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 Post subject: Any WW's velomobile?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:30 pm 
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Just curious if there are any WW's that own a velomobile or have test driven/ridden one? I know they are more popular in Europe than they are here in the states. I have been thinking about getting one as they look like fun and would be a good way to commute to work. Just not sure how practical it is on a day in day out basis. Any experience?

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 Post subject: Any WW's velomobile?
Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:30 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: Any WW's velomobile?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:02 pm 
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I don't own one. But I am a fan. I first came across them when a group rolled through Fairfax, Virginia on a cross-country (USA) trip to demonstrate the viability of human powered transportation. I see a few nearly every day here in the Netherlands. They tend to blow by me at twice my speed during my daily commute to work. They are fast, efficient, keep you warm and dry on nasty days, have room for some cargo, and give most of the same benefits of riding a bike. I know among the traditional bike crowd they are dorky, but as a commuting tool I'm not sure they can be beat. I am seriously considering buying one.

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 Post subject: Re: Any WW's velomobile?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:13 pm 
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xnavalav8r, I agree. I am also seriously considering buying one. I haven't had a chance to see one in person, but watching a few Youtube clips it is amazing how fast and efficient they are compared to a upright bike. Obviously most of that is lost going up hills. But wow, those things can cruise on flat ground.

Looking online, it seems $8-9k is the price for one of these. Obviously that depends on options and bells and whistles. Interesting that you can also get a small battery installed and use that for getting up those though hills on your way to work or home. I'm very tempted....


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 Post subject: Re: Any WW's velomobile?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:00 am 
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There is currently one for sale on ebay... US$3500.00 I think. It has some minor damage that could be easily repaired.

Even with all the bells and whistles, this is an inexpensive alternative to a car for many people. I'm not going to suggest going carless. I never will. But for daily commuting to work and running local errands, this is a really great alternative to owning two cars as many (most?) families do these days. Save the car for road trips.

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 Post subject: Re: Any WW's velomobile?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:28 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:25 pm
Posts: 476
Who Is this weenie?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBXluDSj1jk

I've got one in the neighbourhood who regularly takes my 2hr training loop, always fun racing that guy. These things are seriously fast on straight roads. I'll have to ask him if I can have a go one day, as I want to experience what it's like riding one.

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 Post subject: Re: Any WW's velomobile?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:53 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Greetings, folks!

I'm not quite a weight-weenie, but I do own and ride daily a recumbent trike/velomobile.

"... not sure how practical it is on a day in day out basis. Any experience?"

Lots! And, in general, a well-maintained velomobile is quite practical on a day-in/day-out basis. I use mine for commuting 6 miles to work twice daily in all weather comfortably. In the winter, in below-freezing temperatures, I can still ride warm with just jeans and a light sweater/pullover (cabin fills with body heat after a few minutes).

When not commuting, it's large cargo box behind the seat handles a week's groceries with no problem, or lots of beer, cola, chips, and rum for the weekend beach cook-out.

And when not doing either of those jobs, it's great fun for going fast! Top speed on flat-ground is currently limited to 46 kph (28 mph), but that's only because I'm running a low-toothed front cog (42 if I recall). I have colleagues that regularly cruise at that speed, when they want to go fast, settling into the mid- to upper-60's on average on the flats.

Typically, a fit velomobile rider can save anywhere from 25-30% energy at the same cruising speeds as an upright "wedgie" rider - thanks to the reclined position and aerodynamic shell. And because I can cruise at a higher speed with less energy, I don't sweat so much (if at all) on the commute, which makes my colleagues happy! :D

My ride:
2011 Steintrike Nomad with 2012 Leitra Wildcat nose fairing and Novosport tailbox. Bought the trike as a framekit, bought the tailbox second-hand, and since the Leitra velomobile builder is nearby, he walked me through the steps in making the glassfiber nose fairing myself.

Pics of production and finished ride: https://plus.google.com/photos/103124336912395863201/albums/5596262171240327505

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 Post subject: Re: Any WW's velomobile?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:00 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:44 am
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Location: Canada
You should meet Jure Berk (WW member Berk here)!!!

YOu could start building some serious WW velomobiles :D !!!

Louis :)


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 Post subject: Re: Any WW's velomobile?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:53 pm
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Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
LouisN wrote:
You should meet Jure Berk (WW member Berk here)!!!

YOu could start building some serious WW velomobiles :D !!!

Louis :)


Only if he moved to Denmark! :) I like to say I 'escaped' the U.S. in 2000 when it got too crazy over there (my half-Canadian sensibilities kicked in), and have no plans to return. Even my own mother, who lives in Colorado, tells me to stay in Europe where it's generally saner. :D

But to get back on track of the thread: I'd love to work with someone on a couple of designs - really just missing a proper space for a workshop to develop more modern, fast, and light "pedalcars".

Bear in mind that Velomobiles are not for the faint-weight-weenie-at-heart. Most of the dozen or so "professionally" made models in Europe still tip the scales around 70-80 lbs (35 kgs), with only a few of the high-end racers/tourers (the Milan, WAW, Carbon Quest, for example) getting below 55-60 lbs (25-30 kgs) through heavy use of carbon-fiber or carbon-kevlar body materials.

That said, the weight only becomes an issue on starts from a standstill, or hill climbing. Once you get moving above 15 mph (25 kph) the aerodynamics kick-in and weight becomes your friend in the form of momentum and low center of gravity.

And as mentioned before, there are a variety of electric motors available for starts and hills that make the daily commute even more practical. Personally I don't need a motor yet (still a young 45), so I've developed good spin technique for the hills and learn my city's red-light intersection timing to optimize my rides through the streets. The former technique makes me a little slower uphill, but less stress on the knees. The later keeps my average speed high.

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Support for recumbents at Copenhagen Bicycles http://copenhagenbicycles.dk
Tour guide at Recumbent Adventure! http://recumbent.greenvalues.net (work-in-progress)


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 Post subject: Re: Any WW's velomobile?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:46 am 
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There is no better time to design your own velomobile than now, with carbon and CFD more accesible than ever. I don't care what everybody says, but Velomobiles are COOL~!

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 Post subject: Re: Any WW's velomobile?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:53 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
A little addendum to practicality: Velomobiles do have a turning radius issue. Usually the faster it can go the less turning radius it offers.

For example the Danish Leitra has arguably the tightest turning radius at 2 meters (6 feet-ish) due to it's short wheelbase, but that's by design because it's not a racer but an all-weather city-cycle with lots of cargo carrying capacity for children and groceries. At the other end of the scale is the Belgium WAW and Dutch Quest which have about 11 meters (36 feet) of turning radius. Then again, these later rides are meant for high speed and long distance touring.

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So for those considering velomobiles, you need to balance your need-for-speed, weight-weenie desires, and cargo needs.

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Volunteer Aide at the Bicycle Innovation Lab http://www.bicycleinnovationlab.dk/
Support for recumbents at Copenhagen Bicycles http://copenhagenbicycles.dk
Tour guide at Recumbent Adventure! http://recumbent.greenvalues.net (work-in-progress)


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 Post subject: Re: Any WW's velomobile?
Posted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:23 am 


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