Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cockpit Stiffener

A photo of the cockpit stiffener ribs being installed.  The stiffener is actually a "C" section part that is made in a mould, demoulded, trimmed, sanded and then bonded to the shell.  So far I have been using three layers of graphite for the rib and it is plenty stiff enough.  Just two layers may not be stiff enough as you can feel it give when you grap it to get in or out.   The addition of the stiffener has changed how I get in and out.  The procedure is now to stand on the seat use your arms to support some weight and slide into the seat.  Once sitting down just clip in and pedal off while latching the door in place.  There is plenty of room to do this with the door open and out of the way.  This is the only real practical way to get in with the central steering.  Before I would stand on the ground with my feet through the footholes and then sit down by doing a deep knee bend.  The advantage of this was that if you couldn't put weight on your arms you could still get in and out.  With the central steering  the handle bar is somewhat it the way so the new method is simpler.  I can be in and riding off in three or  four seconds if I clip in nicely.  Not quite as quick as an upright bike but lots quicker than most other velomobiles.  Another advantage of the new way is that I can now close off  one foothole and reduce the size of the other.  I can't see completely closing off both as you would lose the reverse gear.  It is sometimes still useful to be able to back up to squeeze through tight spots. 

I also checked the turning radius of the V3 the other day and can do a 180 turn in just slightly over four meters.  So a turn radius of 2 meters which is really excellent for a velomobile. 

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