Sand Yetis Critique – The most advanced production buggy on the Planet
Both Giorgio & I have been looking & discussing the Dave Hobbs prototype production buggy. He has some additional thoughts that I have not included.
It appears the buggy has been designed to run on a nice flat surface. Undulations in the floor will have it bouncing & touching the ground because the ground clearance looks minimal. As it is obviously designed just to run on a flat surface, the suspension is in my opinion superfluous. Sufficient comfort is obtained via the BF’s for that application.
Giorgio commented that the rear suspension units could have been eliminated had the rear axle been made out of soft carbon.
FYI, that’s how he built his second composite buggy. His flexible composite axle provides for a more comfortable ride in our somewhat hostile terrain.
Keep in mind that suspension absorbs some of the kite’s energy that would otherwise be transferred to the wheels. i.e. Less power to the wheels.
Note that racing buggies typically do not use suspension.
I like the front fork design with the neat fitting of the suspension unit. I have often kicked around ideas of adding a suspension unit to the front forks and his concept looks to be far superior to anything else I’ve seen. I wonder why he did not make the front fork from carbon rather than what looks like stainless steel? He could have claimed an all carbon buggy, had he done that.
This buggy is from the pics that I’ve seen, only suitable for cruising on a flat beach or similar flat area and providing front & rear suspension for greater comfort although the carbon seat will not be as comfortable as the suspended fabric seats (particularly those from Buggybags) that we use and what the majority of buggies are fitted with. I have experience riding in Giorgio’s buggies. His first all carbon buggy was built with a hard carbon seat. He removed that in favour of a soft fabric seat from Buggybags, which to say the least is exceedingly more comfortable.
I would love to test the buggy. It does appear to have some adjustment for different sized people but it’s difficult to determine how much from the photos. Also, with its low clearance, it won’t work in our dunes. I could still give it some hard testing on our sabkahs if he ever wanted to see how well it would hold together.
Most likely it is a strong buggy as the characteristics of the carbon construction if well designed will outlive stainless steel buggies as carbon is not prone to fatiguing like steel. At worst cracks may appear in any filler used.
I’m sure it will perform OK for the flat beach/cruising application. Contrary to Elusivemite’s comment that it’s ugly, I find it a very futuristic & graceful looking; but as they say, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, which means there will be different opinions about how it looks. As it is mainly a carbon construction, I assumed it would have been lighter than the 58 kgs.
However, he does mention that it is a prototype & probably overdesigned that has pushed up the weight. He does indicate that with production buggies he will get it to around 52 kgs, which is about the weight of my DB-I that is an all steel buggy with a 1.47m long rear axle. Giorgio’s latest carbon buggy has a 1.6m long rear axle, which is a little shorter than Dave Hobbs 1.685 axle & weighs in at 32 kgs. We are almost comparing apples with apples here as both buggies use similar plastic wheels with BFs (These 3 wheels alone weigh in close on 21 kgs). Giorgio’s does not have any suspension at the front and is an all carbon fork, which saves him more weight there than on the Dave Hobbs’ steel front fork and front suspension.
The light buggies are just perfect for running sand dunes but the heavier buggies do have an advantage in certain wind conditions. e.g. When Giorgio & I (both buggiers about the same standard & weight) are moving at about the same speed across a sabkha using identical or near identical kites, I get the advantage with my heavier buggy in the gusts because I can stay on line where as he gets jerked sideways, which scrubs off his speed. i.e. the heavier buggies ride the gusts and changing wind speeds much better.
We don’t know how easy it is to disassemble for transportation by van or car to a buggy site. Will it have to be carried on a trailer or a bike rack on the car or what? How much will it cost? ( it shouldn’t be a crippling price as it will be built in China and does not have an established name brand yet). These are but a couple of important considerations that a buggier should check out before buying buggy.
I would love to test the buggy but don’t know if it is at all adjustable for different sized people. Also, with its low clearance, it won’t work in our dunes. I could still give it some hard testing on our sabkahs if he wants any severe testing done on it. Dave Hobbs would be very welcome to visit our playground to test out his buggy.
Finally, while it is probably quite unfair to provide a good critique from just looking at a few pics I would nevertheless congratulate Dave Hobbs for some of his innovations and construction ideas. I wish him every success in his business venture to sell it as a production buggy.