Feedback and Questions

Important information: The AAW has been sold, but this site will remain. I very much enjoyed building the AAW and recognize that others may find this site to be of some value.

This page is a work in progress, as is the entire web site. I realize that I can't put everything on this site, so this is the spot to ask your questions and to see other people's questions as well as the best answers I can provide.

Use this form to present your questions. I welcome questions and observations regarding the velomobile. I also welcome observations regarding the site construction, errors and any suggestions.

This space below will contain questions and answers, once there is material to present, so check back once in a while.


Question Response

Christopher Sauvarin asks (07-07-08)

Hi Fred,
Thank-you for your most interesting and informative website.
I am considering building an Alleweder, and I am looking for a source of good quality clecoes, please could you tell me what make yours are and where you obtained them?

I purchased my set of clecos at Aircraft Spruce and Specialty online. I had purchased two sizes, the 3/32" set of about fifty and the 1/8" set of fifty, along with manual cleco pliers. I also purchased the cleco-keeper, made of plastic with properly sized holes to "keep" the clecos. Unfortunately, the plastic wore out pretty quickly and I followed it up with a sheet of medium thickness aluminum with the correct holes manually drilled. I did not use the 3/32" set at all and would have liked to have had another set of fifty in a few situations. In those situations, I had a cleco in every hole, but when I got short, I pulled alternating clecoes and in some cases, had one cleco every three holes.

Because of the quantity of holes, clecoes, and rivets, I highly recommend an air compressor, air-powered rivet gun and an air-powered cleco tool as well. What a difference a bit of air pressure makes at the end of a session. Your hands will thank you for it!

Daniel Runyan says:

Great Velomobile Fred. I love and appreciate all the pics and info. Why did you choose stokemonkey as your assist? Would you consider BionX assist for an Alleweder? Are your gears high enough for electric assist speeds? What speed do you average with the electric-assist on flats? How does the AAW feel at 40-45mph? I really want to buy here in the US. Does VelomobileUSA still offer your AAW? Thank you for your time and any comments.

daniel, thank you for your positive comments.

I was first introduced to the idea of a power-assist for the velomobile by David Eggleston of VelomobileUSA, but he had had some supply problems for the system he used.. He recommended a power system that drives the velomobile through the existing chain and gearing, which provides for greater range of power from the motor.  This is useful especially in hilly areas.

From what I see, the BionX is a hub motor system and it would not provide the great flexibility of driving through the geartrain.  From what I've learned on the Yahoo Power Assist group, hub motors have substantial current draw from a stop, because it is not operating at the best rpm for either power or efficiency.  With a Stokemonkey or similar system, you can change gears to keep the motor in the best powerband.

It's important to note that the Stokemonkey uses non-freewheeling cranks, which means when the motor is running, the pedals are turning. Some people suggest that it is dangerous, but I've had no problems in more than one thousand miles.  Equally important, I use clipless pedals and would never consider using a non-freewheeling power system without being attached to the pedals.

I typically run with power only a couple miles per hour over my usual non-assisted speed. I put almost 3000 miles on the AAW prior to installing the power assist and usually pedaled at 18-20 mph, with bursts to 25 mph for short distances. Now I am able to stay at 20-22 mph and more extended distances at 25-27 mph.  Florida law regarding power assist states that the vehicle cannot travel, on motor power alone, as speeds greater than 20 mph and remain classified as a bicycle.  I tested my AAW on a flat stretch by removing my feet from the pedals and advancing through the gears. I was able to reach 20 mph, but as soon as I shifted to the next higher gear, the load became too great and the speed dropped.  I weigh 170 lbs so heavier folk might not reach 20. Some regulatory agencies have phrased the law in such a way that to go beyond 20 mph, even under human power, would be a violation.  Considering that I've gone 46 mph on a downhill, prior to installing the power assist, that would be a horrible restriction for me.  I do my best to operate responsibly, of course.

The AAW handles pretty well at higher speeds. Tire pressure is important and I have to keep on top of the rear axle nuts which have a tendency to loosen over time. I can tell when it's time to re-tighten them, because the handling gets a bit squirrely and it starts to rear steer. It also tends to shift the hub gears when making a left turn, if the nuts are a little loose.

Regarding VelomobileUSA, you would want to contact David Eggleston directly. He has a web page for his vehicles and kits: http://www.pedalyourselfhealthy.org/

TheovdBroek, Netherlands says:

Dear All, This is a wonderful site and with excellent photo's of the construction. I never realised that the Alleweders were also popular outside of the Netherlands. I Live in a city close to Dronten (where the Manufacturer is based) and got excellent support during the construction of my Alleweder. My version (kit Dec 2005) differs a lot from yours, and the present kit (April 2006) has already many different parts again. Pls have a look at my site to see photo's of the construction and the results. http://home.planet.nl/~theo.broek/alleweder.htm Best regards, Theo.

Thank you for your contribution to the feedback page, Theo. Your page looks great, even though it is not in English (smile). I've heard that your country has about 800 of these vehicles, which is amazing! I would be surprised to learn that the USA has one-tenth of that number.

If you wish to have more of your photos displayed and do not have enough space on your site, I would be happy to add a page for you here.

How fast can you go?
I've gone 43mph so far descending a local bridge with a slight tailwind. I can manage 30mph on flat ground in no wind conditions for a short time.
Double Dave asks:

Fred, What prompted you to choose the AAW over the FAW? How does it compare to your Versatile?
I found I liked the styling of the AAW compared to the FAW. The curve in the nose of the FAW wasn't appealing to me and I liked the curve of the cutout for the cockpit on the AAW over the squared cockpit on the FAW. On a more technical note, the FAW had less space for my thighs between the fenders.
I'm not sure how it would compare to "my" Versatile, as I don't have the luck of owning one.
Double Dave asks:

Sorry, Fred, I confused you with David Shank who is building a FAW somewhere in NewYork. The leg clearance issue begs the question; What are the specs, yours and the velo?
I hope David Shank has as much fun building his as I have had with mine. As far as specs go, it's pretty subjective, but I'll try. I might have been a bit heavier when I tested David Eggleston's FAW, but my waist is about 34 or 36 inches. I noted today that I have at least an inch clearance and possibly two inches from the outside of my thighs to the wheel panels on the AAW. In the FAW, my thighs were contacting the panels, but the seat might not have been in an optimum position. In my AAW, I have the seat as reclined as far as possible and the cranks are nearly fully forward. I'm five foot ten inches tall, but with the extreme recline angle, I'm using up all the cockpit space. A more upright position would change the considerations, I'm sure.
Unnamed asks:

What problems did you have when building your Alleweder? How complete where the instructions? Did Alleweder answer the question quickly and completely? How easy is it to change the rear wheel? If you where building another Alleweder what would you do differed? Are there hills where you live, if so how does it climb? What was the most difficult part of building it? Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. I most likely will have more it you don't mind.
The kit is produced in the Netherlands and distributed by David Eggleston at http://www.pedalyourselfhealthy.org Some parts of the kit are shipped directly from the Netherlands and some are from Texas. Apparently the computer controlled tool used to cut the sheets had a problem, so some of my parts were out of alignment. David Eggleston took care of the critical ones which made all the difference in the world. I had no direct contact with the producer overseas and directed all my questions to David. We have hills here in Florida, called bridges, and the Alleweder climbs them rather slowly.
The most difficult part of building the AAW was dealing with the mis-aligned parts at the beginning, but once that was corrected, everything went well.
The instructions were in Dutch and were very difficult to translate, but I also travelled to Texas to examine David's vehicles and go over the construction process with him. I found a german version of the assembly instructions and did a web-based free translation, which also helped in the construction. I would not recommend building one unless you are mechanically skilled in some manner.
If I were to build another Alleweder, I would make certain that the panels were cut properly, otherwise, very little would I change.
John in Indiana asks:

Where do you purchase the McPherson Strut and linkage?
The strut and linkage for the Alligt Alleweder came as part of the kit. I understand that it is manufactured "in-house" by the person who builds and sells the kits in the Netherlands.  You might be able to contact David Eggleston regarding this part, as he also builds and sells the Flevo Alleweder as well as distributes the AAW kits.

 


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