Sinner Mango Velomobile
Speed Ross recumbent
Home made child's recumbent
English three speed
Bob Yak trailer
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Sinner Mango Velomobile Review
As of December 2011, I've owned my Mango velomobile for over two years and ridden nearly 18000 km in it.
I've commuted, raced and toured with the Mango. I've ridden it on my own and with groups, I've ridden it short distances and long.
This is a two part review based on my personal use of this bike1.
The review is in three parts, and has the following sections:
1 - The English language lacks a handy word to describe any bicycle or tricycle. Though it's not entirely correct, I use "bike" and "bicycle" to describe any bike or trike. The Dutch word "fiets" describes any type of "bicycle".
Comparisons with competing products
I've not ridden every other velomobile, and I've certainly not ridden any other as much as I've ridden the Mango. However, I am often asked, this is what I know about some of the competition. I'm trying to be as impartial as I can. All velomobiles are a combination of compromises in one sense or another. I won't tell you which to buy as your needs may be different to mine:
Mango+ left, Quest right.
Note difference in tracking width
What to wear in the Mango
In summer, without the foam cover fitted around your neck, you dress in a Mango as you would for any other sporty bike. Lycra shorts etc. Airflow is good without the foam cover, and you're partially shaded from the sun, I don't find I overheat even when the temperature is above 30 C and I'm pushing so hard as I can.
People are often amazed by how little clothing you need to wear inside a Mango or similar velomobile in the winter. Usually I wear cycling longs, warm socks, a very warm hat, a scarf and glasses... and a T-shirt. On very cold days, I wear two T-shirts, but never more than that inside the Mango as I would quickly overheat. Sometimes I pull a fleece over myself like a blanket if I'm riding in very cold weather, but this is usually discarded within a few hundred metres. Similarly, gloves are not usually required. I wear them only sometimes if I start off feeling cold. Within a few km I'm warm.
And how cold is cold ? I've ridden the Mango at temperatures as low as about -15 C (not including windchill). This video shows a 2 T-shirt day. The temperature was -11 C, or -15 C including windchill. Of course, for my head the wind-chill is much worse and that's why I need a good hat, scarf etc:
One problem with Avocets is a lack of
puncture resistance. This is why I
only use them for racing.
I initially used the Vredestein Perfect Moiree which were fitted as standard to the Mango. These are the successors to the Vredestein Monte-Carlo which I used for many years on the PDQ. I had never had a puncture with the Monte-Carlo tyres, but I didn't have the same luck with the Perfect Moiree so for general use I changed to Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres for winter.
For summer I like the Schwalbe Marathon Racer, and the Schwalbe Shredda and Schwalbe Tryker are also good options. All these are fast but also sturdy tyres with puncture resistance. My best results for racing have been achieved with tyres that can no longer be bought - the Avocet Fasgrip and Tioga Comp Pool. However, these both have the downsides of having dangerously little grip in the wet and almost no puncture resistance so actually I no longer recommend them at all.
The Mango is usually fitted with a B&M IQ Speed headlight. This is a very good headlight with a 50 lux output and a properly shaped beam so that it won't blind oncoming cyclists. Some people like to have an extra light mounted by the mirror. A second IQ Speed can be fitted in this location, but these days the 60 Lux IQ Cyo makes more sense instead.
Please do not fit mountain bike style lights or other cheap lights from China which do not have shaped beams. This applies no matter how bright they appear to be. They may well be very bright, but they project most of their light in the wrong direction. They give you a good view of undergrowth and tree branches that are nearby and irrelevant but the beam doesn't reach far enough into the distance to be able to ride at velomobile speeds after dark. With these lamps you will dazzle oncoming cyclists and drivers.
How to do some common maintenance jobs
I've written several articles about small jobs which I've done on my Mango. Click on the blue underlined links below to read them:
My Mangos brakes were never particularly impressive until I renewed the brake cables and set them up properly. Please read a guide to enhancing velomobile brakes.
It is essential to lightly oil the chain and add a drop of oil to the suspension every 500 km.
You also need to pay attention to play in the steering. Keep the universal joint in the steering correctly tightened to prevent wear and perhaps replace it if worn.
Also keep an eye on the M6 bolt which attaches the rear wheel. This is accessible inside the bike under the rear chain cover. I find this comes loose and results in the rear wheel having some side to side play. It's important to fix this before damage is caused. You need a 5 mm Allen Key inside the bike and a 13 mm socket on the wheel hub inside the rear wheel arch. A little Loktite on the bolt thread is a good idea.
Where to find the Mango users / service manual
While working at Sinner, I translated the Mango manual to English and updated it to cover the more recent models. Unfortunately, Sinner rearranged their website in such a way that it isn't possible to find the manual any more. However, I have it and you can download it free of charge from here.
Harry Lieben has many films on youtube and a blog about his experiences with both the Mango and Quest velomobiles. He rode a Mango Tour across the USA and the dynamo ran not only the lights but also his GPS and video camera.
Paul Martin in Australia has many films of his Mango on youtube.
Peter Haan recently swapped his Mango for an Evo K, but has many youtube videos of the Mango.
Gerd Pachauer has many videos on youtube.
Also read my articles about how much of a difference aerodynamics make, see the online calculator which shows how fast you can go with a Mango or other velomobiles and an article about my cycle commuting speeds over the years.
Where to buy parts and accessories
Our webshop, DutchBikeBits.com, has a special section with some of our favourite parts for recumbents and velomobiles, including tyres and lights.
For details of our other bikes, tour stories etc. return to my bicycles index.