Recumbent - Possible to use a shelled recumbent in traffic?
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04-22-05, 07:01 PM
How feasable would it be to use a recumbent with an aerodynamic shell as a bona-fide vehicle on the street?
I know they can go much faster than a road bike but can you hold a speed of 35 mph comfortably? What about 45mph? 55mph?
If you had a shell on your "bent" can you still see good enough to maneuver in traffic and avoid accidents?
Does anyone do this?
Is it completely insane?
I know next to nothing about 'bents' thats why I'm asking.
Is acceleration on a bent as fast, or faster than a road-bike?
04-22-05, 07:30 PM
AFAIK, nobody on this list rides fully faired. This site (http://www.velomobiling.net/) might be a good place to start researching. There is a small but growing group in Europe that use Velomobiles to commute. Most streamliners in the US are of the 2-wheeled variety, and they are built for racing. That means minimal accomodations for stopping & putting feet down and more suseptibility to crosswinds.
Whether or not a bent accelerates well depends on the bent. There are so many different styles, and performance runs the gamut. I've found that most uprights can get me in a hole shot, but I regain the advantage in the 25+ mph range. That's with a race-oriented bent and an average motor. Some bent models won't have any speed or acceleration advantage, ever.
A faired trike might be feasible but a faired two wheeler would be dangerous on any
but a closed course. Acceleration would be slow, no bent can accelerate anywhere
near what a DF can do. Speed is going to depend on your motor. Air resistance will
be reduced dramatically but power is still needed to get up to 35+mph, much less
45mph. If you have a 300 watt+ motor then I think averages in the 30mph range for
extended periods (miles, not tens of miles) could be done. Faired vehicles have reduced ability to avoid obstacles and the fairings tend to interfere with steering
adjustments. Ability to see road hazards is also reduced: you might hit rocks, debris
or potholes without ever seeing them. Finally wind has a much larger effect. I don't
think this is practical with anywhere near a full fairing, a half fairing might be with
a wide open bottom and semi open top and these are occasionally used on the road.
04-23-05, 06:04 PM
Thanks guys. That helps a lot.
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