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20 Nov 2013

Head fairings

A common question nowadays seems to be: 'Should I buy a Wim or a Sinner hood?' My answer is: neither of those. Not because they don't fit an Evo K, my VM doesn't need one to beat most of the competion, but because I see some serious drawbacks that are not mentioned enough. Yes, I have a special hood too, the Darth Vader one, but I only use it when I have a lot of room to gallop.

The first hood I used was the original model, with a visor. The protection against cold winds, the aero advantage and snug feeling where nice, that's true. But I lost quite some sense of what was happening around me. And when in the dark, rain or fog your sight becomes really bad. Opening the visor improved my sight, but I was/felt still enclosed in a tight space and not able to move my head as much as I'd wish. What did help was that the Mango wasn't that fast at all, so it wasn't the biggest problem that I couldn't look very far ahead.

So, with good weather and clear roads, it wasn't that bad. Despite the huge difference in built quality, I still see Wim's hoods as something much similar to the original hood.

Just before I sold my Mango I tested the Sinner hood. It's spacious! And thanks to the ear openings you can hear what's happening outside. But it also has two huge blind spots, just like the Beyss Evo hoods. And when it rains or when it's foggy, the visor becomes a hell to look through. You than open it, and the cold and the wet let you know you're not in a car.

Because, in my opinion, a hood should work when the it's raining, when it's foggy, when it's dark or when you have a combination of those. I don't need weather protection when the sun is shining. A velomobile should work in typical velomobile weather!

I have enough technical knowledge to admit that such a hood is not easy to make/design/manufacture. Honoustly, I don't know if it's even possible. My 'Darth Vader' does offer plenty of sight. And it has a hole instead of a visor. But it's still too much of a bubble that excludes the rest of the world a bit too much.

And there's another problem that fast velomobiles ad. A hood makes you so fast, that you run out of routes to ride on. This hugely depends on where you life. But for me up to 50kph is when I still enjoy the ride. Above that, It all becomes a bit too stressful.

I still see the advantages of a hood. But the disadvantages should be known too. I'm absolutely a 'head out velonaut'. Perhaps it's just that I have something that dislikes being fully enclosed. Fact is that without a hood you have better sight, can communicate better with other traffic and move your upper body more for cornering balance and sight. Things that I find very important for a fast velomobile.

I've written about rain protection before. Use the search function to find these posts.

12 Nov 2013

Still here

Yes, I'm still riding! Though the past months where either busy or not worth writing about.

So I still ride, but I stopped racing. That took up too much time, money and energy and I got too little in return. Only a few minutes of happiness. So instead of hammering 'round a track with a heart rate of 180bpm, I stick to riding my own routes. Fast in my Evo K or as a serious workout on the Thys Rowing Bike, a.k.a. Saga.

I quitted in May, but the last race I took part in was in Assen, last September. The K and I where good for just under 50kph during a 45min. crit. on an 800 metre oval.

The K's gearing now is 61/38 - 27/21/19/17/16/15/14/13/12. When This chain and cassette are worn out I'll up-grade to a 65. That'll be near the end of 2014....

Something I'm quite proud of is the Nazca Cruiser I restored. It's my bike to ride with someone else. I only had to buy a few new parts. Most of what I used was had I had 'in stock'. Women really like this colour. Thought I find it a beauty too.

It's not slow, very comfortable, easily adjustable and handles like a Nazca. The gearing is close ratio so that you'll always find the right cadence. The chain idler makes for an efficient chain line.

During the 1st 2 weeks of September I cycled through the Netherlands. First on my Pioneer, and the 2nd week on my Fuego. The weather was good enough. Perhaps a bit to warm in the 1st week. Camping, cooking, chillin', sleeping and nearly 1300km.

Well, that was it for now. I'll be writing more. And that won't take another 7 months ;-)