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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....
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.
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.
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!
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
LouisN wrote:You should meet Jure Berk (WW member Berk here)!!!
YOu could start building some serious WW velomobiles !!!
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.
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.
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.
So for those considering velomobiles, you need to balance your need-for-speed, weight-weenie desires, and cargo needs.