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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
  • Velomobiel Quest - I've ridden the Quest, and I've crashed it too. This is how I discovered that while it is about 10% faster at top speed than a Mango in a straight line, it doesn't go around corners so quickly as a Mango. This is partly due to the front wheels being closer together than on the Mango, but it becomes worse if you are relatively short because the seat has to be set higher so that you can see where you're going. This raises the centre of gravity.

    The Quest is longer than a Mango, heavier, and has a less good turning radius. Like all velomobiles with enclosed wheel arches, it's a little more difficult to work on than the Mango. None of this stops it being very fast in the countryside, but there's no speed advantage in a city. However, the Quest also it has a fully enclosed drive-chain and is equally as reliable as the Mango. You need to carry more spare parts due to the 26 inch rear wheel. Luggage space is roughly equivalent to the Mango Sport, perhaps slightly greater taking into account the space above the rear wheel. However, you can "lose" things in the extreme rear end.

    Overall this is a very good machine which is deservedly popular. It wins a lot of races, helped by the fact that a lot of tall Dutch riders are ideally suited to the Quest and race it very well.
  • Velomobiel Quest XS - A smaller Quest for smaller people. I've still not even seen one, let alone ridden it. However, I expect it will again be a very good quality product. It exists in order to be faster than the normal size Quest for smaller people. I'm sure this is true. Luggage space will presumably be a little less.
  • Velomobiel Strada - Basically similar to a Mango but with 26 inch rear wheel. About 20 cm longer. Some quite minor aerodynamic improvements over the Mango, so perhaps a couple of percent faster, but racing results don't show any advantage. Less luggage space than a Mango (I've not measured it, but you lose a lot due to the large rear wheel) and you have to carry more spare parts. It's nicely made. I don't understand how lawyers didn't become involved when the Mango design was sold to another company and then the company that sold it started making very nearly the same thing again, but that's none of my business.
  • Alligt Alleweder - I've ridden aluminium Alleweders for short distances. The aluminium Alleweder is the granddaddy of the Mango and Quest. Still in production and also available as a kit for those who really like riveting. There are also several fibreglass body versions of the Alleweder, some more developed than others. Lower cost than the Mango and also a little more primitively equipped. The chain is exposed so higher maintenance, 20 inch wheels all around, less luggage space than a Mango and not as fast. If damaged, it's relatively easy to fix the body yourself as you just need sheet aluminium and rivets. I quite like it.
  • Flevobike Versatile / Orca - I've ridden this briefly. It looks cool and is nicely put together. This velomobile is constructed out of thermoplastic rather than glass fibre. As a result, the shell is robust, but I'm not sure that it can be repaired if damaged. This velomobile is a bit too large and a bit too heavy (39.5 kg) to be fast. It has one gearing option, the 14 speed Rohloff hub gear, and uses an enclosed chain. Reportedly not warm in the winter due to there being no way of reducing the airflow. Unlike most others, the entire top opens to get in. Some people find this makes it easier to get in and out of.
  • Sunrider - I've ridden it briefly. It's comfortable, but both very large and very heavy (45 kg) so not as fast as it could have been. It opens in a similar way to the Versatile. The chain is exposed, meaning that maintenance will be more of a problem especially if ridden in bad weather. 3 20 inch wheels.
Now the ones I've not ridden at all:
  • Go-One - Original Go-One had a fully enclosed body for the rider, which I believe could be prone to misting up or otherwise making visibility bad in bad weather. Also the chain was exposed at the back and panniers were used for luggage. To me this seemed rather an odd compromise.

  • Quest left, Go-One Evo K right
    Note how narrow the Evo K is.
    Go-One Evo K - Looks rather better than the original Go-One. This is very light weight and very small. Probably the fastest velomobile with full suspension and exposed wheels, perhaps faster than a Quest. Luggage capacity is less than the Mango and a bit restricted due to the swing arms for the rear wheel. Chain is mostly clean with a system which uses 9 out of 10 of the gears on the rear sprocket.
  • Milan - There are at least two different models, one smaller, lighter and faster than the other. Faster than a Mango, perhaps a little faster than a Quest for the right rider, but with less practicality. Perhaps a better fit for smaller riders. Similar 9 out of 10 gear system on rear sprocket.
  • Cab-bike - Quite well established, not shaped for aerodynamics. I don't know much about this velomobile.
  • Leitra - A very different design from Denmark. Front wheels outside of body, very wide track so stable in corners. Body is not structural at all and can be removed to ride as an open trike. Relatively light in weight to make it a good hill climber rather than for speed. Chain is exposed.
  • WAW - Exposed front wheels so good turning radius. Low and narrow. Comes apart for transport. Faster than a Mango but slower than a Quest. Relatively little luggage capacity. No rear suspension. In my opinion not quite so nicely "finished" as some of the competition.
  • Trisled Rotovelo - Made with a plastic molding produced in the same manner as a wheelie bin and claimed to be especially durable. The Rotovelo was promised as a low cost and light weight velomobile. Unfortunately it ended up being not so inexpensive (especially including transport to the Northern Hemisphere) and not so light. Exposed chain and not much luggage space.
  • Greenspeed Glyde - Promised as light weight and high performance, after a long gestation period it turned up heavy and relatively slow. Use of 16 inch wheels increases rolling resistance for no obvious benefit. Now out of production. I've raced against one.
  • Leiba - little knowledge. Exposed chain so higher maintenance.

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:

Recommended Equipment

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.

B&M Secula
rear light

B&M IQ Cyo
front light

B&M 901 mirror

Velomobile Mirror

Alligt Chain Idlers

Replacement Sturmey
Archer brakes

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.

Other resources

I've written extensively about the Mango on my blog, and have many films on youtube.

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.

Finally, you must of course also refer to the manufacturer's website and the how-to videos on their youtube channel.

Where to buy parts and accessories

Our webshop,, has a special section with some of our favourite parts for recumbents and velomobiles, including tyres and lights.

This is Part Two. Go back to Part One or forwards to Part Three

For details of our other bikes, tour stories etc. return to my bicycles index.