This week I had to take a bit of a rest but it does not mean I was idle. First I checked the velomobile because I noticed a thump - thumps noise/vibration coming from the rear end during my 200km brevet. I found the rear wheel was wobbly and needed attention. It took me a just a few minutes to remove the rear wheel; this is much faster than the first few times I had to do this. I guess I’m getting better at it now. I had to get my rear wheel trued at a bike shop since I’m not equipped to do this myself. My wheel was fixed but the mechanic informed me that the Kojak had also suffered; the cords under the rolling band had been ripped and as a result the tire could not roll smoothly. I installed a new Gran Prix instead, it will be my first opportunity to test that tire.
I also picked-up at the post office a large package from Dronten, inside I found a pair of pants for the DF as well as tape to hold them in place. Unfortunately I’m currently waiting for a pair of narrow wheels to use with the pants. The narrow wheels will make it possible to retain a reasonable turning radius. The Kojak 35-406 are too large to actually fit in the wheel pants so I will also have to install the Schwalbe One to ride with the pants, the roads are slowly improving so probably in another week or two I will be able to test this aerodynamic improvement.
One of the things, I have also done is to install a protector over the lip at the front of the hood just behind the visor. I felt that the lip could become a danger during a frontal collision as it could easily cut my face should I come in contact. I visited the local garage and came out with a protector used on machinery to protect the edges of sheet metal parts. The protector made of metal covered with a thick fabric fits perfectly. I had also considered getting the protectors used to protect the edge of motorcycle, ATV and snowmobile visors but the one I chose was in my opinion doing a better job in protecting me as it was larger and sturdier.
So with a hat, I mean hood and a pair of pants my DF is almost dressed, maybe what is missing is a cover for the tail?
The new DF-4 development is moving along. Daniel Fenn is building the new 4-wheel velomobile using the shell of 2 DF as the base. A picture posted on the German Forum shows two wheel wells at the back of the velomobile with the tail and turtledeck in the middle. I expect that the wheel well will eventually be inside the shell with a redesigned tail but we have no hint on the final look. We do know however that Daniel Fenn is taking a different approach for the rear end. The left wheel will receive all the power from the pedals and the right will receive the power from an optional e-assist motor. Stay tuned!
The number 2 Mulsanne velomobile has been unveiled this week. The latest is already showing some changes to the original design.
Katanga has made changes to the WAW design the improved model is named the WAW2016 and will finally offer a rear suspension as an option. Since the new rear dropouts are bolted to the shell, it appears that the new rear end could be retrofitted on earlier models.
New rear shocks
I received a message from René Voorhee who informs me that he has been testing a new oil shock built by velomobiel Apparently the new shock is providing a stiffer ride and reduced the pogoing effect that is characteristically associated with the original shock. On his Blog he reports on the performance and he appears to be happy with the initial results. Velomobiel is considering the use of the new shock for the QuattroVelo. This would apparently be in addition to the air suspension to act as a damper like in a car.
Rear shocks in velomobiles have been a weak spot in the design. No manufacturer has designed an air/oil shock specifically for velomobiles. Many people have experienced issues with the air/oil adapted to velomobiles. The Risse shocks have experienced a number of seal failures and as a result they will leak oil or air. The DT Swiss shock originally used by ICB was discontinued, a replacement was found but still ICB decided to introduce a home made traditional damper instead of an air/oil damper.
For us in North America the biggest test will be those rumble strips that can send velomobile flying out of control due the amplification of oscillations caused by the rumble strips.
The annual show is taking place this weekend. Over the next week or so we will have keep an eye for the latest news as reported by attendees. While I've seen some tidbits already, I will try to gather more information to report.