Aerodynamics – Velomobile

Cycling is a sport with a lot of different domains, it is a very wide sports branch.
Wether you’d like to race a bike, go offroad, do tricks, jump, for each branch there is a specific bicycle developed. One of the more special bikes is the recumbent bike or Velomobile.
It is a totally different concept if you look to the general picture of a bike. The main concept however is the same, drive a drivetrain with human power.

tu delft velomobile

A few years ago the university of TU Delft, well known for their aerodynamical knowledge, started developing their own velomobile in trying to beat the world recordholder in having the fastest velomobile around. The main advantages of the velomobile is the speed increase you can gain from his aerodynamic position low to the ground.

Due to this factor much higher speeds can be gained with less human power as it would be with a normal race bike. It is no coincidence that the velomobile is based upon the geometry of a water drop which still has the lowest drag coefficient. For three years they’ve tried to beat the world record which they eventually did. They reached a topspeed of 133.78 km/h taken into account that the rider was a pro-athlete. Nevertheless this shows the speed possibilities of this strange vehicle.

In my opinion it is a great solution for people who want to go tot heir job by bike. Most of the time the distance that needs to be travelled are slightly too large for most of the people and it would take too much time. With the velomobile normal speeds of 40 km/h can be achieved easily which make it much more attractive.

This is not the only reason why it should be a good solution, another reason is being waterproof. One of the main reasons why people won’t go to work by bike is due to bad weather conditions. With the velomobile you won’t get wet!

Another reason is the position of the rider on the bike. Most of the riders of a velomobile say it is comfortable position which removes the annoying saddle pain.

On the other hand I am realistic, this is not the kind of bike you should use in an urban environment.
But on the other hand when you can ride to your work in an countryside region, along a canal for example, you can reach much furter distances in much less time.

What do you think of this transportation vehicle?

Url: http://www.ligfiets.net/news/4533/wereldrecord-voor-human-power-team-delft-en-amsterdam.html

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve seen these kind of vehicles a few times and they always amaze me in maneuverability and speed. So yes, I would be very interested in trying one, especially in the situation you describe: driving to work without getting wet in a fast and environmental way, great.

    It does raise some doubts though: how much can the driver see? From this low position it is not easy to have a clear overview of what’s happening around. Also, do you think they can make it economically feasible? How much would it cost?

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  2. Very impressive that they reach these high speeds. However, rather than focussing on these high speeds, it might be better to study the acceleration, maneuverability and general comfort. This because I think a bike will not replace a true car in long-distance trips, but there might be some true value for urban environments.

    i join Thijs in his concern regarding the price. It is really unfortunate that they don’t mention anything about the cost. I can’t tell if it would be more or less expensive than a car, since I don’t know the cost of the materials used.

    I can imagine that if these bikes would ben made on a larger scale, they would have to change to more prevalent materials as steel. Which would seriously impact the general handling of this bike.

    I’m curious how this wil evolve.

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  3. I join Thijs in the regard it looks very promising, yet my first thought on this concept was that it would never be feasable in an urban environment because of 2 reasons:

    You can’t see enough around you to maneuver through traffic
    It’s too bulk to be able to park in crowded streets

    Yet like you said, in the countryside it might prove a useful way of transport!

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