Whoops 160 – Some Aussies build a speed bike
Whoops 160 Speedbike
Some Aussies build a speed bike...
4/14/06  Tim Marquardt
After a fabulous 2 day visit with Matt Weaver at his home in Ca., I decided to buy his Kyle Edge moulds & bring them down to Melbourne, Australia. So, in the pages following, I will show you some of the fun, all of the mistakes, & hopefully, an awesome end product.

The Team:

  • Tim Marquardt; triathlete & streamliner novice; still ride an upright 90% of my life. Overall project manager, initial pilot & reporter of project
  • Ben Goodall (www.trisled.com.au) Frame builder & streamliner advice
  • Ken Houghton - composites researcher, & therefore, composites adviser.

The Name:
Whoops 160… Whoops, as in “Whoops, I forgot to tell my wife I was spending all this money” and 160, our speed goal… KPH. (about 100 MPH)

The Bike:

Shell 1 was laid using Vacuum Infusion Moulding. see VIP for dummies (sent previously) Basically lay-up up everything dry, then create a vac bag over the lay-up with an additional mesh substrate, to allow resin flow. Then suck the resin through from the centre to the edges. A vacuum helps keep the bag & mesh compressed, ensuring the minimum resin required to wet out any cloth.

Initial Infusion
Shell 1 was a disaster! First half, with Ken’s help, actually worked well, but we started too soon after the gel coat was applied, and we ended up with massive tripe. At left is the first lay-up, about 30 seconds into the infusion; 100% vacuum, resin flowing beautifully. Notice the spike (between the 2 perpendicular tubes) where 2 layers of mesh overlapped, and the resin flow accelerated. More on that later.

Layup is 3 layers of 285g S glass, no core. You can VIP with a core, but you do need to create channels for the resin to flow along. This will be used in V2, later in 2006.

A light shell with a poor finish. Second half, without Ken’s expert help, was just plain messy & unattractive. Poor vacuum, uneven flow, tripe, gel time too short… an unmitigated disaster.

BUT, given a bit of bog, a bit more time, & a perverse sense of guilt, we did manage to use even this bedraggled pile of glass. In fact the 2 halves, once finished, are now in use: the base as a frame test unit: Ken making his own version at home

Most of these pictures can be clicked on to display a higher resolution image.

The top was cut into 2 pieces, and the front piece was attached to the good base and thus Whoops Daily was born, a bike I can get into & ride without assistance. Remember, no stream liner experience here, any practise in a new vehicle is good practise.
Tricky to see, but just inside the sealing tape you can see the cheap vacuum medium, which is nylon washing line rope (about 4mm or 3/16"). This allows flow of air around the edges. BUT, if the resin reaches this, it does seal & prevent any more flow. This occurred where the resin flow accelerated, and left 2 smallish areas without resin. Not a disaster, but better not to occur. Spiral tubing (seen running along the centre of the lay-up in the first pic) works better in that it won't seal, but is far more expensive. The nylon rope is also far thinner, so better with smaller flanges. Also visible is the peel ply & mesh. Here we are ready to stick down the bag.
Very Important Tricks
Here we are ready to add the bag in the second layup. We chose not to have the cross tubes, as they weren't strictly necessary. The large tube & 'T' piece in the foreground are the inlet for the resin. The T piece slips over the spiral tube, and the tube is dropped into the bucket of resin. Lots of tape to seal this all up.
That's me testing the seal just prior to infusing. Note:
  • Spiral tubing tape down to the mesh- 1 long & 2 perpendicular pieces.
  • 2 outlets to the vac pump (2 white tubes, 1 bottom left, 1 top right)
  • The bag suck everything down really tightly. Best to get things where you want them.
Once laid up, we glued in a 100mm (4") strip of 10mm foam along the mid line of each half, top to tail. Every 500mm (20") we inlaid an aluminium tube. These will be used to locate the top on the base once the shell is made into top & base halves. Pic on left is after I've cut the shell half into quarters! Also laid up another layer of glass over the top of the foam.

NOTE: Do this in the mold, not like I did, which was unsupported out of the mold! BIG MISTAKE... HUGE MISTAKE. Big alignment issues.

There's the completed shell, being held by Ben. In the background are 2 of his Sorcerer trike fairings. As you can see here, we now have 2 halves, but top & bottom. We chose to use this configuration to allow easiest connection between bike & fairing. Version 1 has a number of aerodynamic compromises, all accepted to allow a quick initial build & get riding as quickly as possible. The bike at this point had taken 2 months from mold arrival in Australia, to rideable.
Bike in topless mode. All initial riding was completed topless. Due to: alignment issues, easier to start, and I don't fit! Initial testing confirms Ben is a gifted frame builder: this baby is stable, quick, easy to start & easy to ride.
View of drive train. Mid drive is mounted to frame on a bolt on cassette. Modified 8 speed cluster: 2 chain keeper disks surround the 32 tooth drive cog, along with 5 speed gears. Single speed cog on wheel, spaced out 38mm (1-1/2") tube. Chain keeper disks were added down there after initial rides had many chain derailments. BB is narrow (custom made) & movable along the boom tube I want to allow many varied people the chance to ride this baby, and the adjustability allows this. Cranks are 160mm, but we are sourcing much straighter 155mm versions currently. Disk front brake pulls Whoops up pretty quickly.
Rear wheel is pretty narrow 20". Custom hub, has threaded axle. Axle bolted to dropouts. Dropouts bolted to fairing. This wheel will be turned into a disk wheel (Mylar heat shrink covers) in V2.
This is our front mounting point. The tube can slide within the mounting bar. The rubber pads are glued to the fairing, the aluminum strips are glued to the rubber, and the bar bolted to the aluminum. The rear is glued on in the same way. We hope the rubber will isolate the road shock.
And here she is, looking complete. Bubble is taped on, & is far from permanent yet. Gap between halves is less than ideal & will be fixed soon. But, a pretty fine first speedbike I'd say. I'm sure Matt is losing sleep as I type, but it's a start. Stay tuned
I took Daily Whoops for her first indoor velodrome run. Daily Whoops is Whoops with a temporary half top section. As I don't fit inside Whoops with the full top, I've used the first botched top , cut it in 2, and am using that as a way of training in the bike. I still have to learn the correct peddling technique, as well as control of the bike at speed, and Daily Whoops enables me to do both these things as well as enabling me to do it by myself, as I can enter & exit unassisted.
Since we last saw our orange bike, much has happened. Firstly, as a result of my legs catching on the upper derailleur, I altered the mid drive so that it is only a step up drive, and the main gears are located down on the wheel, with a derailleur hanging off the fork end. No more blood!

I’ve also cut a larger hole in the floor, to allow me to put feet down when stopping.

All riders complained of hitting the fork top whilst riding. SO, Ben modified the fork so the crown was much closer to the wheel. No more knocking knees!
I’ve also made a new rear section, to allow daily riding of Whoops. I used the Burt Rutan moldless method to create this new back end, in a few short hours. Certainly far from perfect, but serviceable. And I’ve used neoprene to cover the gap between the front & rear fiberglass sections.
I’ve added a telescopic landing gear to the right side of the bike. I used Warren’s basic design though I substituted a larger scooter wheel.

Future jobs will include remodeling the rear end to allow more shoulder room & better vision, as well as a pivoting rear top to allow quick & easy entry/exit.
Lastly, to see the worlds prettiest speed bike, check out the Sled Edge at www.trislednews.blogspot.com We are awaiting some warmer (less wet) weather so we can really see her potential. We have access to a 4.7km circular track, with almost no slope and very smooth. 

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