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Introducing the Aergo

Aerodynamics. Ergonomics. Sustainability. Portability. Usability.

These concepts are the heart behind the RBR Aergo velomobile. We set out with the goal to create a velomobile for the commuter and the more casual rider, a velomobile that would fit the trike one already owns.

"The design is well thought out, very aerodynamic, durable, and practical. Lots of trunk space for hauling and for the tall folks, ceiling height. Pedal for fun, use as sustainable transportation, electric-assist if desired, and you can have your bare trike back whenever you want."

-- Rob Gentry

To achieve this, RBR partnered with Chuck McCain of GlasTec in Arizona to design a velomobile trike kit. GlasTec was the original manufacturer of the Aerolope velomobile, and it is from the Aerolope that the Aergo is molded. This isn't just a recycled shell - the original Aerolope was made to suit a two wheeled recumbent. A number of changes were put in place to make the Aergo a good fit for trikes.

Rob and Chuck meet over the prototype

The shell itself has been modified so that it splits into two vertical halves. This makes the entire kit break down into a smaller package for shipping and storage. The shell has also seen the addition of wheel cutouts on either side of the cockpit to accommodate the two front wheels of a tadpole trike. It sounds simple enough, but the Aergo has already undergone several revisions and rounds of trial and error. Multiple riders have stepped inside it for a trip around the RBR lot and have provided their input.

The Aergo prototype with wheel well covers

Among the challenges faced were:

  • Tuning the width of the shell for trikes
  • Creating a fairing that followed the flow of the shell
  • Devising the mount system for securing the Aergo to a trike
  • Improving the stiffness of the shell to prevent wobble during turns
  • Reducing "road noise" when seated within the Aergo

And some challenges still remain:

  • Creating flexible and removable side enclosures
  • Creating a universal mount to suit a wide range of tadpole trikes
  • Increasing clearance height to reduce shell scraping
  • Leaving adequate space to eliminate heel strike
  • Determining the right rear cutout size to accommodate all derailleur positions
  • Improving the quality of the fairing

Interest in the Aergo has come from all corners.  Velomobile fans, environmental organizations, commuters, and even folks off the street who have seen it in front of the shop all want to know the big question - when can they get one?  There's no solid answer yet to that question.

Development of a full kit is a long way off.  The work that occurs on the Aergo happens sporadically as time and resources permit.

It is because of this that we are considering selling just the shells and letting you, the community, run with the Aergo design.  We want to tap into the imagination and skills of every one of you who have ever said, "Have you thought of this?" or "I could do it better."  If this would be of interest to you, please let us know via our contact form.  We would like to gauge interest before embarking on this path.

Thanks for your continued interest in the Aergo, and watch this space for new developments!

Aergo velomobile inhabited by RBR owner Rob Gentry

 

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RBR storefront

1306 S. Atherton St.
State College, PA 16801
(814) 234-4636

CLOSED UNTIL JAN 28TH

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