We have a name at last - due to the shape, and continuing the Kingcycle organic theme after the Bean, the bike has been named the
Mango. Unfortunately we later discovered that there is a dutch velomobile with the same name, but it took us long enough to think of it,
so we are sticking with it! And yes, it will be suitably painted later.....
We actually managed to get the bike finished for the European Championships at Cyclevision 2002 in Lelystad, Holland. Although I still
haven't ridden it with the top on, having the deadline at least made us get on with it - Miles and I were both ready for a holiday after long
days in the workshop! We are still tweaking a few things; the steering is currently via a fairly long tiller, this is about to be converted to a
remote system, which hopefully will make the handling a little easier. The gears all seem to work nicely, although I haven't got any further
than second gear riding without the top!
That's the pictures, here's the specifications:
Widest point: 400 mm (15.7")
Height (body only): 858 mm (33.8")
Ground clearance: 40 mm (1.6")
Weight: 16.4 kg (36 lbs)
Rider height: 1753 mm (5'9")
Rider weight: 67 kg (147 lbs)
Okay, not the best pictures of the inside, not the easiest thing to photograph... must get a digital camera sometime soon! Anyway, we have
six gears in the intermediate gearbox. A fixed jockey wheel with side plates holds the chain in line whilst the sprockets slide on the
intermediate spindle. A second sprung sprocket near the chainring tensions the chain. The sprockets are pulled left and right via small lengths
of chain which are connected to a loop of cable with two push levers for my thumbs on the stem. Indexing is achieved with notches for the
locating pin in the spindle.
The final drive is on the left. We should have had an all carbon fork/wheel fairing, but had molding complications, and with the time
constraint brazed up a steel fork with a bolt-on two-piece carbon wheel fairing. The final chain is tensioned with a sprung sprocket located
just in front of the fork crown. To ensure everything is rigid, each fork leg continues to the floor of the bike, where they are located with
additional bearings. In order to keep the cutout required for the front wheel as small as possible, the bike features a 90 degree head angle,
with 15mm of reverse trail.
The wheels are currently regular spoked wheels with carbon disc covers - we will do some proper carbon wheels when we have time. Both
feature drum brakes and were balanced prior to having the discs glued on. Tyres are of course Schwalbe Stelvios (406 x 28). The wheels
are sealed from the cabin - the rear in the box as shown, the front with the wheel fairing and the little skirt which allows the 5 degrees of
steering lock. Ventilation will then come in at the nose, be ducted up to the screen and the rider's face, before exiting at the split in the tail.
One advantage of the upright position is that more of the rider's back is open to the air, so there is a bigger surface area for cooling.
This is a picture from Lelystad, which nicely shows
the Mango sitting in it's launching trolley (the idea
blatantly stolen from Matt Weaver). Due to the
limited steering lock, it is hard to balance the bike
below about 8 mph. The trolley enables the bike to
be held totally upright whilst being given a starting
push. It took us a while to get this right - the bike
needs to be gripped securely to ensure it is held
upright, but also needs to slide out easily when the
required speed is reached. We ended up using the
tailend of the discarded carbon mold, which of
course exactly mirrors the shape of the fairing.
Whilst at Lelystad, we discovered the current world hour record holder, the German White Hawk, lurking in the garage. I hadn't realised
just how big this bike is - and yet it did 50.4 miles in one hour! For kicks we stood the Mango in front, check out the size difference - the
Kingcycle looks like a child's bike!
We ran out of seats in the van at one point, so David Kingsbury drew the short straw and got the Mango seat for a while. Demonstrates the
position quite nicely though!
Hopefully we'll find out what it is capable of with the top on soon, watch this space! And we must paint it at some point too......
Pictures from the inital test run: Page Four