Monday, October 4, 2010


Oh, and in case you're wondering why it has been so long between posts, I had 4 cutovers in 4 weeks for SAP systems at work. For the uninitiated, that means I slept at the office on more than one night, and worked multiple 24 hour days -- sometimes in a row.

Drive Line Improvements.

I got the Sram 3x9 drivetrain installed, and then tried to attach it to the mid drive. No joy. The mid drive cogs are too wide for a narrow 9 speed chain. So I disassembled a wheel in the garage that had a 7 speed cluster on it. The slot was still to narrow to go on with a quick release, so I had to hack up a quick release and get some washers to make this whole thing fit in the really tiny access compartment. I bought a surley chain tensioner but now I can't adjust it, so I'll have to make a tool so that I can reach in there and tension the chain. Now if you look closely, you'll see that the chain tube is protecting the electrical wiring, but the chain actually has to go AROUND THE WIRING. This can't be efficient. I want to find a way to run the chain without tubes. Maybe that idea about hacking all the bits of automotive grade electronics from the velomobile is a good idea....

The freewheel (yes it was a freewheel) is a 7 speed. This will allow me to adjust the gear ratios once I get everything running and depending on the planned terrain. Since you can't mash on the pedals in this velo, I'm going to need a way to get really low gearing for some of the hills around San Diego.

Lighter is better

The velomobile weighs about 210 pounds empty. I got to thinking that this is a bit heavy considering that most of these things are around 70 pounds empty and without any electrical. At any rate, I decided to remove all attempts at motorizing this thing as it adds weight and as far as I can tell only slows me down when I pedal. Even the new motor did this. I'm thinking if I strip it down I can get it under 100 pounds -- ideas for stripping it include:
  • Pulling the mirrors and replacing with bicycle equivalents
  • Removing the horn (replace with a bike horn)
  • Removing turn signals (replace with bike signals)
  • Removing the struts and hinge for the canopy and making it slide forward rather than lift up
  • Removing some key bits of fiberglass
  • Removing the ventilation system
  • Possibly replacing the full canopy with a cloth top for a heads out sort of velomobile