Blue ICE – current setup

Looks like Spring arrived.

The blue Sprint got a second B&M IQ Cyo 80 Lux front light and a new rear fender lately (its actually a 26″ front fender).

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Making of a Velomobile

The Laid Back Bike Report interviewed Stephane Boving from Katanga (maker of the WAW velomobile) in its last show.

If you ever wanted to know how a velomobile is made, this is the time.

The interview with Stephane starts at 8 min.
About 42 min into the video you can see what makes the WAW special among velomobiles: The removable front and rear fairings.

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Taking the XStream to work

I’m commuting with the Rans XStream since last week. Figured, it’s the best way to get more accustomed to this (for me) odd bike.

The Duranos had to go and make way for more supple Big Ben, that can take the beating of a daily commute and provide a bit more grip. Unfortunately the widest tyres that will fit are 50-559 Big Ben (discontinued in 2015), but they leave no space for fenders. I know, fitting fenders to a Rans XStream is kind of a sacrilege, but I live in an area that gets fairly wet in winter and the XStream is on commuter duty now.


It got a 24″ front wheel to provide enough space with the 55-507 Big Ben to fit at least a fender at the front. My plan is to fit a 24″ wheel and fender to the rear as well, but didn’t find a proper rim yet.

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Front Wheel Rebuild

I’m in the middle of rebuilding the front wheels of the black Sprint. They served me very well for close to 6,000km and it was actually nothing wrong with them.

Ok, the spokes where too short. Despite meticulously measuring the rim size (ERD) several times and consulting several online spoke calculators multiple times, the calculated spoke length I used, was 3mm too short. I got an other of these rims in 24″ size for the rear and there the spokes are 3mm too short, as well.
The only explanation I came up with, spoke calculators estimate some ‘rim shrinkage’ due to spoke tension, but these very sturdy rims simply don’t budge. I never had the same problem with any other rim.

Sadly these beautiful, 47mm wide, polished, 20″ rims are not available anymore. Hence, they get ‘updated’ with black anodised, 90mm Sturmey Archer drum brake hubs from Gingko. Thought about the new cool-finned SA+ drum hubs for a moment, but I’m not living in a mountainous area and haven’t actually experienced brake fading from overheated drums.

The first wheel went quite well, the rim is about 0.25mm radial out of true and 0.11mm latheral out of true. The new spokes are 0.5mm too long, but that’s well within the tolerance (+/- 1mm) you have for spoke length.

old vs. new:

to get an idea how massive these 47mm wide rims are

not exactly the right rim size for 28mm wide Duranos 🙂

skinny tyres on way too wide rims sure look nice

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Blue ICE on ICE

It was a pretty cold but beautiful day today.



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RANS in the Park

I’m tinkering with the RANS XStream at the moment. The big, wide RANS handlebar had to go and today I’ve swapped the Phaserunner for the old but trusty KU123 controller.


It handles way better with the short handlebar, but while the old controller doesn’t look nowhere as slick as the tiny Phaserunner, it just works without fuss.


I have to shorten the brake and shifter cables, but that has to wait till I decide what kind of handlebar works best. While I like to keep the mud guards, I really wanna get rid of the Duranos and put some more supple tyres on it. Probably have to mount 24″ wheels to be able to use mud guards and wide tyres.

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Aero Bullet Velomobile Shell

I’ve mentioned the Aero Bullet velomobile shell from AEM in Florida some time ago in an older post about velomobile shells for trikes. While the first production shells were made from fiber glass, they’re now made from carbon fiber. No mention of the weight of the raw shell, but at $1,100 a piece (+ shipping) certainly at an interesting price.

While the raw shell is not much to look at, ‘Tonyscat’ build an impressively looking velomobile shell for his Catrike Road out of it. Thankfully he also documented his build in this blog post.


I’m especially impressed that he uses 24″ wheels!

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Coroplast Velomobile Shell

Rob Alex build a nice coroplast velomobile shell for his ICE Sprint FS (version #9 actually!).

He posted some details and pictures in his blog and his thread at the BentRider forum. Go check it out!

I’m quite curious how version #10 will look like…

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Marathon Winter Update

Since the temperatures went-up above freezing again, I took the Marathon Winter’s off the Blue ICE and mounted a new set of Schwalbe Big Ben again.

Rode the Marathon Winter for 70km, lost 8 spikes at one 24″ front wheel and 12 spikes (!) at the other. The brand new Marathon Winter 50-559 at the rear lost none.

Pretty disappointed with the 2-year-old, but unused, 24″ tyre set. The set of 20″ Marathon Winter I rode for about 360km at the front of the black Sprint two years ago, didn’t lose any spikes.

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Interested Bystander


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