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  1. #1
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    How Crashworthy Are Velomobiles?

    I am curious. How crashworthy are the modern velomobiles? Like a Quest or similar? I've read a few accident reports and my impression is the bodies seem to protect the riders reasonably well.

    Which leads to my next question. Would you want to be belted into a velomobile, with a little roll hoop?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    They do that in AussieLand. They have velo races where rollbars are required. You're certainly *more* protected than you'd be on a regular bike or trike. The body represents a rather expensive crumple zone. Seat belt? Dunno about that...

  3. #3
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    The shell adds a good deal of protection. -of course it depends on what you're hitting and at what speed. FWIW, this was a walk-away for Phil and Tom at Battle Mountain last year and they were going over 70 mph.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  4. #4
    Senior Member Notso_fastLane's Avatar
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    Rotovelos are extremely rugged, since they are made from the same injection molded plastic as kayaks. They are a bit on the heavy side, and I would def get an e-assist for the hills if I got a Rolo.

  5. #5
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    The shell adds a good deal of protection. -of course it depends on what you're hitting and at what speed. FWIW, this was a walk-away for Phil and Tom at Battle Mountain last year and they were going over 70 mph.
    Wow. That is exactly what I was wondering about. Given the speeds velomobiles (and the faired recumbents) can reach, crashworthliness seems relevant . . . I wonder if anyone glues light crushable material (like styrofoam?) inside the nose and tail, or maybe alongside the rider?
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    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Wow. That is exactly what I was wondering about. Given the speeds velomobiles (and the faired recumbents) can reach, crashworthliness seems relevant . . . I wonder if anyone glues light crushable material (like styrofoam?) inside the nose and tail, or maybe alongside the rider?
    For BM racers swept area drives so they're just CF and Kevlar . In a streetable velo it may make more sense- but generally you don't want to carry useless weight anyway. So no foam there either.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  7. #7
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    For BM racers swept area drives so they're just CF and Kevlar . In a streetable velo it may make more sense- but generally you don't want to carry useless weight anyway. So no foam there either.
    I think the only foam you'll find in them is whatever they're using in the sandwich structure of the shells, if any.

  8. #8
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    I think the only foam you'll find in them is whatever they're using in the sandwich structure of the shells, if any.
    At BM it's usually honeycomb as a stiffener. There's always clearance issues as you try to get the shell as small as possible. Also some resins dissolve polystyrene.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
    Rotovelos are extremely rugged, since they are made from the same injection molded plastic as kayaks. They are a bit on the heavy side, and I would def get an e-assist for the hills if I got a Rolo.
    Yeah, Rotos are more durable. A guy going across Australia hit a roo with his. Punched the dent back out and kept going. They're really not all that heavy, either - well within the 'normal' range. I was seriously looking at them, until the thread on BROL unveiled that they're not any faster than the bikes I'm already riding. So the only advantage they'd have for me is weather protection. Now, if there was an easy-to-implement trick to make them 3-4 mph faster, I'd reconsider.

  10. #10
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    The only time I crashed the Car-Cycle X-4, I was doing about 25 MPH, and laid her on the door side. By the time I was down to 15, and not sliding toward anything serious, I was already remarking to myself how pleasant it was compared to not sliding on an Aramid sled. I'd definitely go for the seat belt and roll bar for impact situations. There's a lot of useful structure in the drive train and front wheels support, even with a backbone frame. Velomobiles can also be designed as safety barrels with wheels added. This can be quite a good approach, especially with an electric booster to make weight less of an issue. Crash-worthiness is rather at odds with precise handling, but that can be fixed with a light linkage to supplement the floppy frame.

  11. #11
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Well, they're certainly more crashworthy than Mark Cavendish's shoulder!

    John, Charles Snyder is in the process of getting his Quest velo repaired. He was rear-ended at night, but managed to get the license plate of the car. The driver's insurance is paying for all the fixes. He rides all over the place locally, plus trips to the coast and down the valley.

    There's photos on this thread on Bentrider: Where is Charles (cesnyderces)? - BentRider Online Forums
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  12. #12
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm so depressed I haven't watched the TdF since stage 1. What is the point of watching a sprint stage now, Kittel will win them all. I'm tuning back in for stage 5.

    I assume it was a pretty good hit. Was he injured, or did the velo protect him?
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  13. #13
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Yeah, I'm so depressed I haven't watched the TdF since stage 1. What is the point of watching a sprint stage now, Kittel will win them all. I'm tuning back in for stage 5.

    I assume it was a pretty good hit. Was he injured, or did the velo protect him?
    The car hit him and spun him a bit. It crunched the velo's shell but not Charles.

    With Froome's crash today, the Tour may have been blown wide open. The cobbles tomorrow will be narsty.
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  14. #14
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Froome hurt his wrist, the concern is that he won't be able to hold the bars on the cobbles, I think that might be an overblown concern. Stage 5 is a lot shorter than Paris-Roubaix and the cobbles sections are a lot fewer. I suspect the GC men will be trying to survive and won't care about losing time to the classics guys going for a stage win. So Froome just needs to hang with the other skinny minnies and let the hardmen have their day in the rain.

    Of course the result is now known - but not to me, I'm studiously not looking at news sources until I can watch the stage tonight.
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