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 A Velomobile for less the 1000 bucks!
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Jamecquo
Starting Member

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2014 :  05:25:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is petition, or should I say a friendly request to USA bike manufactures to make a economy model velomobile.

http://chn.ge/1gC273p

warren
human power expert

USA
6052 Posts

Posted - 02/27/2014 :  15:49:30  Show Profile  Visit warren's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Good luck with that one. For $1000 we'd probably get a rotovelo with plastic wheels and one speed.
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ElectricStreamliner
Starting Member

Australia
46 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2016 :  00:35:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If Americans (for example) wanted velomobiles like they want smart phones velomobile manufacturers would sell out within hours.

Within weeks existing velomobile manufacturers and new companies would be scrambling to increase production to get a piece of the pie. Millions of velomobiles would be built in factories around the world and fierce competition between velomobile dealers would bring costs down.

Only then will velomobiles be as affordable as smart phones or bicycles. Not too many people would want a upright bicycle when everyone and their children were overtaking them though.

Edited by - ElectricStreamliner on 02/28/2016 00:37:57
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warren
human power expert

USA
6052 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2016 :  12:02:27  Show Profile  Visit warren's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just take a KMX trike and bolt a couple rectangular plastic garbage cans on it. That's what you would get for under $1000. A better petition would be to ask carbon fiber and epoxy manufacturers to make their products cheaper.
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Speedbiker
human power expert

USA
3707 Posts

Posted - 03/01/2016 :  12:30:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Convince the Chinese mega-billionaire owner of Alibaba that the Chinese people need sleek velomobiles and he could make it happen. Chinese companies build pretty nice bikes for under $500. A shell wouldn't add that much more. But for a complete velomobile to be available for $1000 it has to be mass produced in China. If they can build complete, rideable motor scooters for under a grand, they could produce a velomobile. But you have to convince them they need a million of them.
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Grant-53
recumbent guru

USA
527 Posts

Posted - 03/05/2016 :  08:54:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The Chinese manufacturers do have an advantage in lower costs presently. Could a vehicle be produced in this country where labor is $15.00/hr. or more? The business model would call for a 35% gross margin to get a 5% net per unit. Materials and direct labor would be about $300 each. Sales would need to be 100,000 units a year. The design for manufacture approach is key. Purchased components would be brakes, internal gear hub, and wheels. A stamped steel tub and plastic upper shell in a delta configuration would need thorough design development. Creature comforts would include adjustable seat position, easy egress, good ventilation, cargo room, and phone connections.
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Speedbiker
human power expert

USA
3707 Posts

Posted - 03/05/2016 :  21:38:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
And to top it all off you have to have great confidence that you can sell those 100,000 units. Which of course is many, many times the number of recumbents sold in America. And as for the added cost of creature comforts, it isn't real easy to find a really good Asian made bike (with no shell or creature comforts) for under $1000. Are there any sub $1000 bikes even built in America? I doubt it. So it is probably impossible to build a $1000 velo in America. Not even close. And with China moving away from bicycles at an alarming rate, my idea of convincing Mr Alibaba to get behind it "for the good of the people" is pretty unlikely. Do I think Giant could mass produce a $1000 velomobile? Not unless the sell the Chinese on the idea of reducing polution thru velomobiles (or force them). Your next best bet is to find a whopping deal on a used trike and buy one of those fiberglass bodies. Maybe you keep under two grand.
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mikeatlbch
recumbent enthusiast

USA
205 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2016 :  18:01:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Tough on a dreamer aren't we? I used to wish to have recumbents that matched the quality for the dollar of uprights and we are really there...almost. We haven't even decided where to put the drive wheel for sure.

Rotovelo delivers exactly what it promised. Production improvements and design evolution are very possible. I thought $4000 for a high volume suspended rotomolded velo very possible.

I think the carbon velos are well priced for the size materials and design complexity relative to most other things we own.

But I a phone I bought for $129 that does more than most computers I have ever bought.
So let the guy dream. Even if I think he is directing the plea to the wrong group.
Trek built the R200, so I really doubt their velos will be the ones.
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Grant-53
recumbent guru

USA
527 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2016 :  19:35:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I wonder how many mountain bikes Wal Mart sells in a year.
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Speedbiker
human power expert

USA
3707 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2016 :  00:31:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Zero good ones.
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Grant-53
recumbent guru

USA
527 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2016 :  19:36:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Agreed. I just finished putting together a commuter bike for my daughter using a frame from a NEXT full suspension bike. Lots of weld splatter and stamped or plastic components. Wheels and rear derailleur mangled. Cheap and ugly but people ride them when they can't afford anything else. In 2014 here in the US 12.4 million bikes were sold with the wheels 20" or larger. With more people commuting by bike these days a very basic velomobile has a market.
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Speedbiker
human power expert

USA
3707 Posts

Posted - 03/07/2016 :  20:20:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Not when millions can only afford Walmart bikes. Actually, I think their big beefy single speeds are probably decent. You run into trouble when you buy a full suspension bike for $159. It's all mute because I highly doubt we will ever see a cheap velo. We don't even have cheap bents, let alone trikes. No market.
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Grant-53
recumbent guru

USA
527 Posts

Posted - 03/08/2016 :  16:01:25  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know exactly what you mean. There is a fairly large number of people who don't ride because they think it not safe on highways. A velomobile with a five star safety rating would get a lot of attention at any price. Figure there is no market for cheap supercars but always a demand for muscle cars or SUVs. People are funny that way.

Edited by - Grant-53 on 03/08/2016 16:06:52
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AviationMetalSmith
recumbent enthusiast

USA
253 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2016 :  08:10:00  Show Profile  Visit AviationMetalSmith's Homepage  Reply with Quote
If they can build this, they can build a roto-molded velomobile:
[url=https://flic.kr/p/ENE3yc][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/ENE3yc]Plastic Pods for People?[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/]AviationMetalSmith[/url], on Flickr
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AviationMetalSmith
recumbent enthusiast

USA
253 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2016 :  08:24:21  Show Profile  Visit AviationMetalSmith's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Gawd-awful search results... You have to search for "BEAN" the manufacturers name, and you can't tell the computer NOT "L.L.Bean"...

http://www.mccue.com/products/retail/bean/bean-double
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Speedbiker
human power expert

USA
3707 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2016 :  10:45:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I doubt that shopping cart is rotomolded. More likely injection molded. Trisled already builds a rotomolded velomobile, so obviously it is possible. Did you read the previous posts? I believe we have established China could do it. They just don't have a valid reason to do so. And they probably never will.
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alevand
human power expert

USA
2879 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2016 :  14:09:45  Show Profile  Visit alevand's Homepage  Reply with Quote
If Henry Ford could do it with the model T... All you need is the demand, you have the vision.

C:
Tony Levand
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Speedbiker
human power expert

USA
3707 Posts

Posted - 03/09/2016 :  16:38:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Demand is the real problem. Best to try to sell the idea in Holland. And icans like their motors.
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Grant-53
recumbent guru

USA
527 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2016 :  12:00:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is the most difficult part of marketing. It takes a great deal of work and skill to identify potential consumers. Some markets are obvious due to geography but others are undeveloped. We know there are factors influencing bicycle commuting. What are the preferences and perceptions people have? Are there products to satisfy the desires and objections? How do we address the differences in demographics? People will ask if the product is safe and convenient. Next does the product offer an advantage in value for money compared to other products? A HPV may offer low operating costs but a car may save more time or offer larger cargo capacity. What are the costs of parking and how does it handle in snow? The answers will vary. And finally, people are sensitive to the approval of others.
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PUGZCAT
recumbent enthusiast

Canada
459 Posts

Posted - 03/11/2016 :  07:21:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Velomobiles are likely to never have "redneck appeal". In Canada, I was thinking that cheap fatbikes would have redneck appeal and would be big sellers at Canadian Tire and Walmart, but it didn't happen. I will sum it up when I looking at a fatbike at CT, another customer asked me: "why would anybody want a bike like this, it must be heavy and hard to pedal with those big fat tires? I replied "they're good for riding on sand, frozen skidoo tracks and rail beds." He looked at me with his eyes glazed over, like his brain hurt.
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Speedbiker
human power expert

USA
3707 Posts

Posted - 03/11/2016 :  11:03:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
When I worked part time in a bike shop we had a line of recumbents. A man and his wife came in looking for a bike for her. She was drawn to the bents. I explained the obvious benefits and she seemed quite interested. Then her husband says "you will NEVER get me on one of those things". I believed him. It was beyond his paradigm of what riding a bike is. That pretty much sums up the challenge to the recumbent market. Velos are super popular in Holland because 1: all bikes are accepted, even bents. And 2: their government has lead to extremely high costs to own and operate a car. I've had requests for me to build a custom velo for people from that part of the world and even though I said it would be ridiculously expensive. They said they could justify it because of the money saved in petrol, taxes, and insurance.
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Grant-53
recumbent guru

USA
527 Posts

Posted - 03/11/2016 :  12:36:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
From an old CT radio ad, "Snow tyres? What on earth for?"
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alevand
human power expert

USA
2879 Posts

Posted - 03/13/2016 :  06:46:59  Show Profile  Visit alevand's Homepage  Reply with Quote
You'd probably have to make it in kit form, that would eliminate your assembly costs. You need marketing, have a velomobile culture, get young people interested, make velomobile a household word....http://www.aasbd.net/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?search=action&category=0004

http://www.soapboxderby.org/aasbd-race-program/getting-started.aspx

C:
Tony Levand
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Speedbiker
human power expert

USA
3707 Posts

Posted - 03/13/2016 :  07:41:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good thinking Tony. Thinking Holland was ripe for an affordable rotomolded velomobile I asked Gareth Hanks of Trisled about it. He said that besides shipping costs, import taxes in the Netherlands offset the affordability of their velo. And with 50% taxes who wants to stsrt up a company there?
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Grant-53
recumbent guru

USA
527 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2016 :  14:23:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yikes! I thought business taxes and regulations here in NYS were bad enough. Kits are still a viable marketing channel. Selling a concept or 'missionary sales' is the first step in developing a market for a new product. Flat stock is much easier to ship than an irregular fiberglass piece. Fifteen years of selling automotive parts and ten years manufacturing with transnational companies gave me some insights though the products were different. For example, a group of investors in Italy have their plant there do fiberglass pieces and ship them to their plants in PEI, Canada or the US. They have manufacturing and warehousing facilities in both countries to take advantage of tax incentives and content laws for commuter rail car contracts. I was in on a contract negotiation to ship sub floor panels to Bombardier Mexico for rail cars sold to Singapore.

For those interested I recommend these books: "Marketing Management" by Philip Kotler, "Salesmanship" by Charles A. Kirkpatrick, and "The Selling Bible" by John Lawhon. Pete Stull, The Bicycleman, has decades of experience selling recumbents. In thirty years I have always been satisfied with his products and service.
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Grant-53
recumbent guru

USA
527 Posts

Posted - 03/17/2016 :  13:20:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
http://www.blueskydsn.com/kit_hpv.html; Blue Sky Designs list body kit pieces and N55 shows plans for the XYZ series DIY frames.
Raleigh, NC and Ireland would be likely US and EU sites for production or distribution.

Edited by - Grant-53 on 03/17/2016 13:22:53
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