The light blue tuna is already waiting for me when I arrive at ICB with my DFXL. The tires are already pumped, the chair is at the right height and even the pedals are at the right distance according a quick test with heels on pedals. Also the pedals are equipped with SPD, nice as that allowed to use my DFXL shoes rather than borrow some. Also the tour/race hood is there.
I like the closed wheel wells better than visible wheels. The vent hole without lips is also nice. I prefer the slightly sleeker tail of the DF over the wider tail of the Tuna. Also there is a bit of a bump visible in the Tuna body, as if they glued on some pants on an existing DF and then made the mould. I would like this a bit smoother.
The tires are CCU at the front, and GP5000 on the rear. I understand all is at 6 bars but I forgot to make a note of that. My dendrocopos faltgarage fits also over the tuna, but the lift hole location is now wrong (it was already tight fit). The mounting bolts for the bottom cover (to access the steering rods) are sticking out slightly. Peter explains that this is needed because these bolts need loctite and then you need stronger bolts to avoid stripping them when loosening them. The bolts are not sticking out far, maybe 2mm, and the risk of hitting anything at this place seems small. These bottom plates are nicely in line with the rest of the bottom. The right luggage compartment (above the swing arm) looks identical to the DF. The 3 switches on the console changed, the top now is an overall on/off, the middle the head light and the bottom the interior light. The shift lever now has an indicator, but feels and works identical to the one in the DF. I can't read the indicator when under the hood.
As there is some unclarity about Tuna's size, we measure the width at both sides of the wheel covers. At the front side, the width is 71.5cm, at the rear side it's 70.0cm. Peter says the maximum width is 74.5cm, and that the length and height are exactly as the DFXL. Especially this 74.5 has my interest, as I think it's close enough to 75 to consider it legal to use the main road instead of the bike path in the Netherlands.
We have some discussion about the new front light location. I don't like stray air coming in and also it seems not optimal for aerodynamics. Peter already tried a glass cover but it quickly fogs up and then the headlight does not work anymore. So if you want to close it here you will also need a back cover to avoid fogging, and then you might have some overheating issue. Maybe the original location is still the best but I don't know if that's still an option.
The seat now hangs from belts (but you can still get the old system as well). The advantage of the belts is that it's much easier to adjust the chair position. But it's some extra work as now after loading the cargo into the bike you have to re-attach the belts to the chair. Some say it may swing a bit during riding, which would cause less efficient driving. Maybe but I could not detect any chair movement while driving.
Ok, let's go for the test ride.
The route is almost a rectangle: straight NW along the N307, N to the ketelmeerdijk, E along the ketelmeerdijk, and further E along the Vossemeerdijk. The Vossemeerdijk turns SE, till I reach the N307 again, from where I ride W along the N307 back to Dronten. About 35km.
It's heavily clouded, and I wait a bit till a heavy shower had moved over. Temp around 9C, wind straight from the west, about 5m/s (3-4 bft), stronger with showers. Close to freezing point when in a shower. Peter plugs the air vent close for me, as I don't want a cold blast of vent air right from the front with this weather. The ventilation will need some modification anyway.
Entering the velomobile is just as easy as with the DFXL. Apparently the manhole is a bit bigger now but I never had issues with the manhole size anyway. The hood feels slightly lighter, maybe it's a bit shorter or so, or maybe it's just the weight of the missing windscreen wiper. The hood has all windows with double glass, nice.
The seat sits well, just like my DFXL. I'm always sitting a bit with my left shoulder against the carbon, it seems the DF seat is a bit to the left, or maybe I'm not straight, and the Tuna has exactly the same. This Tuna has some velcro on the left, to mount shoulder rests, and this irritated my left shoulder. Don't get this velcro if you don't want shoulder rests.
The Tuna starts up light (my DFXL that has much heavier lowest gear). I like that but usually that is at the expense of the top gear which I consider more important. The overview is good, so the hood windows are in the right place. I hear a light humming sound, as if a small electric motor is spooling up. In the first sharp corner I hear a pretty loud scraping of the tire in the wheel arches, much louder than in the DF. Apparently that's normal.
I miss the wiper and it rains a bit so I have to ride a bit slower the first 10 minutes or so along the N307. Speed around 45, I don't push it here. Also this is straight into this cold wind. In my DF I rode similar speeds today into the wind.
Then the north-bound part of the tour, should be side wind, but I don't notice much. Speed stays around 45 till I reach the ketelmeerdijk. This is where I should get wind from the rear and I expect the Tuna to take off now! I take a short break to enjoy the view. The sun is coming through the clouds. An airplane is doing stunts over the ketelmeer.
A short run down the ramp helps building the speed and I push the speed. But I'm puzzled that it stays at 50km/h. In my DFXL this morning I rode just over 50 with sidewind without pushing hard, this should be better? I'm not sure, I push for some 3 minutes but it does not want to go faster. I'm a bit high on RPM, and my legs really hate high RPM. Is that the problem? Or are the CCU's not yet ridden in (they have about 1000km)? I back off a bit, and it settles around 48km/h where it stays without much trouble. Before the vossemeerdijk there are a few crossings, I have to drop the speed. A van stays close behind me when I indicate I need to turn to the left, so the blinkers are working well. Back on the vossemeerdijk I don't push, to see if it will pick up the previous speed again. No it doesn't, it stays around 43. The gentle turn to SE does nothing speedwise either. I check the front wheels, they are moving freely so there is no dragging break or something. Maybe I should also have checked the rear wheel?
Then to get back on the N307 I have to make a 180 degrees turn to get on a short piece of narrow dirt trail. I can't make the turn ( 7.5m radius measured in google maps) in one go, so I have to reverse, this is the moment to test the left hand-on-ground method. That works easily, also because it's pretty flat here, my fingers are in fact less dirty than with wheel-chairing, and after reversing 2 meters I can make the rest of the turn. The remainder of the N307 back to Dronten is again straight into the wind, around 42km/h.
Back at ICB, the bike looks clean, apart from a few mud drops on the left side. Only the bottom side is ugly. This is a huge improvement over my DF where a big part around the wheel houses are covered with mud (it started clean today).
Concluding, the Tuna looks nice, has inherited a lot of nice things from the DF, and rides roughly the same speed (versus power) as the DF. It has a number of interesting improvements. It is wide enough to legally use the main road instead of the bike path. It stays much cleaner. The wheel service hatch makes tire and wheel well maintenance much easier than closed-wheel well velomobiles. It lacked a bit of top speed, I suspect shis is because the gearing does not fit my cadence. I'd like to thank ICB for preparing the Tuna for me and facilitating this test ride.