Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Homemade streamliners

Oh dear. I have been pointed to the Mars group in NY who make homemade streamliners like the one shown here. This is seriously cool stuff. John Tetz had a 40mph fall in one of these foam streamliners, he was uninjured except for a pinky injury (no lie) though the foam was damaged, he flatted out and there was bike damage. But a 40 mph naked crash on a bike would be life threatening, so that is pretty amazing. Additionally John Tetz gets a 35% aerodynamic performance increase from his 7lb shell designed for transportation usage not racing. I am starting to get very interested now. My laptop + commuter clothes is more than 7lbs, 7lbs is not a massive penalty on climbs considering a 35% aero bonus. Here is a list of the tools he says are needed:
The simple tools needed to build the fairing are several razor blades, contact cement, and a professional heat gun (the kind you find in a hardware store, NOT a hair dryer), plus some thin vinyl upholstery material for hinges and some hook and loop material (e.g. Velcro). Other materials you might need are some Coroplast (Ref 2). Seems like no fairing is complete without some Coroplast which is used to regain lost stiffness around the side door and along the "bomb bay" doors.
John Tetz does his work in his attic, the Spollen brothers do theirs in a 1 car garage. This is the kind of space I can work with. Hmm. This might be an interesting passion. There are obstacles but time, effort, and research will be on a hobbyists schedule and budget. This could be fun.

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