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.

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’

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!

CATRIKE ROAD AR … LIKE A TRUE CAT IT DONE SNUCK UP ON US


Cats are known for stealth … sneaking up on their prey undetected. Well, it looks like Catrike is sort of following suit. They are quietly introducing a new model … another full suspension trike. It is the Road AR. There isn’t much out about it yet. Catrike does show it on their website. They just have been rather quiet … no fanfare. HERE is a webpage about it. They say that it is expected to be in stock by the end of May. They show a price of $3550. That is $400 more than the regular Road model which has rear suspension only. It is somewhat like a trimmed down Dumont. It has 20 inch wheels all around whereas the Dumont has a 26 inch on the rear. Unlike the Dumont this Road AR does not fold. They offer it in 8 different colors.

Here is what Catrike says about this model:

he road AR is a vibrant and efficient machine. A progressive linkage air shock and CNC swing arm provide a highly adjustable suspension platform paired with the new patent pending front suspension to take the edge off the road for a smooth ride. An optimized cockpit design is supportive enough for a comfortable daily ride, commute or weekend adventure without sacrificing any control or performance. Lean into the corners with confidence. The road-AR brings excitement to the journey.

Here is a closer look at what some say is the best engineered front suspension on a tadpole trike to come along to date.

So if you are looking for a quality built well engineered full suspension trike which is hundreds of dollars lower in cost than most others you might want to consider this new model. I can hear it purring. With this trike you should be able to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

ARE WHITE LIGHTS LEGAL ON THE REAR OF A TRIKE?


white-taillight-on-trike

Are whilte lights legal on the rear of a trike? I will make this short and to the point …

NO !!!

Yet we see trikers using them all the time. I guess many just like to spurn the law. And I am amazed that most of them seem to get away with it. I have not yet seen the police pay any attention to it around where I live. That surprises me and, I have to admit, disappoints me. I believe the law should be enforced.  I tried a white light on the rear of my trike awhile back. It had plenty of red lights as well as you can see in the video below. It really stood out, but I didn’t leave it on my trike as I didn’t want to be in violation of the law.

The reason it is against the law is simple enough. It is confusing to others. In short, they don’t know whether you are coming or going and that is because white lights belong on the front of a vehicle. Most people who see a white light on a vehicle just assume, and rightfully so, that they are looking at the front of the vehicle. After all, that is where the law requires white lights to be. So if you are one of those who insist on having white lights on the rear of your trike you better hope you don’t get involved in a bad accident. Someone might come along and try to twist your head around 180 degrees thinking it is facing the wrong direction. LOL     Seriously, I know having a white light on the rear of a trike can be eye catching, but it really is illegal … to the best of my knowledge in all 50 states in the U.S.  I would recommend a high intensity red light. They are extremely visible and they are legal. I am talking about daytime use. Riding at night one should not use these extremely bright lights as they are too much and can cause problems for others as they are simply blinding. In the daytime though they work great.

BE SEEN, BE SAFE!!!

PEDAL REMOVAL & INSTALLATION


Here is a good instructional video produced by Park Tools. I will add some personal comments and suggestions further below.

In the video it was pointed out that the threads should have either an anti-seize product or grease applied. This is a very good idea as if you have ever encountered pedals that are extremely difficult to loosen and remove this the reason why as none was used when they were installed. If you find rgat you can’t loosen the pedals there some things you can try. My first recommendation is to try impact on rhe wrench. You can smack it with palm of your hand if you are tough enough to do so. You can use a soft hammer so as not to damage the wrench. You can also use a piece of wood to either place on the wrench handle to help protect it and use a regular steel hammer to smack the wood. You can use a board (such as a 2×4) as a hammer to smack the wrench handle. If you find the pedal threads don’t want to cooperate and turn to loosen you can try tightening it a bit more and then try loosening it. If you can’t budge the wrench to tighten it you can use impact. Just don’t try to turn it very far in tightening it. If you experience the threads being very tight and uncooperative as you try to unscrew it you may have to try using  special penetrating oil such as WD-40. Even after trying that it may be a good idea and necessary to turn the threads both directions back and forth to carefully remove the pedal without doing damage to the threads. I would advise you to continue to use the penetrating oil frequently as you turn the threads back and forth as this will aid the penetrating oil to “penetrate” and do it’s job. There is always the possibility that a threading tap should be used to clean up the threads before a new pedal is installed in a crankarm that you had a difficult time removing the pedal. Hopefully you won’t encounter this problem, but if you do I think this advise will be helpful. Let’s all try to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FOLDYLOCK


bike-locks-galore

There are many bike locks already available and, of course, some are far better than others. In trying to secure our trikes we could do as the person did with this bicycle shown above or we could use just one lock … a FoldyLock. Yep, a rather unique product has come along called the FoldyLock. As many products have started out it used KickStarter which was successful for them and now their product is on the market and available. It is not cheap, but it does seem to be quite secure.

foldylock-on-bicycle

Website  KickStarter  Facebook

What is Foldylock?

Foldylock is a premium folding Bike lock that easily unfolds to a 90 cm (Approx. 35.5 inches) sturdy lock. When folded it is easily carried in its designated case, mounted on your bike frame , or in rider’s back pack. The case can be mounted to a bike frame using the bottle holder fixing screws or with two specially designed straps. The case has a rattle free mechanism to prevent your lock from shaking while riding.
Foldylock will retail at 95 USD.

foldylock-unfolded

foldylock-folded-up-in-its-holder

The plastic storage case comes in red, green or creme.

Certainly there are several other very good bicycle locks on the market and I am not trying to promote this one over any other. I am simply reporting this one to to you as I came across it recently and thought it worthwhile to share with you.

HISTORY OF RECUMBENTS


The BicycleMan, Peter Stull, has made videos on many topics. Among them are on the subject of the history of recumbents. Covering the history of recumbents does, of course, mean that the majority is about bicycles and not trikes. Trikes are included however. Without further ado here are the videos:

EVOLVE TRIKES


evolve-trike-ready-to-ride

Evolve Trikes  … interesting concept, but they are sure having problems getting into production and to market. Years and years seem to be passing by and still they are waiting for things to come together. It just doesn’t seem to be happening. Yep, they seem to be having trouble evolving to market.

Since it’s inception they have made some changes in its design. The main boast is that it folds faster and smaller than any other trike.

evolve-trike-the-fold

When I look at the design construction of trikes I am always concerned about how ell they are made and whether or not they are likely to fail. Mind you I am not an engineer, but I do have well over 50 years experience at welding and fabricating. In welding my “specialty” was repair welding. That means I worked on a whole lot of things that failed and required repair. In making the repair it was usually easy and obvious to see why the item failed. And in repairing it I always made it much stronger so that it didn’t fail again. Looking at many trikes I see areas of concern in many of them. They just look weak and apt to fail. Many folding trikes concern me for this reason. This one not only is no exception, but it is even more of a concern as it just looks weak. Any trike can have a failure, but some seem to have far more than others. Again, looking at the way they are constructed I can see why. A simple basic rule is that the more complex something is the more likely it will have issues over something with less complexity.

HERE is an article about this trike. And HERE is BROL’s article.

evolve-trike-in-suitcase

Here it is disassembled and folded up into a suitcase. The video  below shows how it is done.

I don’t know what the weight limit is for the Evolve trike, but I think that it would be best for those who weigh very little. A heavy rider would stress those areas which are already suspect of failure.

I personally don’t think I would buy one of these trikes as it just has the appearance that problems would develop due to failure in one or more parts of the frame.

evolve-trike-top-of-crucifix

The folding hinge is quite often a concern and this one is no exception. When I look at something like this the thought that comes to mind is “designed to fail” due to being underbuilt. Mind you, this is far from the only tadpole trike which in my opinion looks underbuilt.

evolve-trike-the-fold-joint

Another factor is wear and sloppiness developing in these areas. Things get loose and movement takes place where there should be no movement.

evolve-trike-crucifix

I know that the Evolve people are not going to like what I have said here and perhaps some of you may not either. I have to say what I think about these things. I hope I am wrong and this trike would hold up well. But my gut feeling is otherwise. I like the concept. I am just concerned about the quality of the build. Manufacturers underbuilding products brought a lot of repair work my way over the years. I would not want a trike that requires repair and reinforcing it to make it stronger. That would be my concern here. This may be okay for someone who rides very little and needs a small folding trike, but I could not recommend it for anyone who does serious riding. I don’t care how good of a warranty it may come with and how good the company may be in taking care of customers … when you are many miles from home and have a major failure leaving you stranded it is not fun. Nope, I will stick with my non folding Catrike which I am confident in … that it won’t fail me. I like to …                                                       KEEP ON TRIKIN!                                       …. and ….

ENJOY THE RIDE!

DOES THIS TRIKE MAKE ME LOOK FAT?


fat-man

laughing-fat-buddha

We often hear/read that line about one thing or another making us look fat. Frequently it is meant to be funny. But, hey, being fat isn’t funny … nor is it fun. Those of us who are fat, especially obese, are our own worst enemy. I ought to know. I have been fat most of my adult life. I come from a family that are mostly overweight. This was mostly on my mom’s side of the family. I was always normal weight as a child. I weighed 140 pounds when I graduated from high school. I started gaining weight when I reached about 22 years of age. This was while I was in the Navy. It has been a battle ever sense … one which I have not done very well in winning. I have lost all my excess weight about 3 times, but always gained it right back and usually more. On one of my weight loss attempts I got down to 135 pounds. Here is a picture of me in the Navy before I started gaining weight. I think I was about 20 years old here. As you can see I was still normal weight. I didn’t usually wear coveralls, but I was on this occasion as I was about to work on a nasty job which could easily ruin my work uniform.

coveralls-1-sharpened

Although I am talking mainly about myself in this posting I want to address the subject of being overweight and exercise. I don’t think it is any secret that here in the United States we have a serious issue with obesity. Just looking at people in most any direction or place we see it. (It is pretty hard not to see it.) And the tadpole triking scene is no exception. In fact, it seems that the majority of tadpole riders have an issue with their weight. We turn to our trikes as a form of exercise in hope that we will lose weight. Some do, but many don’t. I am among those who haven’t done very well losing weight no matter how much riding I do (and I have done a lot). I have talked to others who have told me the same thing. I am sure most of us have heard the saying … Calories In, Calories Out. The bottom line here is simply that exercise alone is not enough. It is far more about what we eat and how much we eat. It takes a whole lot of riding to burn off the calories of unhealthy meals, snacks, soda pop, milkshakes, candy bars, etc. And most of us who are overweight do not eat healthy foods like we should.

burger-fries-shake-2

candy-bars  chocolate-cake-with-vanilla-ice-cream

I love cheeseburgers, french fries, chocolate milk shakes, candy (especially chocolate), ice cream, cakes and pies … you know … all the foods that taste so good but aren’t good for us. A few years ago I tried to go the vegetarian route. At first it was okay and I definitely lost weight eating nothing but vegetables, fruits and nuts (the foods God told us that He gave us to eat). However, it didn’t take long before I grew very tired and dissatisfied and longed for meats and other unhealthy foods again … foods that I have eaten all my life. So I went back to my old lifestyle and gained the weight right back. I had lost about 50 pounds eating “bible foods” and I felt great. The original foods God provided for man were grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. “They constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect, that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.”  (see Original Bible Diet)

Recently I lost 30 pounds after the knee joint replacement surgeries. I was encouraged and thinking I would be able to continue losing weight. However, it didn’t take long before I gained back 20 of those 30 pounds rather quickly. Recently I have lost 4 pounds, but it is a battle ground and I am not doing well at it. As much as I would like to, I can’t blame my trike. It is not what makes me look fat. When I point a finger at it I have 3 fingers pointing back at myself. Nope, it definitely is not my trike that makes me look fat. It is easy to try to put the blame somewhere … anywhere … rather than simply admit we like food and don’t discipline ourselves as we need to. I stand guilty. How about you? Yeah, I know. Now I am medlin’. Sorry!

steve-climbing-hill-2

As much as I love riding my trike I know I greatly limit myself being overweight. Hill climbing is where it is most obvious. Pedaling a lot of weight up a hill is slow going and makes it extra difficult. When I am riding with friends they don’t slow down nearly as much as I do. Yep, all that extra weight makes a huge difference. I often wonder how I would do if I weighed 140 pounds again. I would like to think I could out perform my friends I ride with. (And I am pretty sure I could.)

So what’s the problem you ask? Well, I lack the motivation and self discipline needed. I confess it. Shame on me. I have nobody or nothing to blame but myself. I certainly can’t blame my trike. It has done an amazing job hauling my fat carcass around all of these years. I have to sort of feel sorry for it because of all I put it thru. I just recently discovered that I have two more broken spokes on my left front wheel. I have had a lot of broken spokes and have come to the conclusion that most of this is probably the result of the load the wheels carry. Hard cornering with a fat tub aboard tends to break spokes.

Nope, my trike doesn’t make me look fat. I make me look fat. I acknowledge it. I am guilty. I really need to eat a salad for lunch and probably supper too. (And without any dressing on it!) ( … but a cheeseburger sounds so much better.)

eating-cheeseburger

Some riders have  FAT trikes while some trikes have FAT riders. Hmmm, another fact of life. Well, fat, normal or thin … do your best to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

and don’t believe the saying “Thin may be in, but fat is where it’s at”

It’s a lie!

GREENSPEED AERO SPORTS TRIKE


From the GreenSpeed recumbent trike company is this new speed trike … AERO.

AERO INTRODUCTION:

The Aero has been designed to satisfy the “Need for Speed”. The design builds on the best features of previous GreenSpeed trikes, including the SLR race trike which has dominated Australian Pedal Prix racing for the last ten years. Thus the Aero is a road version of the SLR, with more speed features to make it the fastest production trike in the world.

STREAMLINED AERO DYNAMICS:

At 20 mph, 80% of an ordinary bike rider’s energy goes into pushing the air aside. This is what makes it so much harder to ride into a headwind, than a tailwind. On the Aero you’ll LOVE headwinds! Because when you turn into a headwind on the Aero, you will leave the competition behind, if you haven’t already. Even the cross member on the Aero is streamlined. This is because a streamlined tube has 1/10th the drag of a round tube! The more the seat is reclined, the smaller your frontal area is to the wind and the faster you go. The seat of the Aero is reclined at a low 20 degrees. Wind tunnel testing shows a large gain in speed when using wheel covers. Most bikes and trikes cannot use front wheel covers due to instability in cross winds. The Aero overcomes this and further reduces drag by using 16” front wheels with a 20” rear wheel.

To further reduce air drag, the Aero uses the joy stick steering that was first used on the SLR. This is linear action steering, allowing the hands and arms to be closer to the body, moving fore and aft, instead of moving sideways, where your arms catch more wind. The cranks are above the seat, so that the feet are within the frontal area for the body, reducing air drag. Our wind tunnel testing has shown that the exposed calipers on disk brakes produce more drag that drum brakes, where the drum is contained within the wheel. So the Aero uses special 90 mm drum brakes which have been reduced in overall width to fit within the wheel slim wheel covers. Finally, there is a new headrest available if needed. It has a single support strut, in line with the neck, instead of the two struts on previous headrests.

LIGHT WEIGHT:

While weight has less of an effect on performance than aerodynamics, every aspect of the Aero has been examined for weight reduction. This starts with the frame. The frame of the Aero is non-folding, plus the seat frame is an integral part of the main frame so the weight of hinges and other joints and fasteners are eliminated. Plus the frames are mutually re-enforcing, and thus the whole structure can be lighter and more aerodynamic. We have used 7005 aluminium alloy for the Aero. This has reduced the weight of the frame by over 3 pounds, or 30% over the Cro Mo 4130 prototypes. Although the axle size has been increased from the 12mm of the SLR to 15mm on the Aero to reduce axle flex, the weight of the kingpins has been reduced, as has the front hubs, by totally removing the outer flange. Even the weight of the special GreenSpeed Scorcher tires has been reduced for the Aero. Thus you will notice how quickly the Aero accelerates with the first stroke of the pedals.

ROLLING RESISTANCE:

There is a myth in the cycling world that the larger the wheel, the easier it will roll. This is a carryover from the horse and carriage days, when the larger wheels would sink less into soft ground and a larger steel tired cartwheel would roll easier over a certain size stone. This changed forever with the advent of sealed roads and the pneumatic tire.

There is also a myth that thinner tires roll faster. In laboratory testing at GreenSpeed, on many different types and sizes of tires, it was discovered that not only did smaller diameter tires roll easier that large ones of the same construction and pressure, but wider tires rolled easier than narrow ones. Plus certain types of tire construction rolled easier than others. This led to the design and manufacture of the GreenSpeed Scorcher tires, which have been the number one choice of the top Australian racing teams for the last 10 years.

For the Aero we have taken another look at the design of the Scorchers and managed to further improve the rolling resistance by an extra 15%! When you stop pedalling the Aero and coast, you will be surprised at how easily it rolls.

TOP GEARING:

On a Penny Farthing bicycle, the larger the front driving wheel, the faster it went. This was because there was no gearing and it was direct drive. The ground covered with each wheel revolution was dependent on the size of the wheel, which was dependent on the length of the rider’s legs. Then the Safety came along with the smaller wheels and gearing, so everything changed. However the myth that larger wheels are faster persists to this day.

This myth is perpetuated by the use of gearing designed for bikes with 26” and 700c wheels which is fitted to many trikes with 20” wheels. This results in gearing which is far too low for speed. Thus instead of the standard 50/39/30 cranksets and 11/32 cassettes fitted to many trikes, the Aero has a 56/42/28 crankset and a 9/28 ten speed cassette. This gives a top gear of 20 x 56/9 = 124 inches, V 20 x 50/11 = 91 inches for a standard 20” wheeled trike, or 26 x 50/11 = 118 inches for a standard trike with 26” rear wheel. The Schlumpf Mountain Drive is a popular alternative to the triple, and with the standard 60t ring and the 9/28 cassette, will give a range from 17 to 133 inches. Thus on the Aero you can be sure you will be faster than a trike with a 26” or 700c rear wheel. Plus the Aero will handle better due to less rear end flex.

USES AND ACCESSORIES:

Since the Aero is built for speed, with no compromises, it is intended for use on sealed roads or good, hard packed trails. Accessories include wheel covers, headrest, rear fender and luggage rack. Riders who have previously ridden only recumbent bikes, due to their superior speed, but wished for a more stable machine that they could relax on over long distances, without losing speed, may find their dreams come true with the Aero.

30 DAY TEST RIDE:

We build our trikes with love and our confident that you will love your trike. However, a trike is quite different to a regular bike, and while most people feel immediately at home riding our trikes, some can take a little longer to get the best from them. Thus we offer you a 30 day Test Ride if you live too far from a dealer to take test ride at a dealer’s store. So if you are not 100% happy with your GreenSpeed trike, simply ship the trike back to us within 30 days of the shipping date and we will refund you the full retail price of the trike, less any allowance for wear and, or damage.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Frame: Aluminium Alloy 7005
Width: 30”- 76 cm
Length: 80”- 202 cm
Height: 20” – 51cm
Seat Height: 6.5” – 16 cm
Seat Angle: 20 degrees
Crank Height: 12.5 to 14.7” – 32 to 37 cm
X-seam range: 39 to 47” – 99 to 119 cm
Ground Clearance: 2.6” – 7 cm
Turning Circle: 14 feet – 4.3 m
Track: 28.3”- 72 cm
Wheelbase: 41.3” – 105 cm
Front Wheels: 16” Alloy rims with SS spokes and carbon fibre covers
Rear Wheels: 20” Alloy rim with SS spokes and carbon fibre covers
Tires: GreenSpeed Slicks, 16” x 1 ½” & 20” x 1.5” – 40-349 & 40-406, 40 to 100 psi.
Gears: 30 speeds
Cranks: Shun SS-ZO-300 56/42/28 x 165 mm
Cassette: 10 speed 9/28
Front Derailleur: Shimano 105
Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105
Chain: YBN S10
Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace 10 speed Bar End
Gear Range: 18 to 124” – 689%
Brakes: GS – Sturmey Archer 90 mm drums
Standard Equipment: Carbon fibre wheel covers
Optional Extras: Head rest, luggage rack, rear mudguard
Rider weight Limit: 250 lbs – 120 kg
Luggage Weight Limit: 66 lbs – 30 kg
Trike Weight: 31 lbs – 14kg
Boxed Size: 58 x 25 x 16” – 148 x 63 x 40 cm

PRICE: $4,490

Visit the GreenSpeed Aero website page: http://greenspeed-trikes.com/aero.html#rating

 

 

 

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MASA SLINGSHOT, A BIT OF NOSTALGIA


masa-slingshot-racer

The era was the 1970s … 1975 as I understand is when the first of these were introduced here in the United States. A rather unique recumbent trike of the tadpole configuration came on the scene. Even though it originated in Japan it was the United States where they were most prevalent. They were big and heavy yet supposedly they were built for racing on oval tracks. Obviously they were not designed for touring and general riding. They were quite long compared to tadpole trikes of today. Their days were numbered and now they are more less a collectors item. Not only were they long, but they had a wide wheelbase so they are not too practical as far as fitting on trails and thru various openings. Speaking of being long … the chain on these was 13.5 feet long. That is a lot of chain in case you didn’t know it. Most modern day tadpole trikes have about 9 to about 10.5 feet depending upon how far out the boom is adjusted. Some say that these Masa trikes did not handle well and could tip over easily … that too much of the rider’s weight was on the back wheel. That being said you can also read that the trike handles well and doesn’t tip over as easily as modern day trikes. Take your pick. I give up. Well, I have already said more than I know about them. 🙂  So I won’t say anything more. I will just post a couple of videos where they are featured and talked about.

HERE are lots of pictures of two of these trikes.

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GOPRO MOUNTS TIPS & TRICKS


GoPro cameras are very popular and take high quality pictures and video. Many tadpole trike riders use them. GoPro has numerous accessories and mounts available. Here are three videos explaining it all.

 

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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

CATRIKE MODEL LINEUP


I came across a video where all the different models of Catrike tadpole trikes are shown and described. I was impressed with it so I thought I would share it here. Please be aware that since this video was produced Catrike has come out with two more models, the 550 and the Dumont.

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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

TRAIL RIDING IN GERMANY


Germany is the home of my ancestors. I have never been there myself, but I understand it is a beautiful country. And, of course, tadpole trikes are very much in use there. Here are a couple of videos showing both road and off road riding in Germany. I took a class in Spanish language and in German language in high school and don’t know a single word from either language. So I can’t help you with the German words here. However, you know what they say … a picture is worth a thousand words.

REAR WHEEL STEERING = HIGH SPEED INSTABILITY


Now I am not out to attack rear wheel steering per se, but I am reporting what I have read about it as well as my opinion about the design. I am in full agreement with what I have read about rear wheel steering. And what I read about it is exactly what I think it would be like. At slow speed it works okay. At super slow speed it could be a lot of fun and helpful. But I am not interested in always going slow so if there is a handling and safety problem with rear wheel steering it is not for me. This issue comes up because I just recently made the discovery that the tadpole trike maker, Sidewinder, is still in business. I thought they went out of business due to a lot of complaints and concerns about their trikes being unsafe above a certain speed due to stability issues. One thing for sure, there aren’t many Sidewinder trikes around. I have never seen one nor talked to anyone who has. It is reported that some of the most sophisticated fighter jets made can’t be flown without the aid of computerization. They will crash without it. That is about my take on rear wheel steering and riding above certain speeds. Something beyond human input and control is needed in order for it to be safe. There are lots of stuff online to be read about this subject. Here are a few of them:
http://wannee.nl/hpv/abt/e-abd.htm
http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/showthread.php?t=62395
http://forum.atomiczombie.com/archive/index.php/t-7684.html
http://www.bicycleman.com/recumbents/trikes/sidewinder/sidewinder-recumbent-trikes.htm
Look at it this way … if rear wheel steering were safe and practical car, truck, bus, motorcycle, etc. manufacturers would employ it. They don’t. I rest my case. We all want to be safe and …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

“SORTA FAT”


Fat tire trikes have most definitely caught on and more and more are coming on the market. Those fat tires are nice, but they sure are expensive. And then there are the special wheels required to mount them … also very expensive. Many of us may think we would like to have a fat trike, but can’t afford to buy one. Maybe we struggle with justifying the expense. And even attempting to convert our existing trike over to a fat trike may be cost prohibitive … even if the frame would accept the wider tires and wheels (and it may not).

Most of us know the terms “full”, “mini” and “micro”. Full is full size, mini is smaler than full and micro is smaller than mini. This can be applied to a lot of things including … (drum roll please) … “ta da!” … FAT tires. Yep, there is full fat, mini fat and micro fat. Full fat is said to be 26 x 4 so a full fat trike has 26 x 4 inch wheels and tires all the way around.  Mini fat is 20 x 4 so a mini fat trike has 20 x 4 inch tires and wheels all the way around. Then there is micro fat which is 20 (or 26) x 3. Yep, I said 3. It definitely is not a full fat of 4 inch tires and rims, but 3 inches is definitely larger than everything else out there I know of commonly found on tadpole trikes. It looks impressive when compared to more conventional/traditional tires normally found on tadpole trikes. Here is one alongside of a Schwalbe 2 inch Big Apple, a tire many of us are familiar with. As you can see there is considerable difference in both width and height.

big-apple-compared-to-kenda-flame-2

So … Want a FAT trike but can’t afford one? There may be hope for you. Converting your standard tadpole trike into a Micro-FAT trike may be as simple and low cost as replacing the tires and inner tubes. Yep, I am talking about using your stock rims to mount these monsters on. At least it is my understanding that this can be done safely and that they will still perform properly. I would strongly advise anyone considering this to first check with a professional mechanic or the bicycle tire manufacturer to be certain this will work and will be safe. I am talking about using these 3 inch tires on your standard stock rims. I am only able to go by what some trike owners report and that is that they are successfully using these 3 inch tires on their stock rims. Warning- Rims are designed to use tires within a certain range. Trying to mount too narrow or too wide of a tire can be a problem and even dangerous. I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting or saying it okay to mount these tires on stock rims. I am only reporting that some have done so and claim they haven’t had any problems doing so.

I want to make it very clear that it is possible that these larger width and height tires may not fit on your trike as far as having the needed clearance in the frame. So before spending money ordering these tires and tubes this needs to be known. I don’t have any way available to tell you whether or not they will work on your trike. You are on your own. Some trikes will handle them okay while others won’t.

rear-tire-clearance-in-frame

The best advice I could give it to look at your current tires taking note how much clearance you have available on the sides of the tires as well as the front side of the rear wheel as these 3 inch wide tires are considerably taller than the tires normally installed on a tadpole trike. That means they will come forward further into the frame as well as be wider. So if you already find you don’t have a lot of room left over between your stock tire and the frame you may not be able to install these larger tires. As you can see in the picture above this trike doesn’t have hardly any additional room available for a larger diameter tire, especially on the bottom most part of the frame.

Also keep in mind that even if they do fit they will change some things from what you are used to. For instance most likely your turning radius will be effected as these tires would rub on the frame sooner not allowing the wheels to turn as sharply.

These Kenda Flame 3 inch tires are available in  20 x 3 (76-406 ISO) diameter and, if needed, 26 x 3 (68-559 ISO) for the rear tire … although you may want a different tire on the rear to provide better traction. (They are also available in 24 inch.) It is my understanding that 20 x 4 inch inner tubes should be used in the 20 inch tire and 26 x 4 inch inner tubes in the 26 inch tire. The tire is listed as 20 or 26 x 3 but it only measures about 2.75 inches according to a picture of it online as well as what I have read about it. I don’t know if using a 4 inch inner tube will cause the 3 inch tire to increase in girth when inflated more so than a smaller inner tube would.

kenda-flame-20-x-3-76-406

Above is a picture of the Kenda Flame 3 inch tire. You can see it doesn’t have much of a tread pattern as far as aggressive traction like a knobby tire has. And it is not available in any other tread pattern. So off road use would be limited in the realm of traction. That is why I mentioned that you may want a different tire on the rear. If you don’t ride in mud or other surfaces or areas require superior traction then this tire may be satisfactory for your rear tire. I am quite sure it would not suffice for me.

The best price I have found  for the 20 x 3 tire is $17.59 with free shipping on purchases over $50 on BikeTiresDirect.com
The best price I found on a 26 x 3 inch tire is $29.57 with free shipping on excelcycle.com . There are also other brands of tires available but I don’t think you can buy them for anywhere near this price. That being said, take a look below.

vee-rubber-26-x-3-inch-tire

I did find a Vee Rubber 26 x 3 inch tire (pictured above) on sale for $26, but it showed currently out of stock. You can, however, submit your email address to be informed when they have them back in stock. It is quite similar to the Kenda Flame tire.

Just one 4 inch FAT tire costs over $100 and the 4 inch tubes cost about $15 each. You can buy three of these 3 inch Kenda Flame tires and three of the 4 inch inner tubes for about $100. So if this will suffice for you you can see it is definitely a very inexpensive way to go. Keep in mind … you are only gonna be “sorta fat” with this set up.

I want to mention here and give credit to a fellow triker for enlightening me to this as he did this with his trike and swears by these tires for winter riding. He says he inflates them from 10 to 40 psi. Here is a picture of his trike with the 20 x 3 inch Kenda Flame tires mounted on all three stock rims. He reports that they do great riding in/on snow.

20-x-3-inch-tires-on-tadpole-trike-2

In installing these large tires there may be a concern of clearance and definitely most fenders that may currently be installed with have to be removed and remain off. HERE is an article entitled “what are the pitfalls of converting to a micro fat trike”.

One thing which just popped into my head concerning going with a wider tire like this on the rear wheel is the clearance of the chain. On my trike even with 1/4 inch wider tires than stock my chain is very close to the sidewall of the tire.

So if you have a hankerin’ for a FAT trike this may be something to consider. If we ride on these larger tires and go places our smaller stock tires can’t cope with we just may be able to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

WHO NEEDS FENDERS ANYWAY?


fender-set

Who needs fenders? We all do unless we like getting all kinds of ucckkkyyy stuff on us. Even if you ride only when it is dry it is quite likely that you will occasionally get “something” rather unpleasant flung up onto you. If you are going straight most stuff just goes on your arms, but when you are turning it gets flung up on your chest, lap, and legs. Sometimes even when going straight stuff gets flung elsewhere on you. I am always amazed with those who ride without fenders and don’t think they need them. They either live a charmed life or they are not being honest about this matter.

Now if you are riding off road and at a very slow speed  or even on pavement at a very slow speed fenders may not be needed, but most of us ride on pavement and fast enough that crud is flying off of our tires. BTW, to my knowledge most FAT tire trikes don’t have fenders available for them at this time.

ice-and-catrike-fender-mounting

When it comes to fenders all too often the quality and design is not all that great. Some are downright poor in design while a few are much much better. I personally don’t like the ones that have braces on them. I much prefer the ones which have a strong mounting bracket such as newer Catrike, Greenspeed, HP Velotecknik and ICE offer. I have the older type Catrike fenders and mounting hardware (pictured below) which I don’t care for at all. I paid a lot of money for them and they are junk. They are a problem in more ways than one.  The steel rods easily get bent and cause further damage to the fender. Plastic fenders are fairly strong and durable, but they have their limits.

front-fender-braces-2

planet-bike-fender-braces

The braces like pictured above which employ the plastic mounts shown are not desirable in my book. A few times I have had the fenders get chunks broken out of them where the braces attach. When that happens I have had to relocate the braces to get to a place where I can reattach them. I have learned something about attaching these braces which helps. The small screw which is used in the plastic part that attaches to the fender should not be allowed to go “thru” the plastic fender as if it does it weakens that area of the fender considerably and is the main cause of those areas breaking out. So now I just tighten the screw until the tip of the screw slightly penetrates the plastic fender enough to hold it. I have not had anymore chunks breaking out since I started doing this.

Most fenders are plastic, but some folks use wooden, steel or carbon fiber fenders.

AH … TO BE A KID AGAIN


It sure is neat to see kids riding tadpole trikes. I sure wish I would have been introduced to them when I was a kid. Tadpole trikes just were not around back then so it wasn’t possible for me in my childhood. I never heard of them until about 12 years ago. Here is a custom built trike being ridden by a kid and he is obviously enjoying himself.

I don’t know when the modern day configuration (low slung recumbent tadpole trikes) were first made. Recumbent bikes have been around since the late 1800s. Actually the first patent for a recumbent tadpole trike was in 1869 … before chain drive came along. It was a far cry from those we have today however.

I believe that the Japanese MASA Slingshot racing model appeared about 1974.

masa-slingshot-racer

The first modern day type recumbent tadpole trikes were all custom made by individuals before any started being manufactured and available to purchase. Anyway, fortunately riding a tadpole trike as an adult somewhat makes you into a kid again. 🙂

Ya just can’t get away from that ol’ “recumbent grin”. Here is my grand niece riding my Catrike Trail trike for the first time.

abby-riding-my-catrike

And here is my wife with that recumbent grin/smile riding my homemade trike back in 2007. I was still building it and didn’t have it painted yet.

lucys-recumbent-smile

And here she is once more with that recumbent grin while riding my Catrike Trail. I apologize for the poor quality of the picture. It is a screenshot of a paused video of her riding and the video itself was poor quality from making a copy of a copy a few times and each time it lost some quality.

lucys-recumbent-smile-2

The infamous “recumbent grin” I chalk up to bringing the kid out in us. And it definitely helps us to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

Yep, keep on TRIKIN’ and you can keep on smilin’

DOES THIS GET YOUR ATTENTION?


planet-bike-1-watt-headlight  pb-blaze-1-watt-headlight-on-full-power

have used a 1 watt Planet Bike headlight for many years now. I almost always use it on flash mode as I almost always ride in the daytime and rarely at nighttime. At only 1 watt it is amazingly bright. This is due to the excellent optics employed. It is not a great light for nighttime use, but for for daytime with the flash mode it is superb. It operates on two AA batteries and they last an amazingly long time … like around 20 hours or more. I usually use rechargeable batteries in it which are super economical to use. I recently had a problem with my light as it would shut itself off almost immediately after turning it on flash mode. I just assumed it’s time had come after giving me many years of faithful service. I ordered another headlight to replace it. Meanwhile I removed this one from my trike and brought it inside the house. I started messing around with it and determined that the problem was a simple one and one I could fix. The battery contacts just needed cleaning. Now it is working great again. Here is a video of it I just took inside the house. It shows it on flash mode. Now I ask ya … would this get your attention?

It has always worked fine for me and many people have commented that they saw my headlight flashing from a long distance. It is also quite visible from the side also which is an added plus as many lights are not very visible from off to the side.

Here is my current headlight and taillight setup on flash mode. This obviously is in daylight which is mostly when I ride.

I like the idea of others seeing me while I am out there and am a firm believer of the importance of good lighting front and back as well as highly visible safety flags.

I have also experimented around with taillights and although I really liked what is shown in this next video I opted not to keep it because white light showing on the back of a vehicle is illegal.

As can be seen in the next video I now have a very bright red taillight which is so bright I would not dare use it at night time as it would be blinding to others. It is so much brighter than my other taillights that it makes them look dim when, in fact, they are also plenty bright, especially at night.

Here is my most recent taillight configuration/ Again, I would not use the 150 lumen taillight in full brightness mode at night time if I were out riding around other people. It is way too bright to use around others.

The concept of being able to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

appeals to me. How about you?