DIY Velomobile - Tail Faring - Wheel Covers - Etc.

So, there is a Velomobile sub-forum on bentrider that I nosed around on for a while. Several folks there have built velomobiles out of coroplast (like corrugated cardboard made from plastic). Coroplast is relatively inexpensive (~$10 for 4'x8' sheet), easy to work with, readily available (even in colors!), and surprisingly durable.

Before I commit to making a velo wrap for my trike, and to get a bit of experience, I thought I might start by making some wheel covers and/or a tailbox using coroplast. I'm wondering if anyone has experience building any of these, or anything else from coroplast (there are a lot of projects on the web using coroplast, everything from a lightweight livable camper you can pull with a bike/trike, real working boats etc., kids fort, colapsible totes, and the list goes on endlessly.

Since this is far and away my favorite Forum, I thought I start here... I just feel like we are a friendlier bunch over here. Anyone have experience working with coroplast, or building DIY bubble fairings, or anything of the like?


  • Shrink wrap the wheels, that's what I'm doing.
  • How exactly? Or are you being facetious? Also, I'm sure there is some aerodynamic benefit to enclosing the wheels and tailbox, but is there enough to "experience" the benefit? I know there is good benefit from velo enclosing the entire trike - some have claimed 80% improvement!? But, at least easily measurable.
  • Don't you need some kind of metal frame to attach the plastic to the trike? What do you plan to use? How is that material rated against the wind?

    Don't spend a ton of money until you know for sure the materials will work in that configuration. I tend to do that way too often!
  • edited January 4
    Monokote or shrink wrap. Check Google. Covering all three wheels could increase the effect of cross winds. Doubt it would provide much aero improvement if you have a lot of accessories I.e. bags, racks etc. But they look neat !
  • Years ago I built tailboxes for three 2 wheeled recumbents. All of them sat on the rear rack and smoothed the airflow from the shoulders back. Or at least that is what I thought. The boxes were much more useful as storage containers when I commuted to work on the bikes.
    Now my Tour East bike did benefit from the official front lexan fairing. It worked because the bike is narrow unlike a trike. Almost bought the nylon bodysock that made the bike into a 90% streamliner. Too expensive, too hard zipping in out the thing.
    I had a friend who years ago had a trike and had his highschool students build a full fairing for it. We took it out to the 200 mile ride at Bell Isle Michigan. He gave up riding it after 50 miles. The aero gain was not worth the extra weight. They used foamboard which started to fall apart due to the road vibrations.
    I also had a fairing out of metal tubing and attached it to my first recumbent, a LWB Infinity. The front part was covered with lightweight nylon fabric, the back part was a flared piece of lexan. The Easy racer lexan fairing was a better fairing.
    Bottom line, if I wanted to do a fairing I would do a premade lexan one. Just would have to come up with some metal framework to hold it in place. Getting in and out of a faired bike can be challenging.
    There has been a trike on EBAY for several weeks with a front fairing. Might want to give it a look see.

    TT3.3 trike with front fairing. Big bucks for the fairing and even more bucks for the mount. Plus look at the picture when it is mounted. You need to be able to rotate it away in order to sit down.

    Zipper fairing on a TT and body sock seems to be a good compromise between light weight and aero advantage. I might have to look into one of those.....

  • monocote wheel covers. I'm doing the same but using shrink wrap since I have a roll of it.
  • I thought some of you might like looking at a photo of a coroplast velo (built by Rob Rein) with 7,000 miles on it. I'd say coroplast holds up quite nicely!


    What's Needed:
    1. 55+ pieces of coroplast cut to side.
    2. ~ 35 pieces hot glue sticks 1/2" X 10"L (a proprietary special blend designed for this application reportedly has at least twice the strength of every other system tested)
    3. Fasteners for hatch hold down i.e. pins, tee nuts, sockets, Velcro straps
    4. Strap hinges and ‘mushroom dot’ hold downs for turtle deck

    Frame Attachment Kit: Note: (others use PVC)
    1. Base and upright extruded aluminum angles for front and rear attachments (7)
    2. Aluminum shear panels (4)
    3. Aluminum channel wheel well stiffeners (2)
    4. All fasteners (assorted screws, fender washers, Nyloks and pop rivets)
    5. All angle extrusions are cut to length and pre-drilled
    6. Shear panels are oversized for custom fitting to your particular trike and ride height preference
    7. Stainless steel rubber cushioned cruciform clamps

    Additional Items:
    1. Windscreen
    2. Rear mounted pull handle and tail light bracket
    3. Mirror mount
    4. Trike

    Tools you will need:
    1. Industrial glue gun (I can recommend an excellent one—about $50 but well worth it)
    2. Aviation snips (about $15)
    3. 5” brick set for folding coroplast (about $10)
    4. Good utility knife (about $10)
    5. Pop rivet gun (about $12)
  • I just came across an impressive HPV trike stat. The fastest anyone has pedaled the whole length of the island of Great Britain between two extremities in the southwest and northeast (Land's End to John o' Groats), a distance of 874 miles (1,407 km), was completed In a hair over 41 hours (41:04:22). Andy Wilkinson pedaled the entire distance on a Windcheetah recumbent trike velomobile averaging more than 21 mph over the entire ride. Most conventional bikes are said to take between 10 days and 14 days to complete the journey. Bet there was quite a fragrance inside that velo at journeys end.
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