I must confess that I find recumbents interesting, but I don't think I'm intrepid enough to try a two wheeled one. For reasons of economy, general Green principles and a love of old bicycles I use either a bicycle or tricycle to get around; - I don't own a car. However there is one kind of recumbent vehicle that I would very much like to build and try...... the Velocar.
Generally such things were built from whatever was handy during the war period due to petrol rationing and something tells me such times could be on us again before too long. :(
This is a fascinating article about the Finnish velocars that were built around the war years.
It's not exactly as if I'm short of raw material and I do own a lathe and a MIG welder, - so I guess anything is possible :)
Iassume you have found this site http://www.fahrradsammler.de/mochet/...t-eigenes.html
There is enough photos to build a replica of the picture velocar if desired
And a link to a thread with plans to a ww2 velomobile the Fantom its in 2 seperate entries.
Ps. where did you get the bottom pic. I don't recall having seen that one before and I thought I had found all of them. :)
Thanks GeeBee :D I didn't have the Fantom plans even though I'd found the odd picture of one here and there on the internet.
I found that last black and white photo here - http://www.viewimages.com/Search.asp...partner=Google It's one that I hadn't seen myself until I was hunting around for information this afternoon.
Yes I have seen that website with the lovely red Mochet and all the very detailed photographs. A wonderful example of a picture being worth 1000 words when it comes to Velocars :) I'm somewhat lucky with where I live because the Hauraki Plains here in NZ is wonderfully flat and crisscrossed with a good many long straight quiet country roads. Perfect velocar testing territory :D
I know that there are a good many high tech velocar designs around, but it's the old WW2 era velocars that particularly fascinate me with their simple but elegant technology. Like the folk that built them back then I don't have the money to run a car (even though I don't want to), but there are times when a three or four wheeled vehicle that can carry a passenger and the week's groceries would be very useful.
I keep being tempted to build something along the lines on the red one but I live in Hobart Tasmania, very hilly and I live in one of the steeper suburbs with over 20% hills up to my house.
Even if I fitted a 200w electric assist, the max. we are permitted, it would most likely not compensate for the weight.
But damn I would like one. :)
It isn't that uncommon in Europe to fit electric assist >200W. Who is going to know, apart from yourself?
Here in NZ there's no real limit on electric assist for bicycles. I have a 250watt electric hub kit fitted to my utility tricycle and the company that sold it to me now has a 500watt kit available. It's fitting a petrol engine to a bicycle that has all the official attention and rules and regulations. :)
Originally Posted by LWaB
It seems to me that the downfall of those things would be too much weight, not enough sophistication, and too high expectations. Making them out of plywood or whatever, seems like your weight is guaranteed to come in at 100 or 200 lbs. Having three gears might get you up the hill, but anything low enough to get you up the steepest hill is going to take forever on every other hill. Then you probably had people thinking if it looks like a car, it ought to go like a car, and it's hard to imagine how a homemade 3-speed upright pedal car would ever compete with a normal bicycle. You can be in pretty decent shape, and it's still going to be a chore dragging yourself plus 200 lbs up a hill.
Yeah true Stephen, - only where I live it's flat and as a local use vehicle a WW2 type velocar would suit me fine. With plywood construction you do it the same way that they built the Mosquito fighter bomber, - which had an airframe entirely constucted from wood btw. Using plywood it doesn't have to be heavy to get strength.
I have a disability, but put me on a bicycle and I get around just fine. My present local use vehicle is a traditional heavyweight adult tricycle fitted with electric assist and that gets along just dandy even when fully loaded. I own a vintage sidecar type rickshaw too so I know all about heavy bicycle propelled vehicles. With a WW2 type velocar the internal layout makes for more efficient pedaling, it's stable, it can carry a load, it's not expensive to build and you get weather protection as well.
As for car drivers they can just wait and be patient the same as they do now when I'm out on the road. Most of the intended use will be around the small country town where I live and let's face it none of the roads are motorway material. Car drivers usually have to keep their speed down around town anyway and I find I can keep up Ok.
Why would anyone build them as a three speed these days I was thinking a minimum of 21 and most likely 63+ gears.
But their is still the issue of weight, 3 mm door skin ply is very light and easy to work with so they should not be to heavy.
My current velomobile shell is made with 3 mm Corflute and with frame work only weighs 3~4 kgs but Corflute would not look right on one of these.
There is such a thing of overdoing it GeeBee! I found that out the hard way- one of my trikes had 83 gears using a jack shaft and also a 7 speed hub. That was about 10 years ago- taught me a good lesson!
Originally Posted by geebee
It was so confusing, heavy, with too many overlapping gears, and clumsy chain use that the trike was very slow. "Oops - too low; oops - too high: over & over.
On the other hand, removing all that junk (derailleurs, 2 chains, cables) and using a BMX 1 speed 20" wheel did wonders for that trike. Lousy for hills, accelerating, or towing things, but much faster.
It depends on how it is setup, my current design I am playing with will have to have a jackshaft and 2 chains any way.
The trick is to setup a standard 21 speed (easy to keep track of and cheap) and use that for 90% of shifting and have 3 speeds on the other chain to set a range ie low for monster hills and a ludicrous high range which would not be used unless you have an aero shell. the idea being to not normally use the extra gears like a 4 wheel drives high low setting.
Depending upon route I will run into hills that are over 30%, if I have a heavy shell I will need every gear I can get.
Should be doable. My velokit below weighs right around 50lbs total. I actually threw out the ridiculous gearing that came with my trike. Now, my lowest gear is 30/26. It's more than enough on steep hills. Having said that, our steep hills aren't especially long. If they were much longer, I might consider an 11-32, particularly when riding loaded down with a lot of cargo. But that would certainly be enough.
Originally Posted by geebee
Cool as they are, I wouldn't mess with the velocars shown in this thread except for on flat land without some type of assist or crazy low gearing. I can't imagine they could possibly weigh less than 100 lbs.
Fortunately I do live where it's flat :D There are one or two minor bumps and rises around town, but once out on the plains it's flat flat flat :D:D:D
Originally Posted by banerjek
The cool factor is one reason why I like vintage velocars, the other reason is that I like low tech, but elegant, transport solutions. If I can lathe turn and weld something up at home without recourse to mysterious chemicals or peculiar alloys I really like it. I like it more if the steel I use is recycled scrap; - and I take particular delight in sourcing steel from dead SUVs wherever possible :D:p
Ok..... I'm sure the Finnish only invented their language so they could confuse English speakers :rolleyes:;) Though I must confess that if you spend some time on it it's possible to figure out a sketchy meaning of what's going on.
After a lot more hunting about for information I'm very much warming to the cykelbilen Fantom design and I'm strongly considering building myself one. The information is 'out there' but the main problem is the language barrier. Fortunately a picture is worth a thousand words in any language.
Just out of interest I thought I'd point out that some Finnish velocars were fitted with a 'hjälpmotor'.
There is a book published about the cykelbilen Fantom and I'm seriously thinking about getting myself a copy.......
...... the only problem is of course teaching myself to read Finnish :(
Damn Sianelle, your search skills on the net are impressive. I have never seen that scanned plan before, is there a higher res image available? Can you point me at the site?
I have a different picture of the 4 wheeled version, I will see if I can dig it up.
Here's a link for that plan geebee.... http://www.forumbrian.se/bakgrund
Originally Posted by geebee
I used 'cykelbilen' & 'Fantom' as keywords for the search. :)
My comments on the 3-speed and weight of plywood were concerning the downfall of the olden versions- why they essentially disappeared years ago- I realize that newer versions have many speeds and lighter weight.
If you've never been there, check out this site (takes a while!)- it's not related to pedal-cars, but to microcars in general, most of them in Europe in the 1940's and 1950's:
Great fun! Thank you for sharing your find.
Originally Posted by StephenH
I've lost count of the number of hours I've spent on that website. Absolutely brilliant :D
Originally Posted by StephenH
Does the use case for velocars diminish in a very hot and humid climate? If they truly block the wind to keep you warmer in winter, the operator will like die of heat stroke in summer here in Texas.
Interesting VeloKit! At the time this thread started, I just bought a VeloKit. Been a while! I put mine on a TerraTrike (already had a motor) and that took a while. That canvas is so light that I put 3 panniers and a removable insulated top for those *really* hot days. Prretty light- the trike,motor, batteries, accessories- about 100 pounds.
Originally Posted by banerjek
Wow, very cool everybody. I love these old things. A few summers ago in Balboa Park (San Diego) there was a huge bicycle exposition from Prior Dodge's collection, while there weren't any Velo cars there were some old photos showing people using similar vehicles in and around the park in the early 20's or 30's. Some of these old vehicles looked like giant wicker baskets sort of like looking at old wheelchairs from the turn of the last century. From there I think I've become hooked on them. I think with modern materials these could be usable even in some hilly areas. The idea of using something like the hjalpmotor would be a good idea. Let's face it, most Americans are lazy and wouldn't peddle a bike if they had to. I remember the WW2 era motorcycle engine powered trikes that were in use in England, I see this as a very real reality soon. I just spent the better part of the day today ripping out my old bathtub, guess what it's made of? Yep, stiff and light fiberglass. Cheaper than carbon fiber. I really see something coming our way due to better materials and higher fuel prices. Why couldn't we have Velo cars again? Imagine multiple gearing and an awning type material (tarp type) in place of fiberglass, wood or thin aluminum. Anyway, thank you all for keeping Velo cars alive and well.