After having being able to finish the Sun Trip 2017 it was important for me to take advantage and to capitalize on all the key  learnings I gained during this tough race.

So I really needed to fundamentally improve my solar bike based on all the issues I experienced during the Sun Trip tour in 2017: this has been the MAIN DRIVER  for my new project.

After careful studies I have come up with the idea to build a completely new solar vehicle based on a Tilting Trike.

This new architecture I have been studying for several months was definitely very interesting and was expected to present these key advantages /characteristics :

  • improved stability
    • this was the biggest issue I had with my 2 wheels recumbent solar bike, so it’s definitely the FIRST in terms of priorities:
        1. I always  had to drastically slow down in the steep discentes from the Alps
        2. the difficulty to handle the tight turns I encountered riding on alpine routes
        3. the narrow streets I had to go through in all the towns we passed
        4. a very limited turning radius  
  • increased safety, high priority as well, on several levels :
    • static :from a simple ‘quick stop’ on the road to a generic ‘parking’ point of view
    • dynamic :confidence on the extra grip of the third wheel, especially in case of bad road surface, rain, fast descente
    • visibility: classic trikes are very low, due to the necessity to minimize the ‘tipping over’ while turning.
  • Simplicity and minimal weight increase
    • no need for a specific ‘ad hoc’ locking mechanism, fewer moving parts as possible
  • ease of use
    • should be like riding a 2 wheels recumbent
  • efficient
    • this is the basis for a solar bike, and this is still true for a tilting trike, every bit of energy waste should be avoided
  • aerodynamics
    • real wheels can be quite close, not larger than my shoulders
  • confort
    • compared to a classic 3 wheels trike, the Tilting advantage is to almost eliminate lateral forces on rear wheels, and so to be able to use 700 wheels without problems.
  • Last but not least, it should be still possible, without impacting above requirements,  the installation of:
    • a front wheel Direct Drive hub motor (instead of a geared one)
    • a 48V battery (instead of a 36V)
    • and a bigger 200W solar panel (instead of 150W). 

As a basis for this new project I needed to find a recumbent bike type ‘FWD’= Forward Wheel Drive.

The reason of my choice is that I could develop a tilting mechanism on the rear (non drive) wheels only for this kind of bikes. 

There are on the market very few bikes we can buy: my choice was for a second hand Raptobike I bought in the Netherlands.

This new Tilting Trike was based on my idea concerning a simple ’tilting’ mechanism to be added as an ‘option’ to the standard Raptobike frame.

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