With the VeloX3 recumbent bike, the Human Power Team, a group of students from the Delft Technical University and the Free University of Amsterdam, is planning to tear the world speed record of 133 km/h to shreds in the Nevada desert this autumn.
In their efforts to achieve optimum aerodynamics, the team has entered into an innovative partnership with the AkzoNobel brand Sikkens. Sikkens partners with both the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 racing team and the Nuon Solar Team and will be supplying special high performance coatings for the first time for the recumbent bike.
With many years of experience in the field of ultralight and smooth paint, it was a logical step for Sikkens to help the Human Power Team this year with their efforts to go faster than 133 kilometres per hour. Sikkens has already gained a great deal of experience in the development of coatings used in Formula 1. The partnership immediately had a significant impact for the builders of the VeloX3. Sikkens knew how to convince the team to build a new shell using a different production method, a new monocoque for the recumbent bike. This would make it possible to achieve a better return from the aerodynamic properties of the paint. The students used this to build a completely new version, and with quite some results: the new monocoque is 7 kg lighter than the earlier version and, thanks to the special Sikkens coating, has at least 14 % less air resistance. The total bicycle air resistance is now comparable to that of a beer mat in an air stream.
“We are tremendously pleased that AkzoNobel is partnering in our project,” said Wouter Lion, head of the Human Power Team. “With their knowledge of materials processing and innovative coatings, we have taken an enormous step towards perfecting the VeloX3 and breaking the speed record in Nevada has come significantly closer for us!”
By supporting the Human Power Team, Sikkens also hopes to gain a new insight for itself: “In the first instance, we are naturally focussing on a joint attack on the world bicycle speed record, but there is much more to it than that,” said Marc Michelsen, Communications & Sustainability director at AkzoNobel. “We regard this as a unique opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise with these students, who have already been working very hard on this fantastic project for almost a year. The process they are going through, their insights and the ideas that are born are particularly valuable to us. An essential condition if companies are to continue to innovate is to have a fresh and open view. These talented scientists give AkzoNobel a unique opportunity to look at questions in a new way and to work together to devise solutions. These are solutions that may have a positive impact on the day to day lives of our customers. And hopefully, we are creating a long lasting relationship with these young students as engineers working for AkzoNobel.”