It may be February and riding for a large portion of riders is fairly limited or on hold but development is continuing. Manufacturers are busy in their shop to come out with new products.
A few sporting events took place already this month, the HPRA Florida Challenge and the Sebring long distance events. March appears to be a quiet month with no events on the calendar.
Daniel Fenn has been very active in his new development shop. First he presented a set of wheel pants for DF that he claims will significantly improve performance. Possibly requiring only110W at 50km/h, it could be a major aerodynamic improvement. The wheel pants may be more limited to the track than the road as the front suspension appears to be limited to 1cm travel. While designed for the DF, it will also fit other open wheel velomobiles in particular the DF-XL and Go-One Evo-K
|Intercitybike Wheel Pants (velomobile shown with no wheel)|
Daniel has also started the development of a hood for the DF, something people have been waiting for. I hope we will see something soon and that Daniel will look at incorporating the best features of other hoods on the market. You can watch Daniel sculpt the basic shape in this YouTube video http://youtu.be/Fm50MwlReTo (I can't seem to be able to embed successfully.
My new DF velomobile was also shipped this week you can see the picture below (the white one). In a few weeks hopefully I will be picking it up at Bluevelo.
Velomobiel also announced that their velomobile shells will also be painted instead of using Gelcoat. This is not surprising since their velomobile shells are made in the same Romanian factory as the DF. Again, the company expects that the new system will increase yield as defects in gelcoat can result in wasted parts. There will also be improvement in the quality of the finish providing a more shinny surface. Unfortunately, the new finish may add a bit of weight especially for white shells.
Allert has not reported his progress on the Q4W in recent weeks.
After a few silent weeks Steve posted an update on his blog. He came up with a new name for the large Milan he is currently developing. The new model will be named the MX or Max. He is making progress and we hope to see the pictures of the new velomobiles in the coming months.
Steve also raised interest in two new improvements that will be available for all existing Milan, including those made in Europe. First a new rear carbon swingarm that will be a replacement for the current one and will be a bolt-on modification, as it will use the same mount. The swingarm is still in development but should be available soon. Steve is also offering a NACA duct for the hatch that can be retrofitted. Several European riders already expressed interest in these two products.
New heated visor for the Sinner Hood is available in limited quantity. Harry is working with a company to manufacture heated visors for the Sinner Hood. The new visor will address fogging and freezing issues especially common with winter riding. The visor has a double lens and consumes 5W at 12V so a secondary battery is recommended. I expect that it does not need to be powered at all times or even at full power to increase battery life. Unfortunately the €400 price tag for the visor and battery is a bit too steep for the average user. While the concept looks promising, maybe collaboration between manufacturers could help drive the cost down; the high price may be due to the limited number that would be produced but other hoods have the same problem and having a common solution adaptable to all hoods could reduce the price.
While the heated visor may be out of reach, Frans has developed a new system to evacuate condensation from the cockpit if you don’t mind riding with a mouthpiece. The new system has been 3d printed and replaces the old fighter mask. I don’t know if he will make it available commercially.
New association was created for velonauts in France
The Velomobile Club de France, wants to organize velomobile rallies and rides, races and sporting events, access where members will get privileged access. But above all it is to provide a comfortable and ideal place for those involved in velomobiles.
The goals of this association are to:
· Bring together companies and individuals involved in the practice of the Velomobile.
· To represent velomobiles with public authorities, official federations and organizations.
· Facilitate and encourage the development and the practice of riding velomobiles in France in all its forms, utilitarian, touring and competitive.
· To increase velomobile participation in existing cycling gatherings and sporting events.
· To promote and develop the velomobile use in response to environmental and public health issues.
The association wants to work with other associations like the French Recumbent association AFV (Association Française de Vélocouché) and the French HPV association (France HPV) and will work with them. It is probably the first velomobile specific association in the world.
If this is successful, maybe other countries will follow suit or an international association will be created. There may also be opportunities for an association to offer services like group insurance for velomobiles, promotion, and probably others.