Nick Green's Wooden fish on wheels HPV streamliner
gNick Green's "Wooden Fish on Wheels II" Streamliner
gNick Green, Competition Secretary of the British Human Powered Vehicle Club, has been hard at work and has created a new version of his Wooden Fish on Wheels streamliner for the 2003 racing season.
In the beginning was A Wooden Fish On Wheels, this was the marriage of a modified Kingcycle Roadrunner fairing married with the Kingcycle Tchaikovsky low bike which had been modified to run a K-Drive

Being made up of heavily modified bits has its downside as the fairing shape was less than ideal and the Tchaikovsky was falling gently to bits, the original steel frame being wrapped in Carbon to bridge the cracks!

The new bike was designed/grew as an evolution of the original rather than a completely new idea, the handling and aerodynamics being pretty good to start with. A new plug for the fairing was made from a heavy molding from the original molds, filler MDF , filler and a lot of rubbing. 

The shape was modified to enclose the rear wheel to tidy up the airflow - the final tail extension on Fish I was actually taken from the moulds.

Click on the images for a bigger picture...

The fairing itself is a simple polyester resin and chopped strand mat affair, mainly because it costs less and is quite strong enough. The wind screen is 0.75mm polycarbonate held on with velcro and tape. The bombay doors are held on with Diolen tape acting as hinges, this is remarkably durable - the Fish doors managed several years service with no problems. Latest modification is an air intake at the nose with a series of vent holes in the training edge, though how well this will work I know not.

The chassis was essentially the same as the Tchaikovsky, i.e. front wheel drive low bike with K-drive, but with a lower seat height by about 2”. The wheelbase is as short as it would go using 2 - 406 wheels and the steering is an 85deg head angle coupled with zero rake forks. The front hub is a narrowed 8 spd. Shimano Deore disk, the rear a narrowed Sturmey Archer drum brake. The forks are a standard cheap CroMo 700c road fork with the fork blades dog-legged out (CroMo will take this kind of punishment I am reliably told…..) to keep them narrow at the top where my legs go and out over the block and disk with custom made dropouts brazed on.

The frame is mainly Carbon wrapped around a Styrofoam core, consolidation being provided by wrapping with 2” peel-ply tape. The front beam, because it needs to be reasonably accurate to mount the K-Drive was molded up using the bladder molding technique:  

Basically you lay up both sides of the mould with the fabric trimmed flush on one side and overlapping 10mm or so on the other side. A bladder of some sort (like an inner tube) is put into the overlapping side and the other side is placed on and clamped down. You then pump up the bladder, I went to ~70psi, and wait for the resin to cure, marveling in the meantime at how much resin is being squeezed out. This is normally done using Pre-Preg but works fine with wet layup. This method will work with polyester resin as well as epoxy, unlike vacuum bagging which can upset the chemistry of polyester resin. 

The head tube was made of Carbon wrapped around a mandrel and knocked off when cured. Ideally the mandrel should be made of aluminum so that once the molding has cooled down from curing. The different expansion rates mean that the mandrel comes out nice and easily. My head tube mandrel is made from steel and it comes off fine as well. 

The housing for the rear suspension was done in the same way, but this time using a length of the aluminum tube that forms the pivot axle as the mandrel.

The wheel covers are a single layer of 150gsm Carbon vac. bagged onto a sheet of glass, stuck onto the rims with double sided tape. Because the front wheel disks are not totally flat, a bit of heating with a hot air gun softens the resin enough to form the shape. To access the valve I cut out three sides of a rectangle to form a door (with the non-cut side as the leading part) and stuck some strips of cut off disk material on the back to stop the door from pushing in. In action I hold the door shut with some thin tape.

How does it go? Well when first tested at Lelystadt toward the end of 2002 (finished the morning of the event!) it seemed to go with no problems apart from a ventilation shortage resulting in pilot overheating (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it).

Unfortunately the pilot had spent so much time bike building over the preceding couple of months that his fitness level was not exactly up to competition. We shall see how things progress...

Here's gNick in the Fish 1, racing Sam Whittingham.

Email gNick Green

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