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Playing in a Sinner Mango Velomobile

Sinner Mango Red Edition *

Living in and riding in Perth, Western Australia and in particular having my commute take me from south of the river in Fremantle to Joondalup along the coast and return during the summer into the infamous Fremantle Doctor, winds are the bane of my life. Add to that I am not getting any younger and well I am looking to spice up my riding and to take on those winds and to hopefully reduce the time for my commute. Enter a Sinner Mango velomobile.

Now I haven’t got one yet and give the price being in the vicinity of AU$12,000 it will be awhile before I can afford one unless Lotto helps out in the mean time :) That said I recently got a chance to play in the only Sinner Mango Sport Red Edition thanks to John Lewis from the Australian Cycling Forums and I am hooked. For sure first impressions where a little deflating but after thinking about it, the whole concept just works for me: the look, the riding, the speed opportunities; the design, the weather protection and having a fair shot at the Fremantle Doctor.

Sinner Mango Red Edition

Trying out a Sinner Mango in Albany, Western Australia

Sinner Mango Red Edition

Ready to roll in a Sinner Mango Sport Red Edition

The photos are not great; they where taken by my youngest son on my phone but they give you are taste. Having had a chance to reflect on my little ride of John’s Sinner Mango I am hooked on the idea.

Nitramluap from the Australian Cycling Forums has the first Sinner Mango brought into Australia, a Sport Red Edition Mango. He has put together a really good walkthrough on his early edition which gives a really good taste of what they are about.

My Plans for Sinner Mango

My intended use for my Sinner Mango is threefold: my daily commuter, my Audax ride and my on-road from home touring bike and hence will likely replace three two bikes in my current fleet of four. Basically I think I will sell on my Look 555 or my Kinesis Racelight Granfondo Ltd as well as my beloved Surly Long Haul Trucker and my Giant XTC 2 mountain bike. I will still need a road-off-road diamond frame tourer for those tours where the Sinner Mango will not be ideal and hence I am considering building up a Surly Ogre or similarly to complement the Mango and hence will likely keep the Giant XTC 2 and use it for off-road touring and the odd road tourer.  I would also like to continue or at least have the option to participate in group rides with the Freo Wheelers or the like so keeping the Look 555 in on the cards. Another option is still selling the Look 555, the Kinesis and the Surly Long Haul Trucker and adding a short wheel base – over seat steering (SWB – OSS) or a short wheel base under seat steering (SWB – USS) two wheeled recumbent to the mix as a tourer/commuter.

I have been tossing up between a Sinner Mango Sport Red Edition (except mine will be probably be a black and white edition similar to this Mango Tour or something along the lines of this Quest Carbon), a Quest Carbon and Mango Tour. The Tour as the name suggests has more internal space for touring and comes standard with some features which make it suitable for touring. However as my main use will be commuting and Audax rides I think the Sport Red Edition is the better option and if necessary I will add a Radical Designs Cyclone trailer to my fleet for those tours where I need the capacity. The Quest is very popular in the US market and is generally reported as being the faster than a Mango. I also really like the lines of the Quest but on the downside it has a quite large turning circle.

Sinner Mango Tour

Sinner Mango Tour – I like the colour scheme

Quest Carbon Velomobile

Quest Carbon – Source: Simply Red

Radical Designs Cyclone Trailer

Radical Designs Cyclone Trailer **

So my thoughts on my Sinner Mango build are as follows. This may change over time and I will update this post as that occurs. The pricing is based on a Euro /Aussie dollar enhange rate of €0.80.

Sinner Mango Sport Red Edition Proposed Build

Component
Estimated Cost
Base Red Edition€7,290.00
Indicators (double set)€0.00
Dual Headlight€114.00
Brake Lights (Double set)€0.00
Interior Lights€0.00
USB Outlets (Two) (Right hand side)€0.00
Electric horn€0.00
2nd Battery€50.00
2nd Mirror€15.00
90 mm Drum Brakes€0.00
Towbar€79.00
Frabic covers on front wheels€0.00
Ultegra Compact Double Crankset (50/34) + derailleur €0.00
Flevobike Hood€225.00
Sinner TourKap€365.00
SON Dynamo€250.00
Rohloff€995.00
Non-standard paint scheme€200.00
Shipping
Sub Total including VAT€9,583.00
Sub Total excluding VAT€8,053.00
Australian GST (10%)$1,003
Australian Import Duty (5%)$502
Total Purchase Price$11,700

The component prices are estimated based on what information I have been able to find. The prices have not been confirmed with Sinner Bikes. Components with a value of €0.00 are included in the base Red Edition. As it is a complete bike, no import duty is payable.

 

My proposed build has the standard Sports Red Edition components with the following changes:

  1. A SON dynamo will be mounted mid-drive to provide recharging of the battery. In addition a second battery will be carried on Audax rides that go into the night and on tours;
  2. The drive line may be a Alfine 11 Speed with a 22T cassette matched to a Schlumpf Speed Drive with a 39T crankset. The rear wheel’s free hub is fitted with the standard Sinner Mango 18T cassette. This will violate the Shimano recommended 1.9 ratio for the Alfine 11 Speed having a ratio of 1.78.
  3. Adding of a tow bar to allow towing of the Radical Designs Cyclone trailer if desired;
  4. Adding of a mount for a Garmin Edge 800 (not priced) and possibly an mirror/light bracket on the right hand side which could be used to mount the Garmin Edge 800 outside of the cockpit.The drive line may yet change with some thought being given to a Rohloff hub and a 50/34 compact double crankset;
  5. I will also purchase a pair of Radical Designs Velomobile bags to act as my “saddle bags.”

Sorting out the driveline is the only remaining matter to be resolved. I suspect some more playing with HPV Drivetrain Analyzer is coming along with more research into the reliability of the Alfine 11 speed hub.

Resources and other websites related to Sinner Mango Velomobiles

Your Turn To Talk

I hope you liked this post! Please do stop by the comment section below and share your thoughts (or ask your questions or to make suggestions) on the Sinner Mango Red Edition with the rest of us.

I am interested in thoughts on the specification of my proposed Sinner Mango, particularly on the drive train so please do share your thoughts by leaving a comment below :)

* This image has been sourced from Sinner Bikes;

** This image has been sourced from Flying Furniture

18 Responses to Playing in a Sinner Mango Velomobile

  1. jet December 12, 2012 at 7:48 AM #

    Hi Andrew! I don’t know anything about velomobiles so I can’t offer much in the way of feedback, but it’s great that you actually got to play in one. Would John let you use his for your commute one day? ;)

    Also, replacing almost your whole fleet with one bike is pretty impressive ;) I take it you have plans for parking it at your various destinations?

    • Andrew Priest December 13, 2012 at 6:42 AM #

      Yes it was nice to play. Unfortunately John is in Albany so “borrowing” it :) for a commute probably is not going to work out to well.

      Not quite the whole fleet … I will still need a diamond frame for off-road touring and where it is not practical to get the Sinner Mango to the start point. Also I would like a bike to use to duck down the shops etc. So will probably get a Surly Ogre for these duties to supplement the Mano.

  2. Kris Rhodes December 12, 2012 at 11:35 PM #

    I would like to see what your impressions are when it’s exceedingly warm outside and you’re climbing a hill. I understand my buddy Alex who has a fully faired ‘bent, albeit a different model, has this to say about it: “For heat, the problem is the hill climb. That’s where you get really hot without the airflow to help cool you down. Cruising at speed, it’s still warmer than an open bike. For summer, if I don’t care about speed, I tend to prefer the open bike or trike. But winter, the coziness is pretty darn nice.” Alex’s ‘bent is actually an eBent equipped with a Bionx kit to help with the hillclimbs. I really freakin’ hate chasing that guy down on any kind of terrain.

    As I mentioned before, I have reservations with the drum brakes on descents like Kalamunda hills. Normally you could get around this somewhat by increasing your aerodynamic profile, but in the case of the sinner mango, I’d say you’d be passing cars and have no very effective way to reduce speed. That being said, drag brakes on tandems are drum brakes and fully loaded Honda CT50 Postie bikes use them just fine, so I could be proved wrong.

    Overall, I really like the panniers, and I think standard disk brake rotors will have all the same heat dissipation woes drum brakes will have. I recently equipped Shimano IceTech rotors to my front hub on the Surly Ogre, and I am never going to go back to the standard ones now.

    Regarding the Surly Ogre, it’s a great XC bike, albeit heavy. IMO the perfect Ride The Divide race bike would be an Ogre, stripped of the V-brake brazeons but everything else left in place, made lighter either through different tubing and/or Titanium instead of steel. The other bike that made my very short list but was too expensive was a Ti Salsa Mariachi. Doing it all again, I’d leave the fork uncut until you decide whether you want flat or drop bars, and possibly go one size up if you want drop bars so you’re not cramped or have to use a super long stem. For a proper XC tourer, I’d also stick to mechanical brakes, not the hydraulics I have right now, for failure reasons. Hydraulics are nice, but if you frequently move the hydraulic lines (e.g. with a pack strapped on the handlebars) it can inadvertently let air in to the system; cables are easier to work with too, and you don’t have the constraint of 22.2mm diameter handlebars applied to you (as cable actuated brake of the appropriate pull are available in both 22.2mm MTB bar and 23.8 Road Drop bar diameters; see http://sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-handlebars.html for details). Mine’s probably a shade too small for me, but I’m typically between sizes on Surly bikes anyway. Handles pretty well both on and off road, only other thing to mention is it has a really “flexible” rigid fork (apparently this is typical for a rigid 29’er fork) which can be unnerving.

    Everything else about it are typical misgivings of 29’er bikes – wheels spin up slowly, tires are heavy, etc. but overall, I love it. I currently have 26mm wide rims, and with the ISO 622 rims I can put just about any 700c tire on there to get better speed, the only real difference being a slight difference in trail (handling) due to the decreased tire diameter.

    I currently have:
    Ogre 18″ frame (bought it before they switched to their M/L rating, but it’s either a medium or a large – I think it’s a medium).
    Butterfly touring bars
    Shimano M505 Hydraulic brakes with Shimano IceTech front rotor (160mm).
    Shimano SLX drivetrain (to be replaced in the very near future with a Rohloff).
    DT Swiss XM490 rims built up with a Son28 hub on the front; intention is to have a Rohloff on XM490 rims on the rear too.
    Supernova E3 Triple front light (not recommended for road riding, you will blind all oncoming riders).
    Thomson +5º 120mm stem / 25.4 mm clamp (longer stems are needed for butterfly bars; see Sheldon’s website for recommendations; the bike originally came with a flat bar 31.8mm so I have a clamp for both bars now)

    IMO a high quality heat dissipating rotor or IceTech rotor on the front at least is a must otherwise you’ll overheat the rotor slightly on even moderate hills. Only other thing is I find myself sitting on the seat more than I did on previous road-oriented bikes, so a good seat is a must.

    • Andrew Priest December 17, 2012 at 1:32 PM #

      Thanks Kris for your comprehensive response. WIth regards to the Mango and the brakes. Feedback from European and US pilots seems pretty positive about the 90 mm (as opposed to 70 mm) drum brakes. The other option is disc brakes but users are reporting very high wear rates due to the enclosed wheels; seems it results in a lot debris building up on the discs.

      As to the heat; being a wimp I am not likely to be climbing big hills on hot days. That said a couple of Brisbane riders have said it wasn’t too bad. I guess time will tell on that one.

      Thanks heaps for your thoughts on the Surly Ogre. I will work through to update my proposed build.

  3. Ant December 13, 2012 at 10:06 PM #

    Also my ambition to get a Mango – but that remains aspirational considering my bank balance :( They are beautiful machines.

    • Andrew Priest December 13, 2012 at 10:34 PM #

      I can relate to that. Lastest thinking is a Rohloff hub and Schlumpf High Speed Drive … just keeps pushing the price out :(

      • Kris Rhodes December 17, 2012 at 6:43 AM #

        It’s an investment though. At least that’s what I’m trying to believe because I’m buying a Rohloff wheel in about… 5 days.

        • Andrew Priest December 17, 2012 at 1:34 PM #

          I am starting to think the same way. I will be interested in your experience with the Rohloff when you get it. Are you buying it from Europe?

  4. Shaun Moran December 20, 2012 at 10:54 AM #

    What about shipping costs?

    • Andrew Priest December 20, 2012 at 7:21 PM #

      I don’t have them as yet which is why that field in the table is blank.

  5. Felix O'Keefe December 23, 2012 at 10:15 PM #

    Hello Andrew,

    Regarding your questions on the gearing issues. The 18 tooth freewheel of the mango is driven from a 22, 26 or 30 tooth cog mounted to the disk brake adapter of the Alfine hub.
    As such it has nothing to do with the Shimano recommended ratio. This only applies to the ratio between the front chain-wheel and the cog installed on the right hand side of the hub.
    The cog on the left hand side of the hub can be changed out which changes the effective circumference of the rear wheel. Very handy feature.

    Greetings from the Netherlands

    Felix O’Keefe
    Sinner Bikes

    • Andrew Priest December 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM #

      Thanks Felix for your input. Much appreciated. I have but pretty much decided on a Rohloff hub with a double crankset following the discussion at BROL.

  6. Ant December 23, 2012 at 10:47 PM #

    Ok, now I *really* want a Sinner Mango, amazing bike and the company trawl blogs looking to answer questions about the Mango – now that’s service for you. Now, if only Santa would oblige, I’d be flying downthe bike path at 45kmh by new year…

    • Andrew Priest December 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM #

      It is great isn’t it? Such a refreshing approach to customer service. I also like that they hang out at Bentrideronline forums.

  7. Steve Greene January 26, 2013 at 3:59 AM #

    HI Andrew,
    Great website my friend! Wander on by Trike Asylum on February first. I’ll be sending a few new readers your way. http://trikeasylum.wordpress.com
    Steve

    • Andrew Priest January 26, 2013 at 8:38 AM #

      Thanks. I will make sure I visit. Mind you, you are in my RSS reader anyway so visits are the norm :)

  8. Barry October 22, 2013 at 9:39 PM #

    Andrew, I commute from COTTESLOE into the city every day and ride into the easterly in the morning and the westerlie/doctor in the evening. On my upright flat bar road bike the winds kill me and I can not ride 5 days a week. I purchased a pedlec mountain bike in February which I use as a rest day bike generally 2 days a week and it is good but if anything too easy and switching bikes is a pain. I am thinking of switching to a recumbant trike probably with fairing to try to overcome the winds. I am very interested in a velomobile as an alternative. I am pretty sure the minister of war and finance will not approve a mango, but was thinking about the trisled RV. How does the weight of the velomobile work in terms of acceleration compared to the reduction in wind drag. I would appreciate your thoughts? Thanks Barry

    • Andrew Priest October 25, 2013 at 9:51 AM #

      From my little bit of riding and lots of reading and talking with Mango owners in particular the weight does have a negative impact on acceleration without a doubt. The ideal riding situation for a velomobile such as the Trisled Rotovelo or the Sinner Bikes Mango is where one can “wind-out” and ride with minimal stop starting.

      Riding into the city from Cottesloe I am not sure you will really get the full benefits from the Rotovelo aerodynamics. That said I would go the Rotovelo over the trike as I think it will still out perform the trike :)

      For commuting duties the Rotovelo would be a better choice than say the Mango due to its durability, however on the downside is the lack of suspension and by all reports that is a read downside despite what Trisled suggest. I am thinking your commute would be on fairly smooth roads/paths so this aspect may not be such an issue.

      If you get a Rotovelo I would love to have a look at it. I keep coming back to one as an idea due to price … saving up the dollars for a Mango is taking longer than I want :)

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