Monthly Archives: July 2015

What’s underneath?

People ask me what the Leitra velomobile I ride is like under the fairing. Here are two pictures of the frame that I took last time I was doing maintenance on the bike and had all the fairing pieces and seat removed.

Leitra frame front

Leitra Frame front

From the front, you can see the two piece, carbon fiber leaf springs for the front two wheels. The “Y” shaped bit at the very front is where the front fairing attaches and pivots for entry and exit. The seat snaps into the frame just ahead of the rear wheel. In the center of the back of the bike is the rear wheel which sits inside a wraparound fender that keeps water, snow and dirt out of the seating area.

Leitra frame rear 3/4

Leitra frame rear 3/4

From the rear, you can see the Bionx electric motor assist. It consists of the linear motor hub in the middle of the rear wheel and the battery mounted under the left arm rest. The cargo area of the fairing sits above the rear wheel on the rack-like extension. The “V” shaped parts in the middle of the rack and two small strips on either side of the rear wheel are carbon fiber leaf springs for the rear wheel.

The frame is hard to pickup and put on a work stand, so I usually just hang it from my work stand with a loop of rope as shown. This lets me turn the rear wheel and adjust the derailer and lube the chain.

Cars on Campus #7 – BMW i8

BMW i8

BMW i8

I’ve been keeping an eye out for this car since I saw it drive past me in Lafayette a few months ago and while I didn’t find it on campus, I’m glad I stopped and looked. It’s the first BMW i8 I’ve seen in person. I didn’t strike me as “sexy looking” as the McClaren, but it is easily as sophisticated and certainly “greener” given its hybrid IC/electric drive train and full carbon fiber chassis. I would say it looks more futuristic.

There’s a big open scoop in the hood and these weird tunnel-like features in the rear just as the rear window blends into the body. I’m not sure if they look good or just weird.

BMW i8 - rear 3/4

BMW i8 – rear 3/4

BMW i8 - front

BMW i8 – front