Lonnie Morse – Aero Wing components

Aero Wing components take the aerodynamics of recumbent riding to the next level of performance. Though body position is enough for many riders – more and more riders are taking the next step with the aid of fairings – front, rear or both. A fairing is the most influential “bang for the buck” component a rider can install on any human-powered vehicle. Yes – fairings are expensive but so are carbon fiber disc wheels that cost more but give back less in performance comparitivly.

We cyclist have been cultured into the “graming game” way of thinking. We believe removing weight seems to be the only way for improvement in quest of performance. That may be true for the up-right bike community. The United Cycling Union unfortunately boxed the upright rider into specific dimensions years ago.

They also banned the recumbent bicycle in 1934 because of  winning most races. So – why does a recumbent have the aerodynamic edge? Notice the recumbent rider body is more horizonal compared to the upright rider. Remember – the smaller the hole that is punched out of the atmosphere – lesser the drag of aerodynamic friction.

Picture at the top and on right says it all.

The flip side is the Recumbent bike “bent” has no restrictions to have to abide by regarding continuous on going design improvements.  Yes, bents are classed by category but by aerodynamics, not bike chassis construction. http://www.ohpv.org/HPC/page3/page24/page24.html

Note: – I’m not saying weight isn’t an important factor for any human-powered vehicle – however, many times the added weight of a fairing generally returns dividends big-time to off set the added weight.

  • Notice how cars are changing shape, especially the Hybrid cars.
  • Could a bird fly efficiently if it wasn’t shaped the way it is?
  • Is the human body considered aerodynamic?
  • Why are modern semi trucks faired?

While you are pondering these four questions – think about the “aero efficiency” of the questions.  Yes – Engineers have proven they can make a brick fly – only at a huge loss of efficiency.  Put a fairing on that brick – the coefficient drag aero “Cda” changes dramatically IE. modern faired trucks.

The intent of this blog is to help with the understanding of beneficial  aero dynamics when used with human-power vehicles. The standard upright bicycle has been noted as a platform of efficiency from scientist – however – the usually more aerodynamic recumbent bicycle is rapidly becoming the fastest growing category for the bicycle industry. Examples like touring, comfort, commuting, and Human Powered World Speed Record Racing hold an edge compared to the antiquated up-right bike.  It is unfortunate that most civic bike infrastructures are designed for “just” the upright bike.

A new category is taking hold – I am speaking of the recumbent sport trike and faired velomobile.  Why? Interviews have discovered that it is the “high fun factor” these vehicles provide that is cause for the sudden public interest. One has to acknowledge there is a great deal of practicality with the added “trike” stability.

The use of aerodynamics can suddenly change a docile trike into a speedy cruise missile called a Velomobile “Velo”.  This recent addition to the newest categories of human-powered vehicles “HPV” is probably the most practical utilitarian HPV to date.

I urge one to use practicality as a guide when determining expected aerodynamic benefits.  Don’t know? ? ? Then this Blog should provide guidelines to help with the process of making your Human Powered Vehicle as efficient as possible. We will not be getting techie here. The examples provided within will be understandable fundamentals for the layman. The reviewed users have already tested the concepts. Be assured, riders certainly would not endure the weight penalty of the aero components if there were not a significant pay back in performance.

Lastly – we are going to assume that everyone is of equal physical fitness regarding claims in this Blog. In layman terms – everybody has the same motor/wattage output etc.  Yes – everybody is a Tour de’ France rider – “yea rite” LOL.

It has been pointed out to me by an engineer/builder of a Bonneville Land Speed Racer that aerodynamics work at any speed – it is just not noticed at slow speeds.

Here is link for comparative data of aerodynamics concerning human powered land vehicles. Well written so the layman can easily understand. http://www.zzipper.com/documents/HPV_Paper.pdf

Posted in recumbent bicycle aerodynamics | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

faired or un-faired

 CervelowRAAMfairing2        The human body and the up-right bicycle are both aerodynamic disasters.

Yes – for this up-right rider – this is improvement – but there are better ways. I have come to realized there are two camps regarding the recumbent bicycle. Even major racing events now separate faired and un-faired bikes because faired bikes are aerodynamically more efficient.

Here is an example of the two categories.

Both of these bikes are of the same manufacture. The un-faired bike relies on high output  wattage for speed while the faired bike can hold the same speed on less wattage.


So why isn’t there more recumbent riders using fairings ? ?

Mostly because of the left over mind-set from the up-right bike whence we all grew up with. It also has to do with “the flock” the rider chooses to ride and race with.

Even though the faired bikes give more performance with less energy – your performance window could be a mis-match with the groupie your riding with.

Easy Racers recumbent bikes basically started the fairing movement years ago. The addition of a front fairing on a long wheel base “LWB” bike with low bottom bracket “BB”became a natural for noticeable improvement. It is now rare not to see a Tour Easy, Gold Rush, ti-Rush without a fairing or body sock.

Stars and Stripes 2

Here in the Great NW – the Oregon Human Powered Vehicles “OHPV”  have had faired recreational riders for years. We fair our bikes not to go faster – but to ride a preferred speed easier.

Fairings Cookie Monster

To better understand aerodynamics “in layman’s terms” lets take a look at a few pictures that perhaps will make it easier to understand the fundamentals of aerodynamics. One doesn’t have to be an expert in aero physics to understand that nature has already sorted it out for us.

Dolphin 3-1 aspect ratioDolphin aspect ratio

Notice that both – marine and air animals have one thing in common – Their body mass has a “the tear drop shape”

seagull aspect 1seagull aspect side

From all dimensions – the tear drop shape is natures aero dynamic shape for high performance animals/mammals.

OWL aerodynamics

This OWL is one of my favorite pictures of all time.

Now – lets take a look at some easy to understand illustrations.


Notice when messing with natures shape the aerodynamic coefficient diminishes – or does it ? ? ?


Even Moche knew how beneficial streamlining was back in the 1933


Up-right bike aero dynamics most riders don’t know about. Think about wattage as horsepower.  746 watts = 1 horse power.

Aero Drag Power for HPVs

Here is another chart that helps with understanding how much power = km/h for un-faired recumbents at race speeds.  The speedo should help with conversion.

Wattage comparison chart1 - A speedometer km vs mph

One can only imagine  what speeds could be obtained if fairings were used with these wattage outputs. Of course the amount of improvement would be in accordance to the application.

Notice the different Bottom Bracket “BB” heights in the pictures below. The lower the BB – the more need there is for a fairing.

BB position on bents

The higher the BB – riders tend to not use fairings because of the near horizontal body position.

Long wheel base liner

Here are some examples of fairings that have varied from mother natures tear drop shape. What is learned ? ? any fairing close to the aero shape of nature is better than nothing at all.

A closer look at the “aspect ratio”. Notice the first third of the shape is the nose cone.

profile of a tear drop

Below we can see a 3.5 – 1 aspect ratio. Meaning the widest part of the tear drop is approx. 1/3 the length of the shape. This is where the front wheels are on Velomobiles.

milan wind tunnel top

The infamous Milan Velomobile that holds the “distance” world record 757.451 miles – 24 hours.  Average speed 34 mph.  I would say that is one refined tear drop.

Milan_in wind tunnel

Ironically – the tear drop shape disappears when looking at from different angles. It is still there – but hard to see.


The Quest is another record holding Velomobile. No doubt natures tear drop is working very well with a 3-1 aspect ratio.

For those of you that are thinking – what happens with the toe/knee box bumps on the Milan and WAW – if the body shape is reduced – the humps and bumps are minor influences. However, there is significant known drag when the wheels are exposed to the laminar flow.

Tear Drop velos

The WAW is almost 4-1 aspect ratio where as the blue Birk is example of a 3 – 1 aspect ratio tear drop. Notice the wheel fairings, which are 4-1.

Single Track Streamliner

Canadian rider Sam Whittingham rides the Varna Diablo III to a world record speed of 82.3 mph (132.5 km/h …

Varna profile

Current World Record: September 18, 2009, 82.819 MPH

Varna top

Both of these World record holder share a similar feature – they both are of a narrower 5-1 aspect ratio.

See the 5-1 tear drop? This is the mpg world record holder of the World. Running on hydrogen, the PAC-Car II achieved a fuel economy of 12,665 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPGe)!


As bicycle riders – we all know that we are in cross winds most of the time. The lateral roundness of the tear drop shape it preferred to the flat sided designs. Refinement studies of cross winds are now being done with success.


Trisleds “Completely Overzealous” World record holder for multi track Sept. 14, 2012 – Trisled’s trike powered by Gareth Hanks has set a record for three wheels of 71.79 mph.

trislede velo comparisons

Another example of tear drop refinement.


Note: – “with a bit of sarcasm” riding an up-right bicycle has the aero efficiency of a Humvee when exceeding the speed of 20 mph. It is the riders fitness that provides the horse power/wattage that make either of them go fast.

As I observe nature’s tear drop with relevance to a daily bike ride – I hopefully have illustrated the importance of aerodynamics. Human power is a fragile low power energy source when compared to our “feel the pain” of work vs performance.  Aerodynamics is the most important element for human power over anything else. A simple fairing will give back more performance per dollar spent than a $2600. set of carbon disc wheels. The tear drop shape is only the beginning of establishing a successful model of aero efficiency. The ongoing refinement by World Record setting builders that go to Battle Mountain annually are at the cutting edge of human power.

This article hopefully titillates the rider to refine their existing recumbent bike as a faired bike “to feel it’s performance enhancement”. I encourage you to think more of the fairing 1st as a more efficient component to purchase in lieu of the “more expensive – less efficient components” that bike riders usually buy.  How to set up a fairing properly with the many varied platforms of recumbents will come in a future blog.

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Low Tech testing any one can do


Wheel aerodynamics

Do your wheels pass the “flame test”?

What ? ? ?  – – What the hay are you talking about ? ?

One evening a friend and I was installing a set of reconditioned tri spoke wheels for his new CAD 2.0 Bacchetta. The bike came with nice set of bladed spoke wheels however being prep’d as a Sebring racer – a more aerodynamic set of wheels seem to be in order – then use the originals as back up.

After getting the rear tri spoke set up with proper cassette spacing/alignment, I ask him to spin up the rear wheel as fast as he could with the cranks – why? I wanted to see how the newly installed ceramic bearings felt at high speed and check for wheel balance. I also wanted to do a aerodynamic test on the tri spoke wheel to see how it compared to the bladed spoke wheels the bike came with.

With the wheel spinning at high rpm, I check the bearings and wheel balance then picked a BIC lighter see how much the wheel pumped surface air at different stations of the wheel and tire. Having done this many times before with different wheels, I knew there are usually surprises to learn from. I love doing these low-tech tests as they are eye awakening and challenging to reason.

For instance:

A well-known outlet store sells a budget bladed wheel that I use on my Easy Racers Gold Rush. The design of this wheel allows the flame from a BIC lighter to be as close as 1/2″ before the flame does serious flickering. Moving the flame closer to the nipples will demonstrate how sensitive laminar flow can be tripped. The flame blew out when placed as close as 1 1/2″ from the nipples. This was caused from an abundance of air turbulence from the spoke nipples. Moving on to dish of the rim, once again, the flame was able to be placed 1/2″ from the rim before it started flickering. Note – any decal edges that have come unglued will be cause for additional turbulent, so be sure to have them properly laying flat as they should be.

Now for the tires – Interesting enough, I have found that some designs of racing tires cause very little if any air pumping turbulence at all while other tires of “race” design produce quite a lot of power robbing vortices’. Remember those little mold tags on new tires – get rid of them. They cost you a drag coefficient – how much – – ? ? ? What I have found is – smooth tires are less apt to cause turbulent that create’s air pumping. Any kind of irregularities on the tire surface “side wall or tread” will cause air pumping drag.

Obviously – these findings were not what my friend wanted to see after dropping a bunch of bucks on the tri-spokes. Ironically – the bladed spoke wheels that came with the bike actually showed us they were more aero efficient than a popular brand of tri-spokes. I find these results are consistent with other bladed spoke wheels that have come through my shop. So – bummer – after spending a bunch of money, the tri-spokes flunked the “flame test” big time. We found that the flame consistently would blow out approx. two inches away from the aero design spokes of the wheel. It was obvious the big wide spokes were pushing a lot of air mass around even though they are more laminar friendly. It did get a little better moving out to the deeper dish part of the wheel. But hey – they look good – right! wink

Comparative results:

Bladed spokes started flickering the flame about 1″ and stayed lit 1/2″ from the total length of the spoke “except the nipple” to the dish/rim of the wheel continuing on to the smooth sidewall of a Michelin Pro.

Tri-spoke flame blow out was at 2″ along the blade and 1 1/2″ at the deep-dish portion of the wheel. We could not even get with in 3″ of the tire before a blow out. I do not recall the tire brand but remember pointing out it had a lightly textured tread.

Paired round spoke wheel designs did not do well either. This test example showed 3″ blow out at the spoke area and nipples, but got better at the dish of the rim.

Standard 32-round spoke double/triple cross – flame flickers violently at 3 1/2″ and blows out 4″ at the nipples.

Hmmm – for over all club riding – I think I will stay in the bladed spoke camp. I have now replaced the round spokes on my 451 20″ front wheel to bladed spokes. The smaller 451 – 20″ front wheels spin approx. one third faster than the 700c – – so the aero benefit will be another small improvement for the over all aero package of the bike.

Thoughts: Use self-control for the glitzy bling we all get caught up in. Ask yourself – are you using the RIGHT STUFF or the LIGHT STUFF. Your bike may look faster but go slower by assuming trick wheels will be faster. I have to say I now have softened my interest for the high dollar “carbon fiber wonder wheels”.

Now that I know this part of the story – I cannot wait to test a carbon disk wheel. Will it pass the “flame test”? It will be interesting to dig out the old cloth disk wheel covers from years past to see how they compare.

I have been ask – what do I use?

For practical everyday use – I use a 28mm dish rim, 24 bladed spokes, ceramic bearings, smooth tires with light weigh tubes.

Disclaimer – There is another important element in the study of wheel aerodynamics. Different bike frame designs each cause a multitude of turbulents – this alone drives wheel engineers crazy. Developing a wheel design moving forward while spinning on a bike change’s the whole dynamic of wheel aerodynamics. The result discussed in this article was done with wheels spinning on a stationary bike stand. Open road is a different setting, however – the amount of wind pumping going on does not. It is no secret that larger spokes push more air mass and catch more cross winds. Disc wheels are down right dangerous wheels to use in moderate to high winds so users beware. Choose your wheels carefully for what your needs are for. All out racing wheels have specific purposes that are generally not suitable for daily service. It is interesting to surf the web and see controversial claims being made from different wheel brands. Many claims are out right contradictory of each other. All n all there is but one simple test that works better than terabytes of data. Long-term seat of the pants ride comparison. Then – who has the patience for that? lol

Up-date: – – It is now one year later 2013. I have just had a discussion with the rider mentioned in this article. He has concurred that the Tri-spokes are indeed are a handful in cross winds and he does not feel they are faster. This equipped high racer is down right scary in cross winds, he says. From now on he will be using his tried and tested socked Gold Rush in future racing events. His claim is the socked Gold Rush is over all faster for everyday use and racing in the wind.

It was because of his comments pertaining to his year long comparison that prompted me into publishing this article.

More later ~

Driveline efficiency test –

Aerodynamic coast down test –

Posted in recumbent bicycle aerodynamics | 2 Comments


Roll Over America “ROAM”


What is ROAM?  A 24 day tour of Velomobiles Rolling Over America from Portland OR to Washington DC.

ROAM was a historical event that took place July/August of 2011. I was already interested in having a Velomobile – but when I spent nine days with them as a support member of the Tour – I knew it was the next project I was to build.  After all – I have a spare Varna Streamliner shell and a Terra Trike that could be modified as a donor chassis.  So why not? The project will help with the long dark winter hours that are ahead of me in the rainy Great Northwest region of the USA. Normally – I usually do not get into a “how to build” when I do my projects. It really takes valuable time away from the build setting up for proper photo’s etc. However – I have been requested to do this project, bearing my soul as a builder for others to learn by.  So if the photo’s are not as step by step as other DYI web projects are – be patient. I am probably in a stage between Dream-gineering and Analyist/Paralist.

What did I learn on ROAM? WOW – it was like going to Velomobile University to acquire a basic degree but then coming home with a Doctorate Degree. I realized on day two I needed to start a Note book and learn to use both camera and laptop for recording related things that I knew would be pertinent with my Velomobile build. If it hadn’t been so exciting, I’m sure it would have been work to gather and record the data daily. As it turned out – I wanted more and more. Every model/brand of Velomobile had any number of beneficial features that I thought I might want to use with my velo build.

What I can’t do is to discuss everything I learned on this adventure. There would be too much time doing so. However – I will list a few categories that I think stand out as special. Well at least to me – after all – I am doing the build – not teach “wink”

What I intend to do is use a few velomobiles that I shot photo/video of as I watch them tour for the first nine days of the ROAM tour. As a builder of past,  show cars, low racer recumbents and Streamliner  recumbent bicycles – I feel that I can be objective with my observations. That is to recognize and determine different aspect reasons of what is happening under the conditions the vehicle is operating at the time. “Just think about it” – I have an average of 45 velomobiles riding with one another for days – it doesn’t take long for the differences to start showing up even with different rider capabilities.  I had to pinch myself daily to believe I had this opportunity.


Number one –

The fast Velo’s was a Milan, Quest, EVO-R and Pterovelo. These race bred thoroughbreds were the super cruisers with space for hauling touring gear if need be. The Milan was the fastest best handling velomobile of all. When I rode it on a test ride – it was like a rocket sled on three wheels. Reminded me greatly of my Varna Streamliner. It was so free of air resistance. The Milan has been dialed in with a super efficient aerodynamic shape in addition to a suspension package that is rock solid laterally.  As a result of every thing working in synergy. A Milan SL holds world distance records in 12/24 hour meets.

I am also very familiar with Quest velomobiles which are the benchmark of Velomobiles. They are wonders of engineering having a design that is perfect for open road touring. Over ten years of R&D has refined the Quest into what it is today. It being aerodynamically efficient and a plush suspension smooth out those long miles making a pleasurable ride. Oh – and plenty of baggage room for self supported touring if that is your thing.

The Go-One EVO-R had the least amount of storage room – but hey – the EVO-R is a lean and mean little racer. After listening to the rider “Jorg” of this sleek little racer – it makes sense to pick a Velo for the preference of the owner/rider. He is a smaller sized rider that couldn’t fit into the larger Quest Velo. The EVO was a logical choice for him.

There was another fast Velomobile that stood out. This was the Pterovelo – meaning “feathers and wings plus bike” made in Oklahoma City USA. A lot of aircraft technology was used with in this Velomobile. It did look much like a Sail Plane pod without tail and wings. It was fast and very hi tech with rear view cameras in lieu of outside mirrors.

Below is a frontal view of a Evo – Mango – Milan and Quest.

Number two –

If I were to use a velomobile for inner city commuting where maneuverability is an important factor then Velomobiles like the  Mango, Strada, Lieba would be logical choice’s. Their open wheel, shorter wheel base, wider track, weight and aerodynamics  exhibited make them refined enough to hold impressive cruise speeds while crossing America on ROAM.

Here you see a Blue Strada compared to a Mango.

Number three –

There were two do it yourself “DIY” kit versions on ROAM.  This is a lesser expensive way to own a Velo if you’re handy with tools. The aluminum Alleweder and steel chassis/composite Velocity velomobiles both did well on ROAM. For inner city commuting both are good choices. They also would do well across country under their own time-table. Note: the only reason these two velomobiles brands stand out as “not as fast” was because they are being compared to World Class racing velos. This is an apples to Oranges comparison and not to be taken that the Alleweder and Velocity Velo kits are substandard. They certainly are not. One just has to keep in mind for what these velo’s were designed for within a budget cost factor. Both these kits are good values. Update – the Velocity can now be purchased as a finished Velomobile. 

Number four –

Category impression. WOW! – who would have thought I would see a Velomobile cruising at 40 mph over the top of a roller hill up to well over 65 mph across the down hill flats of the eastern Montana terrain. It was unbelievable to see this right out in front of my wind shield. Here you see Joseph securing the sun shade just before one of many 65 MPH +runs. Go to this link to see a few short video clips of the Quest and Milan making fast runs.


Sorry for the video quality – A digital snap shot camera makes a poor video cam.

I followed a Milan down hill off of McDonald Pass at 70 mph. Of course he had to use the brakes to keep from having a runaway. The way it handled through the high-speed curves was a joy to watch.  Go to this link to see the Milan working the curves at 50 MPH.  Also see another video following the Milan cruising at 70 MPH as he runs out on the flats from off of McDonald Pass MT.  http://www.flickr.com/activity/photostream/

Simple flat land cruising is 28/30 mph. Any kind of modest downhill grade is cause for an increase speed of 32/35 mph. I watched as groups of two’s and three’s effortlessly travel at these speeds on level flat plains.

A word about E-assist :

There were four e-assist Velomobiles. My observation was the Stoke Monkey configuration seemed to work the best on this tour by way of simplicity and reliability. All systems were integrated into the chain lines “Mid-drive” utilizing the bikes transmission for the widest performance window for climbing and speed cruising. I may post more details on the topic later.

Velomobile fundamentals:

a. – Stability at high speed is paramount with these cruise missiles. This requires a long wheel base – low center of gravity “cg” as well as through researched of aerodynamics.


b. – For exception of the holes for the feet to be used as a reverse gear – the refined velo’s have sealed the outside elements from inside the cabin for weather comfort. For the Quest, fresh air comes in through the top and slots in the floor. No wheel splash at all come into the cabin. I also noticed there is more room in these vehicles than meets the eye. One just has to be creative with packing skills. GPS, Smart Phone, vented seat, Hershey Bar – Highway 12 across America – all is good to Washington DC.

c. – Road space. Some roads are not very Velo friendly IE no marked shoulder to ride on. This doesn’t mean one cannot ride on the given road. It just means to be aware and continue with caution. Another element is the right tire is going to be in the road trash most of the time. Velomobile tires have to be selected carefully for the road conditions.

d. – Visibility wasn’t an issue that I saw on ROAM. 40 plus bright-colored easter eggs are hard to miss. However, visibility can be an issue if a Velo isn’t wearing a visual paint job. Bright flashing lights even in the daytime is a good safety option. There was one velo that I recalled with a mute purple color. I noticed this TriSled Rotovelo while climbing from Three Rivers Resort to Lolo Pass ID. The purple Velomobile totally disappeared when it went into the shade. Even the blinky light wasn’t enough to really make it visible. This was the only Velo that could have been a  brighter color. The use of a very bright red light would take care the issue. Even when out in the sun – it really didn’t have a eye catching contrast color. Ironically – I have the same problem when I wear a Stars and Stripes Body Sock on my Gold Rush Recumbent. It doesn’t take much distance for the colors to meld into a soft purple making it hard to be seen. Yes – I run lights full time when in that color. The RotoVelo is a really cool Velomobile with it’s poly injected body shell design. I thought of it as a durable Bumper Car when I test rode it. This Velo definitely has crashability built into it. For long term use it would be a durable low maintenance velomobile to own.

e. – Crash-ability – The Velomobile has a need to be durable though most are quite fragile machines. It was bound to happen – there were a few that experienced car/velo contact on the ROAM tour. Not only with automobiles – but with each other. Accidents happen, however the amount of bumping these Velo’s endured on tour was impressive. Many times it just required popping the shell out from the inside and continue riding bruised. However there were two incidents on tour that the velomobiles were damaged so they could not finish the tour. Never the less, the velo’s protected the riders to some degree. The accidents involved a Quest and a Stratus that were both made of carbon fiber. Something to be said for the design construction of these vehicles. There was a third incident “non car” related. One Quest hit a large chuck hole damaging the suspension mounts to the body. It finished the tour on a sag vehicle.


Cause – – Rumble Strips along the highway. The Rumble strips caused the rear wheel to float. This rider rolled in his Velo and tumbled down into the ditch as a result.

Yes – the Velomobile and Rider was out of commission to finish the trip. Such a shame.

f. – Durability – – there were numerous break-downs almost daily. My observation was the breakdowns was a result of well used velo’s that came on this tour. Many of these Velo’s are the main source of transportation for the Euro riders. So the Velo’s came to America with many kilometers on the clock. There were also domestic velo’s that required repair for same reasons. The velo’s that didn’t require anything but normal maintenance were either dialed in “new” Velomobiles or well maintained used velo’s.

OK – on the drive home from ROAM – I mentally put my Velo project on hold. I had a lot to think about before continuing the build. My concern, was I able to build a velomobile that would be in the same performance window of the Quest and Milan. I was using the Quest as a benchmark before ROAM – now I have a new level of performance to strive for “with the Milan” as a new benchmark. Can I achieve the goal – I believe I can – after all – the Milan is the template so to speak.

Up-date – It is now three months later “Dec.” The game plan – start the project once again using the Terra Trike chassis. It is already cut and spliced to the track and wheel base it needs to be for the velo project. The down side is – the Center of Gravity “cg”. It is too high to handle the cornering cg’s of the Milan. So – the second phase is do what the Aussies do – build a rectangle frame to mount the seat down into. This brings the cg down as low as one would want it. I have decided I will not suspend this Velo and use it as a time trial racer. Some of the Velo’s on ROAM were not suspended  – so I’m going the easier/quicker way to get this project under way. Hopefully I can stay nose to the grindstone to have the steel chassis version rolling by the month of May. This is when our annual club event will take place for racing.


Enclosed is a link to my Flickr account recording the project in motion.


It hasn’t been updated recently because of analysis paralysis. However – I’ve decided to move forward with the project and take my time enjoying a rolling Velomobile in the mean time. My objective is to have a fast Velomobile that will be used for time trailing or to be used with sagged and or credit card touring. I’m really not interested in self-support touring anymore. I have nothing more to prove to myself after doing a Trans American in 2005 plus other week-long self supported tours.

Up-date – on  the Velo project – – after much though, I have decided to get a Milan SL. It just makes sense for me to purchase a refined Velomobile for my use and get to riding it. My order is in the pipeline and should have delivery sometime early summer.

As for the Terra Trike that has been cut up ? ? It will cold bonded with PC-7 epoxy. Yes – that is right – it will bonded “not welded” – Why? ?  I have always wanted to do a bonded project bike/trike. We have a club member who has a bonded Tour Easy that has lasted for years. Makes sense to me to not lose the hardness of the chromoly steel by welding. I will post the results as progress resumes. It should be ready to ride in March.  The new configuration will be a hybird between a Cat Expedition and ICE Vortex.  Wheel base will be somewhere in the 48″ range. The track 27″ wide. This should  make a fun little sport trike.  The rear chain stays have already been lengthen to accommodate a 26″ wheel for touring and or a 700c for sporting around.

On going updates will be posted as they come along.

Posted in recumbent bicycle aerodynamics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cleaning out the Closet

Raw dump of various content from past articles published and subject discussions with recumbent riders. Some duplication of data may exist.


Subject: Re: fairings
Answers with in your email ~
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2012 11:23 AM
Subject: fairings


I just purchased a 2005 GRR, and was beginning to outfit it for long distance self contained touring.
I have a Bachetta Giro 26/20 as well.
Should I tour this summer without a fairing?  I am considering that Windwrap has some blemished clear fairings and with the attachments, that would run $300.  Should I go for it, or try my first summer without?
Absolutely go for it – – a fairing beyond any shadow of doubt gives back more performance “for the buck” than any other component a rider could buy. Windwrap is a very good “durable” fairing.
If you are not heading into a headwind, what advantage is it for a slow plodder like me? (60)?

When in rear ward winds, sit back and let the fairing pull you along much like a spiniker sail on a sail boat. The fairing also works very well when plowing through side and frontal cross winds.
 I wonder if the Sun rack for the EZ-1 Tour Easy copy would work with a little modification for my GRR.  
As far as doing modifications for a long touring – nada!
One doesn’t need to have to fiddle with second best equipment when on tour. There will be plenty of other unknown gremlins appear even in the best of preperation. It’s way to expensive to fix, fiddle, and repair on the road. You will not have the luxery of finding “good deal” parts when on tour. Out there in no where land – you will pay to the teeth. We discovered this on our tour in 2005 when some of the guys were not prepared well enough.  $130. for the proper rack is cheap when compared to a modified “non purpose” rack system that shifts around under load or crash, scratching a frame set or comes apart in the middle of Kansas. Having good equipment is paramont.  Remember  – – your new bike is only as new as the oldest part that has been installed on it.  How many times have you changed your pedals from one bike to another?
What rear rack do you suggest to pair with my Ortlieb panniers?
Well – I don’t know how much weight your going to put in them and or the size your panniers. Personally – I prefer “not” to use a rear rack for the heavy stuff. The heavy stuff should be down under the seat in the panniers. (another reason for the correct under seat racks) I used the lightest rear rack I could find as I was only using it for the sleeping bag and other micro light gear. For my rear panniers – I used the Garder Martin recomendation – hang the panniers from the seat braces at an angle. This puts the load down right behind your butt which makes for a low center of gravity. This allows the bike to handle much like it does when unloaded.  Yes, it is heavier – but the neutral handling does not change.  I wouldn’t change a thing “after 4200 miles” the way I loaded the bike for TransAm – thanks to Gardner.
This link shows how the bike was loaded. Scroll down to the Stars and Strips bike. I also added a large fanny pack up in front of the handle bars. I kept my wallet, and other valuables in this bag. I was really convenient to remove “most valuables” from the bike when shopping. It is also a dry place to have valuables as it is under the top edge of the fairing. I consider the fairing indispensable.
By the way – – I averaged 45lbs of gear across America. Panniers were never completely full. Do a few shake down cruises to weed out the unecessary gear before the big one. Having too much weight in un-needed gear is common. Ship it home!
Here is a link to a seminar we warriors conducted for our bike club.
Have a good trip ~

—– Original Message —–

To: tha_capt@comcast.net

Subject: Thanks, Lonnie, one or two more questions


Thanks so much for the detailed answers. I did forget one other question, and that was touring with a trailer.

What is your experiences or take on that?

I have toured “just” enough with a trailer to find it isn’t for me.

1st – The trailer adds significant weight to the over all load as equipment.

2nd – The trailer also adds wheel/wheels as parasite drag to slow you down – plus having to carry spare tires and tubes for it.

3rd – The trailer is a “Black Hole” meaning – it is too roomy. Way too easy to bring more stuff along making for more weight going up hill.

4th – Both – single and two wheel trailers have a tendency to “whip lash” back and forth when going down hill at moderate speed. I’m sorry – this is not at all suitable for me. I have since seen several other trailers do the same thing. I can only determine – they all must do it.

So far – the only advantage I have seen for a trailer is when a couple is touring together. The stronger rider can carry more than his/her share of the load to equalize the touring mph speeds together for compatability.

Two wheeled trailers vs. one wheel?

Pick your posion.  

Both designs have pro/cons.

I’m told the trailer is supposed to take a lot of weight off the back wheel.

For solo riding – a nice 32 spoke Velocity Dyad wheel laced with heavy gage spokes is generally heavy duty for the rear of Easy Racers touring bike. Note: – If you have a touring wheel built – don’t start off with a fresh build. Give it a chance to be checked/retrued a couple of times after the build. Put a minimum of 300 miles on it before the tour.

AeroSpoke is another bullet proof wheel. However – just be sure the Aero Spoke wheel is new and or a new freewheel at the beginning of your tour. Aero Spoke freewheels are short lifers compared to traditional free wheels. They are simple to change out. Just have a new free wheel ready to be ship from home. I wouldn’t recomend carring one on tour. Also change the cartridge wheel bearings out before leaving. It is easy to do and in-expensive.

Many have posted, I would be concerned on long, steep, descents with a heavy loaded trailer.

Would adding a disc brake to the rear help with this? And how good is adding the rear disc?

I like , and use a disc brake “only” for heavy touring. For me – I use the disc brake not as way to modulate a slower speed down hill – but to safely decent faster with more brake power. Disc brakes also means a heavier brake set compared to V-brake/Linier pulls. However , when touring – I’m willing to sacrifice the little extra weight for safety. If needed – disc brakes can be used as drag brakes better than rim brakes. The disc brake will not cause tire blow outs from over heating the rims.  

happy trails ~

Salt Lake City,Utah


Roll Over America “ROAM  July/Aug 2011


I could not help but jump into this discussion of potential average speed a Velo can hold. I helped with support for the first nine days of ROAM. I realized I was in “Bent Heaven” watching the performance of these machines.

For those of you that have never ridden an aero equip recumbent – you will have no idea of the performance window you have at your disposal. If you easily freak out with speeds into the fifties/sixties – then maybe get out on the open road to gain a bit more of confidence.  For instance – take a closer look at Josef avatar picture. I took that picture after following him for several miles from “30 – well over 65 mph” while he raced up and down the Montana rollers.


It was an outstanding example of performance watching him as he worked the rollers with finesse. He routinely would come off the top of a roller at low thirties to hit high sixties mph at the bottom. I watched as he worked the Carbon Blue Quest through the mid fifties “mph” across the valley. He would then again attack the uphill with aggression completely wringing out every last mph of momentum the Quest had to offer dropping back into low thirties at the top of the next roller hill – then once again continue down the back side of the roller for another thrill ride. This people – is the gift of momentum created by aerodynamics. For those of you that have anything smaller than a 52X11 – you will never feel the maximum benefit of momentum management to attack the next hill. As Josef said – knock out as much of the coming uphill as you can with momentum – hence – there will be less up-hill to grind out in the lower gears.

Note: Most bike paths here in America are not suitable for the high speeds that a velomobile can acquire. Your best average times will be better on the open road.

Recumbent Aerodynamics blog – –



Conclusion from various Forum conversations.

Faired or not to be faired – – – I have come to terms there are two camps regarding streamlining a bike.

Unfaired means the rider is either a casual slower rider by loose flapping wardrobe and mine set or a fit animal of performance clad in the typical roadie lycra fashion.

By the way – the tight jerseys and riding shorts are “almost” fairing of sorts.

I am a proclaimed faired rider most of the time. I’m not a strong rider so my weakness is equalized by the use of aerodynamic components.  A large fairing with a well rigged Body Socked on a Easy Racers GRR is said to be 30% more aero efficient than a up-right roadie biker on the drops. After years of comparitive riding Socked – I can honestly confirm the claim. I look at the concept this way – – how much mileage efficiency would I get if my car had no hood, windshield, and front fenders? On my bike – on a good day I might be able to produce a third of a horsepower. That is “the why” I ride Socked up 90% of the time. It’s not that I want to go fast all the time – it is because I want to ride at a satisfying pace “easier” and go farther on less energy. Easier means I burn less calories per mile, which equates to me as better mileage just like an economy car. However – everything comes at a compromise when it comes to user friendliness of an aerodynamically equipped recumbent. I had thought at one time I would close up the bottom of my GRR up much like a Lightning F-40 until I rode an afternoon beside one in the valley cross winds. Yes – he was notibily faster but boy – did he have his hands full in the cross winds. I enjoyed that day much more than he admittedly did. I decided then, just be happy with the open bottom compromise of a socked GRR for user friendliness. Once the technique is learned of getting in and out of a GRR Socked up, it is no more effort than getting in a car and fastening the seat belt. The open bottom is just the same as no sock at all – simply clip shoe in/out at anytime where as there is a learning curve with the F-40 design. There is no wrong with either platform – however – I feel there is a common misunderstanding of the practical application of fully streamlining a single track recumbent beyond 50%.

To me – it’s come to this mine set of thinking. ( Do you want to go out and get “on” your bike – or – get “in” your bike)


Hi David ~

My answers are with in the body of your email.

I just wondered if you sell used Easy Racers bikes – I’ve seen you
advertise a couple.

I ride Easy Racers products and fill in at a local recumbent bike shop part time. I also have a recumbent bike brokerage business plus build racing recumbent bikes. I help riders with finding a recumbent “bent” that is sutable to their expectations. Because there are so many platforms of bents to choose from. I get asked “why I ride the bent I ride”?

answer: The Easy Racers Gold Rush with Body Sock fits my needs perfectly. Why? Because of it’s utilitarian abilities. I cannot think of any other bent that can be used for heavy self supported touring – then quickly convert it back to a light weight club rider. By the way – transporting a long wheel base has not been a problem for me. A tandem rack meets the requirement for a longer rail for transport perfectly.



I’m in the UK, and I don’t think there are many, if any, over here.

I’m torn between an Easy Racers and a Lightning P-38/F-40, and  I
think there’s only one P-38 over here, and that bike isn’t for sale!
It’s difficult to know which would be best for me without test riding
either of them.

Note: – the P-38 is not as fast as a front faired GR. My observation is that a GR should always have a front fairing because of the lower BB. With that said – the P-38 is faster than an unfaired GR.

answer: A couple of customers have traded their P-38’s in leiu of GR’s saying the GR’s climb better. This is their comments – not mine. I can only conclude that the lower BB gives more power to the pedal. Generally – the P-38’s are said to be better climbers? I have not spent any time climbing a P-38 so I will reframe making remarks.

( My observation of the F-40 by riding along with a few from time to time is they are definitely faster in the F-40 configuration because the bottom is closed up aerodynamically. However, because of that – the F-40 is not very user friendly in general. They are effected by cross winds more so than a open bottom Socked Gold Rush. The Body Sock on a Gold Rush “GR” can easily be stored away if high cross winds occur.  The center of gravity “cg” is higher on the F-40 adding another undesirable equation to the over all package. These are the following reasons are why I prefer the GR for convenience of adaptability while on the road. But, bear in mind – a rider can become acclimated to most anything if they want a specific bike bad enough.

I have just returned from assisting with support on the Roll Over America “ROAM” event. There were two F-40’s that rode along for about 500 miles with the Velomobiles. The F-40 rider’s suffered greatly in the heat because there is very little air circulation flowing through the bike. A Socked GR has plenty of air circulation coming up from the bottom and over the shoulders “if” the Aero Wing tail frame is used. )


I’m about 6ft tall, and I think I’d need a Large Easy Racers frame.

answer: ( Be sure to use the manufactures recommended X-seam fit procedure for proper sizing. Why? The X-seam measure compensates for the butt size of the rider. Inseam size can be wrong sometimes if used for the final decision making process. )

Hope this info helps David.

Best regards

Lonnie Morse ~


WD-40 Trans-Am test

I love the humor this discussion has taken regarding the WD-40 topic “wink” keep it up.

In 2005 I was fortunate enough to tour across America with five friends. We were known as the Six Warriors     http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/er2005

I remember some one saying in camp one evening – – – “Why WD-40 for gawd sakes” ? ? ?  When they found out about my “No Lube” test across America.

A few years earlier, I remember reading a lab test paper on bicycle chain efficiency lubed and un-lubed.  I got to thinking – this would be a rare opportunity to test the lab findings in real time use. I also knew it was also an opportunity to “really” test the ambiguous WD-40 controversy – besides – common sense told me that I would need something to prevent the chain from rusting with no lube protective coating.

Quote from a article:

The researchers found two factors that seemed to affect the bicycle chain drive’s efficiency. Surprisingly, lubrication was not one of them.http://www.jhu.edu/~gazette/1999/aug3099/30pedal.html

In preparation I installed a new “SRAM 89r” as a replacement to the 89r club ride chain that I was taking off. Using a brand new chain for the self-supported tour would give me a bench mark comparative to a chain used only for leisure and competitive club riding. This take off chain had been carefully lubed with tender loving care “TLC”.

Tour results:

Club chain had just under 4000 miles on it when taken off.

Trans American “TA” chain over 4200 miles of “self-supported- heavy duty” use at end of tour.

Using a “Park Tool CC-2 Chain Checker” – the TA chain showed the same wear as the club ride chain.

Needless to say  – – – this was shocking – – well ? ? ? – so much for the wear factor myth.

As I recalled – I used WD-40 no more than four times while on tour. It was used only when I knew the chain would be exposed to rain. I figured, any wear would result in raw metal so I was really treating the chain for rust prevention – not for lubrication. With this mind set I really got into a experimenters mode for the whole trip. O’Yes – my riding buddies had thought I had gone off the deep end BIG TIME – but hey – it’s my experiment.

I recall clearly one rainy day in Hutchinson Kansas after I had used WD-40, I was puzzled why I had lost significant back spin efficiency. This gave me something to ponder as I crossed Kansas. It took approx. two hundred miles on my Gold Rush to get back the top efficiency of the chain. Why?  Was it because the thin solvent action had moved dirt particles away from the side plate and into the roller bearing or was it the hydraulic dampening of each bearing link working against the side plates? All I knew – I lost over 50% of the drive line efficiency for the next three days.

A clue: I noticed when the outside of the chain rollers started to look polished once again – the chain returned to it’s optimum efficiency. Apparently as the chain started drying out, the hydraulic dampening dissipated and once again free of product moving between the side plates.  I suddenly thought of all those years I had been unintentionally slowing my drive line down by lubrication. This can’t be – I argued with myself. I was determined to support the lube concept even with the truth staring me in the face. Still – I had never experienced this before as I had never thought of going on a ride without proper lubrication “Heaven forbid”. I always had a clean lubed chain by any number of miracle chain lubes – so how would I know what a naked chain felt like? Needless to say –  I am now bitter about the brain washing of advertising. Like many others –  I had drank the Kool Aid.

Other tour uses: For general cleaning I sprayed WD-40 on a rag and wipe down the frame set, chain rings,cogs, etc. I have never experienced dust sticking to the finish – as previously posted by another reader. Just a nice clean shinny look that gives greater depth to the paint color – especially on a polish aluminum frame set. With respect as a solvent I do give special care as to not over dose WD-40 over the decals and I have not yet seen any damage on rubber/neoprene seals. I have even added a couple of ounces of WD-40 to the inside of my frame set and steel fork – then hung them to drain on two of my bikes. After all isn’t this what it was made for in the AeroSpace industry? Yep – it’s to prevent corrosion and rust on metals and electrical circuits.

Note: – I now buy WD-40 by the gallon and use it on my customers bikes for sludge removal on old chains and packing grease off the new. It’s economical to use when purchased by the gallon. For no waste – I simply re-use WD-40 for cleaning the dirty parts by filtering it through a triple folded filter made from a T-shirt and pour it back into a gallon coffee can with lid for future use.

Application: – The chain will be weepy after a WD treatment until it drys out. For this I simply wipe it down before and after rides with a terry cloth towel until it stops.

As for the noisier chain I hear some riders mention. Chain links make noise as they it strike the teeth of the cogs for the most part. Again – it’s the “quiet” hydraulic dampening action of the chain lube we have been conditioned to think of as good.  A silent chain now means to me, power robbing hydraulic dampening. My Gold Rush for example has 236 links silently working against me when lubed up.

I’m a hard nut to persuade at times – so for more research, I  frequently take the chain in both hands and “gently” bend it laterally both ways to feel for curiosity. I break the chain open out of curiosity to see whats going on in there.  If I hear or feel a excessive dry crispy/crunchy feel, I know the chain will need to be treated some where in a hundred miles or so. However, most of the time – it is rain or a coastal ride in the salt air that requires me to treat the chain before any shift problems arise.

Suggestion – The next time any of you completely clean/strip the chain down for service  – do a back spin test on your dry “polished rollers” chain before re-lubing. Now do another back spin test after lubing? What did you find out? Will you talk about ? ? ? ?

The Back Spin test explantion:

This procedure is the simple task of back spinning the pedals by a flick of the wrist four or five times. With practice – you will soon develop a consistent reverse spin of the crank set by a flip of your wrist. Whirl the crank set in reverse as hard as it can take with out back lashing. With a little practice you will be doing this while on rides to just see what is happening within your drive line. I find that doing the back spin test four times gives a pretty darn good “unscientific” test during the ride. You should have three out of four turns pretty equal.

The set up: – Position the chain on the middle chain ring and on a cog near the middle of the cog set. This makes the chain relaxed but not floppy. It is important to have a near straight line for the chain. This will give the drive line the least resistance for the test. What ever you do – stay with the same cog/gear selection for future comparative results. By doing this test routinely you soon become intimate with what the drive line is “really” doing. There is no placebo going on here guys. Count the turns of reverse “coast” the crank set does coming to a stop. I use 12:00 as a visual marker. After four times – you now have a bench mark to work from. Every bike will have it’s own coast down. Lots of variable factors come to play here “don’t even go there” keep it simple. You would be amazed the difference just serviceing or up grading the bottom bracket or idlers make.  Another topic for another time.

This simple routine back spin test will quickly familiarize you with your drive line.  It is every bit as sensitive as the tire pressure.

Conclusion: I will always prefer to ride with a dry chain now on as a result of the experience I gained on my TransAm. Wear is no longer a factor – – – no more sludge build-up – – – – no more miserable grease stains on my favorite riding gear – – – – available economically anywhere – – – – – and I like the smell “wink”


I am not trying to change anyones mind about what your using as a favorite lube. After all – there is a chain lube industry out there that rely heavily on your purchase.  I’m just sharing what I found on a three month test ride across America. It was a fun test for me with un-expected results. I find most bicycle riders really cringe when I tell of my findings. I honestly don’t care what they use as I respect them for what they believe in – “To each there own” After all – it took a real time test for 4,200 miles to convince me.

Lonnie Morse

Portland OR

Varna clone/Zephyr lowracer – sold

Polished Gold Rush SS socked

“New” ti-Rush socked

Rotator Coaster-converted 8spd – sold

ZOX clone – sold

Javelin socked – sold

Quadraped Trike

Velomobile under construction


email conversations;

Lonnie, > >    Thanks for the reply. > >> As your already on a GR-  – you are probably in the ball park already.

> > One would hope that this is true, but I got the bike used, and haven’t done > much to adjust the fairing. If it was set up correctly by the original > owner, then it is right, I guess.  On coast-down tests I haven’t been able > to demonstrate much speed benefit; actually, my first efforts, three times > faired, then three times naked, then three times faired, as quickly as I > could make the changes and get back to the top of the hill, my average was a > bit faster on the naked bike.  I am still hoping for more. Top speeds down > the hill were all between 29-31 mph. > > Among the things that make me wonder whether we are set up correctly is that > there are three holes bored one either side for the top mounts, and we are > using the bottom of the three holes. It looks like the original owner may > have bored holes for the mounting, and then moved it higher, a couple of > times, looking for a better fit. It still doesn’t seem to me to be high > enough. The top of the fairing is about 46″ from the ground, and my eyes are > about 50″ from the ground when I sit on the bike. Does that sound right? > Also, I’d like to get the fairing closer to me. Denton at Easy Racers said > that when he rides his elbows are against his torso. I reach a bit farther > than I would like….my elbows are pretty much straight. >> >> >> This might help you – lower mounts should have to be moved up approx.. >> 3/4″ >> to attached to the lower mounts. > > I don’t understand what you mean by this. Do you mean that the bottom holes > should be higher on the fairing? I don’t know how I can adjust the “mounts.” > I guess I don’t know what a mount is. > > Dan > > > >> >> > >>

Hi Dan ~

OK – – – Lets start from the beginning “wink”

Logic says – get the bike fitted to yourself first. This is done by riding the bike for a while to get the bike adjusted to “your” body “with out fairing”.

(Denton says he ride his bike with his elbows against his torso) This tells me that he also drives his car that way also. It is his comfort zone.

This is known as a “closed cockpit” position.  On the other hand – there are those of us who prefer to drive a car with a “open cockpit” configuration. This was also the way I was taught how to race sports cars years ago. Elbows have a way of getting in the way when fast corrective turning is needed while racing. Eventually everyone has their own preference of fit, so trail and error is going to be the way you find your fit.  My recommendation is for you to start by using the same comfort position that you use when driving your automobile. You have been driving in a certain position for years – use the same position to fit yourself to your bike.

1. – Find your X-seam (the proper distance from the lower seat back to pedal) There should be slight bend in your knee when the crank arm is at the far distance of the circle. I do not recommend the heel on the pedal fit for recumbents. I know some people use this method however I have found too much discrepancy with this technique for recumbent riders. Why?  Road shoes Vs Touring shoes have way too much difference with heel thickness’ for this to be a universal method for fit. Adjust the seat  – clip in – go ride – adjust seat again until you find the sweet spot. Over time – if knees start hurting on top under the knee cap then your too close. If any pain appears in the back of your leg/knee then your too far.

2. – Now experiment with the seat back angle. If your sliding forward in the seat then raise the back more vertical or put a wedge under the front of the seat base to recline the seat base a bit – usually no more than 1/4″fixes the slide problem. Plumb wedges “use to plumb windows and door sills” found at Home Depot work perfect for this application.

3. – Next comes the handlebar height. Use your adjustable steering wheel in your car as a guide.

4. – Then the handlebar tilt. Again – use your car as a guide line.

Keep tweaking these adjustments back and forth until you find your sweet spot.

“Now” –  lets mount the fairing.

Most people make the mistake of adjusting the handlebars for the fairing fit. I feel this is backwards for a true bike fit. I do recognize that most people start right off with a fairing mounted on the bike from purchase so they never have an opportunity to ever “not” be influenced by the fairing. Pardon the double negitive grammar.

Mounting the fairing  –  Once the fairing mounts are attached – fasten the fairing at the top first with enclosed nylon bolts. Bottom is always the last to be fasten when mounting and the first to be unfasten when removing the fairing for transport. After the fairing is fasten – check the sides of the fairing to examine how much flex/slack there is on the fairing edge halfway from top to bottom. I actually pick up the bike front end by the handlebars and drop the bike a couple inches several times just to see if there is too much flex going on in the mid section of the fairing. Another indication that the fairing may be too loose is if you hear a bang or pop from the fairing as it hits the top of front wheel or fender. If so – – slide the upper fairing mount higher up the handle bar to remove the extra slack out of the fairing. Note: –  This is what those three holes in the fairing are for that you were inquiring about. These are adjustable mount holes drilled by the Zzipper fairing manufacture for different size riders. Note; do not over stretch the fairing. This will cause cracking at the mount holes. Just like you found your own fit to the bike – the fairing has it’s favored fit also. You should be able to push/pull no more than 1- 1/2″  in/out mid way down the length of the fairing for proper fairing tension.

The best Aero Dynamic position for the fairing has been found – the higher – the better. I usually run mine so I can “just” see across the top of the fairing. I’m questimating the road disappears behind the fairing about 40/50 feet out. If I need to see closer in , I just lean forward a bit to take a peek over the top. Note: – everyone will have their own comfort zone with the top edge of the fairing position.

Riding a Easy Racers GR,TE,TiR with out a fairing is not much better compared to an up right bike aerodynamically. Think about it – – your only a few inches lower than an upright bike with a whole lot more parasite drag caused from a lot of tubes on the frame set. Fundamentally a fairing is a must for road riding these bikes. Your comment is interesting – as to your not being able to tell the difference of no fairing compared to a mounted fairing? ? ? I have never heard of this before now. My observation has been even the most poorly mounted fairing there is always improvement over no fairing at all. However – one has to be aware of all the variables with unscientific testing. Some of the variables that are at play I.E. distance of your downhill run, changing sun to shade during the test, wind changes, density altitude measurements, etc. All this does happen in a very short period of testing time. My favored method is using a short downhill with an immediate up hill roll out distance as a guide. There is a lesser chance of the aforementioned elements to spoil the test.  I use gray tape as a marker on the pavement, at the top of a hill to start from – then start rolling with minimal pedal just to get started. Just let it take off for the total run on it’s own. I let it roll as far as it will roll up hill to a stop, then mark the end of the test roll out with gray tape.  Note: – I have had tape last for over two years on the road bed. By seeing improvement in roll out distance automatically demonstrates it is also aero dynamically faster. This three block long test run I use is “1 1/2 blocks 8% grade down with 1 1/2 6% upgrade is perfect for my use. It also has the convenience of being a frequently used route I ride.  I have very few surprises now when it comes to aero/rolling efficiency test. Different bike types and replacement tires are my favorite subject to compare currently.

General findings of past for Easy Racers TE, GR, TiR are as follows.

Non-scientific approx. values – front fairing 12 – 15% improvement. That equates 1.5 mph improvement for every ten mph.  If your a twenty mph rider then it is a good solid 3 mph improvement to 23 mph. I concur this general observation as I was a 15 mph rider on a upright bike for years. When I purchased my TE in 1997, I suddenly became a 18 mph “with fairing” rider on my very first ride. So I have experienced this aero enhancement.

Tail frame will add another significant % depending on how compatible the tail frame shape is with the rider shape/size. Tail sock usually provides a 5 – 8% enhancement on the foremention bikes.

Body Sock gives a good solid 30% improvement over a upright bike.  Think about it – would you drive your car around with out any body or wind shield. That is what a up right bike rider does all on a third of a horse power.

I recall a conversation with Gardner Martin years ago. We were talking about this same topic. He informed me that a riders body shape plays a significant part with the “fairing only” aero package also. He shared with me that his brother could go much faster down hill on the same bike than Gardner could. Yes – his brother was a bit bigger/heavier man than Gardner at that time but Gardner was convinced that his brothers rounder shape both on the sides and over the shoulders behind the fairing was indeed a more efficient aero package than his own narrow shape. Gardner was an experienced pilot and understood aerodynamics clearly enough to set World Human Powered Records so who is anyone to question his findings. Since then I have seen similar examples and recall that conversation with Gardner.  By the way – not many people find it comfortable tucked up behind the fairing for leisure rides. Sitting back in a relaxed position is what the majority of bent riders do. Comparatively – does a upright rider, ride on the drops full time? ?

If you need any help – feel free to call me. It will be easier to discuss the finale tweaks by phone.



Lonnie Morse


Subject: Re: Fairing Mounts- Dan

================================================================================================================ ==============================================================================================================  I need to know the width of your fairing mounts from “hole to hole” >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Now is the time to make changes if you need to. Do you want the >>>>>>>> fairing >>>>>>>> wider or narrower? >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> If you have the Zzipper mounts – then you have already found your >>>>>>>> sweet >>>>>>>> spot >>>>>>>> as they are fully adjustable. >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> If you have the Easy Racers mounts – then you have what you have – >>>>>>>> they >>>>>>>> are >>>>>>>> not adjustable other than up and down. >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Aero Wing upper fairing mounts are not adjustable either “however” >>>>>>>> they >>>>>>>> are >>>>>>>> custom made for the rider. >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> (The Fit) While sitting on the bike – take the wing nuts off, leave >>>>>>>> bolts >>>>>>>> in >>>>>>>> for handling the fairing. With both hands take the fairing out of >>>>>>>> the >>>>>>>> holes >>>>>>>> and shape the fairing the way you want it. Pretty simple – spreading >>>>>>>> makes >>>>>>>> the fairing go flatter across the top – narrower makes the fairing >>>>>>>> taller >>>>>>>> in >>>>>>>> the middle. However, it is best to have a small amount of curl at the top for structural integrity of the fairing. When you find what you prefer then take a measurement >>>>>>>> and >>>>>>>> send >>>>>>>> that to me. >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Appreciate the “no rush” Dan. Race season is starting up so I’m >>>>>>>> focused >>>>>>>> on >>>>>>>> the Streamliner however your fairing mounts should be ready in a >>>>>>>> week >>>>>>>> or >>>>>>>> so. >>>>>>>> I’ll give you a progress report next week. >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> ================================================================================================================ >>>>>>>> After thoughts: – – – – >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Lets talk about the Carbon Fiber fairing “not the Double Bubble”. >>>>>>>> “After >>>>>>>> all – you got money burning in your pocket – wink” – – When you get >>>>>>>> to >>>>>>>> the >>>>>>>> point of up grading your fairing – The carbon fiber fairing is a >>>>>>>> feather weight >>>>>>>> compared to a Body Sock fairing. As I have not compared the Carbon >>>>>>>> Fiber >>>>>>>> fairing to a Standard Fairing I don’t know the weight differences. >>>>>>>> Easy >>>>>>>> Racers probably could answer that one. If you do order a Carbon >>>>>>>> Fiber >>>>>>>> fairing – get it “with out” the mount holes drilled. Each bike set up is >>>>>>>> a >>>>>>>> bit >>>>>>>> different. The Carbon Fiber fairing is easy to drill out by using a >>>>>>>> small >>>>>>>> guide hole of 1/8″ then to a 1/4″ for a final hole. There is a >>>>>>>> procedure >>>>>>>> I >>>>>>>> use for the set-up. Let me know if you ever need it. >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Thanks for your interest in Aero Wing Products. >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Sincerely >>>>>>>> Lonnie Morse >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> ===============================================================================================================


Damn, thats a heap o’ good tips! To use a corny cliche “You da man”. You have to remember that part of my thing is trying to be car free as much as possible, which requires hauling groceries and what not from time to time. I have a few cargo bikes that i never ride because they’re just too clunky, so i end up trying to hauling things on my efficent more comfy bents. I have a hypothesis that most folks dont get into biking as a predominant form of transpo because the majority of bikes out their are cheap heavy inefficient junk. Thats the way i used to be, riding was so unpleasant on a cheap heavy upright. But the public is too cheap to spend a grand on a decent bike, they would rather squander that grand on 6 months of insurance and gas.

I’m trying to plan for ohpv memorial day event, hope not to be in cailfornia. I really enjoy your advise, see you soon

On Tue, May 3, 2011 at 10:56 PM, tha capt <tha_capt@comcast.net> wrote:

—– Original Message —–

From: Kevin

To: tha capt

Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2011 4:04 PM

Subject: Rolldown test and quick koolback seat question


Hows it going? Me and a friend took the rans xstream and the GGR out the other day and did some coasting roll down tests. The GGR with just the fairing was always way faster down grades of any sort. How much of this was bike/rider weight and how much of this was fairing is the question. The xstream is supposed to be 26lbs but feels lighter. Easyracers website says new medium GGRs are about 27-28lbs i think, but mine feels much heavier than the xstream, so i wonder if the older mid early 90’s GGRs were heavier.

Lots and lots of varibles play a part in roll out results.

Weight ? ? – – strip the GRR down to the way Easy Racers sells their bikes. Then weight it Kevin. Stop quessing – knowing what your bench mark is to start with is the only way to really know. IMPORTANT – Write the weight down and place it so you can refer to it later. Then when you weigh it later after upgrading “hopefully lighter components” only then will you know where you have gained or lost weight. When you weigh in for a bench mark weight – there is no fairing, no kick stand, no fenders, no bells whistles of any kind. Go on line and look how the bike looks before accessories. Pay attention to what wheels and tires the bike is spec’d with. Are they EX touring wheels or SS club wheels? Even the SS wheels spec’d are heavy. Which seat – old cobras are lighter than Stainless Steel cool backs ? Which frame size? Does it have a disc brake mount? Is it a EX or a SS frame set? Is the frame painted or polished ? Does it have the 15″ rise handle bars or the 16.5’s – – Does it have a adjustable stem or the standard? Does it have original steel fork or the newer steel upgrades which are heavier? You may be surprised – you may have a lighter GR than a new one. But – you don’t know till you compare apples to apples and not speculate.

Not helping is the old thick zipper,

Actually – the heavier “larger” zipper is more aero efficent.

There is a quote I heard recently from a Velomobile manufacture that comes to mind.        “Use the right stuff and not the light stuff”

and other components/wheels dont look to be higher end light ones.

Wheels are a important part of aero efficentcy. If you had a 406 on the front – you probably had a set of 36 or 32 spoke touring wheels.

The fenders and improvised pannier holders shouldnt add that much..hmmm, perhaps it all adds up.

Oh yeah – these two items scrub off lots of speed. Fenders are like air scoops unless they protrud down over the front 1/4 of the wheel. In talking about Ranndonnuer fenders that are known to aerodynamic improvemnets. 

Pannier racks are much like air trying to get through a screen. Lots of turbulants.

I think the GGR being faster downhill had more to do with the fairing than weight but can’t be sure. Anyway, we were both very impressed by what the fairing could do and want to try the full body sock even more now. I also wonder if a zipper experimenters kit could be adapted to the xstream.

Now – you are conveinced that fairings work “wink” Now you want more “LOL” Yes – a experimenters kit would fit with some careful pre-thought. The RANS handlebars will need to exchange for the narrower Easy Racers.

Theres a used koolback seat off a 2006 medium/small GGR for 175.00 that i’m thinking about getting, just to have a second option on the GGR, plus it would give me an updated two part seat system so i could try things like the sprinter back (i have the old one peice cobra, the seat base is too short and jams my crotch).

Peel back the seat cover and carefully take a sanding block “120 grit’ and reshape the saddle horn. This is a common issue but easily modified to the riders anatomy.

Medium/small frames and under have a smaller seat base than the mediums to large frame standard seats, i wonder how much smaller. Any thoughts, recommendations?

I am not aware of the different size seat pans. This must be a recent change since Easy Racers sold a few years ago. Your in the territory of personal fit. The only thing to do is try it – if it works – keep it.

I ended up buying a used 451 front wheel and feel it made a big impovement on speed, handling, and aesthetics over the puny 406.

Good for you – I have never seen a fast GR with a 406. You will continue to experience the enhanced performance of the 451 over time. After all – are not 700c wheels known to be faster than 26″. Enough said.

Kev – You made a comment of the little things that count – – if you use that quote as “your golden rule” – you will have a wickedly fast bent. Think nothing but pure roadie – – only one exception – we live in Oregon – we live with fenders – use only narrow fenders not wide. Use only high pressure racing tires front and rear. Use medium weight tubes not the racing tubes that are too fragile for daily use. No slime – no liners. Unless your communting – why the pannier racks? The cool back seat has more than enough room to hang numerous bag designs. The more metal tubes and rods from the racks slows the bike down by way of parisite drag.

Performance Bike sells my favorite rear wheel on sale regularly. It is a Titan 20 bladed spoke wheel that is more aero effiencent than a HED 3 carbon wheel. I don’t know your body weight – so inquire what the wheel is rated at. I do not recall off hand. So there you have it  – there are many little tricks that one can do to make the GR lighting fast. They all count up with Big Time return dividens.

RANS has this crazy phylosiphy that nothing should have a fairing. Don’t get caught up in their baggage. The fairing gives back “more performance for the dollar” than any other component you can put on a bike. But then – you already know that now. You have seen the difference.

Don’t forget Memorial day week end – – http://www.ohpv.org/HPC/index.html

See you there Kevin ~

Hope things going good


“There is no misery to compare with that which exists biwhere technology has

been a total success.” ~Thomas Merton


regarding trike suspension:

If you have a suspension, you love it for the ride. You hate it because of the added weight and loss of efficiency 😦  I am going through this currently with a Velo Project. I am sure I will be using elastomers instead of springs.

Suggestion – tighten the pre-load all the way up on the spring/shock. This should take care of most of the passive suspension give your feeling. After riding the trike for a while, if you want to soften the suspension then back the pre-load nut off to get a compromise of your expectations. More weight means/more pre-load. I run mine on the hard side for efficiency when hammering 😉

Your Trike is a different platform of performance from the Gold Rush – I have a trike because it is more fun than a single track. However, most of my riding is on the GR , that is “the flock” of rider’s I mostly ride with.

I am considering a week ender self-supported trike tour just for the experience. For now – I cannot think of a better platform for heavy touring than a Tour Easy or Gold Rush.

If your on the hunt for a Easy Racer – – my son has a 97 Tour Easy “med” for sale that is like new. I will be listing it soon.


Random email answers:

1. – The larger chain ring being more efficient now explains why I was feeling a lower resistance and higher speed while bucking the winds in Kansas on Trans American. With hours of time on ones hands to experiment, I discovered riding in the Big 53t Chain Ring was noticeably easier than the middle 39t chain ring. Of course one has to adjust the cogs at the rear never the less it worked better.
2. – I question the lube catching the dirt and not letting it in the roller bearing. A simple breaking open the chain at the master link will show that there is plenty of grit that gets inside the rollers and remains there until properly cleaned. Where does the black sludge come from? I would think it is ground up steel from grit grinding away at the chain. By running a dry chain – the dirt may get in temporarily but promptly falls back out as there is nothing to hold it inside the bearing. I suggest the rider open the master link up after a couple of hundred miles of dry chain riding and take a look for ones self. I rest my case ;)
3. – A tighter chain is better ??? – – if this is true then why does a single speed bike experience a slower rotation of the crank arms when spun with a tight chain ??? We streamliner builders found a few years ago working with mid-drives that it’s rare to find chain rings that are hole drilled dead center thus a off center mounted chain ring pulls into a tight bind at different points when the crank arms are spun. By giving the chain room “slack” to compensate for this irregularity – the single speed will spin freely. Hey – I knew this back when I was growing up on the farm with my old Schwinn Panther. So the laboratory findings are not real time results.
4. – Chain Lube for road riding – note: – MTB riding has different circumstances. It is amazing to me that road riders continue to debate this topic when all one has to do is to conduct their own simple experiment. By cleaning the chain throughly – yes – this means taking it off of the bike – – soak in solvent – I prefer WD-40 – – Yea – you knew that was coming ;D  After a second or third solvent bath till clean, hang it up to dry or better yet if you have compressed air handy – blow the chain dry especially into the rollers. This will air flush any grit out of the chain bearing.
Now the test: Reinstall the chain – – do a series of of back spins with the chain in the middle chain ring and pick a “memorable” cog near the center of the cog set at the rear. Now back spin as “aggressively as possible with out chain whip lash”. If your new at this? Do at least a dozen or so back spins to get a feel of consistency. When you feel consistant – start counting the coasting back spins after you have untouched the crank arm.  The coasting back spins are going to be your indicator “of truth” for more test back spins to come. “Record” the number of reverse coasting turns every fifty miles. Be sure to use the same chain ring/gear cogs that you started the testing with. Be disciplined and make this a accurate and fair test even though it is unscientific. Once intimate with this test, one can use the back results to find bearings that need servicing I.E. idlers, BB, and free wheels.
Now – the truth is – some of you “are” chain lube addicts – – hopefully these findings will help with rehab :D come on – keep your humor ;D
My findings as a Trans American Bike Tourist is that a wet lubed chain adds resistance to the drive line. However – un-lubed chains do need rust protection from rain. I simply re-apply WD-40 because it is a Water Displacement product. I do not think of it as a chain lube. As light and filmy as it is – even it will slow down a chain when freshly applied. Never fear, I noticed that after I had ridden 200 miles or so after retreating with WD-40, the chain once again has polished rollers. Note – to help with the process, after a fresh application, I wipe down the chain after every ride with a fluffy rag to take away the little bit of weeping WD-40 that will work it’s way out of the bearing. Long and Short wheel based bents will polish out about the same time as they both have long chains. For up-right bikes the rollers will polish out around a hundred miles as they run short 115 link  chains “more revolutions per mile”. “Hint” the polished roller is the indicator that the chain is a it’s most optimum “dry” efficiency once again. Go ahead – do the back spin test – it should be routine by now for you ;) Notice how free the back spin is compared to a fresh lubed chain – it is like it has a whole new life of freedom – Why?
For those of you that can’t go with out chain lube – – – here is what you did?  Each link when lubed becomes a hydraulic damper. It develops resistance by the very nature of fluid dynamics with every twist or turn of the link. As the lube collects gritty dirt, it adds even more resistance to the factor :o  Now that you know how to do the back spin test – do it – – compare between wet chain VS dry – – then go to the closest Pub and cry in your beer but then celebrate  – you have found truth :D
Yes – dry chains are noisy. This is because they are not being hydraulically dampen. Noisy chains have nothing to do with efficiency.
Reality is – a fresh wet chain means that debris will use the lube to settle “from the top” deep inside the links when parked. Now we have the making of sludge taking up designed flex space within the chain. Another comparison –  Would you put Chap Stick on your lips then go ride in a dirt storm ??? That is exactly what your doing to a lubed chain positioned right behind a front wheel.
I realize this debate will never cease – I’m not trying to change anyones maintenance habits – I’m only sharing my findings over long, hard, wear test comparatively with premium chain lubes VS no lube – has any one else ::)
Disclamer: The following comments are for road/touring riding only.
MTB requires a conditions compatable chain lube. What works in the NW does not work in Moab.


CROSS-OVER – Big Chain Ring to Big Cog –  “Cross Over” is another hot never ending topic :o Cross Over for the most part is a short wheel base bent /wedgie bike issue – why?  Any time the chain ring/idlers/cogs are spaced within the 17/20″ at 5 degree’s or more angle of attack – it is not good. The first demon is excessive tension and then secondly, the angle of attack relative from chain ring to idler/cog.  Just hearing the noise of excess tension crunching against a steep angle of attack will be cause for alarm .:o
However – long wheel based bents and a few trikes can easily use Cross Over just the same as any other gear/cog configuration. I’m an advocate of Cross Over – why not – there is no reason with a proper adjusted chain that any harm will be done. I use the four link fold chain method for chain adjustment – instead of the traditional two link fold. This is to provide proper chain tension when riding in cross over. As long as the idlers are able to manage the excess slack of the chain – what is the harm ???
Want to ride in Cross-Over ;D  OK – first take a look to see if you have too much tension: – look at the rear derailleur cage when in cross-over – is the rear deraillure cage pulled tightly forward toward the Bottom Bracket “BB”. If yes – then links will need to be added to relax the tension. For instance – the cage should never be pulled near horizontal while in cross over. A 120 degree cage angle usually is in the ball park for proper tension for Cross Over use. Tip: Put the chain in the next smaller cog “this would be the 28t on a 11X32 cog set”. Now look at the angle of the derailleur cage – try to acquire this same angle after adding links while in Cross Over. After all – this is the prefered tension by the chain manufactures – is it not ;)  Once again pay attention to the angle of the chain from the nearest cog/idler/chain ring. No more than 4 degrees should there be for angle of attack.
example: My angle finder has shown that there is less angle of attack on my Gold Rush while in Cross Over than on a 9 spd wedgie bike that is in the 7th gear/Big Ring. Just another example that there are way too many different configurations of recumbents to use generic wedgie bike information :'(
My Gold Rush specs are “when in Cross Over” – Big Chain Ring to Big rear cog is at 3 degrees of angle of attack where as Small to small is 2 degrees.
So you see – I’m well with in the manufactures suggested angle of attack of 4 degrees.
Just so you know – Five degree’s is the No No of Cross Over at a typical 17″ chain ring/cog spacing on most wedgie bikes ;)



700c to 26″ conversion.

I decided to give a 26” wheel a try as a rear wheel replacement on my Gold Rush “GR”. Reason ? ? I wanted to experiment and find for myself the advantages/disadvantages. Why? Alright – I’ll confess. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to ride with a visiting rider who had a tricked out GR built by Zack Kaplin in California. It was noted that the visitor had little trouble keeping up with the local performance riders of our group. Since then, I had always wondered about the noticeable differences of handling and performance using a smaller 26” drive wheel.
Justification: There was a self supported tour coming up, I was in need of a tour wheel re-build. I determined now would be the time to try a 26” wheel replacement to solve my itchy curiosity. After all – logically – a standard 26″ Mountain Bike “MTB” wheel has more lateral integrity than a 700c but then, 29ers are now becoming a MTB standard.
The Hunt: – I soon came across a new generation Mavic MTB Cross wheel that had all the bells and whistles that I felt would work for my cause. To top it off – it was on sale – – OK OK– so I was seduced at a weak moment.  ;D
Time line: Recognizing I had a busy ride season ahead of me, I knew there would still be plenty of time to see if the wheel was suitable as a touring wheel. Besides – “if“ – it didn’t work – it would be a great looking little roadie wheel  8)
The Ripple Effect: Recognizing the smaller wheel diameter would steal top end gear inches, I installed an inexpensive 1.25 smooth tire for test purposes. After measuring the diameter of the mounted tire, I went on line to use one of many available gear inch calculators. After punching in the data of the 1.25 X26” set up – I was surprised to find I retained my Trans Am gearing. I was also rewarded with a lower granny gear with the 26” rear wheel – hmmm – encouraging.
Trans Am gearing was 53X39X26 – – – 11X34 with a 32X700c. Test gearing was 58X39X26 – – – 11X34 with a 1.25X26” .
Gear Calculator link; – – – http://www.recumbents.com/WISIL/gearinches.asp
Disappointment: First time out, I felt the loss of roll out right away. The fat city slick just wasn’t anything like the 700c touring tires I was accustom to. I knew this could be addressed by way of upgrading tire quality, so I pressed on with more testing. I was puzzled that I really could not feel any difference of handling. Maybe I was expecting too much? Then came the time to put on the under seat racks for a shake down cruise. Ooops – – reality check – – the 26” conversion had lost important ground clearance necessary for under seat panniers. Duh – – why hadn’t I thought of this – geesh – I’m sooo darn thick headed at times  ???
Second Disappointment: – Once I got over the clearance issue, I started thinking roadie by looking at 26” performance tires. Once again reality played it’s part. The smaller 26” roadie tires played hay with loss of gear inches that I refuse to give up as the tall gear inches are used when working on the down side of roller hills Body Socked. My favorite combination is a 58 X11 gearing pulling a 25X700c. I realize this is not for everyone but it is my way to acquire mass amounts of down hill momentum for the uphill attack of a roller. Finally – I had had enough. The Ripple Effect had me headed in the wrong direction. No more changes, no bigger chain rings to compensate. Besides – I prefer the lighter non-disc brake roadie wheels to go play on anyway. So, the experiment came to a close and my well used MTB bike got the new rear wheel.

Findings: – No significant handling changes with Body Sock. A little bit more handle bar flop caused from more steering trail when un- Socked.
Result: – I had the original 32 spoke XT disc brake hub rebuilt with a up-graded 700cX24mm“Velocity Dyad” rim. This provides a nice combination of extra rim strength/width and needed 700c height for under seat panniers. I am very pleased with the re-built 700c wheel as I used it on Bent Tour 08.
Note; – The original equiptment Open Pro rims we used on our Trans American tour in 05 were found not strong enough. We arrived with several nipple eyelets cracked from fatigue of a 175 lb. Rider – – 45 lbs.of gear – 40lb. tour configured bike.
Six Warriors Trans Am link; – http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/er2005
The following Pros/Cons 26” wheel conversion was made with self-supported cross country touring in mind.
Pro – a. – 26” disc brake wheels are abundant most everywhere compared to a rarer 700c disc brake wheel. However this is slowly changing as disc brake 29ers/700c are becoming more of a mainstay with MTB. b. – Most standard 26” are available in the wider 24mm rim widths. The wider is better for self-supported touring. c. – Easy conversion for disc brake frame sets.
Con – a. – Loss of necessary ground clearance for under seat panniers for TE’s, GR’s and Ti’s. b. – 26” conversion is for newer Disc Brake compatible frame sets only. c. – Older non disc brake frame sets – finding brake calipers that will work are real issues. d. – Non disc “regular” 700c touring wheels are not as abundant as everyday 26” wheels.
Closing comment; – Well – now we know a few of the Pros/Cons of the 26” conversion. I hope this data will help with your decision whether to convert to a 26” drive wheel or not. At least now you do not have to wonder – because some body has already been there and done that.
Disclaimer: This test should not be confused with other fine recumbent bicycles engineered for 26” wheels. Under seat pannier clearance may or may not be a issue with other brands. This conversion test was done on a Easy Racers Gold Rush only. Test was conducted un-scientifically. However – it does lend credence that for roadie use – 700’c are generally faster wheels  ;)


Regarding greasy pant leg.
Hey Pastor ~

A fix for your situation is using WD-40 as a chain lube. Seriously – I used WD-40 only four times “for rain” while on Trans American ride in 05. It showed no more wear at 4200 miles of heavy touring than a previously chain did used 4000 miles of club riding “lubed every other ride.  http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/er2005

Here is what you do.

1st: “very important” clean chain thoroughly inside and out – get it clean-clean-clean.

2nd: Blow dry the chain bearings thoroughly with compressed air – get it clean man!

3rd: Apply WD-40 treatment.

4th: Wipe the chain down thoroughly.

5th: Wipe the chain down before and after the next couple of rides – why? The chain will still be weeping WD-40 out of the link bearing. This will soon stop as the excess product stops running out of the chain bearing.

From now on – you won’t have to worry about a greasy pant leg.

Up here inPortlandwe are more apt to get our hands dirty from the tire change – not the handling of the chain. I only treat my chain if I feel there may be chance of rust.

How do you know when to re-lube with WD-40? Take the chain in both hands and gently bend it laterally side to side. I you feel a crispy dry feel – it’s time to re-lube. Another way is to simply open up a Power Link and take look inside. Many times you will be surprised to find the bearing axle of the Power Link with a light coat of lube on it. With out getting more techie here this will fix the greasy chain issue Forever.

Think about it?  Take a moment and think – opening a Power Link up is much like pulling the dip stick on your car to check the oil. I have found that chains are over lubed for the most part. Very few riders know what is actually going on inside a chain bearing. Here are a couple of reports on the topic.

A good report on chain efficiency lubed and un-lubed is found in this John Hopkins report. http://www.jhu.edu/news_info/news/home99/aug99/bike.html


Oregon Human Powered Vehicles report on “no” chain lube and cross-over.



Faired or not to be faired – – – I have come to terms there are two camps regarding streamlining a bike.

Unfaired means the rider is either a casual slower rider by wardrobe or a fit animal of performance clad in the typical roadie lycra fashion.

By the way – the tight jerseys and riding shorts are fairings of sorts.

I am a faired rider pretty much full time. I’m not a strong rider so I equalize this by use of aerodynamic components.  A well designed Body Socked GRR is 30% more aero efficient than a up-right roadie biker on the drops. I think of it this way – – how much mileage/efficiency would I get if my car had no hood, windshield, and front fenders? On my bike – on a good day I might be able to produce a third of a horsepower. That is “the why” I ride Socked up 90% of the time. It’s not that I want to go fast all the time – it is because I want to ride at a satisfying pace “easier” and go farther on less energy. Easier means I burn less calories per mile, which equates to me as better mileage just like an economy car. Everything comes at a compromise when it comes to user friendliness of an aerodynamically equipped recumbent. I had thought at one time I would close up the bottom of my GRR up like an F-40 until I rode an afternoon beside one in the valley with gusty cross winds. Yes – he was faster but boy – did he have his hands full too. I enjoyed that day much more than he admittedly did. I decided then, just be happy with the compromise of a GRR Socked up for user friendliness. Once the technique is learned of getting in and out of a GRR Socked up, it is no more effort than getting in a car and fastening the seat belt. The open bottom is just like no sock at all – simply clip out at anytime where as there is a learning curve with the F-40 design. There is no wrong with either platform – however – I feel there is a common misunderstanding of the practical application of fully streamlining a single track recumbent beyond 50%.

So – to make it easier – Do you want to go out and get “on” your bike – or – get “in” your bike


Larry said – – – It came with a 700c x 28 rear tire – seems a little more squirrelly on corners, I think I may go to a 32 because I am such a big boy.  Thoughts? or do I just have to learn to ride with it?

My thoughts on the tires:

Tandems use Conti 28c’s to race with – – – so this illustrated to me that 28c racing tires are more than adequate for heavy weight uses.  However – I do not use the Conti 3000 28c as a touring tire “why” the conti’s have very fragile side walls that allow tearing the casing easily.  Therefore I prefer the Bontrager Hard Case Race Light. This tire is used as a off season training tire by most roadies. I used one the last half of my TransAmerican tour in 05 and loved it way more than the Specialized All Conditions tire I started the tour with. Just so you know – I am a smoothie tire advocate – why? – think about a passenger tire smooth tread vs a off road mud grip tire – which one do you think would get the best mileage with ? ? Enough said.

Now that I think of it – maybe the squirrellyness you experienced came from road debris with a smoothie tire on the GRR. Though the smoothies are not as stable in the sand, I am rarely in the rough stuff on turns. Ninety percent of my riding will be on relatively clean road surfaces. I just keep in mind of road debris at all times as I’m sure you do also. Roll out efficiency is my priority.

My GRR in Touring configuration 45 lbs.

panniers & bags 10 lbs

touring gear 45 lbs.

rider 180 lbs

total 280 lbs

The big reason I’m not encouraged to use a 30/32c for club riding is that it adds significant centrifugal weight when rolling. The wheel will never be a snappy/quick wheel when weighted down with a heavy duty casing and additional rubber where as 28c’s rarely put on noticeable excessive weight with their larger 28c sizing.

Even though you probably are nearing the limits of a single 28c, I recommend riding it as much as you can to acquire the feel of a performance tire.  Then if you feel you need to up-size – you will have the seat of the pants feel of how much “if any” performance you lost by going up to a 30c. Keep in mind there is another factor that few riders pick up on. “the tubes”. Heavy duty tubes can make a bike very sluggish. It was an eye awakening experience when I felt the difference myself – – it was so obvious. I have also gone “to far” the opposite with the use of Ultra light racing tubes. Oh my gosh – what a difference – “BUT” – – – the stems are constantly leaking around the vulcanized area. One slide/shifting the tube “while the stem is through the hole” when installing does it in for tube. They are that tender – – so I now use the light weight tubes – more durable – can take repair over and over – and doesn’t hamper much with the crisp performance of the wheel for sprints – that you are currently liking – “wink”.

I recommend you ride the bike  as much as possible the way it is – then when you make changes – ask yourself – is this for performance – or tour. Somewhere in between – there will be a level you are happy with.

The GRR looks good under your butt Larry – – your about to experience a whole new performance level – with this – I am so happy for you. Your accomplishment on the TE was successful enough for you to understand the difference between the frame sets. Unless you decide to get into another platform of recumbents – the  GRR will be a long time friend on the road. The GRR is my keeper out of a stable of five bents to choose from.

Have fun friend ~


451 tires

Contrair to Nay sayers’

There are many very good 451 brands on the market. My listed favorite have nothing to do with tire quality. I would use any of the following brands for different reason/purposes.


First choice for roadie riding is the Cheng Shin Tire 25-451 (20X1)


Why? It’s the smallest diameter roadie tire available to fit under caliper brakes with fenders. Personal likes is the center-raised rib for minimal contact patch to the road at 110 psi. I am finding it is as durable as the IRC road light. For “bling”  reason – I prefer the black wall esthetic’s to the gum wall IRC. However  just recently – IRC has now started making a black wall.


Second choice is the IRC Road Lite – 20X1 1/8, Why ? Much lighter than Stevio for Roadie use. It is also durable enough to be used for heavy self-supported touring “on some bikes”. It is a tough little rascal. I wore two of these out being used as a heavy touring tire on Trans American. I would say – it was used “way” beyond its designed limits “successfully”. Again – it was chosen for tire fender clearance reasons.


Third choice would be the infamous Stelvio 20X1 1/8. Great Roadie tire with a soft plush ride. If fender clearance was not an issue – I would probably ride on this more. Only draw back I know of  for this tire is it continues to grow larger as it ages. It is already an over sized 1 1/8 tire to start with. I have had to deflate to remove through some brands of caliper brakes. I simply replace it with a Cheng Shin or IRC. Surprisingly – the Stelvio was a very heavy racing tire compared to IRC.


Note: – Stelvio is no longer available. The new comparative tires are Ultremo, Durano’s and Kojaks.


Fourth choice is the Primo Comet 20X 1 1/8 110 psi. one of the riders “Norm” rode all the way across on TransAm on one Primo tire.


 Makes a “very” strong case for the Comets durability as a classified Roadie Tire.


So now you have “my” reasons. Every rider will have his or her preferences for whatever reasons. Bear in mind – what I and another rider used as heavy touring tires is not suggested. We are to be used only as examples of a “Heavy Touring Roadie” mindset. We both carefully analyzed our expectations. Note that the Gold Rush is light on the front end even when loaded for self-supported touring. This was the deciding factor. Our goal was to have “fast heavy tourers”. As oxymoron as this sounds – it worked for us. 


The following are the bike configurations. Both Gold Rushes were body socked, drive line 53×24 rear 11X34 – 451 IRC – 700X28c Specialized all Conditions later switched to Bontrager Hard Case half way across America. I liked the Hard Case way better for heavy touring than the All Conditions. Softer ride – noticeable roll out improvement – smoothie tread for Roadie use – peels off rim easily for flat repair.


later ~

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Tail Frame and Body Sock FAQ

Aero Wing tail frame – Cobra seat – with out trunk rack

What are tail frames?

Answer: A tail frame is a skeletal tubular structure covered by cloth to shape an aerodynamic form much like a cloth covered aircraft wing. The tail frame purpose is to minimize turbulent air that forms behind the rider very much like the wheel fairing cover of an aircraft landing gear.

Why should I use a tail frame?

Answer: -. When the rider/bike mass passes through the air – it creates air turbulent, that equates to frictional drag – faster the speed – more the drag.

Why should tail frames be custom fit to the rider?

Answer: – The tail frame should fit with in the same air stream profile of the rider on their bike. If – there is a disruption of air stream – turbulent drag will form.

Will a tail frame work on my bike?

Answer: – Aero Wing tail frames work for most types of recumbent bikes and trikes.

How much does a tail frame weigh?

Answer: – Weight varies pending size of rider and bike application. However – Aero Wing tail frames usually weigh in lighter than other brands.

Does the Aero Wing tail frame come with a cover?

Answer: – No – however most tail frame applications use a Spandex/Lycra stretch cover that can be sewn by the owner and or purchased from Aero Wing.

Due to this being a niche market, Body Socks are made in runs of six. Colors have been selected for the purpose of being  visible in the shade as possible. Colors are made from limited availability of fabric.           Note: –  first come, first serve for each run.

What makes a Safety Sock different.

1. – One inch velcro for holding a tight sock with out pull off.

2. – Stretch velcro used at the corner of the fairing for a non buckling aerodynamic smooth finish.

3. – Sock designed to mate with the Aero Wing tail frame.

4. – Heavier duty fabric for durability – “a longer lasting Body Sock”.

5. – The Tail Frame and Body Sock work together to provide ventilation for summer riding.

6. – Data from comparative side by side roll out testing has concluded glossy fabric more  aero efficient than non gloss fabrics.

7. – Visibility.  Colors have been chosen to be as visible as possible “in the shade” on a bright sunny day.

8. – High Viz Silver swoosh for shade and  night riding.

(This page is still being built – pictures of sock colors coming soon)

Body Socks are all smooth glossy “fast” colors with a silver swoosh. The silver is not glass bead reflective – however it has been said, it is “almost” as bright at night. I will be posting images of the sock at night for illustration.

Colors are – Sky Blue, Hi Viz Red, Orange Sherbert, and Florescent Green. Bear in mind, colors can and do vary a bit from internet images on this blog. 

Body Sock – $195.

Teal Aero pic

Tail Socks – limited supply – these three only –  $100. each

Tail Socks m 021 Tail Socks m 012 Tail Socks m 004

How do I order?

Email Aerowing1@comcast.net

Usually takes an average of one week for USPS or UPS  delivery. Transactions by PayPal payment.

Final questions are encouraged by phone 503-449-3079 to save keyboard time. Many times thoughts come up through conversation that would not come up otherwise. 

Thank you for your interest in Aero Wing recumbent components.

Lonnie Morse


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Streamliner has Sold

Nothing like the freedom from air resistance

Human powered streamliners are the “fighter jets” of bicycles. They are much like flying light aircraft on the ground. Sensitive to cross winds – quiet and fast – it is an indescribable feeling setting up for a deep lean into a turn at 45 mph. Feeling the cushion of ground effects is surreal.

Varna Clone Shell with Zephyr lowracer chassis.

This is a solid handling Streamliner. Shell is made of “two layers of Carbon
Fiber/one layer of Kevlar”. Zephyr Chassis is steel frame with elastomer
rear suspension. Rear wheel is 700c – front wheel 406. Removable canopy makes
for convenient entry and egress. Front wheel doors makes this a maneuverable
liner for time trailing. Hinged Bombay doors for legs are present but have never been used.

52/70 shiftable tooth chain rings

More pictures on following links.







Streamliner is in black Primer




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Aerodynamic expectations

First – let’s set the stage with an unscientific example “me”. I prefer to use the “comfort zone” as a honest measurement of speed the rider can hold comfortably all day. I have found this to be a more than satisfactory method of performance evaluation. Why ? A rider can be a having a soft day once in awhile and still ride with in a comfort zone there fore adding sufficient data to baseline results. If the rider was racing on a off day – his bench mark would be significantly off because of his motor – not the machine.

Why is the comfort zone more reliable? – The rider is on the bike with more regularity compared to occasional race meets. The seat of the pants performance with Heart Monitor is 2nd best only to the more dead on accuracy of a Power Meter. But lets get real – regular riding returns plenty of feedback under more consistent weather conditions. For instance the figures below is a result of long term familiarization of the many bike platforms noted. Anyone that rides regularly knows what their expected average speed is under normal conditions on what ever bike they are riding. One doesn’t have to pull out a slide rule to know his own performance level in given terrain “if“ they are in their comfort zone.

It is interesting to see the average speeds move up the mph scale significantly when aerodynamics is applied.

MTB bike – – 14 mph

Upright Cannondale bike – – 15 mph

Un-faired Tour Easy “TE” – – 16 mph

Bacchetta Corsa – – 17 mph

Front faired TE – – 18 mph

Body Socked TE – – 20 mph

Body Socked Gold Rush – – 21 mph (stiffer BB)

Body Socked ti-Rush – – The ti- Rush responds quicker than the GRR. With it’s livelier performance, it is easier to hold a cruising speed @ 22 mph

Rotator w/aero package – – 19 mph

ZOX clone FWD lowracer – – 18 mph

ZOX inside Varna Fairing – – 35 mph

Zephyr lowracer – – 19 mph

Zephyr inside Varna fairing – – 38 mph

Angletech Quadraped trike – – 15 mph (sits high)

Terra Trike Tour – – 16 mph (lowracer height)

Cat Trike ROAD – – 17 mph results later in season

ICE Sprint X 26″ – – 18 mph 

Milan SL – – Known expectations is it will cruise an estimated (26/28 (mph) with canopy open and 30/32 mph with canopy closed. Mph estimate based upon observation and talking with the Euro riders who ride both upright bikes as well as their Velomobiles while working support for Roll Over America “ROAM”.

Note: – – I have changed my mind – I will not be using the Terra Trike as a chassis for a Varna shell Velomobile build. I will instead build it as a sport trike configured somewhere between a ICE Vortex/CAT Expedition. Nine days on ROAM gave me perspective of velomobile design. I made the decision to order a Milan SL. Why? I no longer want to endure the longer custom build process. I would much rather prefer the accelerated Milan build and get on enjoying it quicker.

Once again – keep in mind – these examples are “Comfort Zone” speeds for me – not racing speeds.

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Streamliners vs Velomobiles

Single track Streamliners “Liners” are usually a fantasy for most recumbent riders. Why? – these bikes are all hand crafted custom builds for a specific rider with purpose. With exception of the very few – most “liners” are used for racing only. Example – the current world record for Human Power is held by Sam Whittingham @ 82.3 mph. The reason one does not see these liner’s out on the open road for daily use is that the hard sided streamliner shell is unforgiving in cross wind turbulence of any kind. The vehicle becomes terrifying to handle until the handling skills have been learned. Think of a sail boat “with out” a keel – got the picture “wink”. This is the reason most liners are used in low wind situations or for the track. I have found there is a whole lot of distraction just keeping the single track Liner upright let alone navigating it through traffic. On the other hand three-wheeled Velomobiles “Velo’s” are safer user-friendly streamlined platforms that are at home on the open road. They use a recumbent trike chassis configuration that adds lateral stability for cross winds and climbing. However, beware – there still can be serious lateral cross wind push as velo speeds get faster.  Logically, the trike configuration for a streamliner shape is a desirable safer vehicle to use over the single track Streamliner.  The best part of this comparison is Velo’s are manufactured for sale to JonQ public – Streamliners are not. Comparatively – technology has improved the Velomobile into a more user-friendly streamliner for open road use. It has been discovered that most Velo’s have an impressive performance window regardless of the third wheel resistance. This link talks of how a single track Streamliner racer improved his time with a third wheel. http://www.trisled.com.au/records.html  The challenge most riders have – is to mentally over come the vehicle weight and the perceived third wheel resistance factor vs the aerodynamic benefits. One needs to carefully analyze its intended use for the trade off to be substantial. Unfortunately many riders never get past this hurdle. My explanation to this dilemma is recognizing the three fundamental factors of recumbent bicycling.

There are three categories of riding a bike.

1st – the “uphill” – – A four man team in 2009 RAAM illustrated a High Racer recumbent can be as strong at climbing as an upright bike.  On the other hand, the heavier Velo can attack roller hills with massive amounts of momentum that gives amazing results – but – when the momentum wears off and uphill grind starts, at least a Velo won’t wobble and fall over at slow climb speeds. It was pointed out to me by a velo driver that he can climb easier in his velo. Don’t confuse the ease of climbing with the speed of climbing. He explained that he can be in a slow easy spin and arrive at the top without the pain of trying to keep a upright bike stable when climbing slow. So, there is another dynamic for which one has to think about. Unless time is of an essence in racing – who cares if you arrive a couple of minutes later at the top with a grin on your face.

2nd – “level ground” – most “not all” recumbents have an advantage of aerodynamics.

3rd – the “down hill” – is where most recumbents become cruise missiles.

So – out of these three categories – the average recumbent platform dominates “two” out of the three.

Healthy competition: There will always be the “upright vs recumbent” challenge. Streamlining just puts a whole new spin into the scenario.  Annually non-faired recumbent race teams compete in Race Across America “RAAM”. The RANS recumbent team actually gained time over the leading upright team in the Rocky Mountain climbing stages in 2009.  My feeling are the “recumbents can’t climb” argument will eventually fall to the way side of the uninformed over time. Every year it has been observed that a modest number of upright racers are going recumbent for Ultra endurance events.

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Tail Frame – Tail box

Notice the riders shoulder snug inside the composite Tail Box

If possible, the tail box should be positioned close to the rear/outside portion of the riders shoulders for best results.

Aero Wing tail frame forming a “tail box” on a Gold Rush

Many riders do not prefer the inconvenience of getting into a Body Socked bike – so – the tail box only concept is a great option.

Aero Wing tail frames are commonly used for Body Sock applications because of enhanced aero design and ventilation.

The same Aero Wing tail frame is used for Semi Streamlining this Gold Rush.  A stretchy fabric “Lycra/Spandex” is used to cover the rider for aerodynamic streamlining. The tail frame simply finishes what the front fairing started. The shape and size of the Tail frame/box is important so to minimize turbulent drag.

Riders that have a “need for speed” usually end up using a lowracer inside a semi faired streamliner shape.

Note: – Keep in mind anytime cloth is used for streamlining, it is used for compromises of comfort and convenience. Smooth composite surfaces are known to be the fastest.

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