Oct 3

October 3, 2005

Plan Z
The new format is in response to news that the AOG web site is currently using up over half of my small ISP's total bandwidth allocation. The photos are much smaller, but you can still click on the ones you are interested in viewing and see large versions.

Well, I gave plans A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, and Y my best efforts, but after todays fully faired road test, I came face to face with something I kind of knew all a long. I am going to have to start looking at a head-out configuration - Plan Z. No choice.

First, I ran some tests using the pivot camera and had nothing but problems. It was WAY, way to wobbly due to the pivot, so I removed it and fixed the camera directly to the frame.

Ben came over on Sunday morning and we fastened both fairing shells to the frame. I taxied out to the straight road near my house and with both Cody and Ben on bikes to watch for traffic, I blasted off.

Getting off the landing gear was easy and navigating by monitor was OK. The camera image was all over the place due to the vibration, but that wasn't why I was unhappy.

The image was probably as good as it could get, but a far, far cry from where it needs to be. With intensive concentration and focus, I was barely managing to stay in the middle of the road for each 30 second run. I couldn't imagine having to do that for a minute - or an hour, or more! Forget it. It's just not worth pursuing anymore.

I have wasted enough time and money on attempting to maintain the simplicity of the fairing shape by incorporating a monitor and camera into the vehicle. (The photo at the right is a picture of the video monitor from inside the cockpit)

Here is a short movie of the camera bike road test

Plan Z is a head out the top configuration - something I didn't want to do, but also something that I had sort of planned for when I first designed CP1. My biggest resistance to the head-out was primarily aerodynamics. The drag increases fairly substantially when you have a large bump that the air has to make its way around. Secondly, all my training to date has been done with a low seat back angle. In a way, it's like starting from square 1 now with a more vertical seat back angle.

As a test, I welded up a steel bar to support the top of the frame and cut the carbon top bar out. Then I raised the seat back angle with some foam, cut a hole in the top of the fairing and went for a spin. Loved it!

My eye level is still very low - I still couldn't see much of the road directly in front of me, but I could make out way more of the entire road by looking right and left down the nose of the fairing. Far, far, far easier to handle, balance steer, etc. Also steering and balance is way better - probably because I am sitting more upright and able to use my upper body more than the extreme laid back position.

Anyhow, it won't be as fast as the camera version, but it will work for my purposes.

The plan is to cover the head opening with a PETG clear plastic bubble, and to replace my temporary steel welded structure with a dual carbon one. I also need to re-make the whole seat since the angle is totally different.

I want to get out to the velodrome tomorrow for a full fairing test - the first and I should be a ble to get some drag coefficient data also.

To do now:

1. Build retractable landing gear
2. Build a window for the nose
3. Fit and securely fasten fairing into place, then cut a removable door for self-entry/exit. I'm thinking a simple hinge at the top would work
4. Make THIRD fiberglass plug for body work
5. Finish micro'ing rear wheel fairing attachments
6. Test out the new windows / pan cam
7. Make new seat
8. Replace steel 'over the shoulder' support with carbon
9. Make PETG bubble

To do eventually:

6. Build a new fairing mold from the new plug
7. Pull carbon fairing shells from the new mold
8. Build proper SEAT!
9. Mid-drive lightening holes (James Kenny)
10. New carbon fork?
11. Add a thin coat of epoxy to the left hand wheel disc because it is not air tight
12. Carbon wheel disc for front wheel (or buy a 650 disc wheel)

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