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 initial idea concerning a very simple ’tilting’ mechanism to be added as an ‘option’ to the standard Raptobike frame.

In the next section there is the detailed description of the first steps of my new project.