Recumbent & velomobile FAQ

Door mux op donderdag 18 september 2014 09:51 - Reacties (21)
Categorie: Fietstechniek, Views: 6.371

I have recently gotten quite some questions - both from people on the streets and on the internet - about my bicycles. I've gotten a surprising amount of questions from foreign readers - that's why this blog is in English. I mostly use recumbent bicycles and my daily driver is an Alleweder velomobile. Here's all you need to know about (my) recumbent bikes

http://tweakers.net/ext/f/7JieJS9GmMaBGhtJIA6f6x2g/full.jpg
Q: Why recumbent?
A: A better question would be: why do people ride upright bicycles? What is the advantage of having more wind resistance, poorer vision and lower speed for the same effort? It just seems daft.

Of course, there are important reasons why only few people ride recumbents:
  • The first, and most widely publicized one, is because the UCI (international cycling union) at the start of the 20th century banned recumbent bicycles from all major sporting events. This meant recumbents got a bad rap (they 'cheated' by being better and/or they were 'dangerous' because they went so fast) and anyone aspiring to ever take part in a competition wouldn't be able to enter on a recumbent.
  • The second big reason is because most recumbents after the '70s haven't been built for practical use, but more for either long-distance traveling or sport. Like many upright sports bicycles, it's rare to find popular recumbents with practical, upright-bike-like cargo capabilities or even something as simple as a bike stand.
  • The last reason, which is simply a consequence of the niche-ness of recumbents, is that it's a foreign, weird looking device. People often feel embarrassed in their first hours or days on a recumbent. It's different, you have to get used to that and many people (think they) can't.
As for positive reasons why recumbents are a good idea:
  • They are much more comfortable to the butt, back and neck. Like, 100x better. I am not exaggerating. It's a positive delight to ride recumbents for hundreds of kilometers on end. The only thing holding you back is your legs and possibly your bladder.
  • Vision is much, much better. (see question about vision)
  • You go faster and/or require less effort to move and/or can lug along more stuff
Q: Why do you ride a velomobile?
A: For me, a combination of cost and environment. Most people of my age and beyond tend to have at least one car in their household. This is both expensive and, more importantly, I am pretty critical about the environmental and societal impact of cars. This is not the place to rant, but:
  • Cars sit around doing nothing >95% of the time. Not just that, they require prime real estate to do that. It's one of the most wasteful purchases in terms of utilization factor.
  • Cars have the lowest transportation mass efficiency of any vehicle; a car routinely weighs an order of magnitude more than its payload. Compare this to aircraft (about 0.7-2 times as much payload as vehicle weight) or bikes (5-10 times as much payload as vehicle weight) and it's clear how wasteful this kind of design is.
  • Cars have relatively poor energy efficiency. Internal combustion engine powered cars use about 300-700Wh/km to move around at an average speed of about 60km/h. Even the best electric cars around use much more than 100Wh/km. Bikes, even when powered with the grossly inefficient motor that is human muscles, weigh in at - at most - a couple Wh/km. Orders of magnitude better.
  • Cars require incredible amounts of infrastructure to work: hundreds of square kilometers of roads, buffer zones, sound walls, associated infrastructure. Bikes require much less infrastructure per traveller.
TL;DR: I really don't like how inefficient cars are, especially when compared to bikes. There are some nuances to this issue that I might go into in a later blog though (people make cars out to be evil environmental cataclysm-engines that ruin everything, but it's not that bad). Anyway, I looked around to see how I can delay having to buy a car as much as possible. I have my own business in-house which means I don't have to commute, and when I do need to move significant distances I figured a velomobile would be the obvious choice that is not a car.

Other reasons to own a velomobile are:
  • Because they are even more streamlined than recumbent bikes, wind doesn't influence you at all anymore. Your speed (and thus commute time) is extremely consistent throughout the year and wind conditions.
  • It's warm and dry inside. Can be a disadvantage in hot climates, but in the Netherlands it's usually appreciated
  • More place to store stuff.
  • You are better protected, which is a definite advantage considering the statistical dangers of riding a bike a lot at high speeds

Very useful as a trolley as well!
Q: Did you build it yourself?
A: The Alleweder was originally a kit velomobile, and as such it does look like something that is very amateur-built. It's got a lot of little dents, imperfections, crooked rivet placement etc. etc. It's not nearly as nice-looking as modern fiber reinforced plastic monocoque designs.

That being said: no, I didn't build it myself. I bought it from - as far as I can tell - the third owner, making me the fourth owner. The bike is probably either from 1996 or 1999, so at least a decade and a half old. For such an old bike with such a heavy usage pattern, I'd say it has held up very well.
Q: Is it hard to ride a recumbent bike?
A: Of course, riding a velomobile isn't hard at all. Getting in and out is a bit harder than other bikes (you do have to be able to lift yourself out with your arms, so this is not suitable for the elderly), but other than that there is no balancing. It's a three-wheeler. Easy as can be.

Two-wheeled recumbent bikes are a different story. Short wheel-base bikes like my M5 Blue Glide are the easiest to ride: they respond very much like any other bike. Most people can instantly ride on this bike without falling. Because of the smaller front wheel and heavier front steering assembly it does feel different ('twitchier'), but it doesn't take long to get used to that.

http://tweakers.net/ext/f/cuAqqO0TDfVUCPXkdkZV3xNI/full.jpg
My M5 Blue Glide, a short wheelbase recumbent bicycle

Low-riders and long wheel base bikes are a bit different. These respond really differently and it usually takes about a day of exercise before people feel confident enough to go on the road with these bikes.

Then there is my favourite recumbent; the Flevobike. This is a totally different beast. You don't steer with a traditional steering wheel, but with your legs. The frame bends in the middle. This leaves your hands free to... well, relax. Maybe brake once in a while (the steering wheel on a Flevobike is just there to hold the brakes and shifters). This bike takes ages to learn to ride on, and longer to master. It took me about 2 weeks to get even remotely comfortable riding it on public roads. The frame can be detached in the middle, making it a foldable bike that you can take with you in most public transport. It's maximum awesomeness, but so hard to ride.

http://tweakers.net/ext/f/fc12p1X5mI4ICs0LBx4Mv1nO/full.jpg
Me on my Flevobike when I just got it

Recumbents exist in so many shapes and sizes that it's hard to be exhaustive here, but these are the major types.
Q: Is the neck position comfortable?
A: Most people see people on recumbents and think the neck position is uncomfortable. Quite on the contrary; two things are at play here: 1) your neck muscles are made to keep your head upright no matter what the orientation of your torso is and 2) it's actually more relaxed to bend your head forwards a little (i.e., looking at the ground when you're on an upright bike) than to keep it in a straight line with your torso. So yes, it is comfortable.

This doesn't mean everybody is magically comfortable when they first try out recumbents. Some recumbents have very extreme positions that are just inherently uncomfortable of course, but this is usually only the case for track racing recumbents. More commonly, people that first try out recumbents try 'too hard' to keep their head in a certain position and their neck muscles getting tired as a result. If you just relax, it should be fine.
Q: Does it go fast?
A: Depends. Like upright bikes, there are fast and slow recumbents. For instance, the small-wheeled Flevobikes aren't really made for speed. The double suspension sucks a bit of power and I've purposefully outfitted my Flevobike with slow-but-indestructible tires and an internally geared hub to make it a very dependable backup bike.

All recumbents have a speed advantage over upright bikes, especially with headwind. This is just physics at work: less frontal surface area means less air drag. But none of my bikes easily break 35km/h, including my velomobile. I like the comfort more than the speed.

Some people do have the really fast bikes. A friend of mine cruises at about 45km/h in his Quest velomobile. Recently, a Milan velomobile was spotted in the Dutch province of Zeeland breaking 80km/h on a regional road - and maintaining that speed for quite a while.
Q: Why don't you have a little flag thingy on the back?
A: Because it's useless. Like helmets ;)

No, but really: the hypothetical idea behind a flag on a bike is to improve visibility of the bike. This fails because of two very important reasons:
  1. The flag has a vanishingly small visible surface area as compared to the rest of the bike, improving the visibility by almost nothing
  2. The flag has absolutely no surface area in the most important direction: as viewed from the front of the bike.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_BgQFViMhmc/UfQkeJmgyvI/AAAAAAAAAJs/Z3tBHfuhooY/s1600/P1010037.JPG

Human vision is sensitive to a combination of contrast, surface area and movement. In order to make yourself seen, you must try your hardest to have contrasting colors to your surroundings, have the maximum amount of surface area and move with respect to the background. A flag doesn't help. And let's be honest, being a recumbent bike doesn't particularly help with frontal surface area. That's the whole idea behind the bike.

Add to that the fact that these flags are all but invisible in poor vision conditions and that I had a fucking accident just last friday in perfect vision conditions because some poor old lady just didn't look at all... And there are much more important things to do when it comes to traffic safety:
  • Get properly bright battery-powered (or capacitor-supported) bike lights. Always have them on in everything but the best of viewing conditions. Lights work MUCH better to stimulate our contrast-sensitive brain parts than reflectors or clothing.
  • Ride defensively. Give way to other traffic, don't run red lights.
  • Know your surroundings. Get some mirrors, they add SO much road awareness. Look ahead as far as possible and plan your actions in advance.
Of course, all the carefulness in the world won't save frequent cyclists from getting in accidents and I've had a few (most of them one-sided, e.g. slipping off my pedals and flying off my Flevobike head-first). Be aware that cycling is one of the most dangerous methods of transportation and that you have a responsibility to yourself and other traffic to be at the top of your game when you step into or onto a bike.

http://tweakers.net/ext/f/AD2zx0XMRVkP35NgyzIgg4oE/full.png
SWOV, 2011. Risk of death (left) or major injury (right) per passenger kilometer. From left to right: pedestrian, bike, moped, motorbike and car. For people that ride their bike a lot, bicycles are fairly unsafe as compared to cars
Q: How well can you see from so low down?
A: Better than on my upright bikes. As I mentioned before, your head has a tendency to tip down on an upright bike, making you very aware of the ground beneath you, but not necessarily of the road ahead. This is not a problem on a recumbent; you're just always looking ahead. The comfortable position also makes for better sideways vision, I find. But most importantly: because it's harder to turn your torso around to look behind you, almost all recumbents are fitted with bike mirrors.

Get bike mirrors now. They are awesome.

Once you get accustomed to using bicycle mirrors you can really appreciate what makes them great, and how handicapped your fellow upright cyclists are without them. You have so much more vision. You can see people about to overtake you from hundreds of meters away, avoiding dangerous situations. You will never be startled by anything again (well, except for cars hitting you in the side).

Besides the mirror and head position thing, vision is usually good. On the higher recumbents (like my M5) you tend to be exactly on the same level as car drivers, looking them in the eye. I find this to be a better position than on an upright bike, because human vision is constantly looking for things that look like faces, and my face is easy to find when it's right in the center of a car's vision.

Lower recumbents do suffer from reduced vision, especially in places where there are obstacles between you and other traffic that are just a bit too high to look over. In these cases you really do need to ride defensively and slowly.

In general though, infrastructure in the Netherlands is pretty good and this is a rare occurrence. Municipalities are required by law to cut bushes and other road separations to less than 45cm exactly to avoid this problem, and most roads are in compliance.

http://tweakers.net/ext/f/XR26hBiaBL69mud6zxylvBK7/full.jpg
Q: Is it expensive?
A: Like any other bike, you can make it as expensive as you'd like. Or as cheap as you like. I mostly have really cheap bikes. My M5 was about 250 euros when I bought it second-hand, my Flevobike was €45 but needed about €60 in repairs and my Alleweder velomobile was roughly 1000 euros including repairs - again, all second hand.

But there are plenty of recumbents that cost more than a car. One of the most technologically impressive two-wheelers is the Flevobike Greenmachine, which costs about €5000 new. Some velomobiles can set you back close to €10000 if you buy all the options.

That being said, especially the more expensive bikes tend to depreciate very little, if at all. For a while, second hand Quest velomobiles sold for 20-50% MORE than their list price, due to high demand and low supply. Even now that this has been fixed, the difference between new and second hand is less than taxes. Only the really old ones can be considered 'cheap'. A recumbent bike is a good investment and much cheaper than a car, even when the initial outlay is higher.

As for maintenance and parts: this depends. Original parts are, because of the small market, expensive. I just paid 40 euros for a single idling chainwheel. It's a really good one, I'm happy with it, but if this were the normal bike market this would have cost me less than €10. And be prepared to do your own maintenance, because most bike shops won't touch recumbents.

Volgende: Analyse van de Wereldprijs-kandidaten in 2014 10-'14 Analyse van de Wereldprijs-kandidaten in 2014
Volgende: ASN Live: the missing bits 09-'14 ASN Live: the missing bits

Reacties


Door Tweakers user tech-no-logical, donderdag 18 september 2014 11:50

nice writeup ! I've been riding my trusty hurri for over 10 years now, no going back to a regular bike.

it's a pity recumbents aren't more popular, it makes it even more difficult to get into recumbent riding. especially since the number of dealers has only gone down over the years...

Door Tweakers user Kaasplank, donderdag 18 september 2014 12:21

dan maar wat harder trappen 8)7

Door Tweakers user Grzzl, donderdag 18 september 2014 13:23

good write-up. I only don't get the message that you can take more luggage on your recumbent. I can carry exactly the same on my Nasca Gaucho as on my Gazelle Trekkingbike. Execept i can carry a backpack on my gazelle too. More so, that the maximum carryable weight is higher on the gazelle.

Door Tweakers user mux, donderdag 18 september 2014 13:35

The sentence was supposed to read:
- At the same speed and effort, you can carry more stuff
- At the same amount of effort, you will go faster
- At the same speed, you will require less effort

Whether or not you can carry more stuff on any given bike in an absolute sense is unanswerable, because you can always give a counterexample. A guy in Belgium made a giant bike trailer on his WAW velomobile to carry building materials for his house. He could lug in excess of 300kg behind his bike - more than the carrying capacity of certain cars.

[Reactie gewijzigd op donderdag 18 september 2014 13:36]


Door Tweakers user Ample Energy, donderdag 18 september 2014 14:41

"What is the advantage of having more wind resistance, poorer vision and lower speed for the same effort? It just seems daft."

Can you drink 12 pints and go home on/in it without more difficulty/danger? :)
That's seriously the only thing holding me back :+

Although that's not a real reason, as I already have 2 bikes, so I could just use the normal ones when I'm going to friends or when I want to ride next to someone.

I'd love a velomobile. They look easy to ride and I'd like to go faster without having to pedal heavier. I don't have a car either (not even a license to drive one) and if my boss stops asking when I'm getting one I don't even want one anyway.

What about kerbs and ramps? Can you ride a recumbent bike up the sidewalk and can you ride a velomobile up a small ramp (to get on a sidewalk for example)?

Door Tweakers user mux, donderdag 18 september 2014 15:00

You actually shouldn't be riding an upright bike while intoxicated either. That's a very significant portion of traffic injuries, and only a very small percentage of passenger kilometers.

As for kerbs and ramps: you can't do bunny hops on recumbents at all, so high kerbstones are pretty much impossible to overcome. Most recumbents with small front wheels will also have a really high risk of snakebites if you try to do it anyway.

That being said, most kerbs and sidewalks are either low or have slanted kerbstones, so I find that most times when I want to go on the sidewalk, I can do it. It's much easier with a velomobile than with a 2-wheeled recumbent as there is no risk of falling when you fail :P

As for ramps: my Alleweder can do basically anything any other bike can. It's one of the highest ground-clearance VMs, and it has a fairly tight turning circle as well. When you go out to buy your velomobile, make sure you read up on maneuverability. Some VMs are really made for maximum speed (e.g. Milan) and have a giant turning circle as well as horribly tight ground clearance. They go 60km/h on 300W which is amazing, but a pothole or speed bumps and you're guaranteed to have expensive damage to your carbon fiber monocoque.

Door Tweakers user sypie, donderdag 18 september 2014 18:39

Als het zweet-aspect niet mee zou tellen zou dit best een voertuig zijn voor mijn woon-werkverkeer.

Toch maar eens wat verder kijken nu... Misschien eens een poosje zo'n ding lenen van iemand.

Door Tweakers user mux, donderdag 18 september 2014 19:50

Ze zijn er ook in elektrische vorm, als dat het enige probleem is ;)

Door Tweakers user Snowmiss, donderdag 18 september 2014 21:30

Toffe blog, al heel lang zou ik zo'n velomobiel willen. Maar het is voor nu nogal lastig om de twee jongste kinderen en drie boodschappen tassen mee te nemen in zo'n fiets ;)

Dus nog maar een paar jaartjes langer doen met de bakfiets.

Door Tweakers user cyberstalker, vrijdag 19 september 2014 11:13

I have been driving a DIY recumbent for well over a year now for getting to and from work (little over 25 KM one way) and it's absolutely awesome. I have done it a few times on a 'regular' bike, you really notice a big difference both in speed and in the energy you need to provide on the pedals.

I am looking around for a good VM too, but they are quite expensive, so that means I'd first have to save up some money or find a really cheap second hand one (my current recumbent was bought second hand for 100 euro only).

Door Tweakers user RadioKies, vrijdag 19 september 2014 12:57

Q: Why recumbent?
A: A better question would be: why do people ride upright bicycles?

My awnser:
Because it doesn't look as stupid as using your type of bike. Whenever I see someone in a velomobile I think, what will be the next silly thing they come up with.

Also talking safety you are better protected but I can see normal riders better from my car than your low profile torpedo.

Disclaimer: I am biased against cycling because every moron can use a bike without needing some form of training about the rules of the road (like you have to do for cars/motors). A lot of them are a danger on the road and can be a great annoyance, and don't even get me started on racingcyclists.

Door Tweakers user maxkoe, vrijdag 19 september 2014 15:12

A big problem is that the most people on a recumbent ride on the normal road. This is because they are getting annoyed by the normal bikers going so slow. So they start annoying the cars by going slow on that part of the road.

We should educate them by driving over them :P.
But it is a great invention and it is a shame they are still too expensive. Otherwise I would also buy one of them.

Door Tweakers user mux, zaterdag 20 september 2014 11:16

RadioKies schreef op vrijdag 19 september 2014 @ 12:57:
Disclaimer: I am biased against cycling because every moron can use a bike without needing some form of training about the rules of the road (like you have to do for cars/motors). A lot of them are a danger on the road and can be a great annoyance, and don't even get me started on racingcyclists.
Well, you kind of look like an idiot in a car as well, so point given, point taken :P

Anyway, for serious now: no training and no well-enforced rules are a big problem for general consistency on the road. Although cyclists in the Netherlands are some of the more well-behaved bike populations, there is still a fairly big gap between cyclists/pedestrians and motorized vehicles when it comes to education and accountability. But there's, of course, like everything in life, a pretty good reason why it got this way.

Bikes and pedestrians (let's group them together as they are both about as big offenders) are essential to an efficient traffic system, as they take up an incredibly tiny amount of space and resources to fulfill a very big part of our transportation demand. They are essentially a free ~50% of traffic movements for a country. As a lawmaker, there are tremendous economic and social incentives to promote these forms of transport as much as possible. Infrastructure suddenly becomes easy (you only need about 1/5th the infrastructure space and 1/20th the cost to accomodate the same amount of transportation movements), all that money can go into more sustainable forms of economic development (like services) and generally everybody gets better. Mobility is highly dependent on bikes and pedestrians being basically as cheap and easy as possible.

Also, bikes and pedestrians actually don't cause that many problematic accidents. Although they can be a pain, with proper infrastructure in place (the general rule is: make it so bikes and pedestrians are ALWAYS the priority, everyone else needs to yield) it's motorized vehicles breaking rules that cause deaths and severe injuries. This is why we see such dramatic improvements in pedestrian and bicycle safety in the last 10 years: cars have started to reduce the risk of injury or death when hitting a human. Also, one-sided (i.e. no other vehicles involved) accidents rarely result in death or major injury. So purely from an accident reduction point of view, there is no real incentive to improve education or enforce rules that much. There is a very good proven track record of enforcing the proper use of bike lighting and running red lights, but that's about it.

And there's more stuff that makes bicycle safety a complicated problem to try and attack. For instance, most serious injuries are sustained in people over 55 using electric bicycles. Even before electric bicycles started becoming commonplace, about 50% of serious (hospitalizable) injuries and deaths were in elderly or almost-elderly people. Just as with car accidents, age is by far the most important predictor of traffic safety.

To add to that, it's been well-proven that improving infrastructure is a much better way of avoiding accidents to happen in general than trying to impose specific regulations or focusing on specific demographics. Separating traffic flows is the number one contributor to lower pedestrian and bicycle casualties. And everywhere where two high-throughput traffic flows come together, for instance at an intersection between a bicycle highway and busy road, you've created a hotspot for accidents to happen no matter how much you try to warn and slow down both parties. A great example of one such place is the intersection between the Zuidpoldersingel and Gildepad in Delfgauw, where literally EVERYTHING has been done to improve safety: there are speed bumps for both cyclists and cars, multiple signs telling both parties to slow down and beware of the crossing, there is extra thick paint on the road with multiple warning signs, there is an S-bend in the bike road. Still, this is a hotspot for accidents. Mingle traffic flows and people will find a way to collide.

So, the conclusion after all of this? There's a heck of a lot to consider when talking about traffic safety. it's much more complicated and nuanced than just saying that bikes are annoying. Did you know that cars are driven by the same kind of people that ride bikes? Yeah, cars are assholes as well. In a world full of assholes, who can save us?

Robots, I tell you. Robots will save us. All hail the self-driving car.

Door Tweakers user Ample Energy, maandag 22 september 2014 13:45

mux schreef op donderdag 18 september 2014 @ 15:00:
You actually shouldn't be riding an upright bike while intoxicated either. That's a very significant portion of traffic injuries, and only a very small percentage of passenger kilometers.

As for kerbs and ramps: you can't do bunny hops on recumbents at all, so high kerbstones are pretty much impossible to overcome. Most recumbents with small front wheels will also have a really high risk of snakebites if you try to do it anyway.

That being said, most kerbs and sidewalks are either low or have slanted kerbstones, so I find that most times when I want to go on the sidewalk, I can do it. It's much easier with a velomobile than with a 2-wheeled recumbent as there is no risk of falling when you fail :P

As for ramps: my Alleweder can do basically anything any other bike can. It's one of the highest ground-clearance VMs, and it has a fairly tight turning circle as well. When you go out to buy your velomobile, make sure you read up on maneuverability. Some VMs are really made for maximum speed (e.g. Milan) and have a giant turning circle as well as horribly tight ground clearance. They go 60km/h on 300W which is amazing, but a pothole or speed bumps and you're guaranteed to have expensive damage to your carbon fiber monocoque.
Of course I shouldn't. And I try to keep the difference between what I do and what I shouldn't do to a minimum, but this is just something that "can't" be avoided :P
I did have to walk a couple of times, but I never had an accident or something. There aren't any cars on those roads either, otherwise I wouldn't do it.

"It's much easier with a velomobile than with a 2-wheeled recumbent as there is no risk of falling when you fail :P"
[insert gif of a guy hitting a kerb, bouncing off, trying again, repeat :P ]

The kerbstones in front of our house are a little bit higher than usual and there is a slanted part so it would probably be okay, but I'd have to make sure. I don't want to get out/off on the street.

[Reactie gewijzigd op maandag 22 september 2014 19:43]


Door Tweakers user matroosoft, maandag 3 oktober 2016 19:02

't Is al een tijdje geleden dat je deze blog schreef, maar ik onderschrijf je verhaal volledig. Velomobiel staat al een tijd op verlanglijstje. Heb je trouwens wel eens gehoord van de velotilt? Zo niet, zoek er dan eens op op Google. Ik weet zeker dat je het interessant zult vinden. :)

Door Tweakers user mux, maandag 3 oktober 2016 19:08

Yep, velotilt ken ik. Het is alleen jammer dat-ie niet echt fijn rijdt (als in: erg zwaar), dus je zit min of meer verplicht vast aan de elektromotor. Ondanks dat ik nu wel steeds meer aan het nadenken ben over het elektrificeren van de velomobiel, wil ik nog steeds wel gewoon de optie hebben om enigszins rap te kunnen fietsen zonder ondersteuning.

Door Tweakers user matroosoft, maandag 10 oktober 2016 11:28

De velotilt is dan ook nog niet af. :) Ze zijn er mee bezig om hem lichter te laten lopen en hebben al een paar aanpassingen gedaan. Overigens hoor ik er de laatste niet zoveel van en een van de engineers is opgestapt omdat hij niet gelooft in een succesvolle commercialisering van het product. Dat is wel jammer, want het concept is erg gaaf. Het verbeterd veel bestaande problemen (stabiliteit/instap). Ik hoop maar dat hij op de markt komt, want de velotilt heeft mijns inziens veel potentie. Na een video van Motherboard erover kwamen reacties van over de hele wereld om hem te bestellen. :)

Ben je ook bekend met de Q4W? Dat is ook een velomobiel in ontwikkeling, met 4 wielen voor een betere stabiliteit. Er zijn best wat ontwikkelingen gaande op dit moment, al missen we denk ik de Elon Musk die er een bruikbaar product voor iedereen van maakt. Hybride aandrijving (elektrisch/spierkracht) is bijvoorbeeld iets wat wel meer aandacht mag krijgen. Voor zover ik weet heeft alleen de eWAW dat nu.

Door Tweakers user mux, maandag 10 oktober 2016 11:33

Oh, ik wist niet eens dat de velotilt nog niet af was :) ik dacht dat-ie inmiddels wel te koop was. De eerste berichten erover op ligfiets.net zijn al aardig oud!

De 4-wiel Quest is fundamenteel een prachtig apparaat, maar ik ben altijd al van mening geweest dat het niet zozeer de vorm of rijeigenschappen van velomobielen, maar de prijs is die mensen doet afschrikken. e-bikes en s-pedelecs zijn geëxplodeerd in populariteit doordat het prijspunt zo hard omlaag is gegaan; je kunt nu tweedehands onder de 500 euro een degelijke e-bike kopen, bijna hetzelfde als wat een degelijke non-e-bike kost. Hybride elektro/mensaangedreven kleine voertuigen zijn IMO geniaal vanuit een engineering-perspectief (idioot efficiënt, als in 100x zo goed als elektrische auto's) maar ze gaan nooit doorbreken. Q4W is geen goede stap in de richting van betere populariteit.

Door Tweakers user matroosoft, maandag 10 oktober 2016 20:24

Waarom denk je dat laatste, als ik het vragen mag? Wat zou volgens jou het gebruik van velomobielen populariseren? Enkel een prijsverlaging?

[Reactie gewijzigd op maandag 10 oktober 2016 20:30]


Door Tweakers user mux, maandag 10 oktober 2016 20:53

Ja. Simpel gezegd: 5000 euro is praktisch gezien voor iedereen een te hoge prijs. Voor die prijs heb je twee 45km/h fietsen, en die zijn voor iemand zonder ligfiets in feite functioneel gelijk aan een velomobiel. Mensen die bereid zijn lange stukken te fietsen, schuwen het weer niet zodanig dat een velomobiel een duidelijk betere keuze is.

Begrijp me niet verkeerd; ik zou persoonlijk de velomobiel altijd verkiezen boven de meeste andere fietsen, en vanuit technisch oogpunt is de Q4W een duidelijke verbetering. Stabieler, veiliger, ook op hoge snelheid, geen concessies aan laadvermogen en weerstand. Prachtig.

Maar de prijs is alleen voor de rijksten op te brengen, ben ik bang.

Door Tweakers user cj1, zaterdag 21 april 2018 12:12

Aha, Q4W is de quattrovelo.

Heb je nog een bron voor de Milan die op de zeeuwse provinciale wegen 80km/u doet?
En wat is "for quite a while": eerder 5 minuten of eerder 30 minuten?

In Nederland gaan de velomobielen inderdaad niet snel doorbreken:
1.) Je hebt in een velomobiel met elektrische ondersteuning al zo'n 850 tot 900 meter nodig om op (top)snelheid te komen. Dan is doorgaans de volgende haakse bocht, drempel, kruising, wegversmalling of object dat de weg verspert al weer in zicht.
2.) Een kenteken kan de velomobiel in Nederland met een Nederlandse toelating door zijn lage R-punt niet krijgen; terzijde ik weet dat er een buitenlandse route is zolang andere EU-landen achterlopen met het invoeren van Europese verordeningen; en dan wordt het een bromfiets met nauwelijks voordeel.
3.) De meeste (randstedelijke) provinciale wegen - die al bezaaid zijn met rotondes (12 op de 37,0 kilometer van Waddinxveen tot De Meern = 1 rotonde per 3,1 kilometer) - zijn verboden voor zowel fietsers als bromfietsers. Zo'n situatie is wat anders dan België, Frankrijk of Duitsland waar je op veel meer doorgaande routes wél mag fietsen.
4.) Verzekeraars hebben een weigerachtige houding om een verzekeringsplaat (W.A.-verzekering) voor een velomobiel te verstrekken (denken vaak dat het een speed pedelec is, dus een typegoedkeuring moet hebben).

Nederland = anti velomobiel land door haar weginrichting, beleid en wetgeving.

[Reactie gewijzigd op zaterdag 21 april 2018 12:54]


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