Friday, July 5, 2013

A Streamlined Body For My Recumbent Trike

Over the past week or more I have been pushing the limits once again of my designing capabilities.  This being a design for a body that I have been wanting to design and build for years that would fit on a recumbent trike.  Now that I have the trike the time has finally arrived where I can start thinking seriously about the project.  If you have been following my blog over the past three or four weeks you will have already seen this photo of my trike but for those who have not here it is once again. 

This is my newly acquired TerraTrike recumbent.  I absolutely love it.  It has a 24 speed gear-set with a chromoly frame, with disk brakes. It only weighs 38 lbs and it's fast.  I have had it up to 21 mph!  This is great fun but it could be better.  Thus the idea for a streamlined body which would make it slip through the air easier. 

This is the design I've come up with.  It would be constructed out of fiberglass the way an experimental composite aircraft is built.  Strong and light weight. The body would allow the airflow over the recumbent and driver to be smoother with less drag.  Over ninety percent of the energy to move a trike down the road at 20 mph is used just to overcome wind resistance. So this body even though it will make the trike a bit heavier will travel down the road easier  and faster because of the smooth body shape.

Here's a good view of the back of the design.  These vehicles are used a lot in Europe and are called Velomobiles.  The big problem with purchasing a Velomobile at least for me is the overall cost.  They sell for around $8500 and go up from there!  Way out of my budget.  With my design including the trike it should cost me less than a third of that price.

For ease of access to get into this little road screamer there will be a front hatch that will be hinged to open up.  Then it's just a process of stepping over the outer edge of the body, sit down inside and close and lock the hatch. 

My design as I said earlier uses an internal framework similar to what I used when I built my composite kayak.  The process is the same which is not difficult to make.  It just takes a bit of time for the designing of it along with the construction of the body.  What you see here for the design is just the first draft.  I still have various pieces yet to design to complete the body framework and figure out the mounts for the trike. 

Now for the specs.  The body on the trike would make the entire assembly 33 1/2 inches tall, 33 3/4 inches wide and 7 1/2 feet long. The body would be skinned like a cedar strip canoe with one inch wide 1/4 thick strips of styrofoam and then fiber glassed inside and out.  All of the ribs are all glassed on both side before they are cut into shape.  The best estimate at this point for the weight would be that the body would be around 20 lbs.  That's just a guess as I know that the kayak that I had built the same way was very light and this will have less hardware and fiber glass in it.  I'll keep you up to date on this project as I get farther into it. Should be a fun project to build in the coming months.

Here's a good video I found on YouTube of another Velomobile that will explain a lot more about them and what they can be used for.


  1. Ultra cool concept. I'm looking forward to future post on the construction process.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.