Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cycle Vision Review

Cycle Vision Review
Last weekend the Cycle Vision bike festival too place in the Nederlands.  This event features races, seminars and exhibits.  It appear that the event was well attended but Wim Schermer feels that it is becoming more of a get-together will be an ever smaller number of participants and less interest from traders. In 2007 when the event was in Sloten, there were 130 participants taking part in the hour race, now there were only 26 participants at the start of the Venray event.  I don’t know the reasons for this but maybe it is that Sloten is closer to Amsterdam.

In the competition team Velomobiel saw Theo and Eva posting excellent results at the Velovision races; the Quest can still manage some excellent performances.  At IntercityBike, Daniel Fenn took fist place in the 3-hour race; Ymte did not participate in all the events but had a good result with a second place in the 1-hour race.  Harry Leiben from Sinner showed that his tricked-out Mango is also very fast.  From the pictures posted, I could not see any Milan in the race.


Allert, Theo and Eva took the QuatroVelo, shell and prototype frame to the Cycle Vision bike festival.  There is just too much work still needed to finish the first one.  People had expected to be able to try the first QuatroVelo but they will have to wait a few more weeks, the task has proved too much to finish on time for this event.  I think it is better to have the product finished properly than rushing with an inferior product.


Wim Schermer showed the VeloTilt gearbox, developed by Piet Kunis and Bram Smit which is a variation on the derailleur. A standard cassette is slid to and fro by a lever. The chain turns perfectly well and the system is very light.  it is a very interesting approach, similar system have been shown before but this may be the first to go into production.

Australian Pedal Prix

Hats off to the Eric The Half Bee (Pembroke School, Junior Secondary, Category 2) in their VERY impressive win at the Victoria Park race track.  This team stands head and shoulder above the rest; check out these stats (lifted from Facebook).
-       Won by 28 laps
-       Set a new distance record for Cat 2 of 191 laps
-       In setting the new distance record, they smashed the old Cat 2 distance record set by themselves in 2014 by a massive 22 laps (30Km)
-       They set a new fastest lap time for cat 2 of 1:36.5.
-       Eric The Half Bee team members are Cat 2 JUNIOR Secondary. In this race, they rode further and faster than ANY Category 3 SENIOR Secondary team has EVER done in the history of the event on the Current track at Vic Park
-       They beat the old Senior Secondary distance record (of 188 laps) that was set by Pembroke's ‘Tis but a Scratch’ in 2013.
-       Their new fastest lap time of 1:36.5 is quicker than any Category 3 team has ever done. Prior to this, the fastest lap was by Bendigo's ‘Assult with a Quiche’ in 2013.
Ridiculously, in Round 2, they could have parked just after the 5 hour mark of the race and still won.
You can also check out the video.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Nice summer riding

Nice summer riding
I have has a number of good rides this week, my average speed is increasing some more.  I feel that my physical condition is getting better, I’m getting better acquainted with my velomobile and the weather has been great with temperature in the mid to high seventies. 

I have been using the modified insoles, they are not perfect but I think it helps.  I have also taken out my road biking shoes instead of my touring shoes I prefer because I can walk safely in them.  I think the road shoes have a stiffer sole and it seem to help with my feet took longer to feel numb and that quickly disappeared shortly after stopping.

I also ordered a new 11-40 cassette to replace the 11-36 cassette when the riding conditions include significant climbing, hopefully I will be able to use it without any significant issue as it is at the maximum capacity for the derailleur.  I think that for everyday use I will keep the 11-36 as it provides me a good range and good shifting.


It appears that after 5 weeks working at the factory in Romania, Allert Jacobs, the designer of the QuatroVelo, will not be able to have the velomobile working in time for Cycle Vision as expected.  There is just too much work still needed to finish the first one.  He also indicated that he had to reinforce the luggage area and unfortunately for beer drinker, a case of beer will no longer fit in the trunk of the QuatroVelo.  The reinforcement is not the only reason, the hinges for the lid make the entrance a bit smaller than initially expected.


New video of the DFs shell completed with the new boom all coming below 8.6kg!   Daniel thinks that sub 20kg velomobiles for everyday use are now possible.  In this case, he expects that the DFs prototype will come in finished at around 16kg.  There are a few things to note in this video: first we have a better idea of the integration of the bottom bracket into the middle of the boom; second, you will notice the access holes in the rear idler cover to facilitate maintenance and; finally the scale complete shell with boom 8.578kg, the weight with the seat removed is 7.922kg the weight of the boom including bottom bracket was not shown but Daniel quoted 340g for the weight of the boom minus bottom bracket, the weight does not include the swingarm but the tiller support and linkages and the idlers are installed.

It seems that the idler issues I identified last week have been more common than first thought.  A number of people have reported similar problems this week… coincidence?  Daniel indicated that he has upgraded his idler to one made by Alligt, the sides are made of stiffer materials to keep the chain centered.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Chain Idler and Insoles

Chain Idler and Insoles
The weather has been dismal this week and I had a lot to do so I rested.  I went to get my insoles modified somewhat to see if it could further improve my foot comfort.  I have to try them to judge if the small change will bear fruit. 

After I had issues with the rear idler, I contacted Bluevelo and they came back to me with a modification that IntercityBike is considering making on new DF to address the idler accessibility issues.  After the modification is done, the access cover is taped back.  

Idler cover access hole
Some DF riders indicated they had the same issue and were able to move the chain back on the idler by lifting and jiggling the chain under the seat.

It seems that people are going riding at this time and it is slow on the news front.  We are still waiting for updates on many projects, here are a few I’m keeping an eye for:  
There is no news on the Evo-Kx first announced in the spring, the prototype was to make an appearance at Spezi a few weeks ago and there is still nothing to report.  No news also this week from as they are getting ready to roll out the QuatroVelo at CycleVision near the end of the month. The first production Marvelo SKR is running a bit behind schedule, hopefully it will be rolling out soon   Raderwerk still does not have an updated website and very little information on new product development. 

Australian Pedal Prix

Stuart Peterson, a mechanical engineer is looking for old velomobile frames to give entry level teams a chance to participate.  He asks schools who have teams participating in the Australian circuit to check their storage rooms to see if they could donate old frames. 

This is a new strategy since Stuart had tried unsuccessfully to raise funds for his project through Pozible crowd funding site.  He credits the Pedal Prix to single handedly shaped his life in becoming a Mechanical Engineer. It's time to give back such that WA kids can enjoy the greatness that Pedal Prix offers. He feels that it is an event that offers so many positive aspects to student’s development and learning.

He wanted the funds to help schools get a team up and running by subsidizing the cost of the velomobiles that are more than $1,000.  The aim was to support up to 20 teams with $500 each initially and expand to 40 schools beyond that.

The aim of his plans is to reduce the barrier for participation.  This type of support through sponsorship or through the transfer of frames would be a massive increase in participation in the Australian velomobile circuits.

If you can help, contact him through Facebook

Meanwhile, the second race of the series is taking place this weekend. 


Well things are moving at IntercityBike.  It seems that the original DF shock DT Swiss 212 shock has been replaced by… the DT Swiss M212 200/55 SAB HH SO.  While the original DT Swiss shock did not require additional pressure. They are 200mm long with 55mm stroke the new one will need to be pumped-up to operate properly in the order of 3 to 4 bars according to early users.  Intercitybike secured only 75 of them to meet production demands; hopefully they will have access to more shocks in the next few months.

Meanwhile the construction of the prototype DFs is still underway, this week the rear wheel well was produced.  The first new boom has also been produced. It is a 15% bit heavier but it is approximately 150 to 400% stronger than the original.

Attention small riders, Daniel does not think that the Dfs will make it as a production model; he does not see enough demand.  If you are a small rider and interested in a small DF, get in touch with IntercityBike.

Monday, June 8, 2015

400km brevet

400km brevet
This brevet has been on my calendar for a few months, I rode the same course last year and I though it was a good course, in particular for a velomobile with only 2000m of climbing. 

At 4:30AM, the air is cold, 9C but relatively comfortable and the sky is clear.  I needed to put on a jacket, I wish I had my sleeves but at least I have my warm-up legs.

My friend Alain from the Montreal Randonneurs, who was at the Sunshine 1200, came with his Quest to ride this brevet.  We quickly made our way to the front while riding through suburbia and once on the open road, we started putting serios distance between us and the rest of the group.

After a few minutes, I found myself way ahead of Alain too, and while he is a stronger and more seasoned rider, he could not keep up with the speed of the DF and I waited for him.  The difference in speed is so noticeable, it is in the order of 5 to 7km/h on the flat.  Since he came from Montreal to ride with me, I wanted to remain with him so I would stop and let him catch-up. 

Around lunchtime, Alain started having drivetrain issues, he had problem especially going up the hills, there were weird noises, thonk, thonk. At that point we are at the furthest from our point of departure.  After a long time trying to figure out where the noise is coming from, He decided to continue at a slower pace to see if he can ride gently back to the arrival but he give me his key and tells me to go ahead and if he can’t make it, I would be able to rescue him. 
Trying to resolve drivetrain issues on the Quest

In the afternoon the road is busy with a large bike tour with several thousands cyclists and a motorcycle tour with some 500+ motorcycles travelling on the same roads.  I make it to destination at around 8:20PM.

Alain and I stay in touch throughout the day and he’s stuck almost two hours by car from the point of departure/arrival.  His idler broke and he had no way of repairing it on the road.  I went to pick him up and we made it back after 12AM.  Velomobiles are very fast but sometimes more difficult to repair than standard bicycles.

It was fun to ride with another velomobile and to see the difference in performance first hand.  The DF is faster, climbs better (well it also depends on gearing and legs) and size difference is fairly big.  I had a chance to try the Quest and it feels so large, I had forgotten how much.

Oh, by the way, my new custom foot beds have improved but not cured the hotfoot issues I had on the 300km brevet, my toes got numb and the foot started to be sensitive on the last 75km but it was not overly painful.  I will go back to see if they can be improved.

Australian Pedal Prix

Teams are getting ready for the second event of the season and organizers have made changes to the start of the race.  A fifteen-meter gap between each of the different categories will be mandated on the warm-up lap before the start of the race.  This will address a problem where some teams took position ahead of others in their category at the start thus giving them an unfair advantage for the race.


Production has resumed at Intercitybike, in May there were 10 velomobiles delivered by Intercitybike, 5 DF and 5DF-XL   The orderbook is relatively stable with 84 velomobiles on order.

Daniel’s Skunkworks is still very busy, Daniel is in the process of designing a new stiffer boom for the DF.  Strong rider notice some flex in the current boom and this will address this issue.  The bottom bracket and crank will be inside the boom, that will be raised a bit to center the pedal stroke.  The boom will have pre-drilled location for the crank as a result, the location will be moved significantly if the crank is moved from one hole to the next.  He’s also continuing work on the DFs, the extra small velomobile, pictures show that he has built a narrower bridge.


The order book is filling up at Velomobiel there are now 44 velomobiles on order, almost half of them are QuatroVelos.  In May, there were just 6 velomobile delivered in May.  The brakedown is 4 Strades, 1 Strada Carbon and 1 Quest XS Carbon.