In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

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belgiangoth
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In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby belgiangoth » 7 Dec 2019, 10:38pm

My starting point is that I would really like a trike, in much the same way as a 50 year old man wants a sports car: sounds like fun but totally impracticable for me
*can't store it (terraced house and no rear garden access)
*won't have much chance to go out on day rides, audaxes, tours
*not convenient for the commute (streets with many parked cars and school drop-off and can't take the shortcut due to anti-bike NCNage).

If I got a trike I would probably go the whole hog and get a front fairing, possibly a rear fairing. At which point, would it not make more sense to go the whole hog and go for a velomobile?

So, if you are a recumbent triker, why would you not consider a velomobile? Why is a simple trike superior?
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hoarder
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby hoarder » 8 Dec 2019, 12:04am

I've thought some of the advantages a velo would offer over a trike - aerodynamics, protection against foul weather, increased carrying capacity - would be outweighed by the difficulty you'd have with its storage and transport. For example, I can carry my trike, folded, safely around the country in the boot of the car, with back seat space unaffected. When I head off to work away for the week, but have a day when I'm not working, I can choose to trike. Everything is waiting for me in the back of the car, and separate from work clothes and equipment. That wouldn't be possible if I had a velo (I can't have both).

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Tigerbiten
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby Tigerbiten » 8 Dec 2019, 12:07am

belgiangoth wrote:So, if you are a recumbent triker, why would you not consider a velomobile? Why is a simple trike superior?

Hills, heat, noise, steering .........

Velomobiles work best if you keep their speed up where air resistance starts to hurt you on a bike. I probably couldn't keep it up in that speed range for long enough around my home.

Due to the loss of an arm, I need an air speed of around 5 mph for enough cooling to work hard. Without some form of extra cooling inside a velomobile I'd just cook in the still air even in winter.

I like to cycle in relative peace and quiet. The shell of a velomobile tends to act a bit like a drum on rough roads.

With only one arm there are very few velomobiles that I could control. I need some form of USS not a tiller. But I'd still like to try a Flevobike Orca as it's one of the few I could get on with.

YMMV ......... :D

UpWrong
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby UpWrong » 8 Dec 2019, 10:47am

I've been considering a trike with full suspension, and I love the weather protection of a full fairing so likewise the thought is, why not go the whole hog and buy a velomobile. It could possibly sit on the driveway or in the front garden with a ground anchor to secure it. OTOH there's the cost and difficulty transporting it. Also there are some junctions where it's easier to judiciously use a section of pavement or pedestrian crossing and doing so with a velomobile would be more likely to raise objections than with a naked trike. Exiting my estate involves crossing a multi-lane roundabout in an uphill direction which could be nerve-wracking with a 70lb velomobile to accelerate.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby [XAP]Bob » 8 Dec 2019, 11:08am

To me the only issue was cost.

I’d still love a velo, although without using it as a commuting vehicle it’s hard to justify.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

reohn2
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby reohn2 » 8 Dec 2019, 11:36am

belgiangoth wrote: ..........So, if you are a recumbent triker, why would you not consider a velomobile? Why is a simple trike superior?

The reasons are too numerous to list.
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby [XAP]Bob » 8 Dec 2019, 11:39am

I’m not sure they are...
I also suspect it very much depends on your particular travels.

A couple of years ago I’d easily have switched the trike for a velo - but kept the raptobike for “fast, fun, lightweight” days (couldbt even carry my laptop).
The velo would have been great for my commute.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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squeaker
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby squeaker » 8 Dec 2019, 2:41pm

WAW vs Sprint 26 (last 3 years' experience)

Storage: I've never run a trike with a front fairing (and / or tailbox): both of ours hang by their rear wheels from the garage ceiling: not so easy with a velomobile! Parking (it's 2.8m long) and longer storage always requires pre-planning (although I am getting less precious with it as time goes on). Trikes are much less convenient for parking than bikes, IME, but the velomobile is on another level entirely, especially if you have anything fragile eg carbon fibre that doesn't tolerate being lent on by the curious.

Also, as noted up-thread: noisy (especially with a race cap on), hot (great not to need gloves in winter, but getting out steaming at the end of a ride requires back up warm clothing), slow up hills (but scary fast down them), can be awkward to work on the mechanicals (WAW is a notable exception). Added electrical complications (indicators, main beam headlight, on-board battery), plus suspension wear points (exposed rose joints) / maintenance. Chain run mostly fully enclosed (WAW isn't). Crash protection - material sensitive. IME (low power, riding in hills) a wide gearing range is desirable (eg currently 16" low to 120" high - can be challenging/expensive to achieve).

I still haven't solved the vision problem with night time rain (common to all my 'bents). I could put up with the noise, heat & claustrophobia if I could see out of the damn thing! Realistically the visor needs to be tilted up to leave a gap to peer through, which also lets the rain in at 20+mph onto my face and glasses.

I tend to agree with Bob that a velomobile could be a good all weather commuting option, especially with e-assist, but the restricted maneuverability, not to mention limited ramp approach clearance, can rule out many cycle routes that a trike can get through.

Nearly forgot sidewind sensitivity: another scary item (in comparison with a naked trike)!

HTH
"42"

hercule
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby hercule » 8 Dec 2019, 3:29pm

A couple of years ago I was trying to decide between selling my Trice QNT and buying a velo (probably a Mango or a Quest), or spending the extra cash to add a ICE VTX to the fleet

In the end I got a really good price on a hardly used VTX and took that option. I used to wonder why anyone would buy a “race” trike instead of a velo, but I’ve been delighted with mine: it is light (for a trike), sticks to the road like glue, and (I wasn’t really expecting this) is much quicker than my front faired QNT. It’s a bit like riding a light road bike and is a pretty good climber (even with me and a dodgy knee providing the motive force).

My uniformed reasons for not getting a velo were essentially...

Not easily transportable without a van... I don’t generally take my trikes in the car anyway, but it’s good to know that if I have a major mechanical and need rescued I can get it into the back of our car easily enough. In fact the VTX despite its length and lack of folding is easier than the QNT because it’s low enough not to need the seat taking off to fit though the car’s tailgate.

Going up hills... lots of them round here!

Not much use off road... well the VTX doesn’t get used for this, but the QNT does and it’s light enough to carry over obstacles and narrow enough to squeeze through small gaps. In my scenario I wouldn’t have had the QNT

Going down hills... steep descents here are often on twisty roads, I like the option of being able to throw my weight around to keep all three wheels on the ground. On the VTX this makes for some fantastic downhills. Velomobiles seem to have the twin issues of seating you relatively higher and having little room to move your weight around, which means corners are slow in, fast out. On the trikes I don’t really lose much speed.

Aero issues... the Streamer on my QNT isn’t much affected by sidewinds, and gives a good boost with a tailwind. It does make a useful contribution into a headwind (I’ve passed roadies on particularly windy days along the coast). I did wonder about stability in winds and it is pretty breezy round here too.

I also like to be outside, it’s the whole point of riding!

Mind you, I wouldn’t say no to a velo if I was offered one...

belgiangoth
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby belgiangoth » 8 Dec 2019, 9:04pm

hercule, why the VTX AND a QNT? Are they really so radically different?
If I had a baby elephant I would let it sleep in the garage in place of the car. If I had either a garage or a car. (I miss sigs about baby elephants)

hercule
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby hercule » 8 Dec 2019, 11:28pm

belgiangoth wrote:hercule, why the VTX AND a QNT? Are they really so radically different?


For me, yes... a bit like a touring bike and a race bike.

The QNT is the workhorse, full suspension, rear rack, ultra wide gearing (IGH + 9 speed cassette + triple chainset. It’s the one I use on mucky days and for more adventurous rides that might involve mild bits of off-roading (mostly forest tracks etc).

The VTX is the racehorse, sleek and lightweight, no suspension, low down, and more for the nicer days (it’s often not wearing mudguards either. It’s also significantly faster... on a par with a two wheeler like a Fuego, but no wobbles on the hills, no matter how steep.

The more upright mesh seat of the QNT and the reclined Airpro seat on the VTX also add to them (to me) feeling quite different. I’ve also done a lot of miles on my QNT in the nearly 14 years I’ve had it and sentimentality comes into the equation too. If anything the VTX is more like my Fuego (but lighter!), than the QNT.

atlas_shrugged
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby atlas_shrugged » 9 Dec 2019, 2:47pm

Velomobiles work well on good cycle infrastructure. For commuting they provide weather protection. They are also good on rolling hills. For long distance journeys they can be good because of their higher speed.

Set against that trikes are much easier to transport and to service.

The choice very much depends on the terrain you hope to use. Have a look at this video below to get some ideas of possible pros/cons:

Vegan Wave
==========
75 km commute home - met this dutch guy at OliebollenTocht 2016
https://youtu.be/S2hy5Fn5SaQ

Marc
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby Marc » 9 Dec 2019, 5:30pm

I regularly commute with trikes (ICE Sprint) for about eight years now and ride a velomobile (Milan GT) since April. My only regret: I should have bought a velomobile years ago.

Cycling infrastructure is actually of no concern if you ride a velomobile. You will take the road anyway.
A velomobile is much less fun in city traffic with frequent stop and go, than a trike, though.

While a velomobile offers great protection against the cold and strong winds (its windy? Really?), its actually not that great to ride a velomobile in rain. Sure you don't get wet (from the rain), but you'll sweat and if you ride with hood, visibility in rain is pretty compromised (no wipers!). Also, the visor will fog-up 2 seconds after you stop at a red light.

The difference in speed and distances you are able to cover (compared to a normal bike or trike) is staggering, though. 100km? I'm not that fit, but thats only a three hour ride, including a coffee break.

With my trikes, I get treated way better by car drivers than with my mountain bike. Riding a velomobile is on a completely different level, though. I usually get treated much better than other cars.

Check-out this video: https://youtu.be/fDmcsnxdsb8

(for some reason I'm too stupid to properly embed the video in this post)

Edit:
If you have a velomobile, get a velomobile parking cover from Radical Design! https://www.radicaldesign.com/recumbent ... obile-bags
Under the cover, the velomobile virtually disappears and you never have to worry about people touching it.
(you also want the Radical Design Velomobile bags!)

nigelnightmare
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby nigelnightmare » 10 Dec 2019, 12:26am

One thing that no-ones touched on is £££ price!

A good second hand trike will cost around £1500-£2500 and spares are almost all standard bike parts.

A good second hand Velomobile will cost around £3500-£7000 and has quite a lot of bespoke parts (steering, front suspension, body etc).
Even repairing a puncture is a major job, on most it's a wheel off job & on those with enclosed front wheels you have to dismantle the front suspension to get the wheel off.

Yes it's got a lot of positive points but it's a completely different animal.

Don't get me wrong (I love them) I'm just pointing out some of the drawbacks that haven't been mentioned.

Also in this country our cycle paths/routes leave a lot to be desired & I wouldn't even attempt to use a velomobile on most of them even if it did fit! Even on a road with speed ramps! It's liable to ground out and that body is Bloody Expensive!

"Misting visor" Get a battery powered mini fan & flick it on when you stop.
"Poor visibility in rain" Try "Rain X for plastic" motorcyclists use it for their visors.
Rain X also do something for misting/fogging but I don't know if it's safe for plastic.

JMTPW

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: In for a penny - trike vs velomobile

Postby [XAP]Bob » 17 Dec 2019, 5:03pm

Saukki manages to change tyres without a complete overhaul. Punctures certainly don’t need it - stub axles are good
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.