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 Upright Bike Fairing

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Upright Mike Posted - 01/12/2010 : 16:33:52
Below is my conception of a new idea for an Upright bike fairing.

Some history of upright fairings: Around 1913-1914 the first streamlined human powered vehicle race was held between two faired upright bikes. In 1914 they were banned by the UCI. Former UCI hour record holder Marcel Berthet went 49.99 km in one hour with a faired aluminum upright in the 1930's. He was 47 years old at the time. In 1974 Olympic cyclist Ron Skarin pedaled Dr Chet Kyle's streamlined upright, sewn by Joyce Kyle to a world record 43 mph. This event helped launch the first speed championships in 1975 as well as the IHPVA. Ron remarked that the streamliner swerved with heart stopping unpredictability. In the late 1970's more streamlined uprights emerged to set records. They too had problems with swerving due to their tall thin shapes with large side areas.

In the 1980's fully-faired Moultons (folding bikes with 17 inch wheels) were ridden and raced quite successfully by a team of engineers (Doug Milliken, Dave Kennedy). Jim Glover, Will Kennedy and others were the riders. In 1989, a RAAM team used the AeroEdge fairing. At this time within the HPRA racing circle, only Bryan Tucker http://www.wisil.recumbents.com/wisil/tucker-memorial.htm and myself raced uprights with fairings. With the passing of Bryan, I think I'm the only one left racing them.

I'm not going to build a SAIL like has been done in the past by enclosing the bike and rider top to bottom. I figure something up top and then Aero-Boots (please don't steal my patentable idea) around the bottom should help people to go faster on their uprights. World Record speed for an Upright fairing was set by Jim Glover at I think 52-53 mph on the Indianapolis speedway. My speed lists have him doing 51.2 mph at the 1986 speed championships in Vancouver.

In 1998, I spent about 3 months devised this fairing during a Masters-level engineering problem solving class. My classmates and I found 14 patents related to upright fairings for bicycles. Its an idea I've had languishing now for all these years.

It's not my goal to break this mark, as I know my fairing will not be as aero as some of these earlier fully faired machines. I hope I go at least a respectable 40 mph over 200 meters and maybe 30 miles in one hour. With the design I show, I hope it would be lot more controllable than the earlier fully-faired machines. Someone's got to bring some respectability back to uprights!

I welcome all comments and criticisms!
Mike Mowett



My past experiments with the spandex bag - AeroEdge fairing. This was developed in 1989 for RAAM. I narrowed it, but still only get about 1.5 mph average cruising speed increase (from say 23.5 mph to 25.0 mph) from it. It definitely needs a tail fairing section. - Here I'm doing 37 mph in a 200 meter qualifying run at Battle Mountain in 2005...


Wearing prototype Aero-Boots installed at Battle Mountain in 2005...
These were just cut up detergent and Armor All plastic bottles taped together.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Upright Dave Posted - 06/15/2015 : 11:15:05
I really like my shadow. Full tuck position:



Upright Dave Posted - 06/13/2015 : 14:36:48
Thanks guys. I can't even see the speedometer in that spot. It's mounted on a dowel swing arm so I can swing it into position. Going into the sun makes the led's appear dimmer as the camera changes exposure. I doubt if a backlit speedometer would work during the day. Camera is a cheap M10. Some of the quality gets lost when uploading to youtube. The vibration kind of effects the audio but tires are at 120psi.
Grant-53 Posted - 06/13/2015 : 12:08:44
Looking good! I have been considering ways to incorporate headlights and gauges into my designs. Mounting a headlamp at the stagnation point is easy enough. Mirrors I can mount on either side. I have not settled on where to put the speedometer yet.
shooky56 Posted - 06/12/2015 : 09:01:18
Exxxcellent! --Mr. Burns "The Simpsons"
Upright Dave Posted - 06/12/2015 : 08:12:30
Working on my odometer light. Finally got it working. Took a harbor freight 9 led flashlight, chopped the head off, cut up the circuit board, then used a piece of balsa wood and a single strand of wire, etc..... The motor was little sore today.




Grant-53 Posted - 06/08/2015 : 09:31:27
The head on wake hits the nose at an angle and inputs the steering. At the risk of being repetitive I suggest the Zzipper mount to the frame and the tail be extended a bit. The CG is near the navel of the rider. Thanks for the video.
shooky56 Posted - 06/07/2015 : 03:54:10
LOL Enjoyed! Grinned from ear-to-ear the entire time, thanks Dave!

Semi: That's the kind of pass I never can figure. I mean the guy had 16 feet of open left lane. Realize how difficult it is to move the top of the steering wheel 1" to the left then back...

Upright Dave Posted - 06/05/2015 : 17:31:41
I think the speed limit is 50 or 55 on that road. He might have slowed down a bit. Didn't notice much till he passed me. The worst one I had was a semi in the opposite lane coming towards me. Somehow the wake off the truck combined with possibly a side wind and hit me big time.
Grant-53 Posted - 06/05/2015 : 17:24:10
Was there much turbulence from the truck or was the speed limit too low for much wake?
Upright Dave Posted - 06/05/2015 : 14:02:34
Here's another one. Same spot. Faster. Had a flashlight hooked up to the speedo but it moved on me. I'll get it right next time. Peak speed was 29mph. Had an 18 wheeler go by me. I'm still alive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo_-mRB47Fs


Upright Dave Posted - 06/01/2015 : 12:36:02
Riding with the fairing in the cold ends up being cold. You would still have to wear winter cycling gear. Problem is in the hot summer. No airflow = overheating.
Grant-53 Posted - 06/01/2015 : 06:35:12
Great video. Very smooth. 'Only 28.5 mph' is still impressive for a solo rider. It beats 20 mph stop and go urban traffic.
How is the temperature comfort inside? I need to pick up the pace on my bikes. Which one first the mountain bike or the TT?
Upright Dave Posted - 05/31/2015 : 11:36:33
Thanks guys! I checked the max speed when I got home. It was only 28.5mph.
So probably holding between 27 and 28mph once I was up to speed. The other direction usually nets a 25mph.
That area in there is usually pretty fast in the morning before the wind starts swirling around
the trees. The distance between the 2 lights is 2.0 miles. I was trying to hook a led light up to the
speedo but not having much luck.
shooky56 Posted - 05/31/2015 : 10:31:03
Very cool Dave! Using utility poles as a measuring device... of unknown distance. I had you at 35-37 mph depending on the pole spacing of 100-110 yards. Typical rural spacing is about 16-17/mi.

Since we didn't get the benefit of the speed overlay, exactly how fast were you flyi... er riding?




Upright Mike Posted - 05/31/2015 : 07:36:10
Nice job Dave!!
Upright Dave Posted - 05/31/2015 : 06:42:26
I put a video cam behind my fairing. The speedometer came out black though. Camera can't see it.

Fairing run:
New video below




Grant-53 Posted - 04/14/2015 : 14:45:36
http://www.wired.com/2015/04/design-bicycle-hit-138-mph-ski-slope/
This incorporated leg fairings and some serious wind tunnel work.
There has been renewed interest in streamlining uprights over at ecomodder.com so I have some work to do.
Grant-53 Posted - 01/18/2015 : 21:48:07
I have two plastic wastebaskets that may get cut up to form a tail box. For the front I would use a plastic salad bowl for the nose and wedges of sheet material over the ribs. My favorite material is hex mesh glued between pieces of tarp plastic. I have some wood paneling to try as well as sheets of aluminum.
PUGZCAT Posted - 01/18/2015 : 10:00:10
A while back I garbage picked a 2 foot diameter orange plastic sailboat buoy, as near as I figure out anyways, that could be sectioned into segments for the top and bottom 3D curved surfaces of the front of a full bike fairing. The rest of fairing could be done in coroplast or luan plywood.
shooky56 Posted - 01/10/2015 : 07:17:15
Just some thoughts about materials. Browsed about 5 minutes and didn't see a "oh yeah that's exactly it" type link but I've seem some stuff, like waist flotation belts, that were both waterproof, semi-rigid and safe for a fall or deformable for dismounting (like a tail box). Have no idea of costs and producing them might not be trivial either. If stuff can be injected into a mold, it doesn't get much easier to produce. But such would be good for a DIY'er in a third world. Guess the interest for impoverished areas is some protection from the weather?

Might be something you could spray over a mold and build up also that was rubbery or plastic-like (soft enough to deform in a fall or perhaps during dismounts).

Just some rambling thoughts, discard any or all.
Grant-53 Posted - 01/09/2015 : 18:16:16
Sure, the shape is the key and most any handy material could be used. I have thought about sheet metal, cloth covered woven baskets, and even grass mats for third world markets. I have not spent much time with the vacuum form or fiberglass/resin methods since I want to keep this as simple as possible. I look over the fairing so I don't need to use a clear material to see the road. In some cases a clear section is useful for reading the speedometer.
The next aspect is the trick of getting on and off the bike with a tail box and side panels. I have some ideas about hinging sections. Since I am getting older I think the next bike will have a mixte frame.
shooky56 Posted - 01/08/2015 : 12:15:22
Grant you've put oodles more thought into this but I am curious.

I remember the Zipper-T(sp? name?) something like that back in the early mid 80s? I've seen it mentioned, probably on this topic, somewhere in here.

Could a vacuum formed piece of Lexan mounted to the head tube or top tube do anything?

24x24x1/8" lexan (w/o shopping much) is available for about $15, may want thinner to vacuum form.
Upright Dave Posted - 01/07/2015 : 21:35:49
My front fairing stays on all year round. I take the sock off during the winter because it's a pain to get into. I don't bother cycling in winds more then 10mph. Not much fun going slow. I had no issues with the wind and the sock on. I just had dumb drivers passing others on a 2 lane road flying head on at me at 70mph while I'm doing around 25mph. So that's what a 95mph pass like a few feet away.
Grant-53 Posted - 01/07/2015 : 09:13:13
Just getting people to think about fairings has been a struggle. The big issue is the stability fear and that is dealt with by mounting the fairing to the frame instead of the steering. It seems nearly all patents and commercial products show fairings mounted to the steering. My first homemade Zzipper clone was attached to the brake hoods on my touring bike. A stiff breeze crossing a bridge made the bike uncontrollable.
My target is to have a fairing system that reduces drag by 25% and can be built for under $100 using common hand tools.
AviationMetalSmith Posted - 01/02/2015 : 17:33:32
quote:
Originally posted by Grant-53

This comes under the "anything is better than nothing" department along with trash bag raincoats. To protect the hands, mount it horizontally. :)




Agreed. But that doesn't stop manufacturers from producing cheap vinyl ponchos...
Hopefully this will inspire someone.

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