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27 Dec 2009

thinking about a velomobile design

Suppose I had the money, knowledge, equipment and will to built my own velomobile, what would I come up with?

Will start with a narrow fiberglas canopy, wide enough to fit me, but not more than that. That canopy will have a low nose, so I can sit low and still look over the bonnet. It will require 150mm cranks, but it seems you can live with that. It should get a foam cover, just like my Mango and an optional race hood. The head and tail lights will be built in to the streamline to give the VM styling instead of a shape.

Now things are getting a bit odd. I'll go for 3 26" wheels in tadpole layout with rear suspension only. Since the front wheels are large as well, they'll have to be outside the fairing. That's less aerodynamic, but does give a possible small turning radius. They'll get a full cover aero mudguard, with a quick release system in case of a puncture. Braking is done with big drum brakes. Everything mounted with close to maximum camber.

The rear wheel is single side mounted and is driven using standard bicycle components. I'll prefer an air-shock to stop the rear wheel from dribbling. The whole frame is made from chromoly steel, the most durable metal I know. The frame will be sort of like a normal trike frame.

The seat is adjustable for seat angle and x-seam. Besides, behind and under the seat is the place for luggage. Tiller steering, bar-end shifters and switches will be the control elements of this VM.

I mentioned them before, the head lights. Think in the categorie of a IQ-speed, 2 of those, and a wide beam. There should be indicators, tail and brake light and car-like interior lights. Every powered by the combination of a combination of a hubdynamo and a lithium polymer battery.

Lenght: 2,55 meters
Wide: 80 centimetres
Seat angle: 25-32 degrees
Weight: sub 30kg.
Color: white
Drive train: 3x9 sram X7
Speed: like a Mango, maybe faster.
Riding: hard cornering, rally like, comfortable, all weather


  1. Maybe a fabric exterior with an aluminum skeleton
    for the fabric to stretch around that could bolt on to your chromoly tadpole frame. You know a lot more than I do about bents, I'm still trying to learn as much as possible.

  2. Fabric could be interesting. It's flexible and light. I would like the same sort of fabric they use for cabriolets. It has to absolutely all weather proof.
    To underside should be fibreglass, to guide and protect drive train components.