CHINESE KNOCKOFFS


chinese-catrike-knockoff
Would you buy a brand new “Catrike”
like this for about half price?
China has long been known for blatantly illegally copying products of others and selling them … often on the black market … at least many years ago. But today they are so bold as to even display a picture of the real McCoy with manufacturer’s name clearly displayed on it. Those who don’t know any better might be deceived and go ahead purchasing the item thinking they are getting a really great deal. Of course, what they get is altogether different. It may look somewhat the same externally, but the components used are el cheapo. And I am pretty sure that even externally there would be some obvious differences in the trike you would receive. Here is an example of what I am talking about. I think this is a picture of an older model (2012 or earlier) Catrike Trail trike. It is the non-folding “space frame” design (my favorite). As you can see it has the Catrike name shown clearly on it. I think sells for about $1200, but I am not sure of that as they don’t show the prices on their website. I have emailed them to ask what the price is, but they haven’t answered back. Anyway, that is less than half price of what Catrike sells their trike for today. I would think that the Chinese businesses involved in this illegal knockoff production would at least take a couple of minutes with a photo editing program and remove the manufacturer’s name from the picture they use. Better yet, why not just use a picture of the trike they are building and selling? Here is the Chinese website (one of them) where this is found:
http://www.made-in-china.com/…/hot-chi…/Recumbent_Trike.html
And here is the specific trike’s webpage:
http://www.made-in-china.com/…/China-New-Design-Hot-Sale-Re…
I know Catrike is aware of this, if for no other reason than the fact that I emailed them about it several years ago when I first discovered it.
ice-fat-trike
Does this not look like an ICE FULLFAT trike? It is another Chinese knockoff they are selling. No doubt it would probably look a lot like the ICE FULLFAT trike. Again, they don’t show any prices so I have no idea what they are charging for it. I am sure it is quite cheap especially when compared to the cost of a real ICE FULLFAT trike (about $5000 for the base model).
Chinese FAT tire trike 2
I wrote an article about another Chinese FAT trike. It is shown in the picture above. As far as I know it is not a knockoff though. It is a “mini-fat” … that is it has 20 inch FAT tires all the way around instead of 26 inch. It certainly is cheap … $1,460.93 total which includes shipping ($950 for trike & $510.93 for shipping).
Alibaba is another well known Chinese website selling lots of different Chinese made products. They show the prices and as far as I know are legitimate … they just sell cheaply made trikes like the FAT trike I wrote about and linked to above. I have not seen any advertised that I identified as a knockoff.
The prices are definitely cheap, but the shipping costs are pretty high so the total cost isn’t as attractive as it starts out.
So … back to my original question … would you buy one of these Chinese knockoffs to save money? I don’t think I could do it. I could probably buy one of the other Chinese trikes though. It is just the knockoffs that I don’t think I could deal with. Well, I don’t have any money to buy any of them anyway so I won’t concern myself with it. I am happy I was able to get the real McCoy and it continues to serve me well year after year. I do really miss my 2009 space frame though. I always …
ENJOY THE RIDE!

PODRIDE VELOCAR


Another new velocar is attempting to be birthed into the market place. It’s a cute little thing called a Podride. HERE is their website. Both a 3 wheel version and a 4 wheel version are planned. It will be available with or without electric pedal assist.

They have a StartUp Campaign and a YouTube Channel.

Their website states that they hope to have their product available in Canada and the United States by late 2017 … first in a non-motorized quad and soon to follow a motorized trike.

2 wheel drive above, single wheel drive below

CALL OF THE WILD or SILENCE CAN BE DEAFENING


A couple of years ago I managed to get the wax in my ears pushed back inside to where it was “impacted”. I suddenly transformed myself into the world of silence. I can remember driving myself to the doctor’s office to have them clear my ears of this wax impacting. It was really eerie driving along not being able to hear. Fortunately they got me fixed up and I could hear again. I can’t say that I enjoyed being deaf, but it was an interesting experience to go thru.

Now I said all that to lead up to my topic of this posting. Basically I am talking about all the different sounds we hear as we ride our trikes along … whether it be around many others and lots of sources of noise or by ourselves with very limited sound sources. Most definitely my favorite riding is away from the maddening crowd and all the noise associated with and generated by it. I enjoy hearing birds singing, squirrels chattering away,  frogs croaking, animals rustling the leaves and brush, and even the faint sounds coming from my trike as I pedal along.

Yes, I can truthfully say I enjoy hearing all those sounds. And then back to civilization I hear sirens, horns, car alarms, trains, traffic (trucks, buses, motorcycles, cars, etc.), outdoor speakers at businesses, loud so called music coming from motor vehicles and the list goes on. All of it is noise and not pleasing sounds. Yep, there is a world of difference between noise and sound. One is usually rather unpleasant and objectionable while the other is welcome and soothing.

This subject matter is one reason I like trails that take me away from the noise. I definitely don’t care for trails that run right along a busy roadway where all that horrible noise is present to contend with. I feel sorry for those who only have those sorts of trails where they live and ride. Of course, it is even worse for those who only have bike lanes on busy roads. And then there are those who don’t even have bike lanes … just busy roads to ride on.

Yep, I like the call of the wild as the silence I find out there can be deafening. 😉

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

If you enjoy seeing and listening to birds HERE is a pretty good video to watch.

POSING ON A CAT


Some people impose while others simply pose. Here is one more reason I like our Vice President …. that is a Catrike he is sitting (posing) on … I wish I could just post the picture here, but I don’t have permission so I will simply link to it …

https://m.facebook.com/donald.ennis.39/posts/pcb.1031885226945963/?photo_id=1031885180279301&

I wish I knew more about this photo and what was going on. I wonder if he rode it and, if so, what he thought of it. It would be neat if he would get “hooked” on tadpole trikes and get one of his own to ride. There is no reason why a Vice President couldn’t …

ENJOY THE RIDE TOO!

FAQ – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


faq-2

We see the abbreviation “FAQ” frequently and I am sure most of us know it stands for frequently asked questions. Many websites and printed material have a FAQ area where people can go to try to find answers to frequently asked questions. Q&A is also commonly used. I have thought about going to the effort of trying to make a FAQ page for this blog, but I have never felt ambitious enough to tackle it. So what is a guy to do? Well, we can always let George do it, right? In all seriousness TerraTrike has a FAQ page on their website which covers a lot of different topics. HERE is a link to it. Maybe they can answer your question. I am just not into to it at this time. Woe is me! I guess I need to be thankful for what others have contributed and made available. Of course, some of their answers are TerraTrike trike specific so they won’t be of any help if you have another brand. Even some of the questions which may sound “generic” on the surface they are responding to in regards to their own trikes … so their answers may not be as applicable if you have a different brand of trike.

Here are the questions they have listed:

faq

FUN & THRILLING, BUT FOOLISH AND DANGEROUS


 

Here are some fun and thrilling rides, but certainly foolish and dangerous … not to mention harmful and damaging to the trikes. There is a lot I could say about all of this … tempting fate, endangering life and limb and treating brand new expensive trikes like this … but I will refrain and let you think whatever you want about the matter.

WHEN IS .75 NOT THE SAME AS 3/4?


If we were talking simple mathematics the answer to that would be simple enough. The fraction and the decimal are always the same. But in the world of bicycle tires it is an altogether different ballgame. The answer is no, it is not the same. I know … it sounds crazy and as far as I am concerned it is crazy. It is one very confusing messed up system which has been developed. When I was a kid it wasn’t this way. It was all pretty much straight forward and simple … easy to understand. I have written about this subject before. Click HERE to read about it.

Just take a look at this chart below and you can readily see what I am talking about. It almost gives me a headache.

tire-size-chart-complete

Schwalbe has information on tire sizes HERE.  I like their chart as it seems easier to read than some others I have seen.  HERE is an article by the late Sheldon Brown about tire sizes. He has a section a short ways down the page he has called “Does Point Seven Five Equal Three Quarters?”.  HERE is another article on tire sizes.

Be certain what size wheels you have on your trike before buying new tires or inner tubes. Most tadpole trikes with 20 inch wheels have 406 rims, but a few may have 451 rims. The tires and inner tubes for these two sizes are not interchangeable. This is what happens when you try to install a 451 inner tube in a 406 tire:

451-inner-tube-in-406-tire

As you can see the 451 inner tube is much larger in diameter than the 406 tire. Some of the sales people in bike stores don’t know this and will hand you a 451 inner tube even if you specify you need a 406 inner tube. It has happened to me. I got clear back home before discovering the sales person selected the wrong tube. I had to return to the store to get the right one. Now I look before buying it since I learned you can’t entrust the matter to the store.

For most of us we don’t have to concern ourselves very much about all of this. It is when you go trying to make major changes in wheels and tires that you encounter the complexity and need to “get it right”. If we simply stick with buying pretty much the same tires by the size shown mounted on our rims we should be safe enough. Just remember about the 406 vs 451 matter. Try to avoid getting a headache and simply …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP?


TerraTrike offers a webpage concerning how to determine your X-seam. X-seam is a measurement similar to inseam which is used to determine how to adjust the boom properly to fit the rider of a tadpole trike. When seated properly on a tadpole trike the rider’s leg should be about 85 % fully extended when the pedal is rotated to its most forward position.

I have written about this subject previously. HERE is one of the articles.

HERE is another webpage on this offering a good illustration. And HERE is another.

I have noticed that the instructions given for this vary somewhat in the matter of how much distance the bottom of the board is out away from the wall. To my way of thinking the safest and best method would be to duplicate the seat back angle more so than a measurement off of the wall. Of course, one must be careful not to move the board while sitting down and going thru the process of obtaining the measurement.

A quick and easy way to adjust the boom to its proper position for the rider is simply to sit in the seat and place the “heel” of the foot (while wearing shoes) on the pedal in the furthest forward position. The boom can then be tightened down and when the balls of the rider’s feet are positioned on the pedals the legs should be about 85 % or so extended.

It is good to know our X-seam measurement as it can be of value for a mechanic to set up a trike for the rider without them being there to go thru this process. Having a trike set up properly helps us to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

 

 

 

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SHEDDING SOME LIGHT ON HEADLIGHTS


After about 8 years or more of dependable service my 1 watt Planet Bike headlight has started shutting off all by itself. So I am now looking for a replacement.

I came across this webpage which is somewhat unique. I shows many different headlights as they shine forward on the road at nighttime. It has a split screen where you can compare one light with another. You can adjust the split screen however you want it.

HERE is another website where you can compare the lighting from various headlights at nighttime.

HERE is another side by side comparison.

HERE is an explanation of LED lighting with helpful information.

HERE is an article on lumens and brightness.

As you can see, not all lights are equal. In the image above are two lights both rated at 300 lumens. Obviously the one on the left is much much brighter than the one on the right. I also selected some other 300 lumen lights to compare and the result was identical to what you see in this picture. Good optics make all the difference in lights.

In the image below are beamshots of a 350, 700 and 1000 lumen headlights. As you can see the 350 holds its own pretty good against these much more powerful lights. Again, good optics make all the difference in lights.

I bought the 350 lumen headlight shown in the image above. It is a Light & Motion Urban 350 which sells for about $50. I like it fine for nighttime riding … which I seldom do … but I am very disappointed in its pulse mode for daytime riding … which is what I almost always do. As far as I am concerned its pulse mode is nearly worthless in the daytime. There is no comparison between it and my Planet Bike headlight. So I more less wasted $50 on a light I really have little need or use of. I looked at some others which were about twice the price and their pulse mode was very attention getting. I don’t understand why this light I bought fails so miserably in this one area. It’s pulse mode would be fine at nighttime, but in the daytime … like I said … it is about worthless.

Here is a video of my Planet Bike headlight flashing inside my home.

Fortunately my Planet Bike headlight is working again so I am continuing to use it for daytime riding. It turned out that the problem of it shutting off by itself was simply a matter of the battery contacts needing to be cleaned. Its flashing mode is very attention getting. BTW, Planet Bike lights have very good optics.

Here is a still shot of my current headlights at nighttime. I have changed the mounting positions since this picture was taken.

One thing I have noticed about many of the new headlights being sold now is that they have rubber straps to mount them instead of much more solid and secure clamps. I hate these rubber straps as they are a cheap way of making what are otherwise good lights. The rubber straps won’t tighten up and hold the light in position and they make it extremely simple, fast and easy to steal the light. I am constantly having to reach down and reposition my two new headlights as they just keep moving out of position as I ride along. I would never buy another headlight that uses a rubber strap to mount it. They are a joke … only I am not laughing.

Well, I hope this article has helped to shed some light on the subject of headlights. Be safe out there and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

 

 

 

 

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HEADKAYSE ONE – REINEVENTS HELMETS


Headkayse One is a game changer for cycling safety because of Enkayse.

Conventional helmets are made from polystyrene. In a large impact polystyrene deforms to provide what’s known as “sacrificial protection”. This is why you have to be careful not to drop your polystyrene helmet in everyday use, and it’s why manufacturers recommend that you replace your helmet after a knock.

Headkayse … pronounced “head case” … hmmm, interesting … is indeed unique. It is scary to think that a brand new conventional helmet can be so easily damaged and rendered considerably less effective in protecting our noggins. It is not only scary, but downright sad and maddening. Who wants to keep buying new helmets quite frequently for fear that our current helmet might not be up to the task of protecting us (even though it might be nearly new itself)?

Enkayse is designed to work differently. It manages the energy of impacts, so it can retain its integrity after more than one impact, large or small. It flexes to the shape of your head for better comfort and security.

Because Enkayse dissipates energy rather than deforming on impact, it also cushions small bumps. Polystyrene can’t do this, since forces which are too weak to deform it are transmitted through. Enkayse provides comfort in protecting from small bumps. This may also have long-term benefits as researchers believe the cumulative effect of small knocks contributes to brain disease over time. Because Enkayse shrugs off little bumps, it means that Headkayse One is durable against the knocks and scrapes that come with everyday use. You can be sure that Headkayse One will stand up to the daily grind. You can view the entire article about this new material HERE.

This is an interesting video (below) demonstrating how conventional helmets are effected by bumps and impacts.

Their website reports that they are 167 % funded in their startup campaign. These helmets don’t come cheap, however, they should greatly outlast a conventional bike helmet which helps offset the price involved.

So if you are a helmet wearer you might consider looking into a “head case” for your noggin. They say they think they will be in production soon (mid 2017). You can pre-order HERE and it should be cheaper than when they start selling them online.  They show about $112 plus shipping charges if pre-ordered.

They will be available in 8 different colors. One size fits all. Be safe out there and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

 

 

 

tadpole trike, tadpole trikes, tadpole tricycles, recumbent trikes, recumbent tricycles, recumbent tadpole trikes, recumbent tadpole tricycles, American Cruiser, Atomic Zombie, Azub, Bikes Reclinadas, CarbonTrikes, Catrike, Challenge, David Bruce Trikes, Edge Recumbents, Evolve, FFR Trikes, Fortrike, Greenspeed, HP Velotecknik, ICE, KMX, Logo Trikes, Outrider USA, Performer, Podersa Cycles, Scarab, Steintrikes, SunSeeker, TerraTrike, Ti-Trikes, Trident, TrikeWars, TriSled, TW-Bents, Utah Trikes, Windcheetah

eGO – AN INTERESTING CONCEPT IN TRIKES


eGo … not to be confused with EGO which is an ultralight trike aircraft … nor is it the electric scooter of the same name … nor is it the velocar of the same name. I sure think they should have and would have picked a different name so that people don’t have to deal with all this confusion.

It is powered by electric motor hub only. There is no chain or sprockets. However there is a crankset and it is used to pedal to charge the battery. They used an existing TW-Bents tadpole trike to create their electric trike. The frames looks the same for both the Trident and Artifice models TW-Bents offers.

HERE is an article on this trike.  HERE is another article.

There is very little information available I can find about it. The one article says that they hope and plan on building more prototypes and work to promote the trike.

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT


They got the title right …

I came across this video and immediately had to agree with the title … Blinded By The Light. There is definitely a whole bunch of lights there. I assume they own a battery manufacturing company. That top light must be to warn low flying aircraft. 🙂 If I were a car or truck driver coming up behind this I wouldn’t know what to do … probably need to find another route. 🙂 I believe in good lighting, but this is definitely an overkill to the point I would think it would upset others who have to deal with it. I don’t know what their purpose is in having all these lights, but hopefully they don’t ride this around other people at night with these lights turned on .

I won’t even use my bright flashing taillight at nighttime around other people as it would be blinding and offensive to those behind me. Defensive is the goal … not offensive. This next video is of my trike after dark where there is total darkness and no one else around. I have 4 taillights flashing, but one of them is so much brighter than the other three. The other three are plenty bright to be seen quite well at night. The extremely bright one is just too much. As bright as the other 3 taillights are this super bright one prevents the other three from being seen. It is great in the day time, but at night time I would never use it around other people. I would use 2 or 3 of the others and probably only have one taillight flashing and the other(s) turned on steady (no blinking).

Our headlights can also be “too much” Here is my trike with  maximum lumens in use. I would not think of riding around like this in the daytime much less at night. I would only use it when by myself and in need of good lighting to see where I am going (at night time, of course.) Too bright of a headlight can quite literally blind those in front of you so that they can’t see some of what is in front of them. This could easily result in an accident and even someone’s death.

And that is only 350 lumen. There are people out there with several thousand lumen lighting. Let’s all be safe but respectful of others. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

PROS & CONS OF ELECTRIC MOTOR PEDAL ASSIST


Those who have been following my writings from the git go  probably know that I got my start in this writing articles about tadpole trikes on Steve Greene’s Trike Asylum blog. One of my earliest articles (To Motorize Or Not To Motorize, That Is The Question which was posted on April 5, 2013) was on the subject of motorizing a tadpole trike and I made it pretty clear that I was against it. I made an exception for those who truly needed it Never the less I ruffled some feathers and caught some flak for writing the article. I have to admit that when I wrote it I didn’t know much about the subject of motorizing a trike. I don’t recall whether or not I was even aware of “pedal assist”. Anyway, since that time I have gotten myself a bit more educated about pedal assist. I also finally reached the point I felt I would benefit from having electric motor pedal assist. I have had one on my trike now for awhile so I have experience with using it and feel I am qualified to write about it. I am loving it. Anyway, I am reposting the early article I wrote so you can read it here in this posting. You will find it at the bottom of this article I am now writing. As you read thru it you should be able to pick up that I was thinking that this subject matter is about propulsion by a motor and not pedal assist.

Recently a fellow triker brought up the matter of a tadpole trike being a Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) … that is to say, they are suppose to be. Hey, that is exactly the position I used to hold so I know where he is coming from. We are all familiar with the terms “Pros & Cons” … stating those things in support or favor of and those things which are not if support or favor of. After having a motorized pedal assist trike and riding it quite a lot already I though it would be good to try to write an unbiased opinion and report on the pros and cons of having a pedal assist motor enhancement. Of course, now I speak only of “PEDAL ASSIST”. I like the description … “it’s like having a built in tail wind”. I am still against a motor propelling a trike where the rider is not required to pedal.

I will state the things that come to mind as pros as well as those things which come to mind as cons. I will say upfront that the list will be considerably lop sided as I have been giving thought to this matter and have to say that there is very little I can come up with to put on the cons list while there is a whole lot that comes to mind to place on the pros list. This certainly is not an exhaustive list. As I think of more I will add them to the lists.

THE PROS

1) It makes pedaling easier not requiring nearly as much pressure to be exerted on the pedals. This greatly helps in hill climbing and those with knee joint problems, pain and weakness.

2) The rider can go considerably faster even though they are exerting the same amount of pressure on the pedals and using the same amount of energy as they did previously. For instance, climbing a hill that used to slow me down to 2 to 4 mph I can now ride up at 14-16 mph if I want to.

3) If the rider tires out during a ride the motor assist helps them to get back to wherever they started from or need to get to.

4) If riding has become a chore rather than the fun it once was then pedal assist can make it fun again.

5) It enables a rider to ride at a faster pace so that being able to ride with faster riders is now possible. You still won’t be able to keep up with a lot of the roadies however as they really go. Funny thing is they are allowed on bike trails and some bike trails ban pedal assist bikes and trikes. It is not right.

6) It is a real blessing to have when you need to zip across a busy street when a break in traffic finally comes along. It can propel you across fast and out of any danger.

7) When you need to make good time to get some place faster than you normally could again the motor is such a blessing.

8) Having the ability to accelerate  quickly and go fast can be a big help in getting away from a dog or person you might be concerned about as far as your personal safety. Of course, most dogs can run faster than 20 mph.

9) Because you are still pedaling, but pedaling easier you actually get more exercise. You can pedal at a faster cadence which is a very good thing as many of pedal way too slowly anyway. And because it is easier to pedal you can ride longer.

10) Someone who has had problems with hernias and are concerned about overexerting them self and causing serious problems can greatly benefit from having pedal assist.

11) Having electric motor pedal assist does not mean that you have to use it. You can ride with it turned off just like it wasn’t there. And quite honestly most of the time I can’t tell the difference between riding my trike as it came from the factory and riding it now with the motor and battery installed but not turned on.

12) If you have long downhill grades you can set the controls to generate rather than use power and in doing this you  recharge the battery. You can also just ride along recharging the battery if you are strong enough to pedal with the resistance involved. Or if you are up to the task even on level ground you can pedal along recharging the battery if you are physically up to it. Please note that the charging rate in this mode is very little so it would take a lot of time and travel to put much of a charge back into the battery.

13) You can play with the minds of the road bike riders  by being able to ride their speed and maybe even pass them. Some of them however ride much faster than a motorized pedal assist can go (legally).

14) When riding off road the pedal assist is great to have. It makes such adventure so much easier and enjoyable and even safer as one doesn’t always have the strength to pedal in/over/thru some places.

15) It reduces the stress being placed on the drive system (pedals, crankset, chain & sprockets) as the motor is helping to turn the rear wheel.

16) If you are riding with others and you have to stop or slow down and they keep going having the pedal assist motor makes it much easier to catch back up with them.

17) It is great when riding into a headwind. Other than feeling the wind you can truly say “what wind?”.

THE CONS

1) The motor and battery add weight to the trike. It has added over 20 pounds to my trike and all on the back. That being said, much to my surprise and delight the only time I can tell there is additional weight is when I lift it. When I ride I can’t tell it at all.

2) Being able to go faster is fun, but it also adds a measure of danger and concern that didn’t exist riding slower. You may tend to go into curves faster than you should. If you are not used to handling a trike at higher speeds you could crash.

3) It is expensive to add a motor to a trike and the battery only lasts so long before it needs to be replaced at considerable cost. My conversion kit costs about $2500 and the replacement battery costs about $900 to $1000. There is always the chance that the manufacturer will either go out of business or simply not offer a replacement battery later on if they opt to make some changes in their product offerings.

4) Some trails don’t allow the use of any motors on  them. I personally don’t think that this should apply to pedal assist systems and I would hope that trails which say no to them will reconsider and change their position on this.

5) Motorizing a tadpole trike adds to the value making it more of a target for a thief.

6) Motorizing a trike makes it so much fun to ride that your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend will want to ride it and cut you out of the picture. 😉

********************

TO MOTORIZE OR NOT TO MOTORIZE, THAT IS THE QUESTION

I am getting into something here which I will state upfront I am very opinionated about. I”M ‘AGIN’ IT! To my way of thinking motorizing any type of human powered vehicle is defeating the whole concept of the thing … exercise. I mean, come on … if you want a motorized open air vehicle buy a motorcycle for crying out loud. I rode them for over 50 years of my life until I finally decided I would give it up for strictly pedaling around. I was also riding a bicycle all those years so I still got some exercise … just not nearly as much as I do now.

I am sure that there are some folks who are not able to pedal to get around … perhaps can’t use their arms and hands to propel a vehicle either and so they may NEED something in the way of a motorized trike. But there are a whole lot of folks out there who are perfectly capable of pedaling who really don’t NEED to go this route.

That being said, I know it has become pretty popular. The man I sold my homemade tadpole trike to told me he planned on motorizing it. There is lots of information out there on the subject. And I am sure riding a motorized tadpole trike is a lot of fun even though it could lead to an added element of danger. And there may be some folks who just need help pedaling up hills as just maybe their bodies can’t deliver what it takes.

Obviously there are two main ways to go … electric motor or gas engine. Those who oppose gas engines because they “pollute” would no doubt only consider the electric motor route. But I AM STILL AGIN IT!

Here are some pictures of various setups:

KMX trike motorized

KMX trike motorized

gas engine motorized trike

gas engine motorized trike

solar charging motorized trike

solar charging motorized trike

ecospeed motor on boom

ecospeed motor on boom 2

And I say to ya’ll …

KEEP ON PEDALIN’

(We all need the exercise!)

By the way,  one needs to be aware that there are trails where it is against the rules to ride a motorized bike or trike. Our local trails here in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area do not allow them. Only motorized wheelchairs are permitted. When it comes to “pedal assist” it is not fair to ban them. They are as much as a human powered vehicle as the roadies out there zooming by at 25 plus mph while my top speed is only 20 mph with pedal assist. HERE is a good article on the subject.

NEW HEAD REST TO SAVE MY NECK


Recently I had a Bionx hub motor conversion kit installed on my Catrike Trail. In doing so I had to give up my super comfortable head rest which I made. I have neck issues so I need to use a neck/head rest when I ride. The reason I could not continue using my head rest is because it was in the way of plugging the cable into the front of the battery. So I purchased an ICE neck rest which mounts out of the way. Now ICE boasts that their newly designed neck rest is the most comfortable neck rest on the market. As far as I am concerned it is just like all the rest of the factory manufactured neck rests I have tried … very lacking and not very comfortable.  So I went to work to redesign it.  What I came up with was far more comfortable than theirs yet it still looked pretty like it did originally. Still it was not to my satisfaction nor my needs. So I went to work to totally remake it. It didn’t take me more than 20 minutes and now I have a very comfortable head rest again. It is not quite as comfortable as what I had previously but only because it is a bit smaller in size. And the good news is I didn’t do anything to change what ICE made. In 5 minutes I could put the neckrest back to the way it came from ICE (not that I would want to). I just don’t understand why the trike industry doesn’t offer comfortable neck rests. It is not that hard to make one that is comfortable. Like I said it took me about 20 minutes. I replaced ICE’s strap with elastic and put a piece of foam sandwiched in between it. Then I put a large piece of foam on the front side of the elastic. The large piece of foam has the front side of it cut concave to sort of cradle the head and neck. Here is what I came up with. I just used the cover off of my old head rest even though it is too big.

For  those who are interested here are some pictures showing the construction of my new head rest. (I am calling it a head rest rather than a neck rest because I have raised it up higher to where the back of my head rests on it. It is far more comfortable now against my head than it was against my neck.)

In the next picture I have duct tape temporarily holding the foam in place while the Gorilla Glue sets up. The foam is glued to the elastic.

In the next picture  which is a top view looking down you can see the concave curvature I cut into the foam to cradle my head and make the head rest more comfortable to use.

And here is what the original ICE neck rest looks like. I really don’t like the metal rods on the sides as they are located right where the head makes contact with them. And that is not very comfortable as I quickly found out when I tried riding using it. It is really dumb … more of their infamous “inspired cycle engineering”.

 

 

Now with this new head rest I should be able to ride in comfort meaning I can …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

RECUMBENT MECHANICAL TALK


Gee I love that kind of talk. 🙂 I hope you do too cause here is a whole lot of it …

 

ARE YOU DIRECT OR INDIRECT?


Now I ask ya … are you direct or indirect? Some of you I am sure know the answer to that question while others probably do not. Those ‘others’ probably don’t have a clue what I am talking about. We’ll remedy that pronto. I am talking about the type of steering your tadpole trike has. Direct steering means the “handlebars” come directly off of the kingpins (the axles the front end has to turn to steer). Here is a picture of an ICE VTX with direct steering. I have marked the various parts (green lines are the handlebars, red lines point to the kingpins, yellow lines point to the tie rod which connects both sides together so they work together). Direct steering is called direct steering because it is direct. The handlebars connect directly to the kingpins so that they turn directly in response to the input of the handlebars.

direct-steering-ice-vtx-marked

Indirect steering is altogether different. The handlebars pivot on an axis thru the frame under or just in front of the seat. A plate of some sort (they vary) is attached to the axis so that when the handlebars are turned the plate turns with it. Attached to the plate is linkage which goes over to one or both kingpins to turn them. Here is a picture of a TerraTrike Tour with indirect steering. I have identified the various parts in it as well. Of course, the blue line is the handlebars. The green line is the axis (the pivot point) of the handlebars.  The yellow lines are the tie rod linkage connecting the  plate on the handlebar axis to the kingpin axis.

indirect-steering-terratrike-tour-marked

Both systems work, of course, but they are not the same. Direct steering is more sensitive and “direct”. Indirect steering is less sensitive and not as direct. Some people like one better than the other. I myself prefer direct steering. Often direct steering trikes turn sharper than indirect steering. Some indirect steering trikes have a much larger turning radius. Again, I personally find this unacceptable. I want my trike to turn sharply when needed. I don’t like having to stop and back up … going back and forth trying to get turned around a sharp corner. That is ridiculous in my opinion … poor design engineering.

I have ridden various trikes with both types of steering input. As to the matter of indirect steering I will say this … not all trikes are created equal. That is to say I found some quite objectionable and others quite satisfactory. Some I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy as the saying goes.

As to preference on these two types of steering, some object to the direct steering saying it is too sensitive and “twitchy” … making it dangerous at higher speeds. I am sure I speak for many when I say it is all according to what you get used to. I have never had an issue with this in all the years I have been riding tadpole trikes. And I am sure many others would say the same thing. But, hey, I don’t much care what others prefer. If you like indirect steering that’s fine with me. If you prefer direct steering you’re my kinda guy (or gal). 😉 

There is an option that can be incorporated to make direct steering less sensitive. A stabilizer bar can be used. Here is one added to a KMX trike.

Hopefully by now we can all answer the question … are we direct or indirect? Whichever you are …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

WILL THESE TIRES FIT MY RIMS?


That is a good question. I wish I had the answer. Information like that would be nice to know. I suppose I could say … “your guess is as good as mine”, but I reckon that wouldn’t be very helpful. I have tried a few different times looking up information about tires and rims and pretty much  concluded that I must be dumber than I thought as I couldn’t make much out of most of what I read. It just seems to get pretty technical and complicated. I find it quite challenging trying to make sense out of all of it. It was pretty simple when I was a kid, but thru the years man has managed to make it quite complicated. You can try your hand at it if you want. Perhaps you will have more success than I have had in the past. My best advice is to go ask someone who works with this and has some understanding of it. That being said, don’t be surprised if they don’t know of a certainty the answer to your question.

But this much I know … more and more it seems as though people are moving toward wider tires on their trikes … trying to remake their trikes into “mini-FAT trikes”. I can understand and appreciate that, but hey, a rim can only handle so much additional width without concern of safety and performance.

HERE is Schwalbe’s article on this.

You can read the late Sheldon Brown’s article HERE.

There are some formulas for calculation HERE.

HERE is another good article on tire width and rim size.

Here are some things I have learned. Some of it is just common sense and logic.
Tires are designed to have a certain shape when they are properly inflated on the rim. If the tire is too narrow traction and stability when cornering will suffer. If the tire bead is too wide where is fits down into the rim the tire will be deformed from the way it was designed and the tread will be effected. Impact absorption will suffer as will control during cornering. Sidewalls can be more easily damaged and cut. A proper fitting tire on a rim will ensure maximum performance in cornering and traction as well as provide the least rolling resistance. Tires are designed to have a certain shape when properly mounted and inflated. When we modify things we can effect our safety in the performance and handling of the tire.
A wider tire has less rolling resistance than a narrower one of the same “build” and air pressure. A wider tire will also help prevent pinch flats.

Yeah, I wish I could give you a quick and accurate response, but the truth is “your guess is as good as mine”. Well, hopefully we can all …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

AND AWAY WE GO! (WITH BIONX)


It took several years, but I have finally succumbed to the concept of my using electric motor pedal assist. It is a matter of aging I think and finding it a bit more challenging climbing hills. I can still climb them, but oh so slow and if I am riding with others I just watch them ride on away from me as I can’t begin to keep up. So I bit the bullet and got myself some help. Now I can shoot up those hills and don’t have any problem keeping up with my friends should I choose to ride with them.

HERE is a webpage about Bionx products. And HERE is another one.

The electronics are quite sophisticated and pretty well thought out. The reviews of Bionx are extremely favorable. Pretty much everybody say they have the best system going. The company is out of Canada.

They have 3 different size batteries. They are all 48 volts, but their power in amperage varies providing a choice of 50 miles, 65 miles or 80 miles between charges. The one pictured below which fits under their rack is the middle one. The largest battery mounts down low behind the seat alongside of the frame.

Although with this battery mounted up under their rack means the weight is carried up high effecting the trike’s center of gravity and handling it also means that the battery is positioned so that it doesn’t get nearly as messed up from water, mud and other crud being splashed up on it like would happen if it were mounted down lower alongside the frame. Also having it higher makes it much easier to get at to charge it or remove it.

Their controller (shown above) has been upgraded as have their display console.

This display unit (shown below) has replaced the larger combination display controller they had previously.

This next video features an older version of the console and controller which has been replaced with the ones shown above. I offer it here as it still is helpful in understanding some factors of the Bionx system.

The new electronics also offers a  Bluetooth connection to their free smartphone app which among other things is a tracking and reporting info of the route,  ride and even pulse of the rider. The Bluetooth module sells for $175.

They offer 250, 350 and 500 watt hub motors. I understand that Bionx limits the top speed of 20 mph for all units shipped to the United States to comply with the law.

If your trike has a 20 inch rear wheel you are limited to the 350 watt hub motor as the 500 watt is too large in diameter to be laced into a 20 inch rim. If you have a larger diameter rear wheel such as a 26 inch or 700 the larger 500 watt hub motor is available for them although the larger motor may not be needed. The bike shop dealer told me that unless one lives someplace with a lot of steep hills to climb the 350 is more than enough power to use on a trike.

Having a FAT trike with electric motor pedal assist sounds like a very helpful addition for off road riding. It might require someone skilled at wheel lacing to come up with a wheel laced to a hub motor.

It is my understanding that the batteries can be charged approximately 1000 times. Replacement batteries cost between $900 and $1000 so they ain’t cheap.

The bike shop I am involved with is a Bionx dealer. He told me about the high tech system Bionx has in place making trouble shooting and repair easy for the dealers. They simply plug the unit into a computer with Bionx software installed on it and it connects with Bionx while running diagnostics on the system. The dealer gives permission for Bionx to remotely do various things while connected to your unit over the internet and they can remedy most problems or at least know what is wrong so it can be remedied. With this system the dealers don’t have to learn and know a lot about the Bionx system yet they can take care of the customer.

In closing I want to mention that there are more powerful hub motors made and available which can propel a trike much faster (not legally mind you) and even at 70 years old there is still a part of me that is attracted to riding along at 45 plus mph on my trike, but I am wise enough to know that when you play with fire you are likely to get burnt. I would probably wrap myself around some tree or telephone pole. Nope, I best stick with the 20 mph option. That is plenty fast enough.

With the use of electric motor pedal assist it can help us to …

ENJOY THE RIDE & kEEP ON TRIKIN’

Update (5/3/17) – I now have the Bionx hub motor system installed on my trike and I am loving it. I haven’t been able to ride it much as it has been raining for 3 days straight. I took some pictures of my trike with this unit installed. I remounted the controller from where the bike shop had located it. I like it much better now as I can see it much better and get at it much handier. I probably should paint the blue piece of steel tubing I used to place on my mirror where I mounted the controller. I need to paint it black so it is not so conspicuous. 🙂 Anyway, riding with this motor assist is amazing. For the same effort I used to exert to ride 5-7 mph I can now ride about 14-16 mph. And for the same effort it took to ride 10-12 mph I can now ride 19 mph. The battery has a built in LED taillight which is extremely bright. Above the taillight is a large red reflector. As I said, I haven’t been able to ride it much yet, but hopefully I soon will be. And it surely looks like I will most definitely …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

SO YOU THINK YOUR BIKE LOCK IS SECURE


You might want to take a look at this video if you think your bike lock is secure. And then there is the cordless battery powered right angle grinders with a cutting disk on it which can cut thru most metal easily and quickly.

 

POOH POOH ON POO POO


stepping-on-dog-poop

While out on a ride recently I noticed (could not help but notice) lots of dog and goose poop on the trail. Now I understand that wild animals are going to do this and there isn’t much we can do about it. We just have to deal with it. The matter of dogs comes down to their owners. The dogs may not know better, but their owners certainly do. They just don’t care. Sadly there doesn’t appear to be much we can do about it either. Yes, I know … S H _ T HAPPENS!

dog-cleaning-up-poop

We can’t expect the dog to clean up after themselves, but dog owners are required by law to do so as does common decency.

clean-up-after-your-dog

I said it is not the dog’s fault and this is true. However, they can be taught where they should and should not go to the toilet. Here is an example of a well trained dog who knows where it is appropriate to relieve himself: Then again, dogs are generally  more savvy than lots of people.

dog-poop-obama

And another one:

dog-urinating-in-commode

dog-poop-on-bike-tire

This much I know … it ain’t good to ride thru poop. And unfortunately it is rare to see anybody make any effort to get it off of the trails. I spent a third of my time riding today removing poop from off of the trail. It is really aggravating as this should not be happening. What is wrong with people that they do this? I wasn’t raised that way. I find it hard to believe that people can be so low and irresponsible. Yet it seems to be all too commonplace. Nobody wants to walk along stepping in dog poop or riding thru it on a cycle. It is challenging enough to avoid riding over dog poop on a bicycle. With a tadpole trike it is even more difficult to avoid as we have three different tracking wheels and our trikes being wider we don’t always have the space to maneuver as we really need to.

scoop-the-poop-sign

In addition to the fact that it is quite unpleasant to step on or ride over dog poop it is illegal for dog owners to allow a dog to poop outdoors and then not clean up after them. I have said it before, but I would like to see these dog owners faces shoved down into their dog’s pile of poop.

Well, now I went and did it. I unloaded here. I feel better now. So I say pooh pooh on poo poo. Without it it is much easier to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!