This is the end of the year 2015; it was a year full of activities. For the first time in my velomobile riding history, I was able to ride until December 24th. Unfortunately, I had issues health and mechanical that kept me from riding for a number of weeks during riding season. The velomobile is now safely stored for the winter but if I’m lucky, I hope to get back on the road by the end of February. In the mean time, I will do some skiing if the snow remains on the slopes and ride my road bike on my trainer, which is unfortunately not one of my favorite activities. I purchased a new TACX Smart trainer and I hope it will make the activity more enjoyable.
In the next few weeks I will try to prepare a retrospective with some analysis. I expect that 2016 will bring us even more interesting velomobile news to report.
Even with the holidays, there are a number of items to report. I would like to also take this opportunity to wish all readers my best wishes for the season and a happy New Year.
Michael Beyss recently announced an updated version of the Go-One Evo-Ks for 2016. Looking at the pictures posted, one may be excused to think it is an IntercityBike DF. There are many similarities like the top and rear derailleur access hatches. While the DF and Ks look similar, here is how you may be able to differentiate it because there is no front air intake, the top hatch appears to be slightly more forward and the shell appears to be separate from the bottom. The new Ks will have a new swingarm and the target weight has been set at 20kg with optional build to 17kg. Will this prompt a weight reduction program at ICB and at Raderwerk?
Velomobiel recently released more information on the QuattroVelo including the price and options. Most development work appears to be done and production should start soon. Several videos show Allert and Eva riding the prototype at several events. The rear compartment is now fitted with a child seat and windows on the turtle deck.
Meanwhile, velomobiel delivered 7 velomobiles in the past month including 3 Carbon Quest, 1 Quest, 1Quest XS, 1 Strada and 1 Carbon Strada.
Meanwhile, there were only four including two QuattroVelo velomobiles added to the orderbook,in December and at the end of December, there were 58 velomobiles on order at Velomobiel. The backlog is harder to predict at Velomobiel but while Quest and Strada will have a short delivery timeframe of approximately 2 months, QuattroVelos will probably be much longer. I expect that delivery of QuattroVelo will be approximately one a week when production starts.
Daniel has been busy completing the design and testing the new hood for the Quest/Strada/Mango. Comments received from testers appear to be favorable, the hood should provide enough room for riding with a helmet; this is an issue when participating in organized events and it is apparently much stiffer than other hoods currently available for these velomobiles and has a unique skylight to better see traffic lights.
Over the month of December Intercitybike delivered 9 velomobiles 8 DF-Xl and only one DF. At the same time, the company sold 10 velomobiles for delivery in 2016. At the end of 2015, there are only 26 velomobiles on the order book. As a result, I estimate that the backlog is approximately 3 months; this is much shorter than the 9 to 10 months of a year ago.
Bluevelo is currently the biggest velomobile dealer in North America. It looks like Bluevelo delivered 6 DF and 4 DF_XL, for a total of 21 velomobiles not including the AAW produced in Toronto from Alligt kits.
One concern I have is that US customers are starting to purchase directly from ICB and Velomobiel instead of ordering through Bluevelo the North American vendor. Bluevelo has no velomobiles on order at ICB at this time and only 2 at Velomobiel. If this is a trend, Bluevelo may not only find itself in a dire position but long term this may leave North American riders in a lurch should Bluevelo become no longer profitable. North American velomobile owners would need to get support directly from Europe. Clients would need to deal with transportation and importation like custom brokerage. In addition, it provides a place for future customers to test velomobiles and get parts and service. While this is not new, many have purchased Mangos and WAW directly because there was no importer but if you look at the number of those in North America, there are far less than Quests, Strada, DF. Long term, I’m concerned that losing this dealer would affect velomobile promotion and penetration North America, many people would not be willing to spend money without trying a velomobile before buying or be willing to deal with importation issues.
If you are planning to buy directly, please think of the possible consequences not only for you but for all riders and potential clients and possibly overall velomobile penetration on the continent. I hope Bluevelo continues to flourish and provide the support to our North American community.
This is the time for the annual velomobile gathering, probably one of the largest in the World… after the Pedal Prix Races. Nonetheless, this winter event has managed to gather close to 100 velomobiles between Christmas and New Years day. It looks like nice weather provided generally good riding conditions. There are several videos that were produced by participants. Here are a few that will give you an appreciation for this event.
You can also check this video that follows the QuattroVelo.