Monday, March 30, 2015

End of March Update

End of March Update
There are several newsworthy items to report this week.  I try to accumulate the items before I post them on my Blog so some items have been more widely reported in other forums.


The guys in Romania are still working on the Quattro plug
The top part will be laminated on the bottom part in the production process of the body.
In order to have access to the components there will be a hatch where the foot holes are, big enough to cut the footholes in the hatch. It can easily be replaced if the footholes need to be relocated to fit a new owner or replaced by a hatch with closed holes in winter.
The middle section of the body is accessible through the manhole and the tail through the luggage hatch, every part of the body can be repaired from the inside in case of damage.


The second plug for the DF XL has been completed.  This will increase the production rate for this model. 

Five wheels better than four?

Wednesday this week there will be a presentation in Dronten at IntercityBike/ Ligfietsshop  of the new DF Cargo.  The presentation will start at 14.00 pm, everyone is welcome, while sipping a cup of coffee or tea, the presentation of the DF Cargo Daniel Fenn will also be there. Daniel will discuss the design philosophy and design choices made in the development of this third creation in the DF family.
Ymte Sijbrandij says "This is the first fast bike that you can take part in competitions as both camping." The DF Cargo gets five wheels. Ymte: "More wheels is a trend we started with two wheels then move to three wheels and more recently the introduction of the Quattro that we see as an intermediate step in the market to five wheels.. Furthermore, the weight is better distributed and the single wheel at the back enables a narrower tail design to improve aerodynamics.  Ymte says that they expect a lot from the new design.


I reported that the Kx will be the only velomobile available from Byess but Michael Byess indicated that they would still take orders for the Evo-K and Evo-Ks until the Kx is officially made available for production.


Wim posted some pictures of the Velotilt with the Tourtop prototype.  The Tourtop is currently being trialed on the road but the hood is not available yet.

Tire Tests

Wim Schermer has also tested Schwalbe One (size 406) at the request of the University of Liverpool who are preparing their participation at Battle Mountain with their Streamliner Arion 1.  The tire did not do especially well in the test, it ranked behind the Shredda and the Ultremo ZX.

Chicagoland Unconventional Bicycle Expo (CUBE

The first annual Chicagoland Unconventional Bicycle Expo (CUBE) was announced this week.   The expo will be October 2nd to the 4th, at The Tinley Park Convention Center in Tinley Park, Illinois. The expo appears to be similar to SPEZI but I expect on a much smaller scale.  The organizers will set-up an area for outside for test riding. 

In the short term, I expect this expo will mostly attract people from the Midwest but if the first edition is successful, the expo may increase in size and stature to become a national event.  Now the question is if you will see velomobiles at this expo?  The exhibition may be beyond the resources of the velomobile manufacturers and importers not to mention that the show is relatively far from their home base.


After Raderwerk, now Trisled announces that a new improved website is in the works.


HPRacing Team, a small 15-person team has unveiled the plug for their 2015 PedalPrix racer velomobile.  It is very slick!  The team plans on racing the new velomobile at the  Loxton event.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring update

Spring update
With the arrival of spring you would think the weather would warm up but instead we received more snow and the temperature even turned colder.  Last weekend the club cancelled a populaire due to snow flurries.  So making lemonade out of lemons, I will be skiing this week but I will try to do short rides on my upright.

The first Australian Pedal Prix events of the season have already taken place. We also find out a bit more information from manufacturers a few interesting tidbits on their current projects.


Trisled unveiled the new Aquila 2 at the Wonthaggi 24 hour Human Powered Grand Prix last weekend.    It is not clear what are the improvements from the previous model.  Trisled also celebrated their victory at this 24h event.


I missed an important tidbit of information previously.  Michael Byess indicated that the Kx will replace the K and Ks, therefore these two models will no longer built .  He also indicated that the Kx will not be sold as a kit.  Spare parts and replacement chassis will be available for the next10 years.  It appears that the EVO-Kx will be the only velomobile available from Byess since the EVO-R is no longer in production.

As indicated before the Kx will not be shown at SPEZI this year and the company is not releasing pictures of the new velomobile.


An article in Gearjunkie about the Velotilt project is generating a lot of interest.  I picked a few interesting tidbits, the article claims that the Velotilt will weight 55lb (25kg) and be able to travel at close to 40mph (65km/h) at 150W.  I guess this represents the performance for the race version and not the newly announced Touring version.  From the video and photos I’ve seen, I am surprised by both assertions.  In a comment, on his Blog, Wim mentions 150W at 55km/h using Michelin radial tires; apparently the reporter made an error in the metric conversion.   

Regarding the weight, there is a lot of aluminum in the prototype so maybe if everything is built in carbon fiber, the current weight will shrink but the Rohlhoff and tilt lock mechanism are heavy.  The Velotilt has 20in wheels and does not have a front derailleur so it is limited to 14 gears but maybe a double could be installed in the narrow body and unless you are riding on a relatively flat terrain, you will need more gear range.  The Tour version where the rider appear to be sitting a bit more upright and this will affect aerodynamic performance.  We'll see if they can keep the cost low enough to attract many buyers but I wonder how much advantage the tilt concept will give the rider.  Of course we will have to wait for the official presentation to find out.

Velomobiel recently posted information on the recently introduced improvements to their velomobile electrical system.  Last year the electrical system was converted from 6v to 12v  The lighting system now has new headlights providing an extra 20 lux going from 60 to 80 lux and has they are also have an eco-mode that may be appropriate for Day Running Lights.  This capability enabled the elimination of the amber LEDs at the front that were previously installed to provide additional visibility. A USB-port to charge accessories is now standard.  Velomobiles are now equipped with a lithium-ion battery that weighs only 140g and providing up to 10 hours of light. Theses batteries are completely safe and have a built-in protection. If the battery runs low it shuts off automatically.  The new battery has a maximum charging of 2,5 hours which is a big improvement.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Preparing for SPEZI

Preparing for SPEZI


For the past week the Milan website shows a large banner revealing that the company is finally working on a new website and that a major announcement will take place with a date/time counter for the announcement.  After performing a bit of math you realize that the announcement will take place at SPEZI.  People are also invited to register for a newsletter.  So what is the announcement?  The official launch of the SL MK3, the revealing of the two person Milan 4.2 or maybe something completely new.  We’ll keep our ears to the ground.


Daniel continues the testing of the DF. He rode the DF on 20km test runs and made measurements using the power meter. The values ​​are extremely accurate. Where my gray was the Matt and he should be slower. The hood comes from a Quest. It's not optimal for the DF, so there is room for improvement with the right hood. Equipped with standard wheels, each with a wheel cover hubcap back of course not.  The DF was equipped with Schwalbe Ultremos with light inner tubes mounted on Gingko wheels.

Those measurements were made in in Aachen at a temperature of 25 degrees and the road surface was good unfortunately some wind so the conditions were not perfect for measurements but still fairly good.  The values ​​you are allowed to officially tear.  Daniel rode the course in both directions.  Between one direction and the other there was about 5 km/h difference Daniel feels that with no wind, the measurements would be more precise.

So what are the results?

49.4 km/h at 164 watts with helmet.
50,4 km/h at 160 watts without a helmet.
53,6 km/h at 163 watts with hood
55,2 km/h at 160 watts with hood but the front hole completely closed.

How does this compare to the Milan SL?   According to the information published by Raderwerk, the Milan SL requires 145 watts at 50 km/h, and 191 watts at 60 km/h.  Of course all these measurements have a margin of error, are dependent on conditions and need confirmation from others but it looks like the DF is close to the Milan SL and with further improvements such as the wheel pants, the new hood and the extended tail, the DF may become more efficient than the SL but I’m sure Raderwerk is working at improving the SL and improvements in the MK3’s performance still need to be measured.

Separately, DF owners are discussing the best settings for the rear suspension.  Daniel produced a video to demonstrate how the DF rear end  (see here)can better absorb bumps than a Quest (see here).  Interesting videos.


Michael Byess announced that the new larger Evo-Kx would not be ready for SPEZI as planned.  Michael wanted to offer test rides at the event but unexpected issues prevented the company to make good on this offer.  There are a number of people disappointed, hopefully this will be a short delay.

Byess is the second company after Velomobiel that is reporting a delay in their new velomobile project resulting in a no-show at SPEZI.

Velo Vision Magazine

Raderwerk is not the only website being upgraded, Velo Vision Magazine announced that the site is also under construction and should be back on-line very soon.


Not exactly a velomobile, officially a streamliner but Delft University has unveiled their new creation to defend their world speed record at Battle Mountain.  Maybe some of the concepts will make their way into the velomobile of the future.  See the video here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Four Wheel Velomobile and Aero Tests

Four Wheel Velomobile and Aero Tests

Velomobiel finally provided news on their four-wheel velomobile development project. First, the name is changing from Quest 4 wheel or Q4W to the name Quattro.  The name Quattro was used for the original four-wheel velomobile designed by Miles Kingsbury that was the inspiration for the project.  Miles gave them permission to use the name but there is still a possibility that the German carmaker Audi may still object to the use of the name that was synonymous with the 4WD models of that manufacturer, not to mention the Wordmark.
Original Quattro velomobile by Myles Kingsbury
New Quattro by
The plug has been shipped to the Romanian factory to be prepared to make the mold for production.  Work is already underway but the first unit will not be ready for Spezi next month to the disappointment of many.  There is still a lot of work to be done and work will shift on producing the internal components including Wheel wells, chain tunnels, etc.  After the bodywork is complete, the task of making the drive components, finish the electrical system, direction, seat, etc.  Allert indicated that the new velomobile should make its grand entrance at Cycle Vision.
The Quattro plug
The Quattro will certainly open a new class of velomobile that provide a bit more room while retaining good aerodynamic performance.   The special retro look with cat-eyes reminiscent of the first Batmobile will attract some. 
Batmobile and Quattro seem to have eyes in common

There is still a lot we do not know about this velomobile first, there are no published specs.  II is not clear how it will compare from a speed and acceleration performance point of view but Allert already demonstrated on his prototype that the handling performance will be improved over the Quest.  Velomobiel has not indicated what will be the weight of the finished velomobile but the larger size and additional mechanical component will certainly have a significant impact that could translate easily into a 5kg penalty.  If the components like the swingarm and boom are made of aluminum versus carbon fiber, this will impact weight along with the extra wheel, beefier suspension, the introduction of the differential and since it will have a 20in wheel at the rear it will probably equipped with a mid-drive.


Daniel continues the testing of his aerodynamic improvements he recently designed for the DF.  Daniel calls the modified velomobile the first of a new velomobile class called the XLR. Last weekend he went to Elfershausen to test the wheel pants and the tail extension.  While he has not provided details, he appears pleased with the results.  He still claims that the DF with aerodynamic enhancements will be the fastest production velomobile.  Apparently the first tests of the extended tail were successful and confirmed a significant improvement in aerodynamic performance.  He performed the tests with Richard Dähne, the current world champion and his Evo-K.  The wheel pants were also installed on the Evo-Ks (shown below) but could not be road tested because the suspension was too soft to ride with the pants on!

Evo-Ks with Wheel Pants

Daniel mentioned that there may be a version made of the pants and tail for everyday use… stay tuned.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Still Cold Here!

Still Cold Here!
The weather is not conducive to extensive cycling at the moment, my club cancelled the first Populaire of the season supposed to take place today, instead I rode my MTB on a short course.  This winter had a fair bit of snow and it has been cold for weeks, I have often ridden on bare pavement in February but not this year, I’ve had my first ride on my road bike with bike shoes clipped-in, two days ago.  I’m still waiting for my new velomobile, it should arrive by the end of the month.  I never ride my velomobile when the roads are covered in snow and ice or when snowbanks are more than about a foot high so still time for the velomobile on the road.

There is not too much to report, I guess everyone in Europe is getting prepared for SPEZI next month.  There are plans to test the latest aerodynamic enhancements for the DF in Elfershausen, in a roll-down test, probably comparing performance with Milan SL and other velomobiles.  Hopefully, there will be some information to report soon.

Accident Survey Involving Special HPV

The German HPV organization is surveying riders of special human powered vehicles such as velomobiles.  This survey is only for German riders but it would be useful to collect and analyze stats on accidents involving velomobiles in other jurisdictions.  The goal is to examine the number and the cause of the accidents and probably compare to other bike accident statistics.

The types of bikes in the German survey include:
·      Recumbent bicycle;
·      Recumbent Tricycle,
·      Chair bicycle;
·      Sun-two / three-wheeled tandem;
·      Side by side tandem;
·      Velomobile; or
·      Other special vehicle such as a rickshaw, etc.

The survey is voluntary. The HPV eV will collect or store no personal information. The questionnaire requires more than 5 minutes on a regular computer and will take longer on a smartphone or tablet.

Cycle JV

Velomobile Demo Days
Cycle JV is hosting once again a velomobile demo day where rider can test different make and models and compare them side by side and speak with riders who are experienced with these velomobiles.  Saturday, April 4th and Sunday April 5th 2015
Taking place at the Vélodrome du Mans - Léon Bollée in Le Mans, France
Riders are invited to test velomobiles and recumbents, you will be able to test, compare and discuss with experienced riders!
Velomobiles available for demo include: WAW, Quest, Strada, Mango, DF, Orca, Milan GT, Milan SL, Go-One, Quest XS, LeMans ...
Recumbents made by Troytec, HP Velotechnik, Optima, Performer will also be available for testing.

WHPVA World Championships

A description with pictures and video of the courses for the next WHPVA World Championships for taking place in Maasmechelen Belgium has been posted on-line.  You can check the page on the WHPVC site here

Here is a summary of the important information:
All events take place on public roads.
The courses will be closed to traffic during the races to ensure safety
The surface consists mainly of asphalt and there are no speed bumps along the route.
  • 1 hour race:
    The event will take place on a 1.9 kilometers winding course that includes a short climb (80 m long, 6% increase) 
  • 100 km race:
    This event will take place on a fast 3.4 kilometers course with few turns and long straightaways. There are two portions with slight inclinations one is 120 m in length, @2% and the other is 600m 1.5%). 
  • 200m and 1 km sprint:
    The courses for both sprint races feature a straight and flat road.

BeND Race Series

For my readers in Europe, I recently added the dates of the BeND race series in the Velomobile Event Calendar