Wednesday, October 28, 2015

End of October Update

End of October Update

Cycle JV

Cycle JV posted pictures of the Mulsanne velomobile being built.  The pictures show a shell partially built. 


This week announced the base price for the QuattroVelo… the price has been set at €7,500.  The price will be for a limited set of features and will not include things like Schlupmf drive, these will be optional.  The new velomobile will be officially introduced this weekend at the Velomobile Seminar.


This week Ymte announced the move of ICB’s operations to a new 500 m2 (5,400 ft2) much larger than the workshop next to the Templeman’s bike shop.  The new workshop  situated at Koperweg 3, 8251 KA Dronten, 0321-340928.will offer test rides, sales and all maintenance and repair services.  In addition Daniel will operate from a workshop in southern Germany.  Daniel will continue the design of new products and support customers in the area.  

Velomobile Seminar

This is a reminder that the 8th International Velomobile Seminar 2015 is taking place on 30 October to November 1st at the Kulturhaus in Dornbirn, Austria.  The program is now available in English here.


Schwalbe has released the Schwalbe Pro One, a tubeless version of the Schwalbe One.  The prototypes of the tire in size 28-406 have been released in Europe and they are being tested.  Using this tire will require the installation of compatible rims.

Wim Schermer

Speaking of tires, Wim Schermer has released rolling resistance test results for fastest tires currently on the market.   It looks like Schwalbe will have to work harder to develop faster tires.  Check out the whole report here


The Cab Bike molds have ended-up in Poland some time ago, this was the last place were they were produced.  A few months ago I reported that someone, was trying to restart production with a newer design of the old Cab-Bike.  Well it appears that some progress has been done and there is even a two-seater version of the Cab Bike that may be called Cab Bike Duo or Car Bike.  In an on-line article (in Polish) you can see the Cab Bike Duo.  The new four-wheel vehicle seats two persons side by side and looks a bit like a sports car, it has two sets of pedals but one tiller on the left hand side.  Overall, the vehicle looks a bit like the Duo-Quest.  The wheels are narrower at the back and they appear to be all 20in, drum brakes at the front and it has a lockable trunk.  Models appear to be available in a cabriolet and sedan version.

This is an interesting news item with video and pictures where you can hear Maciej Kaczmarek talk about his velomobiles and you will see his shop with many velomobiles in different state of completion.

The last web address I had for the Cab-Bike was for a company that made truck fairings Cab Bike Hawk, an updated version of the original but there is very little real information.  So I don’t know if or how Maciej (or Maciek or even Mieczyslaw) Kaczmarek is associated with wejkama.  He is very difficult to get in contact with, I have not been able to find a website or an e-mail address for the product or the Mr. Kaczmarek so if anyone has more information, please share.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bracket issue resolved

Bracket issue resolved
I finally received the brackets for the crank yesterday and installed them today.  They were lost in the mail because, based on the postmark, the package took 11 days to arrive.  After I installed the brackets I went for a short ride to test the velomobile,.  I stayed close to home to ensure I was not too far in case of any trouble.

I’m happy to report that the DF appears to be in good working order, no more squeaks when I pedal, shifting is good.  I did not go for a longer ride as we have very strong wind with wind gusts so I will go tomorrow for my longer ride.

When I was replacing the brackets, I noticed that the two brackets that failed were those that were not threaded.  I don’t know if it means anything but I’m curious because it may be something that the designer may have to take into account.

A few days ago Paolo Miranda posted a comment here; he said that Theo at Velomobiel told him that there may be a bad batch of brackets where the wrong aluminum was apparently used to produce those brackets.  Since these have no production code on them, it is hard to determine if a particular bracket is part of that batch or not.

I also heard from Randy that he did not yet get confirmation of shipment for the hoods that were ordered by Bluevelo… maybe I will have to wait for the spring to try mine as the winter is fast approaching and unless I travel south, it is not safe to ride here in the winter.


Velomobiel has posted an update on the QuattroVelo project.  The project a pparently is more complex than first anticipated.  There is more work required before the velomobile is ready to hit the road.  I hope this extra complexity will not have a major affect the final price.

Velomobiel has posted on Facebook some videos of the first day on the road.

It seems that parts have been made to make the prototype QuattroVelo rideable.  In the video you can see the rear internal wheel well is not installed so it is not yet a finished product and road testing will probably result in some changes of the different mechanical and body components.  The QuattroVelo is probably one if not the most complex velomobile yet developed so Velomobiel is navigating in uncharted waters.

Velomobile Seminar

This is a reminder that the 8th International Velomobile Seminar 2015 is taking place on 30 October to November 1st at the Kulturhaus in Dornbirn, Austria.  The program is now available in German.

The paper presented cover a wide rage of subjects such as suspensions, lighting, aerodynamics, brakes, rolling resistance measurements, biomechanics and even autonomous driving.  Werner Klomp will moderate the sessions.

The seminar has one and half days of technical lectures.  On Saturday afternoon, the doors are open to the public. Seminars are will be held in German and English, some also in Dutch. Manufacturers are the opportunity to present at an exhibition. There will be a "Meet the Expert" corner where the speakers and manufacturers will have an opportunity to share information.

On Sunday, the club will take participants on a choice of several cycling tours through the beautiful region of Vorarlberg.

I find it unfortunate that non-Europeans involved with velomobiles are not able to participate, I think there would be a lot to share.  Maybe the next velomobile seminar could make an effort to seek external participation as we have much to gain from growing the industry, the sport and mode of transportation and in my opinion, there is a lot to learn from sharing experience and lessons learned.


There is much to report from Raderwerk.  First, after months of waiting, Raderwerk has finally launched its new website.  The website is also found at a new address The information on the site is currently only available in German but will eventually also be available in English too.  The site still a work in progress but it also has an on-line store, and a blog.

Not only will you find a new website but you will also see new models that were not available or unannounced before like the Milan RS (Race) and the 2 seat Milan 4.1 and the previous unannounced Milan 1+ a slightly larger version (30cm/1ft longer) of the 2 seat Milan 4.2 with electric assist and it has more luggage space.    The Milan RS is an improved version of the Milan SL; it is smaller and more aerodynamic than the SL.  While no production 4.2 velomobiles have been produced yet, Raderwerk appears to be taking orders but the Milan1+ and the RS are still under development. 

Raderwerk now sells not only the family of Milan but they also sell velomobiles from Velomobiel, ICB, and Sinner and this is reflected on their website.  Some of the things that are missing from the pages are the complete specs for the velomobiles, in particular those for the Milan.

One final interesting tidbit is the offer to finance the purchase through a lease involving progressive employers leveraging purchasing power, work conditions and taxation to put more affordable velomobiles on the road.  You can read the details in German on Raderwer’s website.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Broken Crank Brackets

Broken Crank Brackets
As I mentioned several times, I’ve been fairly busy lately and this prevented me from riding regularly.  Last weekend was the Thanksgiving holiday in Canada and I was looking forward to riding my DF.  I had noticed that my crank had moved forward about 3 to 4 cm and wanted to move it back to the right place.  Aluminum has a tendency to slide on carbon fiber.  The same problem occurs on a road bike when you have a carbon fiber seat post on an aluminum or steel frame.  The seat has a tendency to slowly lower and you need to adjust the height from time to time.  Manufacturers have created a compound to provide better grip between the two materials.

Before leaving for the weekend, I opened the hatch and loosened the four bolts to move the cranks to the proper place on the boom.  In the process, I found that the two brackets were broken.  To some extent, I was not surprised, in the past couple of weeks, I read several posts from DF riders who had the same issue.  Their description was not unfamiliar to me including the movement of the crank on the boom, creaking noise when pedaling or sluggish feeling when pedaling.  I had noticed two symptoms: the sound and could not identify the source and the forward movement of the crank on the boom. 

I contacted Randy at Bluevelo and he’s sending me a new set of brackets.  Unfortunately, as a result I had to abandon my plans for riding over the weekend.

The question remains however: why are there so many failures of these brackets?  The same system has been in use for many years on the Quest and Strada but while a few fail from time to time, the number of failures on the DF is much greater.  I wonder if the difference of the much stiffer carbon fiber boom in the DF compared to the aluminum boom in the Quest and Strada put too much strain on the brackets.  The small flex experienced in the Quest and Strada may provide some protection to the brackets.

Notwithstanding the cause, it looks like a redesign will be considered.  Daniel Fenn has already produced a new stiffer boom for the DF but it is not part of the production, it is a special part used for racing.  The boom is drilled and the crank is installed inside the boom, not on top of the boom.; once installed, it cannot move.  This means that you would probably need to change the position for another rider for example; you would probably need to purchase and install a new boom, as it may not be a good idea to drill several large holes in the same boom.  This would most probably affect the stiffness.

Several alternatives to the current brackets are being discussed including manufacturing the brackets using another stronger material including steel or costly titanium.  Using a round pipe clamp and nylon inserts with square sides to adapt to the square crank mount and boom.  The round shape can withstand a lot more pressure than the current brackets without breaking and they may also be lighter.


Theo van andel announced a price increase due to higher purchasing costs and improvements to the standard equipment of velomobiles. While cost for components have gone up improvements like 3 x10 speed is now standard and so is higher quality color finish with automotive paint, lithium batteries dimmable lights, lower weight full carbon shells and more.

The Strada now has lights, flashers and horn like the Quest.

The price increase will take place November1st.  If you want to beat the price increase, you have until October 30th. Do you want to buy the old price then order for 30 October!


Wim Schermer reported that a new suspension is being tested for the VeloTilt.  It should address some of the shortcomings identified during testing.

Terra Cycle

Terra Cycle is testing a new 23T Sport Idler that could replace the current idler in the IntercityBike DF and DF-XL velomobiles.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Early October update

Early October update
Sorry if I’m not posting very much these days, I‘ve been moving and did not have too much time to gather information from all the usual sources.

My recent post of manufacturers and vendors websites appears to have struck a chord.  It is one of the most popular post I have made, it has generated a fair bit of traffic and many comments.  One of those came from Leo from Alligt who explained his situation.  I indicated that I would reply in my next post.  I wanted to provide a longer reply as well as highlight the comment.
Leo Visscher - September 26, 2015 at 2:12 PM
Great work you do. Sadly we don't live in a wold were people who maters as producers do have time enough to give all the consumers what they need. When I'm (Alligt) not able to write in my home language it make no sense for me to they to write my webpage in Englich. It would cost to much. Even in my home language it is difficult enough. Also communicating to het hole world would distract me to much of my core buisnis. Developing velomobiles and parts. I have enough customers and have no ambition to be the CEO of a big company. Everyone who make an effort to ring me know that I have in that moment the time. Not having business email is the best filter that I could think of.

First let me thank you for taking the time to provide a comment, it is good to hear your perspective.  I understand your situation; you are a busy manufacturer, a small enterprise and at the moment you have a sustainable amount of business and you are not actively trying to grow much larger. 

As I indicated in my blog post, manufacturers and vendors make choices on where they spend their resources. While it may be more difficult  and/or not as interesting for you to enhance your communication, it is often very difficult for a prospective client to get informed.  You have chosen not to publish your e-mail and concentrate on the communicating through the phone to provide a better customer experience.  You were probably receiving spam or just too many requests that you could not quickly answer.

Let me give you this as MY experience.  If you follow my Blog regularly, you will see that I had problems with my idlers.  I tried to phone your company 3 times during business hours and did not get an answer, I wanted to know about the availability of an idler that I could not find in your catalogue on your website.  With the time difference, it is hard to find a time when we are both available for a real-time conversation.  Someone told me that Dutch Bike Bits sold your idlers and I sent an e-mail and received an answer overnight, I would have preferred asking you because what I was looking for was not standard and maybe Alligt had a solution.  Like many potential clients, I do not have the ability to just drop-in so I have to rely on websites that may or may not be complete or up to date, and restricting communication is an issue for prospective clients, especially those who are not in Europe some would need to stay up very late or get up very early to have these phone conversations, not to mention that the cost of International calls can be high.  The business is going well at the moment with a steady stream of business but maybe in the long term it may have a negative impact on the long term.

Would it be possible to get external help to increase you web presence through a partnership with other velomobile manufacturers in your area to share the cost and/or maybe using interns from local schools who are looking for experience in the field?  We would all like to see the penetration of velomobile increase significantly.  To realize this, you play an important role in achieving this objective.


Velomobiel posted a video of the QuattroVelo where they show the suspension being activated and it appears almost complete.  The Velomobile appears to be rideable but we do not see it being ridden very far. 

Meanwhile, deliveries for Velomobiel products in September were very slim with only two velomobiles being delivered in September; one Quest XS and one Carbon Quest XS.

The order book is up to 47 velomobiles and 27 of those are QuattroVelos.  Since only 20 velomobiles other than QuattroVelos are on order, it would be easy for Velomobiel to clean their back log in a couple of months and concentrate on the delivery of the QuattroVelo when it is ready for production probably by year’s end.  I expect that the initial rate of production for the Quattrovelo is going to be initially one a week so it would take about 27 weeksor slightly more than 6 months for the Quattrovelo currently on order to be delivered once the production starts.


ICB hoods are being shipped to those who ordered them.  People who have received them report that GPS reception under the hood is significantly diminished.  A certain loss of signal is something I experienced with the hood sold by Wim Schermer however I was able to place the GPS in a position near the Lexan windshield that gave me adequate reception.  I hope that I will be able to do the same with the ICB hood. 

ICB is currently looking at producing a hood for the Quest/Strada/Mango based on the DF hood.  Daniel Fenn has asked for rider input for the new hood.  The goal is to provide a lighter, sturdier and maybe more aerodynamic hood for these velomobiles but also be able to accommodate a helmet while riding.  This is an issue for Quest/Strada/Mango riders participating in events where helmets are mandatory.  Since this is still not officially announced, I suggest you contact ICB if you are interested in this new product.

ICB delivered 10 velomobiles in September 3 DF and 7 DF-XL.  At the end of September there are 41 velomobiles on order at ICB but it is interesting to note that only 10 of these orders are for DF and 31 are for DF-XL. This means that the wait time is getting much smaller, certainly less than 6 months and probably closer to 4 months at the current production rate.

Australian Pedal Prix

Several new rider videos of the latest race have been posted recently.  Here are a few of them including one from the young the one from the young team Eric the Half Bee. Who dominated its category all year.  You can check them out on the Australian Pedal Prix Facebook page