Living with a velomobile

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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby Rhubarb » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:38 am

John Lewis wrote: My trike runs 13 to 120 GI via a SRAM dual drive and I have had occasion to use them all.


Wow - just re-read that. 13 GI sounds like the specs of a winch not a drivetrain. On a bike you'd probably just wheelie and flip, but I guess on a trike or velo with low centre of gravity it would be ok.

The hills on my commute are steep in parts (15-20%) but not all that long (max 60m vertical altitude) and of course not that steep all the way. When I first started riding them I struggled a bit with 39-25 lowest (41 GI) but soon got some strength and fitness and no problems now. The hills are at the end of my 18km commute home which never helps when you're mentally tired from work too.

Did the guys from ROAM have a front cog lower than 30 on their triples? I know Harry Lieben ran a 11-32 cassette on his mango but may have also swapped out the final drive cog from 26 to 22 on those days were they did a lot of climbing. I assume that would mean shortening the rear chain etc too.

I am hoping I will be able to get by on an 11-28 cassette which actually still has fairly close ratios until the 28 tooth cog (jumps up from 24). The drop from 39 to 30 on the front cog is a reduction of 23%. The mango will take my gross mass from around 85 to 105 kgs so an increase of 24%. Going from a max of 25 to 28 on the rear is a further reduction of 11%. I'm hoping this will more than compensate for the increase in mass. Nitramluap has a lowest gear of 30-25 so I'm going to arrange a few more rides with him before I decide. I'll get him to ride my commute hills as I want to confirm the 90mm drums are up to it too.

If only Sinnerbikes were easier to communicate with hey :)
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by BNA » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:31 pm

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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby John Lewis » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:31 pm

Hi rhubarb,
12GI is crawler gear all right.
Paul told me what his gearing was but he's not 70 years old. We have a few 20% or so grades here. Most are good and if you got a run up in a velo I think you'd have no trouble. Nice rollers. Trouble is some goon in a car always gets in the way and stops you at the bottom and then its grind all the way.

Once I get the machine I should be able to experiment. It will be easier to fit a say 11-25 to try with a deraileur suitable for 32 than the other way round I suspect.

Emailed Sinner again today Its now 2.27 pm over there but no response yet.

John
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby Rhubarb » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:48 am

@John,

Ok - that makes sense then.

I hear you with your hill frustration. I have intersections & stop signs at the bottom of my 2 big ones, so can't just fly down em.

Harry Leiben on ROAM talking about his Mango with 11-32 and smaller mid drive gear:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... LOrb1K1UOw

He's late 40's I think. I'm 43 but planning to keep the Mango for a long while and the legs are ok now but will obviously decline in strength from here. I also have a lot of hills around me (I live in Brookfield on the outskirts of Brisbane) and the country side is very beautiful so I think it would be fun to climb up then fly back down some of the long windy roads / hills (200m elevation over 20kms). Haven Rd has a section for about 200m (AT) nearly 30% so I'll give that one a miss :)

I have never actually gotten a response from their nominated email address, ie [email protected] , but I did manage to get a response via their [email protected] address. This was suggested on their facebook site to another customer that was frustrated at the lack of email response. We are not alone !!! Paul assures me its all worth it though.
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby John Lewis » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:57 pm

Thanks for posting that link. Don't think I'd seen that one.
Yes The gmail address is the only one I got a response on but only after repeated emails.
Paul suggested joining Facebook and posting on their wall but I'd rather not do that.

I think the problem with age might be getting in and out of the velo. Having to camber over the side might become a bit difficultas the body stiffens up. I've decided that if it gets to a point where I need it I'll follow John Tetz's lead with a small motor. Very little extra weight but it makes the difference. Hope that won't be for a few years yet though.
http://www.recumbents.com/mars/tetz/E-Assist.htm

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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby Rhubarb » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:32 am

Interesting link. LFGG do a factory option e-assist with about 250W that cuts out at about 25km/h but its 2500 euros.

I personally would prefer to keep it simple, go with lower ratios for now and then maybe add the small motor later, which sounds like what you're doing.
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby Rhubarb » Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:56 pm

John,

Just noticed Sinner Bikes have updated their facebook page with some pictures of a new Mango Sport Red Edition with an extra light bracket mounted on the right hand side, implying its for a left hand drive country.

Could this be yours John ????

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sinner-Li ... 8653667661
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby Rhubarb » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:05 pm

I met up with Nitramluap last Saturday night to see his lights at night etc. He actually rode my commute route back home which was very good of him.

Bottom line is that all my concerns regarding gearing, lights, safety and brakes for suitability on my route have been resolved. I am definitely getting one !!!!

Thought the standard lights weren't good enough - wrong, although I will order the dual headlight setup.
Thought the gearing might struggle up my hills - wrong. Nitramluap managed reasonably easily and he has a 12-25 cassette. I will still order a 11-28 just to be safe though.
Bit worried about the drum brakes coming down some of my hills - wrong. They pulled him up very quickly before having a chance to overheat.
The safety I'm very happy with too. Very visible at night etc and won't cause me any problems on my route.

Now just to pay the home loan off first .... only a couple more months ....
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby nitramluap » Fri Nov 18, 2011 7:45 am

Now I know who 'Rhubarb' is :)

I have been in touch with Harry Lieben recently as I ordered a carbon fibre racing hood a few months ago and hadn't really heard much from http://www.sinnerbikes.com (so don't worry, you're not the only ones!).

It turns out that it is heading this way soon and Harry also told me that there is some 'fruit' (as he calls the Mangos) heading downunder imminently. I'm not sure how many Mangos are heading this way but there is at least one and I suspect it is the Mango seen in the photos on their site.

As for velomobiles and failing the 'daily use test' that is really nonsense. I find that my journey is faster (on average) in the Mango but if it is an essentially flat route it is definitely faster. I can comfortably cruise at about 40km/h indefinitely whereas on a road bike (on the drops) I can cruise at about 33k/h indefinitely (no drafting at all, solo riding) for the same effort.

The only time it ever gets hot is when it is a hot & humid day and I'm stationary for a few minutes (something which you'll find you won't be very often :)). Otherwise the airflow from the foot holes is more than adequate. In the summer sun the flevo roof and the body of the Mango keep the sun off your head/upper body and legs respectively and this makes an enormous difference to how cool you feel. The thermal heating from the summer sun is considerable. I recently did the Brisbane to Gold Coast ride and rode home afterwards (90km) and it was a hot day. The flevo roof kept the sun off me and I was comfortable the whole way home. I went slower and my average speed was still 30km/h.

I made a little video of the ride:



If it is raining and I use the foam cover it cuts down the airflow considerably but to avoid steaming up I just slow down a bit. You still get some airflow but it is reduced but not to 'nothing'.

No matter what the weather your gear stays dry and you don't have to have any special panniers to store your things - standard bags, etc are sufficient provided they don't have sharp edges that might push on the bodywork.

Sure they are heavier, but not by much and once you've accelerated to 25km/h the aerodynamic advantage is noticeable and you'll just keep accelerating! My 'usual' bike is 20kg and by the time I add myself and panniers with gear I'm not much lighter than the velomobile. Like any 'different' bike you'll work out what is the best way to conserve energy. I don't race up to red lights... I try and time it so that I don't have to come to a standstill. When the lights go green I will often accelerate smoothly to get to cruising speed. Most other riders are busy trying to clip in to their pedals so even if they don't try very hard I'm ahead of them! ;)

One area where having a slightly heavier bike with great aerodynamics makes a HUGE difference is with attacking hills and rolling hills. You can hit them faster and the weight and aerodynamics allow you to power up a lot further than other bikes.

The Mango's shell is indeed thin in most areas but the seam and the central structural areas are very strong and made from light carbon fibre (between the front wheels). I chose fibreglass rather than carbon fibre as I can get a boat repairer to fix any damage. So far, after a year of ownership, I don't even have a scratch on it. It's not hard to avoid hitting things...

While the Mango does have some bespoke parts, all of the components that will show any sort of wear are standard bicycle parts. After almost 5000km of riding my chain is as good as new and super clean.

One thing I do do is carry (in my left hand Radical Design velomobile pannier) a range of things that will allow me to deal with any mechanical issue in the Mango - you can't 'phone a friend' in this bike. I have the following items: spare tyre (folding Marathon Racer), two spare tubes, puncture repair kit, adhesive patches, multitool with chain breaker & tyre levels, pump, spokes (front & rear), zip ties, gloves, hand wipes, first aid kit, microtowel.

So far I've only had one puncture (rear) from a piece of wire which was easy to detect & repair.

I'm happy to field any questions if anyone has any!

Cheers,

Paul
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby John Lewis » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:48 pm

Hi rhubarb,
Well I know mine is soon to be finished. I was told by Harry it was on the way but he was in error and some other lucky fellow in OZ will have his before me. Don't know if its a Sport RE though. Mine is at the main body stage according to Arjen so only a week or three I suspect.
They wouldn't or couldn't do the 26 or 28 small ring I requested. Don't know about the cluster. I asked for an 11-32. Will probably be happy with 11-28 anyway.

I have an 11-28 and a 52-42-30 on my LWB with 26" rear wheel. I've loaded that up to simulate the velo and I can just manage it.

Pleased to hear your comments on the lights, brakes, gearing etc.

Nitramluap, I neglected to tell you I also ordered the racing hood. It was 25% off if ordered with the Mango. I read on the German forum I think that the hood with the visor cracked open 40mm or so gave as much air flow and cooling as the roof. We'll see I guess.

This link has some info that may interest but not the one mentioned above.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/ ... BL58Qi8clg

This one shows a mod to the foam cover. You need to go to the original German if you want more than thumbnails.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/ ... 8mts_0Xtcw

John
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby nitramluap » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:10 pm

Excellent news, John, and good idea about ordering the hood given the discount.

I suspect it will be fine, even in summer - and I shall be testing mine in the middle of the day here and will report back. Harry assures me that I'll have it before Christmas. The most important aspect to keeping the heat down is to keep the direct sunlight off my body which that hood will do quite well. As long as you're moving and the airflow is sufficient I think it will be fine even on the hottest of days. Stopping for long periods will be unpleasant though!

My only concern is visibility in that I only have one mirror on the right. It may be better to have bilateral mirror when using the racing hood but again, I'm not sure. I should be able to form an opinion in due course.

As for gearing... why not just have a spare sprocket for the other side of the mid-drive? Surely that will allow you to change your gear range on a whim without worrying about cassette-derailluer compatibility issues and shifting adjustments.

For example, the standard setup on the mid-drive is to have the 12-25 on one side and a 26T sprocket on the other side. This 26T sprocket connects with the rear wheels 18T sprocket via the secondary chain. The sprocket is attached with hex bolts and if changed, would also require a chain length adjustment - no big deal though.

For my 26T->18T final drive I have a gear range of 33.3 to 120.4 gear-inches. If I were to change the mid-drive sprocket to an 18T this would effectively make my gear range 23 to 83 gear inches. If I were doing a tour with lots of hill climbing I might take this approach.

This approach would mean that ALL your gears will be adjusted up or down but it would be an easier way to change your gearing with minimal fuss.

Anyway... just a thought :)

Cheers,

Paul
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby bradwoodbr » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:33 pm

Rhubarb wrote:Thought the gearing might struggle up my hills - wrong. Nitramluap managed reasonably easily and he has a 12-25 cassette. I will still order a 11-28 just to be safe though.


:idea: To get an even better idea of the gearing that would suit you, add enough luggage etc to your current bike/trike to match the weight of the velo and go riding.
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby Aushiker » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:19 pm

John Lewis wrote:Hi rhubarb,
Well I know mine is soon to be finished. I was told by Harry it was on the way but he was in error and some other lucky fellow in OZ will have his before me. Don't know if its a Sport RE though. Mine is at the main body stage according to Arjen so only a week or three I suspect.


Which one did you order John? I didn't realise they had cheaper models. Not sure if that is a good thing or not :)

Which model would people go for commuting up to 50 km each way into strong headwinds in the summer (read 40 + km/h). Will need to carry clothes etc to work about once a fortnight. Not that interested in touring or pulling a trailer with it but maybe that wouldn't be a bad idea and I could sell the Surly and Kinesis and try and justify this :).

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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby bradwoodbr » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:33 pm

nitramluap wrote:I made a little video of the ride:


Awesome Paul - a brilliant video! Really enjoyed it! :D :D
Seeing other cyclists around you gives a much clearer idea of your speed up hills, on the flats and down hills.

Looking at rider view is great! What do you eat and drink as I thought you looked like blowing up at one stage?
My favourite bit is the overtake of a 50+ line of cyclists at about the 16m 30s point.

Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby John Lewis » Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:36 pm

nitramluap - Yes Paul I've already thought of changing the mid drive sprockets and ordered the 22, 26 and 30. I think it comes with 28. That will allow me to tailor things a bit.

bradwoodbr - All of Paul's Velo vids are great. I have watched them all.
With regard to loading up that is exactly what I did. Trike, dog and trailer over 50kg and then worked out which gear would be the velo's low. I could have gone with a SRAM dual drive option but my experience with them on the trike is they fail without warning. I have had to rebuild several. On the trike I have a low round 13GI and a high of 120 GI and find I use them all. I won't have that on the velo but we will see how it goes.

Aushiker - Andrew, I have chosen the Mango Sport RE that is the same one as Paul's.
They have a straight sport edition and a tour as I recall. The tour has a 120 litre luggage capacity to the sports 70 or so.
In terms of what is going to work for your commute into the Fremantle Doctor Paul will have more idea as he is already piloting one. I think piloting is the right word because its like a glider cockpit. :)

John
Last edited by John Lewis on Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby jet-ski » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:55 pm

Nitralump - that video is awesome, I reckon a great mango promo!
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby John Lewis » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:09 pm

I like Paul's walk through video too. Gives you a good idea of the machine.



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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby Baalzamon » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:14 pm

Hopefully you have yours when I'm down john
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby Rhubarb » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:17 am

John Lewis wrote:This link has some info that may interest but not the one mentioned above.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/ ... BL58Qi8clg

This one shows a mod to the foam cover. You need to go to the original German if you want more than thumbnails.

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/ ... 8mts_0Xtcw

John


John,

Those links are brilliant thank you. Reading the translated German makes me feel giddy at times but I get the jist of most of them.

I assume you saw the thread about problems with the dual drive. Sounds like your experiences are not unique.
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby nitramluap » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:02 am

John

Excellent links, particularly the summary of the racing hood. I'm feeling even more confident now that I'll be just fine riding with it. The only remaining concern is that it removes the 'human' from the vehicle somewhat and it might be a little more threatening to people on shared paths if they can't see my face & smile. We shall see!

Good plan with the mid-drive sprockets. I reckon this is the easiest way to find the 'sweet spot' for your neck of the woods. The standard setup is a 26T to 18T for the final drive.

Aushiker

On average you'll be faster in the velomobile, even if you have hills on your journey as you'll quickly make up any lost time on the downhills. The only 'hard' part is having to stop & go at traffic lights but, as I said earlier, I time my riding so that I'm more efficient in conserving energy (it makes me more efficient overall). On the flat I comfortably cruise at 40km/h with no headwind. We had a really stiff headwind the other day and, for the same effort, my comfortable cruising speed was about 34km/h - it doesn't slow you down as much as you'd expect. Heavy crosswinds will bump you around a bit but it is easy to maintain a line.

My sustained power output is about 180W (which I can maintain for hours) and when I plug this into David Hembrow's modified bicycle speed & power calculator (with Velomobile figures) it is surprisingly accurate. If you punch in a 40km/h headwind with the same figures, you're still cruising at 25km/h which is not bad considering the DF riders will probably be stationary!

There is plenty of luggage capacity in even the 'sport' variants (70 litre) and with the two Radical Design panniers by my side I can carry all I need. I have a nice 2XU triathlon bag that is perfect for behind the seat - it is long and thin.

Many Mangos have had trailer hitches added - David Hembrow's Mango has one too - so if you ever need to tow a trailer it can be done. You can also mount the trailer bolt on the underside so that it doesn't visually detract from the Mangos smooth lines.

bradwoodbr

For the ride to the Gold Coast I was carrying a 3 litre camelback, two 750ml bidons and two 750ml bottles of Gatorade. I also had dried fruit, snakes, biscuits and sandwiches in the bag (which stayed cool the whole way down). I didn't need to stop at all. I was also carrying the Flevo-roof beside the seat for the return journey. I removed the two supporting rods from the roof and laid them on the velomobile's floor and folded the roof and poked it up and above the rear wheel well. It was well out of the way.

The overtaking of those cyclists shows how, on smooth bitumen on the level, you can easily cruise faster than an upright bike. Once you get a feel for your acceleration, etc. it is a hell of a lot of fun! For that ride I had a Marathon Racer on the rear (you want a pretty sturdy puncture proof tyre back there - I'm going to change it for a Marathon Plus soon) and Kojaks up front.

Thanks to others for the comments about the videos. I'm going on a big ride to Mt Tamborine and back (via Coomera) tomorrow morning and will be filming the ride. There is a bit of a hill climb in the middle so I'll report back with my results. If you don't hear from me I've run out of steam somewhere on the range! :)

Cheers,

Paul
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby Aushiker » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:58 am

Thanks Paul Much appreciated. I may have missed this on the video, but is the power via battery only or can a dynamo be fitted?

These are sooo coool :) Where is my lotto ticket :)

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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby nitramluap » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:06 am

Aushiker wrote:Thanks Paul Much appreciated. I may have missed this on the video, but is the power via battery only or can a dynamo be fitted?

These are sooo coool :) Where is my lotto ticket :)

Andrew


You can have a dynamo fitted but obviously you'll have to have disc brakes instead. This was the setup that Harry Lieben had on his ROAM tour of the USA recently. He had a SON Hub Dynamo on the left wheel and a normal hub on the right with bilateral cable operated disc brakes.

He still had a battery pack but the setup allowed him to top it up so that he didn't need to recharge it at night at the campsites. He could then use the battery to charge his cameras, Garmin & iPhone all via the USB ports. David Hembrow has a small, flexible solar panel on the 'bonnet' to charge his battery pack while he's at work.

The battery pack that comes with the Mango is tiny - only 5x C cell sized batteries wrapped in heat shrink. It weighs next to nothing. For touring where you might be away from power the hub dynamo would be a good option but otherwise I'd just carry a spare battery pack if you do long rides infrequently (this is what I do - I have a spare).

Cheers,

Paul

EDIT: Sinner also has a way to be able to easily swap the Drum Brake hubs with Disc Brake hubs with minimal fuss. So you could have a set of 'touring' wheels (hub dynamo & discs) and a set of 'everyday' wheels (drum brakes, no dynamo) if you were *really* keen! :) More importantly it means that if you get the drum brakes and you feel that you need discs with a dynamo down the track, it is an easy swap.
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby John Lewis » Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:44 pm

Baalzamon wrote:Hopefully you have yours when I'm down john


Fingers crossed Stuart.
Hope you will also have your new bent up and running too.

Paul- That was an interesting bit of information that it is pretty easy to swap out the drum for the disk brake. Clever guys over there at LigfietsGarage.

John
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby Baalzamon » Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:45 pm

My bent still hasn't shipped yet either, going to be ordering some wheel bits to lace up new wheelset..
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby nitramluap » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:13 pm

I shall be doing this ride (180km) tomorrow morning... quite looking forward to it. I'm meeting up with a friend in Canungra for breakfast and then will continue on towards Coomera and then home.

I will have two GoPro cameras filming and will upload something in the coming weeks. My new GoPro HD Hero 2 camera arrived on Friday so this will be a nice test run for it.

When Rhubarb gets his Mango we can do some proper touring! :D

Cheers,

Paul
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Re: Living with a velomobile

Postby Rhubarb » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:07 am

Nitramluap - enjoy your ride !!! I am very jealous and yes the wait is killing me.

I will definitely be in for some of these rides in the future.

In the meantime, I look forward to another magic video :)
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