woensdag 26 december 2012

Velomobile review summary

As it seems that there are a few readers from the US and Germany, I decided to make a review summary in English. I hope it will help readers to select the right velomobile for their use, and maybe I can contribute to further international acceptance of this way of transportation.

Firstly, make some test rides yourself! It helped me a lot in selecting the right velomobile. So, go to Dronten (Flevobike, Alligt and Velomobiel.nl) and e.g., Groningen (Sinnerbikes), if you get a chance. All are very friendly, competent people, but not all shops are open on Saturdays.

Upon your specific needs, any velomobile I've driven could be your pick.

If you appreciate an electric support engine over going fast on own muscle power, the Sunrider or Orca might your choice. The Orca is an absolute winner in design and finishing touch. All others (I didn't see the Sunrider) are a bit disappointing in finishing touch, considering their new prices around 6000 euro.

A bit disappointing finishing touch in the Quest, Strada, Mango's and Alleweder: the steering unit in a 6000 euro machine (photo taken in my Mango Sport).

If you're going for a cheaper, simple velomobile with good view but less speed, one can consider the Alleweder 6. Be prepared for some extra maintenance on the chain and a bit extra work if one has to replace the rear tire.

All of the above have an easy entrance, the following ones need some agility to get in. For me no problem (1m87 and 82kg).

The two with the lowest drag, so fastest at high speeds, are the WAW and the Quest. This comes at a price. For the WAW, this is less visibility and difficulties on bumpy roads due to its very low ground clearance. The chain is not protected at the bottom of the WAW and rear tire replacement is more difficult. This makes the WAW a true racer instead of a daily-use velomobile. The Quest has poor manouverability due to its fully enclosed front wheels. Not a good idea for city traffic or very narrow, curved roads. On straight tracks, it's a very practical velomobile for driving day to day and very fast!

The Mango and the Strada are fast too, but have a bit higher drag than the two above. They combine speed with agility and just sufficient ground clearance. Both will be faster than a Quest on winding tracks and are more practical than the WAW for daily use.

Finally, it comes to details. Some come in a lightweight but expensive carbon version, others (Mango) with a less weight less baggage space version. Do you like the concept of a 26" rear wheel (WAW, Quest, Strada)? Do you appreciate a Rohloff gear? If you select another gear system, be prepared that one typically uses a wider range of gear than on a regular bike, you're heavy uphill, but can achieve very high speeds on flat terrain or down hill.

A short note on safety. Wear a helmet. A biking helmet provides only little protection, so pick a ski helmet if weather allows, 40km/hr is a lot of kinetic energy. A velomobile is faster than expected and easily overlooked. Colors, lights and stripes do help, but a defensive way of driving is most essential for your health.

Enjoy selecting your velomobile and have fun riding it!

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Consider upgrading Mango with this:




  2. :-)) I especially like the gap between cover anc car...what on earth was this guy doing ?!