Friday, 1 March 2013

Velomobile Design Considerations

Quest Velomobile. The ultimate velomobile?

Part of the design process is considering what and how a product will be used. Like all good designs a set of criteria is needed. My criteria for a human powered vehicle are as follows...

LOW MASS - Must be under 22kg, more mass means more power to accelerate and push up hills. Ideally I would like to get the weight down below 20kg. This will be achieved by building Veloci with a separate chassis/body shell. The body shell will be made of coroplast/coreflute - a flexible but lightweight material while the chassis will be large diameter aluminium tubing.
AERODYNAMIC - What is the use of having a bodyshell (mass) if it is not aerodynamic! The Quest Velomobileis seen as the ultimate in this respect but again the Quest weighs in at 30+kg. The design of Veloci will have a small frontal area as well as an aerodynamic shape, maybe not as slick as a Quest but again it won't be as heavy and will have a smaller frontal area which should counteract this fact.
FULL SUSPENSION - Suspension is a must on velomobiles. Suspension must allow maximum grip for the narrow bicycle type tyres and absorb power robbing "road buzz".
LOWER COST - Current Velomobiles are expensive. One of my aims is to lower the cost of buying such a machine. Simple elegant design will help achieve this goal.
I have already made up a prototype chassis which will test dimensions and suspension geometry. The bodyshell is still under development but on the website you can see 3D renderings I have done which is very close to the final shape and proportions.

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