Yesterday I took the 6:55am train to Venlo. I'd made an appointment with Beyss, the manufacturer of the Evo K in Straelen. The public transport did it's job well and I arrived in Venlo without any delay. From there, it was a short ride with my Cruzbike to cross the border with Germany and arrive at the Zeppelinstrasse.
I was very much on time. After 20 minutes or so, Daniel Fenn arrived in a K. After he had a close look at my Q451, we set up a K for me. Kojaks on the front and some foam to lift the seat a bit. I used the seat covers from my Cruzbike in the K for some extra comfort, and to be able to see the road in front of me.
As soon as I'd left the Beyss factory I tried to find some bumps in the road. Those bumps aren't much softened by the suspension. The good thing is that the K keeps on going in a straight line, not affected by the bumps. The seat covers made it all comfortable enough. Because of the supreme build quality, the body does not rattle at all. The noisiest thing is the rattling freewheel. A 23t TC idler under the front tip op the seat guides the chain to the rear wheel.
Getting used to the side stick steering would probably take a few hundred kilometre. But even so, I felt quite confident at 50kph, with a strong wind from the side. Achieving that same speed with a headwind was as easy as pie. Slowing down with the independent front brakes felt secure. That said, the high speed potential of the K does make me advice 90mm drums, instead of the standard 70mm.
To test it's usability on roads of lesser quality, I used some German urban cycle paths. It manoeuvres nicely, though something narrower than 35mm Kojaks on the front is wise. Minit's Tough could be perfect. There almost as wide, but significantly lower, giving you a smaller turning radius, which is a good thing.
I even found a tiny elevation. With it's super stiff construction and weight of only 18kg, this must be the best climbing velomobile on the market. You would need more than the 1x10 gearing that this K carried. A 38 and a 63 on the front, combined with a 12-27 on the back would make it more pleasant in every day life. A long cage derailleur could do that. A 63 combined with a 559 rear wheel, may sound odd, but with that combination, I'd often be cruising in 6th gear.
So, it's actually pretty good for normal use. Are there downsides? Yes, some. The rear wheel is not single side mounted. That makes the construction a lot stronger, but fixing a flat would take more time. Extras, like lights, indicators and rear suspension cost a lot. Luckily, vm electronics are not that complicated. The openings on the left photo can easily be closed with fibreglass sheets and magnets.
It's not perfect, but nothing is. The ride is divine, the quality outstanding. The K is wickedly fast and looks fantastic. With a few easy and small changes, this could be the best VM for a velonaut like me. In the more affordable 23kg version that is.
After the ride, we had some coffee, discussed my experiences and wishes with the K, and I got a factory tour. Daniel showed me the differences between materials and we put a few items on the scale. I saw rear forks, weighing around 400 grams. A set of rear drop-outs, weighing 30. And, very interesting, we testes a Milan entry hatch. This one had some cosmetic damage, making it good for a smash test. It was hit with a steel pipe, the size of your arm. You can find more photos in this Picasa album.
After 4 interesting, fun and possibly, in the near future turning out to be expensive hours, I rode back to Venlo. Again, my little Quest surprised me. A small hill was easily climbed and descended without any hesitation. Manoeuvring through an unknown city with several diversions, while looking at a GPS, was no problem. I believe I dreamed about the K in the night that followed.
Two days later, I took time to create a short video.