one made of a carbon fiber.  The unit not only accommodates the seat spring but it is also used to hold the rear idler, and also supports the floor of the velomobile while keeping the pulley against the rear wheel arch.
10- You can now order as an option the new elastomer sprung struts for the front with very low weight.


I came across this new velomobile from Sweden.  HVM stands for Henry’s VeloMobile.  The new monocoque velomobile was designed by Nadim Khemir and built with partner Jan-Inge Ljungberg  owner of Crazy Trike Builders in Skåne is now in pre-production for 2 velomobiles.  The two will decide later if commercial production will follow.  The new velomobile appears to be heavily inspired by the WAW but specs and or price have not been released publicly… stay tuned!

Update: I received a note from Nadim Khemir to inform me that I made a couple of errors in my February 13th update. First, Nadim did not design the HVM Henry Ridiel designed the velomobile about 10 years ago. Nadim Khemir and partner Jan-Inge Ljungberg will indeed build the two new velomobiles.  He also informs me that the Crazy Trike Builders in Skåne is group of friends who enjoy trikes and velomobiles.  It is also very early to  decide if this will become a commercial project, as he says, there are a number of good velomobiles currently being produced.  He also tells me that from up close, the HVM is fairly different from the WAW.  The group has more projects planned for next year.


Ymte and Daniel reported the production of only 4 DF in January; these include the first three to be sent to North America.  The low production numbers can be explained as the last week of January was spent to set-up the production of the DF-XL in Romania.  Incidentally the company reported that the new units will not get gelcoat but instead the shells will be painted.  They expect that this change will improve yield since minor molding defects in the shell can be easily be repaired prior to finish and paint is more forgiving.  Finally, Intercitybike is also in the process setting-up a small shop for Daniel in Dronten to build prototypes, small production runs or contract work.  On the return trip from Romania, Daniel and Ymte brought my new baby, it is the white one in this picture.


In January, Allert and Theo delivered  8 velomobiles in January including 4 Carbon Quest, 1 Carbon Quest  XS, 1 Quest XS and 2  Quest.  Two of these Carbon Quest were shipped to North-America.  On the development side, Allert reported more development on the Quest 4 wheels and the shell looks closer to being ready so we may see the prototype on the road soon.

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