Friday, April 29, 2011

New Rear Fender for V3

The first fender ended up being a bit too small.  I was tring to maximize the amount of storage space and guessed a little wrong when measuring.  The second fender had the same problem but it was almost just right.  While it just worked for my weight around 75 kg when we tried it with our 100 kg tester we had some rubbing on bumps and hard cornering.  I now have the third version installed and will test it this weekend.

If this one works out we will be building a new mould and constructing the fender in two halves.  The procedure will be to hand laminate each side then clamp the moulds together and finish laminating the join area.  I have given up trying to make this part by vacuum bagging or infusion as the extra cost is hard to justify.  Most of the extra cost is in the time required to make the part.  The additional effort would be justified if you needed to save 100 g or so.

Tried it out this weekend and it still needs a small change.  The wheel can still touch the fender but you have to corner hard.  I will put some fill on the pattern to add a bit more room inside the fender.  After taking the back end off the velo I can remove the fender, cut some of it way and relaminate this part of the fender on the changed pattern and then try it out again.

Discovery Ride

The local cycling advocacy group has started to host rides around the community.  This was the first time we did this and everyone enjoyed the experience.  It is pretty rare to see another recumbent  locally never mind a trike.  For a longer account of the ride go to
There were a couple of spots where I had to get out of the velombile and we lifted it over obstructions.  I would not normally have ridden through these two spots as there were more direct and more velo friendly choices that go to same places.  The difference being that you are now on busier streets.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Front Wheel Fairing

I have been working on making a fairing to close in the space around the front wheels. 

There is some masking tape along the edge of the fairing just so you have contrast between the black tire and the black carbon fairing.  There is now about a 3-5 mm gap in front of the front wheels.  This is a considerable improvement over before.  The big plus for these is that you could have separate sets of fairings if you run skinny tire or fat ones and still be very aero.  I am sure its a small improvement but they all count.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lid for Rain

Here's an early prototype of the lid to close off the head opening.  This would go a long way to making being caught in another spring shower more acceptable.  I could have the cover beside me in the velo and deploy it while riding.  This would be quicker to do rather than stopping to put on the Flevobike roof.  From the weather forecast I may be able to try it out tomorrow morning.  The lid was an experiment using a new material called Innegra that didn't quite work out as well as hoped. If it is a good solution I'll make another cover that matches the velo better.     

Speed and Weight

Mark brought his Borealis up to us to fit the V2 top to it.  The goal in doing this was to make the velo a bit speedier and lighter.  We built the new top in carbon and kevlar.  When we were done  we weighed his velo it was 72 pounds.  He had weighed it at the Sea Otter Gourment Velomobile Gathering and it was 81 pounds.  To be truely comparable to that wight he may still end up adding a pound or two for the battery and lights. We were quite successful in reducing the weight.  There is still more potential for weight reduction if we replace the bottom of the shell which is a glass laminate with one of carbon and kevlar.   I estimate that we could further reduce the weight by 3-5 pounds.  Mark has a custom QNT inside his Borealis with 451 rims and skinny tires. On smooth pavement this combination is quicker than the 406 Marathon Racers I use on mine.  The 451 rims fit with a bit of room to spare in the front wheel wells.  The mould for the composite wheel covers is just barely large enough for the covers to work on this size rim.  If we made up new wheel covers we could save another half a pound. 
Mark  has made some modications to go a bit faster.  He has added a pointed nose to the front that is bolted and taped in place so it can easily be added or removed.  The heel cutouts in the floor are partially closed off with a lexan sheet.  There is also a wind deflector to divert the airflow around your head.  On his previous top he also had a canopy that goes between the wind deflector and the bump behind your head that cleans up the airflow a bit more.  With this configuration he was the fastest velo in a roll down test at the Sea Otter Velomobile Gathering.  Mark and I changed the lexan sheet that partially closed off the heel cutouts to a carbon sheet.  He now has a very small cutout in the sheet his heels pass through when pedalling.  For the future this sheet could have a bump in it for your heels rather than the hole further improving the speed potential.  I would still keep the hole in the right side as this is handy to still have reverse. 

Mark and I did a couple of short tests with and without the new nose.  Mark needs to do some  controlled roll down tests before I am convinced that it is an improvement.  I was about the same speed with and without it on the section of highway that I normally ride home on.  With the V1 top, wind deflector and nose I was  29.5-30 mph while with the V2 top, wind deflctor and nose I was 31.5 mph.  Both Mark and I agree that the new top is faster.  I think most of the gain was from lowering the frontal area.  Cleaning up the airflow around your head is the single biggest speed improvement available.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Earth Day Event

A picture of the display at our local Earth Day Event.  Dave borrowed our demo for the event an I brought along my velomobile as they attact a fair bit of attention.  I rode mine up from the shop and managed to pick the only time that morning to get rained on.  When I started out it looked a bit grey but it wasn't raining.  Two kilometers down the road the sky opened up.  It looked like I was just on the edge of it so I just pressed on not that I could have put the roof on as I had left the it behind. A few hundred meters from the display it stopped.  Later in the day we were all hiding under the booth while it hailled for about ten minutes.  Only got wet around the shoulders but it cooled me off quite a bit.  Put on my sweater and jacket and it still took a couple of hours to warm up properly.  In this circumstance it would be good to have a small cover you could deploy while riding for the head opening in front of you.   I have a foam cover like this I used on the Aurora but its a bit bulky.  I may try a cloth cover as it would be really compact and light so you have it handy at all times. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Quickest Time to Work

Saturday morning I rode into work and made it in just over 18 minutes which I believe is the fastest yet.  Some years ago I did the same trip on my Vison recumbent in under 20 minutes.  Couple of things that worked out just right this time were that at three traffic lights I just breezed through at speed and one stop sign where I had to stop before is now a roundabout.  Mostly I ride a different route from this as traffic volume has increased making it a less pleasant ride than my alternative but early on a weekend there was almost no traffic.  I doubt that I will be able to equal this time again as hitting all the lights at speed may never happen.  The new GPS showed a top speed on on hill of over 80 kph. The Borealis V3 seems a bit faster here but I will have to take some runs with  the V2 to be sure.  I could be out a little with the bike computor on the V2 which could account for the difference.  The max elevation is 136m while the elevation loss was 175m with a elevation gain of  45m.   Too bad most of the elevation loss is right at the beginning otherwise I could coast most of the 10 km. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pacific Populaire

There were three velomobiles in the Pacific Populaire this year.  Aaron in his Quest, Brock in his Borealis V1 and myself in the Borealis V3.  This was the first longer ride for me in the V3.  Here's a picture of us waiting before the start.    
We ended up moving onto the sidewalk behind us as the 100 km Populaire started in the opposite direction from our start.   The whole roadway was filled with bikes and we would have been in the way.  We choose to do the 50 km route.  It ended up being a good choice for me as I haven't been riding all that much.  This way we had time for a leisurely lunch afterward. 

Once we were underway I got sucked into going a bit harder than I had intended.  A small bit of uphill at the  start and I couldn't resist not being dropped badly so I worked a bit much.  The beginning of the route is on side streets with quite a few stops and  traffic calming circles.  The traffic calming devices all seemed to have 6" high curbs around them which would  be uncool to hit as you round them at speed.  Probably not too hard to end up on your side or even roll the velo.  I was quite impressed with suspension on all three wheels as some of the road surfaces left a lot to be desired. Once this section was done we crossed the Fraser River and we were on the flats in Richmond.  I was familiar with the route now as its the same as the 100 km route which I have done before.  I was feeling good and just rode fairly hard to the control point.   I arrived a bit before Brock and some time before Aaron.  Brock took off almost right away as he wanted to see if he could better his time from last year.  Brock thought we were to first of the 50km riders to arrive at the control point.   I waited for Aaron and then we started back together.  Aaron and I did a coasting test at moderate speed and I coasted faster.  We should have coasted at the same speed but Aaron suspected he had  a mechanical issue with one of his wheels.   After lunch Aaron and Brock worked on the issue while I rode off down to MEC to buy myself a GPS.   The reason for buying the GPS was to campare velomobiles.  I now have a V1, V2 , V3, and a WAW to compare.   One conclusion from the ride was that the V3 is a bit faster than the V1 even though its 5 cm wider.  More on why this is in a future post.  Brock did better his time from last year but was passed by five riders on the uphill to the finish. Here's at photo of the V3 in the parking lot at the shop.