Bicycle Chain Bowl
Chain is a key component of most bicycles and tricycles. Without it we aren’t going anywhere. Did you ever take a good close look at a bicycle chain? Most riders just take the chain for granted not paying much attention to it. There just might be more to one than you ever realized. Here is a video showing how bicycle chain is made.
Talk about FAT trikes is what this posting is about. I am not going to say much however. I will let another Steve speak on the subject. Trike Hobo, Steve Greene, of Trike Asylum blog fame discusses aspects of the ICE Full Fat recumbent tricycle, and also fat trikes in general. I can’t speak from any experience as I don’t have a FAT trike nor have I ever ridden one or been around any. Trike Hobo has an ICE FAT trike and gained personal experience and knowledge so without further ado here he is:
If you have never experienced a bicycle wheel being out of true you are most fortunate. Actually it is fairly common for wheels to get out of true. Here is a video showing a brand new wheel which is badly out of true.
I will state upfront if you are not mechanically inclined and savvy don’t attempt to true a wheel yourself as you can make it much worse than it already is. That being said it really is not complicated if you understand the basics involved. A wheel can run out of true in roundness and/or in side to side movement. Although ideally it is best to use a truing stand and remove a wheel from a bike/trike and remove the tire and inner tube so that all you have is the wheel itself the procedure can be done with everything intact on the bike/trike.
This video below does a pretty good job explaining and illustrating it.
I don’t own a truing stand although I have always thought it would be nice to have one. I have made temporary ones in times past which worked sufficiently. However, I almost always true wheels on the bike/trike. One can either find something on the bike/trike to use to “gauge” the trueness or make something to use to gauge the trueness. I oftentimes have simply used my finger or thumb alongside the rim. One must be careful not to overtighten spokes attempting to pull the rim over to one side as you might end up pulling it out of round. If the rim needs to move very far one should always be sure to loosen the spokes on the opposite side and not just tighten the spokes pulling the rim over. That will help eliminate pulling the rim out of round.
In order to tighten (or loosen) a spoke you will need a spoke wrench. There are lots of different types. Most are just one size, but some have multiple sizes in one wrench. Unless you work on wheels that have different size spokes I would suggest using a spoke wrench which is just one size. Be sure to get the size that fits your spokes. I use one like this and really like it.
As I said, there are lots of different types. Here are just a few of the ones available:
As to truing stands one can buy one for less than $50
Or pay more than $500 for one:
Or anywhere in between. You can even get very precision using dial indicators:
Some folks seem to get quite confused with the direction threaded parts need to turn to tighten or loosen. Spokes are always standard … righty tighty and lefty loosey. You just have to remember which way to view the spoke and spoke nut (called nipples). That is not difficult. The nipple simply screws down onto the spoke so you view it accordingly. To tighten the nipple it turns clockwise down onto the spoke. To loosen it turns counterclockwise. Although it is certainly nice to have a wheel turn perfectly true most of us don’t really need such precision.
Lastly this video although a bit lengthy brings out some good helpful information and tips:
Keeping your wheels properly aligned will help you to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
We may not have actually seen any in person, but many of us have seen them in pictures and videos online. I am talking about LED light poles or whips as I have heard them called. There is no denying that after dark these things are highly visible and can be rather beautiful as well. Some are fiber optic with the light showing thru out the pole. Some are a bit more traditional with individual lights up and down the pole. Some have blinking/flashing light in various patterns.
I haven’t found them to be the easiest item to locate online. All too often when searching for them for bicycles the search results show those that are for motor vehicles with 12 volt systems. I read where one person used a 9 volt battery to power his. Here is a picture of it:
Many people make their own buying the various components online.
As I said, I have had a difficult time finding much of anything as far as sources to buy these LED pole lights. Here are a few although the Arizona Whips are pretty much designed for 12 volt vehicle use as are many of them I found. They can be adapted to a bike/trike, but one still needs a battery (power source) sufficient to operate them. LEDs are a pretty low current draw so I don’t know how long the 9 volt battery would last. Also the Arizona Whips are not cheap … $150 according to what I read.
made in China fiber optic (would be my choice) $28.50 each with a minimum purchase of two
FAT is where it’s at for some folks. I am sure they are fun to ride, especially off road which, of course, is mostly what they are designed for. I will have to admit if money was not an issue I would probably have one in addition to my current tadpole trike.
Here is a low cost FAT trike made in China. I don’t know anything about the overall quality of it. As has been discussed on this blog previously buying a trike from overseas from a source unestablished as being reliable and providing great customer service would be a major concern for me. That being said, if the buyer is mechanically inclined most of the various components are pretty much standard bicycle parts and so they can be replaced. The frame being made of steel is fairly easily repair weldable by a qualified weldor should it fail. And it can always be reinforced if needed. So for me personally I would not be all that concerned about purchasing one of these. I am capable of doing all the mechanical work and the welding if the need arises. My biggest concern is not so much with the trike itself as it is dealing with the unknown … sending my hard earned money and not having the assurance I will receive my trike. I am not trying to say anything bad about the company as I know nothing about them. But I do know that there have been problems in the past with buying such products from China. In short, people have been ripped off. Well, anyway … on with the information available about this FAT trike.
$1,460.93 includes shipping ($950 for trike & $510.93 for shipping) Estimated Delivery Time they say is 11-19 days … which is very reasonable.What I don’t find reasonable is the shipping charge. Trident trikes only charge $125 and their trikes come from Taiwan.
* 26 inch X 4 inch FAT tires * steel frame * 24 speed * mechanical disc brakes on all 3 wheels * comes with neck rest, front chainring guard,
Available color: red, orange, black, blue, sliver and green
It has direct steering which I applaud. It lacks fenders which is quite typical. And finding fenders to fit a FAT tire trike is challenging, if not impossible. The rear disc brake is actuated by friction lever so it could be used for parking to keep the trike from rolling or as a drag brake on descents. One needs to be careful of that however, as the rear wheel can lock up and contribute to loosing control.
The tires are Chinese, of course, so probably are not the quality of some others such as VEE tires. But, hey, for $950 for the entire trike … once they are shot put better quality tires on it.
As you can see in the picture below the only thing that folds is the boom. That being the case this trike is still pretty bulky as far as fitting it into some vehicles and other small spaces. I also see a cable which appears to be unattached at one end and laying on the ground so I don’t know what that is about. Apparently it has to be removed from wherever it goes in order to fold the boom. That’s not desirable.
I am sure that all the components are inferior off brand ones, but I am pretty sure they work and would suffice for most of us. Again, they could all be upgraded to better quality components when the time comes.
The shifting levers can be seen although not close up enough to make out much of anything. I tried cropping and enlarging the image, but I still could not make out much.
There are alternatives such as the Trident Terrain FAT trike. It also folds (better than the Chinese FAT trike). It lists for $1399 plus $125 shipping (total of $1524). That price is for a 20 inch wheel trike. For only $100 more ($1624) you can get it in 26 inch wheels.
Utah Trikes sells the SunSeeker Fat Tad CXS trike which they produce starting at $1899 plus $299 shipping (total of $2198). That is about a $737 difference and I think is about the next cheapest FAT trike available. It features rear coil-over suspension and integrated front suspension. It too comes with Chinese tires.
So if you are wanting a FAT trike they can be had for less than $8000 like the one ICE sells … or even $4559 for an Azub FAT trike . (One could buy a very nice used car for that kind of money.) Yep, I would buy one if money were not an issue. Alas, I will just have to continue to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
on my non-FAT trike and be content. 🙂
Honestly I am most thankful I have what I have.
Workstands are a subject matter which has been discussed previously on this blog. One can buy them or make their own. Some of the most popular ones are made of PVC piping and fittings. Some of them are made of metal. Wood is also popular. Here is a video showing how one person made his workstand out of wood.
As some of you know I am going to have knee joint replacement surgery later this month followed by a second surgery for the other knee joint replacement in November. I am sharing this with you, the readers of this blog, so you will know what is going on. Not knowing how I will be doing as far as whether or not I feel up to writing new articles for posting on this blog it is possible I may not have any new articles for awhile. I hope that isn’t the case, but in case it is I want you to know what is going on. At the time of my writing this I have articles written and scheduled ahead thru October of this year. Again, I assume I will be able to write some more new articles and keep posting them ahead and no one would be the wiser as to what is going on.
Uncle Art (arthritis) is no friend of mine and not welcome in my home.
I am not looking forward to the surgery and rehab, but if it is as successful as most are I reckon it will be worth it. My knees have gotten much worse as time has gone along and it has greatly effected my riding. I can no longer ride as far or as fast or as long as I used to and it has greatly effected my motivation and enjoyment of riding. Right now I need all the help I can get to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I am certainly hoping I can get back to the way it used to be … riding faster, longer and farther and truly enjoying it.
I received an email from a man by the name of Dmitry Vinogradov in Latvia asking me if I could advertise a tadpole trike for sale on this blog. Since it is new and not used I can’t post it on my used trike page. I decided to first post it here on its own page and then include it in the other pages I have for new trikes. Here is what he sent me: (I have added a bit more here and there as I looked up the company and found various helpful things to include here.)
For sale – Comfort Trike, a full suspension recumbent tadpole trike by Design Bureau Specbike Techniks Ltd. (Latvia). New.
Features and advantages:
• 3 year manufacturer frame warranty;
• Independent three wheel suspension;
• Adjustable shock absorbers. Controlled trike stability;
• Front wheel hub features professional ball bearing, provides a smooth ride;
• The front steering wheel bearings with rust protection;
• Adjustable seat sport-comfort;
• Powder coating;
• Adjusting to the user’s body dimensions – height from 1,40m to 2,2m.
designation producer model pcs
1 shock absorber DNM DV-22:165x35mm/560lbs 3
2 front wheel custom Rim ETRTO 451, Tire Schwalbe Durano28-451, Bitex hub with industrial bearing, aluminum axle one screw easy mounting 2
3 front brake shimano mechanical disc brakes, rotor 6 screw, 160mm 2
4 front brake double handle no name with parking brake and adjustable 1
5 rear brake force mechanical disc brakes, rotor 6 screw, 160mm 1
6 rear wheel force 26″, 9 speed 12-25, disck brake, Tire Rubena Flash 26×1.5, quick release. 1
7 rear derailleur shimano Sora 9 speed 1
8 chain shimano 9 speed 1
9 front derailleur shimano Tiagra 1
10 pedal force MTB 1
11 crank arm shimano 48/38/28, 170mm, 3 speed, bottom bracket square, adjustable distance to the seat 1
12 shifter shimano Dura Ace Bar End 3×9 speed 1
13 seat custom composite fiberglass with soft mat, adjustable 1
14 idler custom with industrial bearing 1
15 headrest custom adjustable 1
16 front light bracket custom diameter 22mm 1
• Metallic parts galvanizing
• Colors chosen by the customer
Trike specification and technical characteristics available upon request.
30 days Delivery
Price $2499 USD
Delivery $249 USD (Total Price is $2748)
Best way to place order – use our email firstname.lastname@example.org ,,,, or ebay listing: http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/dmitrijsv2005/m.html?_nkw
I know nothing of this company or this trike so I am in no way personally endorsing them. I am just sharing this to let you know of their existence. I am always leery buying anything from overseas in a far away country as I am quite concerned about getting any needed parts or customer service. This is not to say that this company would not respond quickly to customers should they need something. I simply have no idea since they are not an established international sales entity with a good and proven track record.
I think we are all very aware that we live in a day of very high technology compared to yesteryear. All kinds of products continue to appear on the scene and some of them are for cyclists. One such product is the Shoka bell. It is far more than just a bell for a bike. It is actually pretty amazing. For what it is worth they call it a bell, but I wouldn’t. It has electronic sounds. It does not sound like a traditional bell … well, maybe it does a little … about like an electronic musical keyboard sounds like various musical instruments. But that’s okay. It has some really neat sounds.
As to the light it is only for others to see you … not for you to see where you are going as it is not that bright nor that kind of light.
One of its features is a an alarm that will alert you if your cycle is messed with. It has a range of 250 meters or 820 feet.
It certainly seems to have impressed a lot of people as the kickstarter campaign is going great … way beyond what they were looking for.
It comes in six different colors.
So if you are a high tech electronic junkie and independently wealthy you might want to look into this gadget. I am only joking about the money end of things. I have no idea what the cost is, but I am pretty sure it is a lot more than my traditional bicycle bells I have bought in the past.🙂
Hopefully you have never had the experience of encountering the big bad teeth of your largest chainring. I am here to tell you that our skin is no match for such an encounter. More than once over the many years of my life I have come out on the losing end. Not only was it painful and sore for some time, but it sometimes got infected and I had to take antibiotics to combat it. If we are fortunate we only get the infamous chainring tattoo.
But if we are not so fortunate we might experience the wrath of those teeth.
Can you say OUCH?
It happens all too easily and without protection we are readily its victim. Even if it doesn’t result in penetrating our skin it can really mess up clothing with a nasty oily dirty stain that is hard to remove. Of course, in warm/hot weather most of us are wearing shorts so there is no clothing covering our legs to help protect us. Even when we do have such clothing on unless it is some very tough material like blue jeans it is no match for those big teeth. Even with blue jeans those teeth can get our attention and cause pain and suffering. And we only have ourselves to sue! Oh my!🙂
CHAINRING GUARDS TO THE RESCUE!
As far as I am concerned they are one of the very best investments we can make for our trikes. I bought one several years ago and it has quite literally saved my hide several times since. On rare occasion I still manage to get a little bit of a tattoo although even those are much lesser than they were without a chainring guard.
My advice to you is don’t wait until you experience those nasty teeth in your flesh. Invest in a chainring guard soon. Don’t procrastinate. It is no fun getting bit by those big teeth. It will help you to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
without concern of this calamity. An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.
I recently came across this video while looking for videos about tire liners as I have an article I have written on tire liners which will be published as the next article after this one. This video mentions tire liners, but it covers a whole lot of things. As for me I am going to continue using the best tire money can buy and not concern myself with flats.
It is said that “you get what you pay for”. That is usually true. I hope it isn’t the case when it comes to cheap trikes that come from China. They certainly offer some low prices. Of course, shipping isn’t cheap ($500 – $700) so the price increases considerably over the list price of the trike alone. The fairly well known website, aliexpress.com, has gobs of tadpole trikes listed for sale. Among them are electric pedal assist trikes. They come with either 250 watt or 500 watt Bafang brushless rear hub motors.
As you can see in the pictures the batteries are positioned up high under the rear rack. They are handy to get at there, but it also means that adding that weight at that height affects the center of gravity and handling suffers. The higher the center of gravity the easier a trike can tip over.
As to quality they do skimp on components using brands which are not among the more common names we usually see on trikes. So be aware that should the cheaper components fail sooner than later you might be laying out some money to buy better quality components. If that happens, then I would say that there was no real savings realized in buying these lower cost trikes. And the components may not perform to one’s liking in comparison to brand name components.
Their 250 watt model with no suspension (shown above) sells for $1,818.76 including shipping to the U.S.
Their 250 watt rear suspension model (shown above) sells for $1,818.76. That is the same price as the no suspension model. “Go figure” as they say.
Their 500 watt rear suspension model (shown above) sells for $2,265.76 which includes shipping to the U.S.
Delivery time to the U.S. is said to be 11 to 19 days.
Their trikes come with: high carbon steel frame, choice of 26 or 20 rear wheel, fenders, neck rest, rear rack, mirrors and a flag pole. They also come with a rear V-brake for parking which can be replaced with a disc brake if preferred. The mesh seat can be exchanged for a fiberglass seat.
They say they can custom make a trike if a customer is too heavy for their stock trike (which has a weight capacity of about 264 pounds). The same is true for customers who are too short or too tall for their standard trikes.
I would not care for the electronic digital display to be mounted vertically. That is quite impractical trying to view it. I am assuming that the battery pack has an integrated taillight of some sort although I have not read anything about it.
As to top speed and battery power endurance these trikes don’t measure up to some of the more expensive motorized trikes out there we normally read/hear about. They won’t go as fast nor as far using battery and motor power. They do have 5 levels of power including a button to push which will give full motor propulsion which does not require pedaling.
Being made of high carbon steel rather than chrome-moly steel or aluminum they will be heavier. One plus is that should there be frame breakage high carbon steel can be readily repair welded successfully by a qualified skilled weldor. Although high carbon steel offers more flexibility than aluminum is doesn’t flex as much as chrome-moly steel does.
They also sell kits to motorize trikes which, of course, is a much cheaper way to go if you already have a trike. Installing it would require considerable mechanical ability.
BTW, they also offer lots of tadpole trikes which are not motorized which are, of course, cheaper yet. And they offer at least one FAT tire trike which I will be writing about quite soon.
In closing I am going to throw this out for what it is worth. In my nearly 70 years of life on this earth and most all of those years involved in various sorts of mechanical things including a career as a weldor and metal fabricator since age 12 I have a lot of experience with metal objects. I have a lifetime of repairing them when they break. I would be very concerned about the quality of these trikes and probably would not spend my money on one myself. My gut feeling is that I would regret it and wish I would have just spent a bit more. Then I would know I bought quality and would have the assurance of a company and dealers who stand behind the products. Buying something from China pretty much leaves the buyer on their own should problems arise. Even if there is some support dealing with a company on the other side of the world doesn’t appeal to me.
Scarab trikes … made in the good ol’ U.S.A. Available in two models … 320 (20 inch rear wheel) $2550.00 … or 2026 (26 inch rear wheel) $2650.00. With 54 speeds it offers some impressive gear inches. Equipped with drum brakes and indirect steering.
Scarab states that with the seat laid back at a comfortable *42* degree angle, air resistance is much less. At 20 MPH on a SCARAB trike, you will be using only about 75% of the effort normally needed on a conventional bike. Optional seat angles are available down to 30 degrees.
Trikes include complete frame, all components, cordless computer, rear rack, left hand side rear view mirror, computer/mirror mount, rear fender, and are available powder coated in various colors. Normal colors (red, yellow, black, white, etc.) are usually available quicker than custom colors.
Both models are completely assembled and ready to ride (5 minutes from crate to street).
FRAME 4130 CRO-MO
WHEELBASE 42” (2026 is 45″)
TRACK 32” (outside measurement of width app. 36″)
LENGTH 77”-80″ max. (depends on model and boom adj.)
GEARING SRAM 3X9 hub, 9 spd. cassette
INTERNAL RATIOS 0.734, 1.00, 1.362
SHIFTERS SRAM twist grip w/ thumb shifter incorporated for rear hub
TIRES Comet Primo 20 X 1.35 (Schwalbe tires available as options)
RIMS Velocity Aeroheat (ISO 18-406 36H front-ISO 18-559 32 H rear)
*SEAT ANGLE* 45 degrees (actual measured angle is 42 degrees)
SEAT HEIGHT 10” from ground
BOTTOM BRACKET HT. 16 1/2″ (approximate measurement-depends on boom length)
BOOM LENGTH Adjustable telescoping boom (will handle riders from 5’0″ to 6’6″+)
GROUND CLEARANCE 3.5” under the handlebar center section
WEIGHT Approx. 33 lb. without accessories (bags, bells, whistles, etc.)
TURNING RADIUS 7′-8′ RADIUS (as speed increases, obviously radius increases as well)
GEAR INCH RANGES Gear inch range is from 17.2050-182.6568 depending on crankset
Cruising along at 18 mph on a Scarab trike:
B & M ENTERPRISES
Refugio, TX 78377
Email Address: email@example.com
(Note: when emailing, please put “Scarab Trikes” in the subject line due to spam filters)
What kind of mileage should we get out of our tires? What should we expect? What is typical? What factors affect the mileage we get out of our tires? When should we replace our tires? Is it safe to ride on a worn out tire? I will attempt to address these questions and more in this article.
The short definitive answer is … “IT ALL DEPENDS”. I just knew you were not going to like that answer, but in all truthfulness it is the only answer one can give. Let’s look at some of the different things that it depends upon. I won’t go into great detail here, but I do want to touch on the majority of factors that come to mind. Here are factors that can and do affect tire wear:
* the tire itself and how it is constructed and the material (rubber compound) used. In short, not all tires are created equal.
* inflation pressure (especially too high or too low. It is important to maintain proper pressure in tires. Too low of pressure is most likely to occur and does the most damage in premature wear and failure.)
* type of surface being ridden on (smooth vs. rough, sharp stones, etc.)
* weight being carried on the tires (rider’s weight as well as any kind of cargo)
* whether or not the rider is aggressive (hard fast cornering for instance)
* wheel alignment (most especially toe in)(really severe tire scrubbing can occur and destroy a tire very quickly)
* temperature (especially surface temperature where the tire is running on)
* debris ran over which damages tire (glass cuts can greatly shorten the life of a tire)
* hitting harsh bumps or holes
* running into damaging things (especially with the sidewall of the tire)
I am sure there are other factors I have not thought of. I myself have gotten as little as 200 or so miles out of a brand new tire and as much as over 14,000 miles out of a tire. Obviously only getting a couple of hundred miles out of a tire is a bummer. And just as obvious, getting over 14,000 miles out of a tire is fabulous. The 200 or so miles was the result of sidewall damage when I hit something. The tire was a Schwalbe Tryker tire which has very weak sidewalls which damage very easily. If I were to have done the very same thing with the tires I use now I don’t think they would have been phased as they are amazingly tough. Like I said, not all tires are created equal.
Trikes, unlike bikes, don’t lean when turning. (Not unless you have a lean steering trike … which few of us do.) Because of this rubber is “scrubbed off” of the tires, especially the front tires, when riding. And this can be rather significant if the rider is a “hotdogger” (aggressive rider in fast cornering). Front tires on a tadpole trike will wear out faster than the rear tire.
Other damage can happen to a tire which shortens its life. Hitting a hard bump or hole can destroy the tire and cause a bulge or deformity to occur. Depending upon how badly the tire is damaged you might be able to ride on it for awhile longer, but I would definitely suggest keeping a close eye on it. Sometimes a tire can be “booted” to extend its life some. However, it is always best to replace a tire which had such damage. BTW, if you hit a bad hole or bump you should also check the rim and spokes for any sign of damage or loosening.
Cracking in the sidewalls of tires can occur either from riding with underinflation or aging or both. Cracking can also be caused by overinflation. With Schwalbe tires cracking of the sidewalls doesn’t seem to be nearly as common as tires of yesteryear most of us grew up with. I can’t speak for other brands as I don’t use any other brands and therefore have no experience or first hand knowledge concerning them.
As to answering the questions about when a tire should be replaced and if it is safe to ride on a worn out tire to some degree I would have to respond once again by saying “it all depends”. I do not advocate riding on a worn out tire. If you use tires that don’t have a protective liner built in I definitely would advise against riding on such a tire when it is worn out and the “insides” are starting to show thru. It could even be the inner tube starting to show thru and even if it is not yet it could quickly do so if a person continues to ride on such a tire. It is very dangerous as the tire could suddenly and catastrophically fail. That could result in a very serious accident at worse. At the least it could leave you stranded unless you happen to carry a spare tire and inner tube with you. Most of us don’t carry spare tires along when we ride (although many of us do carry one around our middle of our bodies).
In the picture at the start of this article you can see a worn out tire with the blue protective liner showing thru. Some tires have green liners. Some have reddish liners. Some have no protective liners at all.
If you use tires which have protective liners built into them then you are not in nearly as much danger when the tire shows wear and the liner is showing thru. Truthfully you could probably ride quite a few more miles on such a tire and be perfectly safe. Most definitely my advice is to replace the tire as soon as possible and by all means keep your eye on it if you continue to ride on it in such a condition. I myself have ridden a couple of hundred more miles or so on a tire which has started showing the protective liner … more than once. There was no problem at all in doing so, but I don’t advise doing so. If, however, the black rubber of the outside of the tire continues to quickly disappear and more and more of the protective liner shows thru it can eventually reach the point that it would be more and more of a concern to continue riding on it. The protective liner is not intended to be what contacts the riding surface.
Tires are constructed in various layers and are integrated together giving them their strength. With high psi air pressure inside of them trying to force its way out once a tire is worn like this it could conceivably fail. So don’t take advantage of the fact that the tires are well constructed. Replace them in a timely manner when you spot this sort of wear. There isn’t much left which is holding the tire together when it gets like this. It is dangerous to continue to ride on a tire that is worn this badly like pictured below.
Depending upon the tire the mileage obtainable out of it even in the best of circumstances will vary some as tires are made different from one another. Some have a soft rubber compound that just doesn’t wear as good as a tire with a harder compound. Of course, a softer compound will provide a smoother softer ride. There are trade offs in all of this. I could be wrong about this, but I think that a low pressure tire is not likely to provide as many miles as a high pressure tire all things being equal otherwise.
Schwalbe Tire Co. has a webpage with information of tire wear. In general Schwalbe states that their non Marathon tires should get 1242 to 3106 miles (2000 to 5000 km) while their Marathon family tires should get 3728 to 7456 (6000 to 12000 km). They state that the Marathon Plus tire should get “much more” than 6213 miles (10000 km).
The lowest I have ever got with Marathon Plus tires is around 7500 miles and as I have already been saying the best is 14,144 miles. That was on the rear. On the front the best I have got is 12,278 miles. I think I would have to attribute the phenomenal mileage to the fact that I have slowed up considerably the last 2 or 3 years due to my knee joints getting worse. In slowing up I am not experiencing as much tire scrubbing in hard fast cornering.
I have written several other articles about tires previously. Click HERE to read them.
I want to insert here that the prices for tires seem to be constantly changing. It pays to research and check prices as you can save a bundle of money. I always buy from the same source as I have never found any other source which offers anywhere near as good of prices. I recently bought 4 new Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires from my German source and paid only $29.45 each which included the shipping charge. I think that is the best price I have bought them for yet. Of course, I buy 3 or 4 at a time in order for the price to be that good as I am paying the same shipping charge whether I buy one tire or 4 tires. So the more I can buy without going over the weight limit the lower the per tire cost is. (They list for about $53 each without shipping.) Again, I only use the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires so I have never ordered any other tires for this German source. I can’t say anything about what else they sell and how much they cost. I have always received excellent service from this German company. They usually have the order here in the U.S. within 2 to 3 days. Once it arrives here it is another story as it can get held up in customs and then once released the US Post office takes over the remainder of the delivery. That is far longer than it took the German company to get the shipment to the U.S. (They use DHL to get it here to the U.S.)
When one stops to think about it tires have come a long ways from those many of us grew up with. They are better engineered and made nowadays. Going from 2000 miles of maximum mileage to over 14,000 is quite a testimony. All those miles and flat free riding … can’t beat that. Thanks Schwalbe for manufacturing the very best tire money can buy and helping me to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Water … don’t leave home without it!!! We can live without food for a fair length of time, but water is a different story. I don’t know how long a person can survive without water and the answer doesn’t seem to be easily found in an online search. It seems to be controversial. Some say 3 days and others say as long as 12 days. I am sure it depends upon the individual person and the circumstances and environment. Any thinking responsible person will carry water along with them when they go out for a trike ride. Most use some type of water bottle while a smaller number use some sort of “bladder”. I personally have always used water bottles although several years ago I stopped using the plastic type and went with stainless steel Thermos brand water bottles which I love.
Regardless of what type of water bottle we use we need some sort of a holder for them to carry them on our trikes. Over the years I have bought and tried several different water bottle holders. Most of them have been made of metal, usually aluminum. And most of them have eventually broken as the metal just doesn’t hold up. I finally tried some plastic ones and love them. They have lasted for years already and have shown no sign of failing. And so I can and do only recommend the plastic type like I have. The ones pictured below are the type I have. There are other plastic types, but of the ones I have seen and tried (in the store by placing my water bottle in them) I can’t recommend them. I think these are the best of all I have seen.
I have seen other plastic and carbon fiber holders, but I can’t comment on any of them. All I can say is I am well satisfied with the ones I have. I took a water bottle into the store with me to see how the various water bottle holders fit and held my stainless steel Thermos water bottle. These plastic ones I got fit and worked the best. The carbon fiber ones are, of course, extremely expensive and as far as I am concerned there isn’t that much difference in their weight vs. these plastic ones.
Here are pictures of the two I have …
There are water bottle holders which are adjustable so that they will snugly hold various size (diameter) bottles. Personally I don’t think I would put much faith in them holding up. I would be very suspicious of the adjustment mechanism lasting as I think it would be a weak point and likely break or fail.
Speaking of failing … one trike rider recently reported that he rides thru the winter in bitter cold temperatures. He said that the plastic holders will shatter in the sub zero weather so he has to use metal holders. For me, I think I would be more concerned about myself shattering going out in that kind of weather. 🙂
There are also holders which strap the bottle in securely. They work okay, but it is not likely that you could readily and easily get a bottle out of it while riding along.
I use an elastic wristband around my stainless steel bottle to hold it securely in the vertical mounted holder on my seat back so it can’t “pop out” hitting a bump. It is still easy to remove from the holder if I want to do so while riding. Of course, I use the water bottle located on top of the boom as my main source until I empty it. I might add that it rides okay in that holder. So far it has never popped out of it hitting a bump.
I mentioned the stainless steel water bottles I use made by Thermos. You can see one of them in the picture above. I have written about all this before. Again, not all stainless steel water bottles are created equal, especially if you like having ice cold water with you. I have used other stainless and aluminum water bottles and they did not do well at all keeping ice from melting quickly. The Thermos brand bottles will do so for 2 to 3 days although I think they lose their ability to keep ice that long as they age. Mine will only keep ice now for 1 to 2 days. That is still quite good when compared to most other water bottles. The insulated plastic water bottles are a joke as far as their ability to keep ice from melting. I had 3 of them. They barely performed any better than the plain ol’ plastic water bottles. They did good to last 2 to 3 hours before the ice was melted.
I also have a pile of broken aluminum water bottle holders. Don’t ask me why I am holding onto them. Hmmmm, what is scrap aluminum selling for nowadays? Many years ago I would have repair welded them, but alas, I no longer have the welding equipment to do it.
If you are looking for good quality water bottle holders I highly recommend the ones I use. Most LBS stock them and you can, of course, order them online. They come in various colors (white, black, blue, red, and yellow). Sometimes you can even find them in a color which matches your trike. I didn’t find any green so I opted for the white. Besides, white doesn’t absorb heat like darker colors. Every little bit helps when it comes to helping the water to remain cold.
Stay well hydrated so you can …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Selecting a chain lubricant is not as bad as selecting a over the counter pain reliever or cold/cough medication, but there sure are a whole lot more choices out there than there used to be which greatly complicates things. I am not here to recommend one over the other as I certainly am no expert on the subject. If you are looking for recommendations you might try checking out reports such as this one.
There are products classified as wet lubes, dry lubes, wax lubes, ceramic lubes, Teflon lubes and probably others I know not of. I purposely selected WD-40 for the picture above just to see if I could get a response out of anyone. WD-40 is a great product, but it certainly is not recommended for chain lubrication (nor is 3 in 1 oil pictured among the lubes in another picture further below). That being said I want to make sure I communicate that I am talking about the original WD-40 product most of us are familiar with. In recent years the makers of WD-40 have come out with a whole line of products made specifically for bicycles.
I myself have been using one of their chain lubes and I really like it. They offer both a wet and a dry product. The two most common chain lubricants are the dry type and the wet type. Depending upon what kind of riding we do (where we ride) one might be preferable over the other. HERE is a short article on this subject. If we ride in rain, mud, and/or snow we should use a wet lube. Switching from wet to dry (or dry to wet) lubes is permissible, but the chain should be thoroughly cleaned first.
We do need to be careful what we use as we can gum up the drive train if we use the wrong thing. Of course, a part of all of this is also very much tied into keeping the chain clean as well as properly lubricated. I have written about chain cleaning previously.
Wet lubes pick up dirt and grit from the road and other surfaces we ride on so the chain will be messier if they are used. Dry lubes can wash off in a heavy rain. They are a little more difficult and time consuming to apply and have to cure up after application before the cycle can be ridden. It is recommended waiting 3 to 4 hours before riding. Properly applied and by wiping the chain down periodically dry lube will last a long time providing you stay away from rain or mud. Teflon and wax lubes also need to harden before they are ready to work in lubricating the chain.
Most of us probably use too much of the lube products when we apply them. I am sure I do. I am bad at not following the directions. I put a lot on and don’t wipe any off. I just take off riding with the chain loaded up with the lubricant. I usually use a wet type lubricant which means the chain can be messy. Any excess oil doesn’t seem to last long however so it is not a problem as far as I am concerned. I usually apply the lubricant while I am out riding as that is when it usually comes to mind in my case. Another thing about the WD-40 wet chain lube I use is that it smells good. After using it I can smell it for awhile as I ride. Of course, if one happens to be riding past a hog farm it really doesn’t make that much difference. 🙂
Don’t be like the owner of this bike and neglect cleaning and lubrication of the drive train.
Keep your chain properly maintained and it will help you …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Catrike just recently received a nice writeup … a feature story … in the August edition of the AWS Welding Journal publication. It is entitled “Trikes Take To Welding”. You will find it to be a “good read” as it addresses some of the technical aspect of Catrikes and shares a lot about the awesome engineering that goes into Catrike trikes. Click HERE to read the article.
As much as I love Schwalbe tires and most especially the Schwalbe Marathon Plus there are other tires available for our tadpole trikes. Among them are Vee tires. Vee Tire Company makes several different tires including FAT tires. They have over 30 years of experience in the tire manufacturing industry. They make tires for automobiles, motorcycles and bicycles. In addition to their website they have a Facebook page. Their email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org I see that they are headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.
Among their offerings are:
MK3 … Available in an incredible number of different sizes ranging from very narrow to balloon tires. Here is what they say about this tire:
This tire boasts incredible sidewall strength using our honeycomb sidewall
technology. The MK3 is a timeless BMX classic whose performance does not disappoint.
Speedster … Here is what they say about this tire:
The Speedster was designed for rolling speed and minimal drag on hard
pack or paved terrain. The honeycomb center tread provides virtually zero
rolling resistance and unbelievable tread life. The honeycomb feature also
gives you excellent traction in dry or wet conditions. Large diamond shaped
side knobs provide the grip you need in corners, while the tread knobs get
smaller towards the center for the ultimate speed and traction.
Obviously these tires are designed for bicycles (which lean when turning) and not for trikes. That is not to say they can’t be used on a trike as nearly all tires used on trikes were designed for bicycles. The only exception to this I know of is the Schwalbe Tryker tire which was designed specifically for trikes.
Zilent … Here is what they say about this tire:
With innovation adopted from our automotive and motorcycle technology,
Zilent features special compounds for a low rolling resistance while its state of-the-art construction provides high load capacity and added strength for flat resistance. Its innovative tread makes this a quiet tire and offers angled super grip for revolutionary cornering capabilities.
Baldy … Here is what they say about this tire:
The Vee Tire Co. Baldy is designed with a smooth surface for minimal rolling
resistance and water release grooves on the sides. This tire is optimal for all
weather conditions as the water grooves also double as traction for loose terrain.
Capsule … available in 20 X 2.25 Here is what they say about this tire:
Smooth enough to kill the street and just enough bite to ride the dirt. The Capsule was designed for all three surfaces — street, dirt & ramp. 100 psi has never felt so good.
That being said I find confusion … their webpage shows 2.25 while elsewhere I found 2.35 instead of 2.25. One place on their website shows 100 psi while another shows 65 psi.
I guess I should not be surprised at this as the .pdf webpage I refer to further below does not list the Baldy tire at all. It most definitely is one of their tires that is available in several 406 sizes. Speaking of 406 sizes …
A word of caution … when ordering 20 inch tires make sure they are 406 and not 451. Recumbent wheels are 406 while BMX bicycle wheels are 451. A 451 tire is much larger in diameter and won’t fit on a recumbent wheel which is 406. The picture below shows a 451 inner tube in a 406 tire. As you can see there is too much inner tube to fit inside the tire. My understanding of the sizes is as follows: a fractional size such as 20 X 1 3/8 is a 451 while a decimal size such as 20 X 1.5 is a 406. So as long as the size is shown in decimals it should be a 406.
I have not studied in great detail all the different tires Vee Tire Company offers and therefore I don’t know all the different tires they have which will fit on a tadpole trike. If you are interested in their tires you will have to research it yourself to be certain the tire you have in mind will fit and perform satisfactory. Some of their tires only come in larger diameters and not in 20 inch. As far as I know the ones I have featured above all are available in 20 inch sizes.
VEE tires has a .pdf webpage which lists all their tires and has the size shown (406) for those tires which will work on a recumbent wheel. It is on page 37. Just look under the column ETRTO to locate 406.
By the way, even if the tire is a 406 there could possibly be a problem width-wise if you go too narrow or too wide. If you are not certain check with someone knowledgeable of such things.
BTW, as I stated early on … they also make FAT tires which I believe some are only available in 26 inch and others are available in both 26 and 24 inch. They are available in “snowshoe”, “speedster”, “bulldozer”, “hillbilly” and “Vees” (two different patterns). With the exception of the Speedster all the others are knobby tires with varying tread patterns.
The H-Billy (shown on right below) is the most aggressive knobby among them.
Vees FAT tires
So if you have a hankerin’ to try some other tires on your tadpole trike you might want to look into VEE Tires. As for me, I am sticking with the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires as I still think they are the best tire money can buy. With them I just …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’