Hybrid velomobile - a formula for success?

What happens when one combines a fast and sporty velomobile like a Waw with the advanced electrical assist/generator like a BionX? Do they reinforce eachothers advantages or their disadvantages? Find out my and others experiences here. If you do not know what a velomobile or an electric assist is, check out the links first. (An electrical assist that helps up to only 25km/h and with power limited to 250W, remains a bicycle by EU law)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A better name: Uphill assist??

Instead of calling the BionX an assist engine or a hybrid assist engine, both of which confuse people who are not familiar with the velomobile concept, perhaps "Climb assist" of "Uphill assist" better describe the function of the bionX in a velomobile? Give me your vote and opinion on the best name in the comments!


...Some explenation on the WHY of this name change...

Because I keep getting questions like "what if it assisted up to 40 km/h ?" Also, people seem to wonder if they should get one if they live in a flat region. Uphill Assist answers both these by pointing to how I see the main function and main reason for acquiring something like a BionX FOR A VELOMOBILE.

In 1999 there was a symposium on assist engines for HPV and velomobiles, and there several papers described how an assist only starts making sense in hilly regions = hence the name Upphill Assist.

When on a classical electric bicycle one tends to ride a lot under 25km/h and thus USES the likes of BionX as an assist engine, with a velomobile most people ride easily above 25km/h even with the assist in place. So there is a shift in function from a more or less constant assist on electric bicycles, to a more temporary function on a velomobile. Also I want to remind the reader that I am a so-called purist that, before, didn't like the idea of any form of constant assist in a "HPV". Well, I still do not like the idea of having assist all the time and a velomobile does not need that either, because it is hugely efficient in a flat region. The uphill assist thing covers its major weakness because it is, relatively seen, a vehicle with a high weight to power ratio (just as trucks slow down seriously on upphill roads).

Of course anyone is free to call it what they want, and perhaps some people might get a light assist as the bionX just for the sake of doing faster redlight getaways (fun too). So as soon as that happens in greater numbers, we will know that this uphill assist naming thing was besides the point.

But as far as I see today, people want these things in a velomobile to "flatten" the hills a bit....

Fourth European Seminar on Velomobiles: Assisted Human Powered Vehicles and Velomobiles. Interlaken Switzerland, August 18, 1999.
Proceedings available through www.futurebike.ch.


At 13/1/06 22:33, Blogger allewedertje said...

I do not understand why you would refer to the BIONX only as an uphill/climb assist. Like someone else mentioned in an earlier comment, it can also be used on level aereas to maintain certain speeds. Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with the term POWER ASSIST, which covers every aspect of its versatility.

At 9/2/06 04:44, Anonymous john bailey said...

Yes, a name like "uphill assist" better describes what we're looking for. When a car diver encounters a hill, she simply gves it more gas. "Extra gas" perhaps, "Oomph" or "Just Go System". She's already pushing pedals on her VM, she doesn't really want to slow down to 40 rpm and bash her back against the seat and weave left and right. She just wants to go up and get on her way to the grocer or maybe to tennis.

Ideally, the system would kick in seamlessly so that she would experience a constant effort transitioning from the flats to the ups. What does this take? An inclinometer with pedal torque and brake feedback? In the car she holds her foot down. On the bike, why should she feel virtuous struggling up the hills. Leave the virtue to me. She just wants to go and not pay for gas.


At 27/9/06 15:40, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Frederik,

I am wondering if your blog is still active.
Releative to the use of the bionx I´d like to learn more about your experience with it, now that you use it already about one year.
Would you like to contact me? Please email me at orthoed@gmail.com

Thank you and Hej do / Juje ave (?)


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