SPEZI report part 1 - velomobiles

An image-intensive look at, and inside, some of the weatherproof, streamlined velomobiles on show at the recent event in Germany...

Posted by Peter Eland on Thursday 14 May 2009

Apologies for the rather belated appearance of this report (and subsequent sections). 'Losing' (temporarily thankfully) my dictation machine with all my notes from the show didn't help, nor did having to organise the pending office move, which is happening in a bit of a hurry so as to be up and running in the new place before next issue's deadline and mailing. Future installments will follow... and as ever there'll be much more in the next magazine, out in June. Subscribe so you don't miss it! Anyway, on with the report!

First up is the 'Duoquest' from velomobiel.nl, which attracted much attention at the show. A side-by-side version of the popular Quest velomobile, it is unfortunately a one-off, at least for now. Ymte Sijbrandij, who had brought it to the show, told me that it was a LOT of work to make, much more so than two solo Quests, so they were gauging levels of interest before seriously considering producing it. Overall width is 1.27m and the two riders have independent drivetrains:
Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

And a quick look inside the cockpit:
Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

Next up is the Wildcat from Leitra in Denmark. Weighing just 3 kg and priced at 1000 Euros, it's designed to fit a number of standard recumbent trikes. Carl-Georg Rasmussen of Leitra makes the point that with the latest affordable recumbent trikes from the Far East starting at under 1500 Euros (see e.g. G Force Bikes, also at the show) you can effectively have a velomobile for 2500 Euros...
Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

German distributors Icletta were exhibiting the Inspired Cycle Engineering Borealis velomobile, this one decked out in a custom white paintjob for them. Kirk Seifert of Icletta (pictured) has also put together his own SPEZI report on their newly-revamped Icletta website:
Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

Also on the Icletta stand was another prototype of the ICE front suspension system, which should be retro-fittable to many more recent ICE models, and which could be usefully combined with the Borealis fairing. Suspension is helpful on velomobiles for enhanced control at speed, and also because it's often not as easy to see approaching bumps:
Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

Also looking smart in white was the Sunrider. One of their vehicles is currently travelling Paris to Dakar 'no oil':
Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

The Alleweder is one of the oldest names in velomobiles, and production of the original aluminium model continues (it's also available as a kit for self-assembly). There's also now an 'Alleweder 5' model specifically designed for shorter riders. And this model, the Alleweder 6, combines glass fibre and aluminium. The company behind it is now rebranded Akkurad which, literally translated, means 'rechargeable battery bike' - reflecting the increasing popularity of electric assist on velomobiles. They also offer their assist system separately - it's one of the few which allow the motor to take advantage of your bike's gearing, by driving the chain rather than a wheel. But this particular machine does rather look as if it has a motor in the back wheel:
Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

The Versatile from Flevobike is now assembled and sold by Netherlands specialist dealers Ligfietsshop Tempelman:
Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

And a look inside:
Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

Finally to the Velayo, a very different design which I saw for the first time at this year's show:
Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

Designer Marcus von der Wehl explained that the main aims of the design were speed combined with being noticeable in traffic. The choice of rear steering was apparently for several reasons: it allows a reduction in frontal area, as front wheel supports are much simplified, and there's no derailleur hanging down at the back. No chain pulleys are needed, so friction is reduced, and a standard length chain is employed rather than four chains-worth which would be required for rear drive. Only the left-hand wheel is driven:

Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

The rear steering uses an interesting linkage mechanism to get around the instability (especially at speed) which typically plagues rear steer vehicles:

Photo copyright Peter Eland/Velo Vision

Marcus says that the Velayo is intrinsically stable at any speed. I took it for a ride, and it certainly was stable and easy to control - rather a large turning circle, but you can drop your feet through the floor for 'reverse gear' to make multi-point turns! The first batch of 20 should be available from May/June this year, priced at 5540 Euros.

All for now! Many apologies to all of the velomobiles which were at the show but which aren't featured here - I've only featured the ones I had a useable pictures for! Some also feature in our previous SPEZI video report.


Posted by RobH (rob@wrhpv.com) on Thursday 14 May 2009
Pete,
What is the black oval between the headrests of Duo-Quest? I can't make out from the photo whether it is perhaps a PV panel or just a hatch to a luggage area...
Rob

 
Posted by Peter (at VV) on Thursday 14 May 2009
Just a luggage hatch according to the high-res image. Though it's tempting to think it would be a nice space for a child seat :-)

 
Posted by PaulM (@Home) on Thursday 14 May 2009
I like the look of the Velayo. I would imagine feeling safe when driving(?) it. Indicating by hand looks to be easy, and the space frame looks protective. Will wait to hear how it rides with the single front-drive wheel. I can't remember whether the pedal car I had as a 3 yr old had one wheel driven or two. My mum said I drove it like Stirling Moss!

 
Posted by David Hembrow (david@hembrow.eu) on Sunday 17 May 2009
The hole in the back of the DuoQuest ? Well going by this video there is enough room for at least one child: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc6b94NdS6s

 

 
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