I recently received my hood for the DF. Unfortunately I cannot ride at the moment but I tried the hood on my velomobile inside the house. The new hood has the Pinlock double lens visor that reduces fogging due to the temperature difference between inside the cockpit and the outside air. I brought the velomobile inside to make a few adjustments, modifications and maintenance before I start riding in a few weeks, maybe sooner if the weather cooperates. The hood fits well and I sat inside the velomobile with my helmet and I’m happy to report that I’m able to sit comfortably and turn my head with the helmet on. Now I will have to ride a bit to see if I can ride comfortably over long distances.
One of the things I would like to address with the DF is the front access hatch. Having to remove 10 screws to open the hatch is time consuming, tedious and one has to be careful of not losing the very small screws. In case of emergency, the hatch would also provide the recue squad access to detach my feet from the pedals. Since they are most probably not carrying a set of Allen keys, they would probably have to cut a hole in the velomobile. I would like to find an alternative that would use no tools to access or at most require a regular size straight blade screwdriver and take much less time to remove.
My concept would be to have tabs on the cover to slide under the shell to hold the cover and have a few ¼ turn fasteners to ensure it does not move. I have made a crude prototype using home made metal tabs. I think it would work but it should be designed as part of the cover.
You will remember that I mention the issue of North American people buying their velomobiles directly from the Netherlands. Today Randy informed me that Bluevelo will no longer import velomobiles from Velomobiel and ICB to the US. There are several reasons for this including the currency situation, the additional transportation and the willingness of the manufacturers to sell directly in North America. As a result, it no longer makes the operations viable. Bluevelo will continue to support users and import velomobiles for the Canadian market but those interested in buying a Dutch velomobile will have to order directly.
I am sad to report this news since Bluevelo has been providing great service to North American velonauts. It is also unfortunate that some people did not realize that their decisions to order directly and for the manufacturers to bypass their long time dealer in order to accommodate clients. This will have, in my opinion, long-term consequences on the velomobile market in North America. With no territory agreement, it will be hard for someone in North America to make a living off this business.
Trumps trike is showing the new F1 Coroplast velomobile that the company will offer this year. The pictures show impressive Coroplast design skills.
Allert provided a long update on the QuattroVelo on the Velomobiel Blog. He made several changes in the design of internal parts. At this point he is also designing small internal components. I think the Quattrovelo is probably one of the most complex velomobiles to be put into production, as a result, there is a steep learning curve and I expect it will be significantly more resource intensive to produce the new velomobile.
The first pre-production “everyday” wheel pants are now in use by a DF owner in Germany and he reports significant speed gain. There are some questions on the use of adhesive tape to hold the pants in place because the tape has to be removed to access the wheels to repair a flat tire. Would there be a better solution, some suggested screws and Velcro. My solution would be to use a few fasteners inside the wheel wells with built-in tabs on the inside at the top of the wheel pants to hold the pants secure against the side of the velomobile and have a similar bungee system to the ones used on the hood to secure the pants under the shell. To install the pants you would slip it under the wheel into the slot then push the pants up so the tabs go behind the fasteners then you pull the bungee fasteners and secure under the shell. The pants can be used with regular wheels but narrow dished-in wheels provide a better turning radius.
Daniel commented that a three-wheel with closed wheel arches is not in the cards; other manufacturers already offer them. The first production pants should be available in approximately 2 months and the price has been set at €525+VAT.
On Sunday February 7th at 3PM EST, the video podcast The Laidback Report will be dedicated to the world of velomobiles. Velomobile riders Josef Janning, Doug Davis, Lars Komm and myself will answer questions from host Gary Solomon to initiate interested people to the world of velomobiles. Viewers will have an opportunity to send in questions. Don’t worry if you missed the live podcast, you can catch the show on You Tube here.