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Old 05-17-2008, 02:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 1,151

The Miata - '01 Mazda MX-5 Miata
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Thanked 22 Times in 18 Posts
2008 ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge

You may, or may not, know... I'm an undergraduate student and I've been competing the these Human Powered Vehicle Challenges...

Every year, ASME holds an East and West (and now one in Venezuela) event. There's a design event, sprint event and 65K endurance. Scores are based on points earned from each event, the design being worth 40% and the sprint/endurance worth 30% each. The design is a 30 page (max) technical paper and 5 minute oral presentation with a few follow up questions (which, by the way, I nailed with 20 seconds to spare for extra questions ).

Here's a few photos from the event... I'm waiting to get more as I was so busy running around/managing this year that I didn't take too many.

Rose Hulman IT - They took 1st overall... That's a monocoque frame/fairing (CF/Kevlar - honeycomb - Kevlar) with steel sub frame for the drive train. I got to talk with the team (nice people) and ride this one after the event in it's endurance mode (as seen here - they have a fully sealed canopy too). It's solid - a really nice ride.

Missouri S&T (Formerly UMR) - 2nd overall. That's a steel frame with carbon fairing and composite roll bar. The resolution of this picture is low, but there seemed to be a rider fit issue with one of the pilots - constant rubbing on the windscreen caused his knees to open up and pour quite a bit of blood :/

They had a cool looking composite axle - super wide... It really pulled through the tight corners.

Another MST vehicle - they competed in the utility portion too... Rear wheel steering to boot. While not necessarily novel, I gota give them credit for having the testicular fortitude to go for RWS

Olin College with their super low racer... Their previous vehicle was very low, somehow, they got even lower... I think that made it a little awkward for balancing and their affectionate nickname was "Rolling Olin" - that roll bar was well used - but a totally cool vehicle

Awesome fairing Looks stunning They obviously had some balance issues, fixed overnight with support struts That tail comes to a flat plane (not a point).

Grove CC - A reliable mid-racer... While I didn't see it in action, they have landing gear (with wheels) that allows them to stop without putting their feet down. They won first in the design event.

UCF - our trike So we actually hit a hay bale somehow... Not sure how he managed that... Oh, and someone actually fell on the nosecone - he fell on his back, full 180lb+ of weight... It sprang right back into position So due to some technical problems in the beginning of the race, the front support mount kept coming off due to incredibly bumpy road causing the nose to drop sufficiently to cause some rubbing. I too had bleeding knees, but only a little (a small band aid was enough to cover it).

We came in 8th overall... Which, given the conditions during the sprint (20+++ sustained cross wind with much higher gusts) and the problems we had with the mounting points - I'm happy with. Not to mention - it was freaking cold (I drove through snow on the way home)!

So getting there... what happened? As there was drama.... It turned out, we had the budget for a minivan rental Alas, the teammate that was supposed to drive with me had to pull out last minute So I drove 1300+ miles by myself (1030 in one day) :/ I added a packing tape grille block in addition to removing the roof rack cross bars and averaged 23.8mpg round trip... Alas, I couldn't drive as slow as I wanted as there just weren't enough hours in the day to do so - but I had a lot of P&G action on the hills

Average mpg: 23.8
Average Fuel Cost: $3.536
Highest Fuel: $3.706
Cheapest Fuel: 3.388 (Florida)
Total Miles: ~2800

I'll have more photos eventually (when I get them)

Cars have not created a new problem. They merely made more urgent the necessity to solve existing ones.
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