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The Challenges, the Changes, the Competitors

April 11, 2011

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New York Times Blogger, Jim Motavalli

 
As they look back on the challenges of last year's HPV Competition, like the high winds in Connecticut, defending champions Rose-Hulman Human Powered Vehicle designers Ethan Rockett and Petras Swissler assess the team's chances this year. Improvements from last year's car, Ragnarok, to this year's Helios include the addition of a U-joint and the ability to backpedal.

The latest video, shot in mid-April, catches a candid look at the Helios in progress. You can also glimpse the humor and ingenuity behind Rose-Hulman's #1 champion Human Powered Vehicle.

 

Discussing the rollovers and slides of last year's races, Rockett and Swissler assess the competition among a record number of teams.

       

Their assessment? Toronto, though relatively new to the competition ("they did very well" last year, their first year), is a team to watch out for; Missouri S & T typically takes the speed competition ("they build black, fish-like things"); Cal Poly ("they went weird last year; their top riders took a couple of months to learn how to ride it") is a consistently strong contender; Olin has "good geometry" despite some spectacular design foibles in the past. And there are always surprises.