Thursday, May 12, 2016

Early May update

Early May update
Finally the weather is getting warmer, we have not had much rain either over the past couple of weeks but that could easily change.  I am very busy at the moment so I’m not posting as often.  Last week I rode in a 200km brevet, it was not my best result mostly because my friend’s Quest had rear wheel problems as we had to stop several times to try to fix the problem.  He had disassembled the rear swingarm and may have made a mistake when reassembling. 

I also had an issue accessing my smallest gear, there was one significant hill with a 14% incline and I would have appreciated accessing that gear.  While a bit slower, I was still able to climb the hill but with a bit more difficulty.  I performed a bit of maintenance to solve this issue and I can now access all gears. 

For those of you who have had problems adjusting for the Praxix 11-40 cassette or similar, I have come to the conclusion that chain length can be an issue but removing links may not address this.  To “fine tune” the chain length, you need to move the crank slightly, just a few millimeters and things will work normally.  In my case, chain stretch appeared to be the issue and by moving the crank about 3mm and everything worked.

I have also had problems with getting wheels that I can use with my new wheel pants so they have been sitting on the shelf.  I just placed an order with Ginko for a set of narrow wheels dished-in that should fit nicely in the wheel pants.  I had ordered a set from Bluevelo but unfortunately Randy was unable to complete the order.  I will have to wait a few more weeks for delivery from Europe.

This weekend I have a 300km brevet with a fair bit more climbing.  The route takes us into a fairly remote area so I need to be self-reliant.  The forecast calls for the possibility of showers, hopefully the weather will be cooperating.


There are a few good reports on SPEZI 2016, in particular Ligfiets and Wim Schermer provided interesting reports on the best things they observed at the show.


ICB was notably absent from Spezi this year, several people have made comments on-line on the situation.  I’m not sure of the reasons but the cost and time required to participate must be justified against increased sales.  In the case of ICB, their current products are fairly well known and they probably had little new products to show except for accessories like the Quest/Strada hood and the wheel pants.

Meanwhile Daniel has been busy building the prototype of the new DF-4 using his familiar Rapid Prototype method.  He started with two DF-XL velomobiles and cut them apart then he modifies the parts/panels to create the desired shape then fills any gap to connect the parts together.  Several people observed that this approach differs from the planned approach used by Allert for the development of the QuattroVelo.   I think that if you have a good idea in your head, you can produce a prototype faster and cheaper using rapid prototyping.

In April ICB delivered 10 velomobiles: 7 DF-XL and 3 DF.  Meanwhile in the same period 2 DF were ordered, the orderbook is getting thin, there were less than 20 velomobiles on order at the end of April.   Maybe the DF-4 will re-energize sales but one may ask if the lack of local sales in North America is affecting the number of velomobile sold.; currently there are no velomobile on order from North American customers.


Velomobiel put two QuattroVelo on display at Spezi.  One of the velomobile had a prototype of the integrated hood.  From 3rd party reports it appears that he booth was very busy.

In April, Velomobiel received 4 orders for velomobiles, all QuattroVelos.  In the same period Velomobiel delivered 5 velomobiles: 2 Carbon Quest; 1 Quest; ! Carbon Quest XS; and 1 Carbon Strada.


Raderwerk had the Milan 4.2 on display at Spezi.  Attendees report that the Milan 4.2 will be available in September.


Katanga presented the new WAW2016 with interchangeable nose and rear cones.  One new feature for the WAW is the use of an air shock on the rear wheel.  The design is certainly different from those of other velomobiles.  Another difference is the use of metal for the mechanical components holding the wheel at the rear.  Metal has advantages because it is easier to work with and costs less but there may be a weight penalty and it may not be as stiff as a composite swingarm.  The WAW’s rear wheel is held on both sides and this should somewhat compensate for the stiffness.  We will wait for reports from riders on these improvements.


  1. Hi Luc,

    Thanks for your informative posts again.

    Just how wide are the wheels you ordered? I would expext that tire width would be the limiting factor for using the pants. I'm looking forward to your evaluation of riding with pants.

    Best regards,

  2. Hi Henk:

    Here is a bit more info on the wheels I will be using the Kinlin Nb-R 406 mm 245 gr (Outer dimension: 18.7 mm
    Inner dimension: 12.8 mm). 32 hole rims and the Sturmey Archer Hubs 90 mm silver 32 hole. The rims will be dished-in 5mm to provide more room for turning.

    Lutz at Ginko has provided excellent service.

    I will report on the wheel pants and the wheels when I've had a chance to give them a good test.

  3. I am finalizing my WAW order as we type. I was the first sale of the 2016 WAW for velomobile media a rep for Katanga. I can report back on the ride when it arrives in a short 3 moths LOL.

  4. Carbon fiber wheels are lighter and stiffer. Your carbon fiber wheel spokes should be high tension, which allows you to accelerate quicker and maintain speed better.
    carbon fiber bicycle wheels

    1. Thank you for your comment Peter. You are right carbon fiber wheels can be lighter and stiffer but you would first have to find the right size rims (406-12.8); second, the hub is probably the heaviest part of the wheel and they are made of aluminum, there is no CF equivalent; third, the weigh difference between CF rim and spokes vs steel relative to the rest of the velomobile is almost negligible; fourth the cost of CF rims is generally much higher than regular wheels. As a result, Carbon wheels are a good choice for a regular road bike and high/mid/low racer recumbent bikes where you can use light hubs and the weight difference can make a significant difference but IMO if I could find the CF rims of the right size, the cost benefit of purchasing CF rims and spokes would not be worth it for a velomobile except in record attempts where every gram counts.

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  6. Replies
    1. Sorry for not posting, I should have put a note on the blog to inform readers. I've been very busy with home renovations since last April and the project is still going. I have not had time to ride let alone research and write entries. I hope that I will be able to get back into it maybe later in the spring.