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April 2010

Just shipped two Borealis shells, numbers twenty and twenty one. One is going onto a QNT in England and the other to a customer in Ontario. The one to Ontario is the first Borealis to have suspension all around. The trike inside is the new Sprint NT FS. ICE doesn't have the Sprint NT (narrow track) listed on their website but it is still available. This is the trike that fits inside the Borealis shell.

We are planning on building a new shell to fit onto the new Sprint series of trikes from ICE. The Sprint is 2" wider than the old QNT. I have had a couple of rides on the fully suspended Sprint so far and it is a very nice trike. The front suspenion actually improves the handling. After riding a bit you completely forget that it is there until you run over a rough spot that would normally be noticeable. If you like your ride to have a sporty feel this is the fully suspended trike to go for. I haven't had one inside the Borealis shell to use for longer rides yet. I will wait until the front suspension upgrade kit is available latter this summer and install it in my Borealis.

This is a picture of the Borealis shell packaged for shipping with a Sprint NT FS in its box sitting on top. The size of the box the Borealis shell fits into is 161 cm by 70 cm by 90cm.

This is the best velomobile we have built yet. When I compare it to other models it fares rather well. It is lighter than a lot of its competitors and less expensive. The total weight of this Borealis with lights and battery ended up being just under 33 kg. The laminate is Kevlar without any special measures to save weight. It actually has a couple of changes to the laminate that added a bit of weight to stiffen it up a bit. Based on this result I am no longer sure that the monocoque construction used in most other velomobiles really offers as much as an advantage as assumed. It may well be that building the shells in house and being able to constantly make small changes gives us this advantage. Our technique in creating the laminates is also a bit more advanced than used by others. I think that there is still some room for improvement but it is getting less with each one we build. We now have the best shell that fits on an existing trike to create a velomobile. Now that it has full suspension it is even better.

We are presently modifing some of the moulds to take advantage of a potential change to the steering setup. If it works out there would no longer be a need for fenders on the front wheels or the fabric covers used to close off the wheel wells. Even with these changes you will still be able to retrofit the Borealis onto the old QNT.

Some small modifications are included in all the ones built from now on to make it easier to remove the trike from the shell. Right now there are two bolts that are hard to reach. We will bond these bolts in place so that you only need to access one side to unbolt the rear fender. For the Sprint NT there is a new innner fender that protects the chain with plans for an additional cover to almost completely enclose the chain.