Last night, the team was figuring out if they could run in the endurance event at all, considering that the landing gear was not working properly. The event required a stop/ start at a stop sign, and in general the course looked narrow with a lot of turns, which would not favour our bike. In the end, the team cut a huge whole in the fairing so that the rider could put his/her left leg down. After dark, the team started practicing stop/starts with the Fred Flintstone technique. Some of the team got up to practice before sunrise in a nearby outlet mall parking lot.
A brief sidebar to note that one of the officials was a Cannondale rep, and he had this very cool e-bike that he says has been on sale in Europe for a couple of months.
Here is the battery that is integrated into the rear rack. The bike had all the requisite euro-city-bike accessories like the frame lock, fenders, and front and rear lighting. This bike will not be coming to North America, where the market for e-bikes in the several thousand dollar range is non-existent. (I see that it is listed at about $4000 in various websites)
At this point, the officials started calling for the bikes to be rolled to the start area. It was a LeMans style start, where the riders had to pick up a gallon jug of water, stow it in their bikes, and then get in the bike, strap in and start totally unassisted. Thankfully we only had to do this once, with our first rider Todd. As you can see in the video that is further down on this post, the simpler bikes took off first, although the blue Olin College bike (which ran without the top half of the fairing) got the fastest start of any of the streamliners. The video cuts off before Todd managed to start. He took over a minute to get going, and was about the third last to get off the line.
There were two consecutive hairpin curves just past the start area that were way too tight for our bike, and it fell over often in this section of track during the race.
Trefor was our second rider. Here he is navigating the slalom section just before the stop sign. You will see that he has duct tape over his helmet. Our bike got black flagged since Todd’s helmet was protruding out of the roll cage (as you can see in the previous picture).
The three fastest bikes were:
Missouri Science and Technology
The video shows them going through the hairpin turns as well as the functioning of their electrically actuated landing gear at the stop sign. (This was not to say that Rose Hulman wasn’t equally impressive, but I didn’t get decent video of their bike).
After the race, you can see the scars from bikes falling over.
Both Hulman and M S&T have a limited time this week to re-finish their bikes before the ASME West HPV event, which is this upcoming weekend.
Overall, we finished fourth in the competition, with a 2nd place in design, 3rd in the men’s drag, 4th in the women’s drag, and probably somewhat lower than sixth in the endurance race. I was very impressed with the heroic effort the team expended in getting the bike up and running, and in solving some of the serious issues that came up in the heat of competition.
Congratulations to Rose Hulman, Missouri S&T and Olin College who finished in the top three places.
Here is the video:
The team is at a crossroads.
Todd has graduated, Victor will be trying to graduate, and so leadership will pass to a group of third year students. At the same time, there will be a question as to whether the team will continue to design a bike for both ASME and Battle Mountain. Many of the problems that we had were self-inflicted, due to the fact that the bike wasn’t finished and was never tested. Nevertheless, it is clear that the fundamental design criteria for the two events are getting further and further apart.
In the meantime, this summer many members of the team will be working on a different project. Still, they will take some time to repair and prep the bike for Waterford, and they will come back in earnest in August to tune the bike for Battle Mountain.
you can see the team frantically assembling the bike on Friday in this news story.
There are lots of photos of the endurance race at the event’s Facebook page.
Video of Olin College’s crash during the drag races.