View Full Version : Some Great Open Source Resources on Velomobiles

06-30-2013, 08:20 AM

07-09-2013, 12:14 PM
thanks for that. I'm going to have to figure out how to get firefox to translate or brush up on my French :)

I'm new here and still gathering info and parts for my first build. I'm aiming for a tadpole, but I've gotten totally enamored of veloworld. What has me somewhat stumped is how they do the front suspension on a lot of the velo's that resemble a light version of a McPherson strut. Does each company build their own, or are there suppliers?

I looked on your link and found a suspension link that was a torsional rubber mount that looks very interesting, but not applied to velo's that I know of. I've thought of a light version of an old VW torsional suspension and those would be the solution for that I think. But here I go putting the cart before the horse :)

07-09-2013, 02:34 PM
Hi Tony
There are a couple of ways to build a velomobile. One being monocoque construction. Or the frame and body being as one. I think that is what you are asking about and yes the suspension from each manufacturer would be proprietary. One DIY project comes to mind and was built by Friend Wood. You might Google him.
Most DIY velomobiles are built using a trike such as the Atomic Zombie Warrior and putting a body on it. DIY bodies can be made on many different building materials such as Coroplast, plywood, skin on frame (fabric like airplanes), fiberglass and even carbon fiber. Most commercial velos are fiberglass or carbon fiber.
I'm currently building a skin on frame on my DeltaWolf trike.
Hope this helps get you started.

07-09-2013, 03:25 PM
Tony, here is a link (http://bikerodnkustom3.homestead.com/velomobile_DZL.html)that has a better description than I provided.

07-09-2013, 03:52 PM
Hi Texas Tuff,

Yes, there are as many ways to skin this cat as there are cats. That's what's fascinating and daunting. Most of the name brand velo's are quite vague as to specifics like suspension. I'm not sure if it's to protect their designs or if their customers are somewhat like car customers. They don't need the specifics, just the product. You would think though that there might be a shock manufacturer or somebody like that, that would supply all these guys. If not, that explains the price of most of these velo's and why they are out of my reach price wise. It's also what worries the customers from what I can see(and read). With all these proprietary/handmade components, if they go under, you are stuck. And with an average price tag of almost $10,000, that's a scary proposition.

I have jumped trades quite a lot, so I have a lot of different skills that are not as deep as an expert. But I would term journeyman level. I'm a certified AP mechanic(air frame and powerplants) but never worked in the field after I got out of school because I could make more as a car mechanic and never have to put myself on the line, signing a log. But I know how to work sheet aluminum, and weld arc, gas, mig and tig. I have a small mig, plasma, lathe and mill at home, along with all the tools I accumulated over 40yrs of being a mechanic.

So it comes down to picking a design and seeing it through. Probably the best thing to do is fab up the standard tadpole and then apply that to another design. But I'm getting long enough in the tooth(and busy with other projects) I want to just skip to a velo and be done. But like anything else you have have to pay your dues I suppose.

07-10-2013, 09:00 AM
Tony--Hi From China!
Like the ideas, one day I might add a bit of covering to one of mine, just to see what happens.
Just a thought about front suspension---as you mentioned VW type--you have feet and legs that need to move in the same place as VW put their torsion bars--steel normally beats legs!
Its the hard part ,fiting the human into the machine--in one piece, and then making sure you can get out when you want to!
All part of the fun,
'Steve G

07-10-2013, 04:35 PM
Hi Steve,

Ah, as to the torsion bars and feet and legs, no problem. Just another opportunity for a bit of creative engineering :) In my first incarnation as a VW mechanic I got to know the innards of the different suspensions on various types. Notably the old type 3 that instead of like the type 1 and 2, the torsion bar was really only the bottom one. The top bar was only really a sway bar. So it got me thinking the two tube frames that held the bars were only to be able to mount the suspension. If you did away with the middle of the upper frame(keeping just the part on the upper frame where the bearings are for the upper trailing arm pivots, and making a retaining bolt to hold in the upper trailing arm) you would have a U shaped frame that your legs would go right through. This was used on an old 3 wheeled car that was a homebuilt tadpole setup that was offered in like the 80's by PopularMechanics that used the VW front suspension and a motorcycle for power.

In the link that the OP posted was an outfit that sold rubber torsion mounts that would serve as the replacement of torsion bars. This kind of system was used on the old teardrop trailers(of which I had a '47), with a single trailing arm. Worked great, and was sturdy. Of course it had no king pin because it didn't need to turn. I'm not talking of using any of these components, as they would be overkill, and too heavy. But as an idea to make small enough and light enough for a tadpole bike. Being an old VW guy, I always liked the way they handled, once you got used to the rear engine/understeer. They had no bump steer because they had constant symmetry, due to the trailing arms.

Of course there's a ton of details to work out, like what kind of torsion block, and how to make the steering knuckles etc. But I didn't see the other thread about velo suspensions, so I was thinking out loud.

I'm having a hard time with the way this forum is laid out. Most boards I'm on, the OP's post is first at the top, then you work your way down to the last. This is backwards. And somehow it takes me several wandering clicks to find myself back to this thread. Hopefully all this will work it's way out.