Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Second Thoughts on New Velo

I haven't done any more on the new velo just yet.  Some more thinking about how to proceed though.  Rather than build a one off velomobile from the plug I may just use the plug to create stations for a cedar strip velomobile.    The big advantage of using strips is that they tend to fair thenselves quite nicely.  This means you can get away with relatively few stations.   You would at a minimum need staions at the front and back of the front wheels, shoulders and the front and back ends.  One thing that would disappear is the two bumps for the knees and feet becoming just one ong bump.  It is tempting to just smooth out the front in one easy round shape but this makes the velo more suspectable to side winds.  The bumps actually help in cross winds by breaking up the airflow so you do not get pushed around as much.  It still happens but at higher speeds.

The primary reason to try this is out of curiosity to see what can be done. Cedar strip construction can be lighter than a fiberglass construction.  In some circumstances you can rival the performance of carbon fiber construction.  After all wood is a composite material that has been under development for millions of years.  Adding just a little glass and epoxy to both sides of the wood core adds some amazing properties with vey little weight gain.   I suspect that you could eliminate most of the wheel well structure commonly found in velomobiles and mount the front suspension struts to the shell.  You would still have to stiffen the shell in some areas to do this.   If it works out as well as I think it can I would consider offering plans or at least station patterns. 

This may well be a case to too many projects and not enough time.  What is most likely to happen is that I will work on the plug a bit more, stablize it with a layer of glass on the outside and then set it aside until I have time to come back to it. 


  1. It would be lovely to see a cedar strip velomobile flowing down a European road in 2013...

    If you make it, would you bring it?

  2. I like the way you are thinking.....

  3. I would be lovely to bring it to Europe. I fear that may not actually happen due to a lack of time. We used to make some very nice wooden white water kayaks paddles when we started out in the kayak business. The blades were faced with 2 oz kevlar, had a ureathane wear strip on the end of blade and the shaft was hollowed out somewhat to reduce weight. I was always impressed with how nice they feel in your hand and how tough they were. It took quite a few years for a composite paddle to get this nice. From my experience with this I believe a cedar strip velo would be quiter than a composite one and very comparable to a honeycomb cored one in stiffeness.