I spent this year’s family vacation in the Netherlands with my cousin Eva Jacobs, who is the wife of Allert Jacobs – founder and co-owner of the legendary velomobile manufacturer Velomobiel.nl . We also went to see the company’s headquarters in Dronten, but since the Jacobs have a garage bigger than the family house itself, a lot of interesting things can be seen right at their home. Among other things, the first prototype of a new and extremely fast velomobile, which is being created in their workshop. It is Velomobiel.nl Snoek.
The working name of this machine was Quest XXS, which is not so surprising because it is actually a miniature of the Quest XS. The XS is already much smaller than the Quest itself, but still too big when it comes to maximum speed. But there is one little issue with the Soek and that is the size of the rider’s figure. Quest itself is designed for riders with a height of up to about 200 cm / 6′ 7″ and it weighs 28 kg / 62 lbs (ready to ride including battery), Quest XS is for heights up to 180 cm / 5′ 11″ and its weight is 27.5 kg / 61 lbs and the rider’s maximum height for Snoek is expected to be 178 cm / 5′ 10″. But beware! The weight is only 20 kg / 44 lbs! How was this achieved? A complete reduction! Not only the frontal area is 22% smaller than the XS, but thanks to the overall reduction, the number of layers and carbon could also be reduced at several points of the body. In addition, Allert and Eva also used a new type of composite material called Innegra, which can create a thin sandwich in selected places, which further improves the properties of the entire structure and reduces its weight. In addition to the reduction, however, there was also one increase in the form of a larger turtle deck, which is the bubble-like part behind the rider’s head. The larger it is, the smoother the flow of air around the rider’s head is and the greater is the reduction of aerodynamic drag. There are several other similar improvements on the Snoek, including a new rear-wheel cover, which is attached in several places to the body itself, which reduces its weight as well.
Snoek was built primarily for Eva’s racing purposes, so it’s no wonder she’s also a test driver. So far, she has driven only 200 kilometers with it, but the results are more than promising. On her favorite 56 km circuit, which includes low-traffic roads and 15 km of cycle paths, and where it is necessary not only to turn at intersections but also to focus on road traffic in general. Eva was able to ride at an average speed of around 40 km/h (25 mph) in Quest XS, however, during the first ride with Snoek, she reached an average speed of 47.5 km/h (29,5 mph). And the prototype is still far from a well-tuned piece. On a shorter twenty-kilometer circuit, she reached average speeds of 42 to 43 km/h (26 to 26,7 mph) in Quest XS and 49 km/h (30,4 mph) in Snoek.
In Velomobiel.nl, they do not anticipate normal production and the inclusion of Snoek in the standard offer now. Rather, they tend to invite interested people to place their orders and then produce several pieces at once. Another batch could then follow several months or years apart.
In any case, Snoek is an interesting achievement in the world of velomobiles and also a bit of a surprise before the arrival of the third generation of the popular and long-awaited Quest, which should go on sale sometime during Spring 2021. They are fine-tuning the shape around the headlights and turn signals now and then the mold will be prepared. We definitely have something to look forward to next year.