Last weekend (end of June 2023) I finally had the opportunity to test the Snoek L from velomobiel.nl in Dronten. The Snoek velomobiles are produced, along with other velomobile models, at the Velomobile World factory in Romania. I had long awaited the model and followed its development with interest. At the Spezi I could already see it live, but a test ride was not possible at that time, because the drive was still missing. Since the little Snoek is considered to be probably the fastest model on the market, my anticipation of the test drive was particularly great. In addition, I expected a mature and comfortable everyday vehicle, as one is used to from velomobiel.nl. So my expectations were high.
At the beginning I have to mention that the Snoek L is still a prototype and not every point has to apply to the final production version. When I arrived at velomobiel.nl's premises in Dronten, the Snoek L stood ready next to Quatrevelos and Quests. Next to it, it looked petite, narrow, low and sporty. Theo quickly adjusted the bottom bracket to my size and mounted the desired cranks. I also swapped out the pedals for my SPD SL pedals. Thanks to the removable foot section, which allows easy access, this was done quickly. The seating position I was able to take over from Theo's position. Currently, the Quest seat was still installed, but in the future there will be a dedicated Snoek L seat.
Photo 1: Theo adjusts the Snoek L for me
I slipped into the Snoek L and, as a longtime Quest rider, immediately felt comfortable in the seat. Due to the narrow design of the vehicle, the shoulders have to be turned in slightly. However, after getting under the coaming, I had enough room and even some air to the side walls. At the Spezi, I had felt like a balled sausage and thought it was too tight. Accordingly, the lower seat setting makes a significant difference. Although I took the seating position of Theo, who is significantly taller than me, the view forward was very good. I still have to get used to the Snoek mirrors, though. Visually and aerodynamically, they are impressive, but the field of view requires some getting used to.
Photo 2: View of the driver
Then the test drive began in perfect weather. When starting off, I immediately felt that the vehicle wanted one thing above all: to move forward. The drive is remarkably stiff, although the bottom bracket mast and swingarm are made of aluminum. Every pedal provides direct feedback. Curves can also be ridden briskly, although I was still far from the limit. Anyone who fears that this is a pure racing bike is wrong, in my opinion. The Snoek L felt comfortable, at least on this relatively short test drive, despite the hard springs, and is certainly suitable for everyday use and long tours. I also found it to be relatively quiet.
I was also skeptical about the wind stability at higher speeds, since the small Snoeks are often equipped with a fin on the hat. However, the feared instability did not occur and the velomobile was always easy to control. Unfortunately, I can't give any exact information about the speed, since the built-in speedometer didn't work and I only occasionally checked the speed on my cell phone. Anyway, it felt very fast and smooth and definitely belongs to the category of fast velomobiles on the market. In practice, we'll see how it stacks up against the Milan, Bülk and Alphas. However, the hood for the Snoek L still has to be completed for this.
Photo 3: Snoek L from the side
It was especially important to me to find out during the test ride whether I fit with 170 mm cranks in the Snoek L. I could never get used to shorter cranks, although I have already tried them several times in various velomobiles such as the Evo K, Milan SL and Alpha 7. I have therefore firmly resolved to no longer buy a velomobile in which I do not reasonably fit with my desired crank length. For classification: I am 188 cm tall, have rather long legs with a inner leg length of 92 cm, weigh 92 kg and wear size 46 cycling shoes. In the DF XL I fit just so with 170 mm cranks. With seat mat - this is important to mention, because the maximum size specifications are often without seat mat in other velomobiles. For me personally, however, I have found that I need a seat mat after 100km at the latest, no matter how comfortable the seat is.
I had the hope that I could fit with 170 mm cranks in the Snoek L. For the test ride I had even brought my SPD SL Dura Ace pedals with narrow axle and low stack height, as well as my Northwave Extreme RR shoes. Fortunately, my feet had more than enough space, although I had the flat maintenance cover on the bottom. Unfortunately, however, it does not fit at the knees. When pedaling they clearly touch the body and I would need so a few millimeters more space to prevent this. Allert later told me that the seat could possibly be adjusted a bit lower and an even thinner seat mat could create additional space. To be fair, it's also worth mentioning that I spent several hours on the DF XL, for example, and made some adjustments to find the perfect seating position. Therefore, I do not want to rule out that it could work with the Snoek L, but in my estimation should be with my body dimensions and pedaling style at 160 mm cranks end, at the latest at 165 mm. Well, it's just a Snoek L and no XL. You can also tell by the space between the wheel arches. Since I drove with shorts, I have noticed several times that it comes to contact with the carbon, which could possibly lead to problems in the long run. Without having measured anything, I would guess that the wheel wells are wider than in the Bülk, but minimally narrower than in the DF XL.
Photo 4: Snoek L from front
When I returned to velomobiel.nl, there was a car behind me that had obviously followed me, and the driver was speaking angrily at me in Dutch. When I indicated that he was welcome to explain his concern to me in English, Theo came running out and the discussion continued. He said that I was not allowed to ride on the road and that I was so low that I could not be seen, which was too dangerous. Theo remained calm and explained to him that if he couldn't see me, he shouldn't be driving. The situation relaxed and I was glad that such arguments are rare in Germany, although I usually drive on the road.
I quickly installed the standard 155 mm cranks in the Snoek L and drove to the nearest supermarket to buy some food. Now I had no more touches with the short cranks and the vehicle felt sufficiently spacious. All in all, velomobiel.nl has put together a very interesting velomobile here that will certainly shake up the velomobile market. A test drive is definitely worthwhile.
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