Oct 29

Oct 30, 2004

First wind test

It was very windy today - 29 gusting 39 kph (18 gusting 24 mph) and I knew it would be a great chance to see how the fairing feels in really windy conditions, so I quickly added a duct taped on lip for the fairing top, hopped in and got Helen to duct tape the fairing together from the outside.

You could really feel the wind blowing the fairing, but it wasn't anything that was unexpected. When rounding a corner from a tail wind to a direct 30 kph side wind you really felt a sudden blast, but a strong counter steer with the steering bar was enough to keep the trike on track. The cable steering is working VERY WELL!!! If I had to rely on leaning alone, there is NO WAY I would have been able to control this - with the underseat steering bar it was relatively easy. If I change anything at all about the steering, I think it will be only to extend the underseat bars up a little higher to make it easier to apply a little force if required. One advantage the lean steer has over a faired delta or tadpole is I can lean/steer into the wind which helps keep the trike pointing straight down the road.

I didn't get it going any faster than 30 kph because the fairing top was wobbling around quite a bit and I was afraid it was going to come flying off. A slight hill around the block and I was quickly at 30 and need to apply the brakes. I really need to come up with some method of firmly securing the top half to the bottom half. My plan was to bond a strip of Sintra plastic to the perimeter of the fairing bottom and then 'cupping' the top into it. After today, I'm not sure this will be enough support.

Also I now see the need to stiffen the fairing more by adding some ribs. It was flopping around quite a bit in the wind and probably much less aero efficient due to all the moving and vibrations. Perhaps I need to even add another mount also.

It was turning just fine - a somewhat reduced turning radius due to the slots not being long enough, but it was surprisingly smooth.

I'm really anxious to do some speed testing - as you know my big goal, and still the BIGGEST unknown regarding this whole project, is how fast the faired trike will be at a given wattage input. The has been and still is 40 kph at 150 watts. Something all the calculators tell me is attainable assuming my drag coefficient doesn't totally suck. I've been comparing the general shape of TCR1 fairing to other fairings with known Cda values, and it really should be somewhere between .7 and .9 even taking into consideration the rear wheels that are not faired. If that's the case, then a speed of at least 40 kph at 150 watts is realistic. But who knows? Only experiment will reveal that.

Before I close, I need to say that this is such a thrill! Riding an efficient bike (a comfortable one at that!) in a car-like environment is so neat - I can see why the velomobile market is so huge in Europe. I don't understand why it doesn't take off here in North America - possibly because so few people have been able to experience this alternate method of travel. Too bad - it's super cool.

TCR2 (track) 2Do LIST:

1. Make a platform for the wind trainer (mini-rollers)
2. Add front caliper brake
3. Mount first fairing and all the work required with that
4. Make CF front wheel fairing
5. Make CF rear wheel discs
6. Redesign steering bar to above waist (possibly brake lever steering for record bike???)
7. Adjustable seat height

TCR1 (cross country) 2Do LIST:

1 Add front derailleur
2 Run road, roll-over and watts tests for new suspension system
3 Worm gear steer prototype (Waiting for final design and parts list from Ben)

TOTAL distance on TCR1
704 km

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