Getting Aero - Speed Gains
I've been an avid cyclist for many years & have owned & raced many different type of bikes ranging from Road, Track, MTB, BMX, Lowracer, Tadpole trike, Recumbent...etc
On all of the bikes I've pedaled, lowering my body into an aerodynamic tuck (time trial position) has increased my speeds by reducing aero drag.
One bike I owned was known as a Lightning F40 (see 1st pic) & was basically a 3/4 faired recumbent (just head sticks out) with a fiberglass nosecone & fabric body (which I later replaced with a coroplast plastic body for better aerodynamics & speed). I estimated the Lightning F40 gained ~40% speed advantage being mostly faired (max ~30 mph unfaired, ~42 mph faired). Human powered bicycle speed records in excess of 80 mph have been set due to extreme aerodynamic bodies.
The full fairing 2 wheel bikes are awesome until the wind blows, then the sail effect causes seriously scary situations & unpractical for street use.
Recently I began surfing for aero body fairings for upright bicycles & landed on Gravity Bikes. These BMX bikes built in the 80's & 90's with very slick motorcycle type fairings to race down hills. They are making a comeback & the fairings look slick for motorized bicycle applications.
I would like to build a fairing onto one of my three MB's to see what kind of aero gains are accomplished, & not just for speed but for efficiency & comfort. Smaller engine MB's could see significant gains in performance & efficiency by lowering the power required to move at any given speed.
I also added a bubble & coroplast to a tadpole trike creating a 3/4 fairing (similar, but a crude variation of the slick velomobiles available today such as the Rotovelo by Trisled (see pic). The trike handled the wind much better than the F-40 but had a lower top speed, was heavier & took up more road width.
Anybody have any ideas/comments about partial fairings and how they can be integrated onto Motored Bikes for performance, efficiency, comfort?
Last edited by lowracer; 03-11-2012 at 12:06 PM.