Monthly Archives: June 2015
Most of us know and remember the saying “Rain, rain go away. Come again another day”. This has been a rather unusual year thus far. Here in the Mid-Eastern United States we have had rain nearly every day for what seems like a couple of months or so now. It really effects the cycling as well as most anything else in the realm of outdoor activities. Even what few decent days we have had in the weather department our local rivers have been and remain flooded. That means that a whole lot of our local trail system is flooded over and closed. I have been seeing places flooded over I have never seen flood previously. Even once the rain stops (if it ever does) and the river levels fall below flood stage the trails will continue to remain closed for a long time as they have to first dry out and then there will be much clean up needed before they can be reopened. So riding is greatly impaired this year. Those of us who ride are having to ride on streets and roads instead of the trails. Even some of the streets and roads are flooded over sometimes. It is like “one can’t win for losing”. I made up a couple of pictures with captions to express “how I feel” in regards to riding my tadpole trike and not being able to ride it. I first posted it on Facebook so many readers of this blog have already seen it. However, not everyone uses Facebook and is involved in the trike groups on Facebook. So I thought I would make up this posting on this blog with the pictures so they can be seen here. I think you will appreciate them and share the same emotions expressed in them.
I suppose I could attempt going this route …
I am pretty sure that this would only be good on relatively calm waters however. Swift running waters of rivers could spell disaster. At best it would probably end up with a long trip to Lake Erie … not what I set out for. As you can see on this map the Maumee River is formed in Fort Wayne by the merging of the St. Joseph River flowing SW and the St. Marys River flowing NW. The Maumee River flows NE to Toledo, Ohio and into Lake Erie.
Well, that’s my story and I am stuck with it … I mean … I am sticking with it. But I sure hopes this rain stops and the trails can get opened back up. For those of you who need rain and aren’t getting any … I feel for you and sure wish I could share some of ours with you. That’s just how I feel. I want to…
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Some people have need of single hand controls and/or single foot propulsion on a tadpole trike. These are available and equipped with them cyclists can ride, get exercise and enjoy the experience. Here is a video showing one such person …
There are dealers who offer specialized components and outfitting of trikes for customers who need such. HERE is one of them. Adaptive controls can be ordered thru and fitted by ICE trikes. And I am sure that the infamous Utah Trikes would gladly outfit a trike for anyone needing special controls and components.
I came across this human powered vehicle recently and was impressed with the concept and the mission of this organization of providing a solution for mobility for those who otherwise have to crawl along the ground as they can’t walk. God’s Word teaches us to open our eyes and our hearts to see needs and then do what we can do to meet those needs. It is what PETInternational.org is doing. Here is a video telling the story behind the development of this trike. It has solid rubber tires so flats are not a concern. As construction costs go this trike is very low cost … $350 to build and ship. They are a strictly volunteer organization. The need of these trikes is tremendous and funds are sorely needed to build more and ship them to where precious people await them. I like the words seen on the video … “Where there’s a WHEEL there’s a way”.
This video will show you how to remove and reinstall the cassette on the rear wheel. This may be necessary or helpful if you need to replace spokes on your rear wheel, change your gearing, replace worn gears or clean your gears.
For those who want a full suspension trike without the normal cash outlay Utah Trikes now offers their own new model … the Revolution Defiance FS. Starting at $2599 (SALE PRICE) plus $250 shipping. There are several options available many of which, of course, add to the price. It is all shown and explained on their website.
This trike is made of mild steel and weighs in at 48 pounds. One thing about mild steel … it’s repairable if it breaks. Also it is somewhat flexible which helps it not to break.
With 9 inches of ground clearance and a seat height of 17 inches the rider sits high meaning that this trike is a bit more limited in cornering speeds and handling because of the higher center of gravity. However, that probably isn’t much of a concern for many riders.
The back shock is a Torch DNM, while the front shocks are a custom spring design similar to that found on the HP Velotechnik Scorpion.
It has a total of 24 speeds via a Sun single crankset up front and a Shimano Altus derailleur, 8-speed cassette and a Sturmey Archer CS-RF3 internal 3 speed hub in the rear. The three internal gears and eight sprockets give the Defiance a wide range of 19-100 gear inches.
Frame Material Steel
Trike Weight 48 lbs
Trike Weight 48 lbs
Total Weight Capacity 300 lbs
Wheelbase 45 in
Wheel Track 32 in
Total Length 79 in
Total Width 35 in
Total Assembled Height 34 in
Ground Clearance 9 in
Bottom Bracket Height 19.5 in
X-Seam Range 36 – 47
Steering Pivot Type Cartridge Bearing
Ackerman Steering Yes
Brake Steer Moderate
Self Centering Mild
Turning Radius 12 ft 8 in
Seat Height 17 in
Seat Width 15 in
Country of Origin USA
The buyer has a choice of 30 colors to choose from. That is a whole lot of choice.
It is good to see Utah Trikes getting more and more into making their own trikes. They have a nice fabrication shop area and do nice work.
So if you are looking for a fully suspended tadpole trike for a relatively low price you might want to consider this offering from the folks at Utah Trikes. Just FYI HERE is a link to meet the folks at Utah Trikes.
Many of us like to take our dogs along with us for their exercise and companionship. There are various devices that have been made thru the years to accomplish this. I am talking about a leashing mechanism so that the dog or dogs can walk and run along side of us keeping them relatively safe and in place. One such product is simply called what it is … Bike Tow Leash.
When using any kind of a leash with a dog on a bicycle or trike the dog it is always best for the dog to wear a padded harness to attach the leash.
HERE is a good article on bike dog leashes.
This product is basically designed for a bicycle. In the picture below you can see how it is designed to mount on a bicycle. In the video it shows the one end mounted to the axle bolt so obviously there are different ways to mount it. And according to the design of the individual frame it will vary somewhat.
Some trike frames are made similar and so this clamp could probably be used pretty much the same as pictured above. But some trikes would probably require something considerably different. Consequently some mechanical inclination, innovation and ingenuity would be required.
At $146 this product is not inexpensive, but some would say that it is worth the price when one looks at it’s design and how it compares to the competition.
There are other manufacturers of bicycle dog leashes which are priced lower. Here are a few …
Bike Balance Bike Dog Leash one source was $63.01 and another source was $72.99
K9 Cruiser $50.99
Springer Dog Exerciser $129.95
I found a few others. but they were listed as ‘not currently available’ and ‘unknown if they will be available in the future’.
Lastly, HERE is a blog on taking da pooch along on a ride.
Aw, ain’t it cute?
Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!
Speaking of looking, you are looking at the Polaroid Cube camera. It is a pretty amazing little camera as I hope to convey here in this article on it. The hundred dollar Cube records Full HD 1080p video and can take 6-megapixel still photos. To help capture more of the action, it features a fixed 124-degree wide-angle lens.
Helping ensure the camera is safe to go on all sorts of adventures, the rubberized body is splashproof and impact resistant.
It records to microSDHC cards up to 32GB in capacity, and recording can be started or stopped with the press of a single button.
Compatible mounts – available separately – include a Helmet Mount, Bike Mount, Strap Mount, Wearable Pendent, and Monkey Shaped Mount.
The Polaroid Cube Mini Lifestyle Action Camera features magnets on top and bottom so that you can stick it to just about any ferrous metal surface, or even stack multiple cameras together.
35mm (1.4″) square rubberized body
Splashproof, all-weather, shock-resistant design
One-Button operation allows intimidate recording start and stop
Built-in Microphone and LED Light
Internal battery provides up to 90 minutes of video recording.
As a still picture camera the GoPro is superior, but I tell ya … when it comes to video this little cutie shines. Check out the comparison …
One reviewer wrote: “The high quality 6 MP camera takes excellent 720 P and 1080 P video. There is a switch under the water resistant cover that allows you to switch between the two video quality modes. Under the lens on the front of the camera there is a microphone to record what is going on. The sound and video recording are superb.”
Amazon sells this little bugger for $99.99 with free shipping.
There are lots of videos on YouTube about this camera. So if you are into video taping your rides you might want to consider this little CUBE. It is no GoPro, but it gets my vote.
“FAT trikes” are becoming more and more popular and various trike manufacturers are offering them in their model lineup. The latest of those offerings I am aware of is the Hartlander. It is a product of the Netherlands. It also folds. The price I found online in the Netherlands is 2799 Euros ($3139 U.S.). It is also available with electric motor assist. I have not been able to find much information about this trike online thus far.
As you can see in the image above the trike comes with a hard seat which is removable to enable the trike to fold. Below are the specifications on this trike.
Although on the specifications shown above it shows Tektro brakes this sure looks like Avid BB7 brakes in the image below. My guess is that the hydraulic brake is an option. The trike has direct steering … something which makes good sense on a trike designed for relatively slow speed use and off road use where there would not be any reason to have indirect steering.
As you can see in the image below the seat is adjustable and removable. The chain has the commonly used soft plastic pieces connecting the commonly used chain tubes so that the chain stays managed inside of the tubing when the trike is folded.
Notice in the image below the rear derailleur hanger is part of the frame and not a separate hanger. That could be a problem should that part of the frame break off or get damaged to where it can’t be used any more. Shy of a skilled weldor/fabricator repairing it a new frame would be required. Hopefully owners will never experience this getting damaged. It is something to be aware of and be careful not to allow it to get damaged. It is true that these are made to bend easily to help protect the rear derailleur from getting damaged, but they can also break off or get damaged so badly they can’t be reused. A separate hanger is the only way to go. Only cheap bikes and trikes go this route. This trike comes with a 5 year frame warranty, but I don’t know if the hanger area would be covered under warranty. Since the hanger is designed to bend and it is all too common for damage to happen I would think they would not cover it under warranty, but I could be wrong.
As you can see in the image below the trike comes with locking brake levers. That is a nice feature. Twist shifters are also used.
With the trike folded it is somewhat smaller of course, but being a FAT trike with large size wheels and tires, it is still rather large so don’t get your hopes up about folding it up to fit in places a regular tadpole trike would fit.
FAT or not … TRIKE ON!
There are various tools available from manufacturers to measure chain wear. One of the most popular among them is the Parktool CC-3 model. It is very easy to use. It is a “go-no go” gauge designed to accurately indicate when a chain reaches .5% and .75%, the points at which most chain manufacturers suggest replacement. Here is a video showing how to use it.
When the chain is relatively new and very little wear the .75 end will not go down inside the link as shown in image A. When the .75 end goes down inside the link as shown in image B it is time to replace the chain. When the 1.0 end goes all the way down as shown in image C it is badly worn and time to replace the chain and sprockets as the chain has probably worn the sprockets.
And HERE is an article on this.
Parktool has the CC 3.2 model out now which is longer and therefore a bit more accurate.
Measuring and determining cassette wear is not an easy task. Basically the best advise I would know to give someone is “it comes with lots of experience”. I have seen cassettes changed when they still looked practically brand new and wondered why anyone would throw their money away doing this.
HERE is an article about this subject.
Here is a video showing how to use a wear indicator tool.
Here is a video showing how to determine wear of the chain, chainrings, and cassettes.
Are you mechanically inclined? If so, here is a DIY (do it yourself) project to motorize your tadpole trike. If you have money to burn you could hire a bicycle shop/independent mechanic to install this for you. This is a 750 watt brushless electric motor. That is the maximum size allowed by law for bicycles in the United States. Like so many electric motors designed for bicycles it doesn’t come with a battery so the battery must be purchased separately. Batteries are not cheap. One can expect to shell out about $1500 total for this kit with a battery. This is both a pedal assist and motor only rig so it pretty much fits the bill. Probably the one main “con” is the fact that it doesn’t sense shifting gears meaning that it will maintain power resulting in mashing gears. That is not a good thing. Of course, one can get around this by simply turning the power way down/off while shifting.
In this next video a KMX trike is shown. I want to include the video description here as it contains some information about this rig. Note the top speed claimed in this vs. the speed obtained on a bicycle equipped with this which was shown in an earlier video. Notice I said “obtained” as there was no mention of top speed. If I remember correctly the fastest I saw on the display was 22 mph.
“48V 750W BBS02 MAX Speed 32 MPH. 1. LCD Panel with FULL features: Speed, distance, 9 levels PAS, FULLY programmable without any patch cables, All done on screen. Motor with built Controller. Full set of new Bottom bracket mounting parts for bikes with 68mm BB Plus Chain ring (will work with 73 mm BB with longer hardware and spacers). Full instructions for installation and LCD set up and programming instruction book. Full set of quick release Wire harness with E-brake levers, throttle, PAS wires, etc. 6. Awesome acceleration, Hill climbing, Top speed of approx. 32 MPH. In the USA is classified as a fully legal 750 Watt Nominal motor by regulations. Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico shipping fee is $100.00.”
Here is a video showing and explaining how to install this on a DF bicycle. It would be quite similar installing it on a tadpole trike.
Click HERE for YouTube video search results of the electric motor kit.
Amazon sells the kit with a battery for less than $1200 including shipping.
Ebay sells the kits. They also offer one that comes with a battery. I just discovered something while looking at these on Ebay. You have to be careful as there is tricky selling going on. I saw one of these shown as only costing $70. I thought “WOW!” … and wondered how that could possibly be. Then I scrolled down further and discovered that the seller is charging $410 shipping … bringing the total up to what most of the others are selling for.
Alibaba also sells the kits and is probably the lowest priced. They also sell other wattage models. And they too sell the kit with a battery.
From Alibaba website:
1) Has small current, high efficiency and long riding distance;
2) Light, energy-saving and protective for the battery;
3) Free of maintenance and has a long service life;
4) Produces small noise and is of soft start-up;
5) Has great output power, quick starting and powerful climbing capacity;
6) Gears are made of high strength and abrasion resistant high temperature nylon
7) Reasonably structured and durable in use.
For the 48v 750w motor, we recommend:
48v11.6ah (samsungcell 18650 2900mah,13s4p) dolphin battery
Notice that on the KMX trike the motor is up on top of the boom and behind the crankset while on the ICE trike shown further above the motor is out in front of the crankset and boom. With this unit the front derailleur is not used. The front derailleur mounting tube on the ICE prevents the motor from being placed like it is on the KMX. One could remove the tubing and position the motor on top of the boom, but if you ever wanted to go back to using a front derailleur a new boom would be required.
TheraTryke combines upper and lower body exercise for paraplegics. Students at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan have designed and prototyped a device they’re calling the TheraTryke. TheraTryke combines upper and lower body exercise for paraplegics.
TheraTryke is not to be confused with TheraTrike which is a company specializes in designing and manufacturing therapeutic tricycles and accessories for children with cerebral palsy and similar special needs.
The objective of this project is to design and build a therapeutic trike for those with little to no use in their legs. The trike will have the capability of pumping the legs via energy transferred from hand pedaling. This device will have therapeutic benefits that no other outdoor trike on the market currently has.
Aimed at those with MS, spinal cord injuries, or complete paraplegics, it lets riders use their hands, feet or a combination of both together to propel themselves forward. Theratryke’s design diverts about a third of the pedaling power to moving the legs. Each brake lever controls both brakes. Theratryke uses a Shimano Nexus 7 gearing system that enables continuous gearless ratio changes. The trike will be trialed at a local hospital before they move forward with any manufacturing and marketing. Similar combo-pedal bikes for able-bodied riders include the Varibike and the Raxibo.
They have a Facebook page, but no website that I can find.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information on this trike at this time. HERE is the final report of the designers/developers.
There are several articles to be found online. HERE is one of them.
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I have posted articles about headlights and taillights previously, but you know new products and technology are coming out on the market all the time. When it comes to lighting there have been some pretty decent products showing up. Some show up more than others. Some cost way more than others. Still some show up quite well and the cost is quite reasonable. Such is the case with Planet Bike headlights and taillights.
I personally have a Planet Bike 1 watt Blaze headlight and two Planet Bike Superflash 1/2 watt taillights. They have offered a 2 watt version of it for some time, but the battery life isn’t quite as good as the 1 watt. Even though theoretically it is twice as powerful looking at it it just doesn’t look all that much brighter than the 1 watt. Don’t get me wrong. It is slightly brighter … just not all that much brighter. Now they have out the “Blaze Micro 2 watt” which is not only less money than their regular 2 watt Blaze, but the battery life is the same as the 1 watt version. That sounds like a good deal to me. Here is a picture of it.
I am impressed. I have not seen any figures of battery life that even comes close to the Planet Bike Blaze headlights. You can buy brighter lights, but for me these are plenty bright. I only use my headlight on flashing mode and only ride in the daytime normally. And I normally use rechargeable batteries in my headlight and taillights. I carry extra batteries with me … both rechargeable and alkaline. The PB Blaze headlights take 2 AA batteries. The PB Superflash taillights take 2 AAA batteries. I have had these lights for several years now and found them to be very well made and reliable.
One thing beyond battery life and wattage (lumens) that makes all the difference in lights is their optics. Some lights are just better than others. The Planet Bike lights have very good optics which really make the lights very visible. Also they do quite well being seen from the side. Some lights do very poorly being seen from the side. In fact, some lights can’t be seen from the side at all. I personally would not have a headlight or taillight that aren’t quite visible from the side. It is all about our safety folks!
Normally the more wattage a light uses the quicker the battery power is drained. I have seen other brands which are virtually the same as my headlight as to size, brightness (with new fully charged batteries) and the same batteries (2 AA) which ate batteries up like crazy and the light dimmed quickly. I am not an electronics engineer so I can’t say much about this, but I know it has to do with the design of the electronic circuitry inside. What I am saying is that not all lights are created equal.
It may appear as though I am “pushing” Planet Bike lights. Well, all I can say to that is “yes, I am”. I am just so impressed with them. I know that there are those who spend a whole lot more money for other lights and usually they are buying lights known to be quite bright. To each his own as they say. First of all, I don’t have that kind of money to spend. Secondly, I personally see no need for a headlight that is any brighter than what I am using. Oh, today I would buy the 2 watt Blaze Micro as I see that as a “no brainer” … a bit brighter for the same money and the battery life is the same as the 1 watt I have now. Anyway, I think we can have too bright of headlights to the point they are “offensive”. I just want to be seen. I don’t want to make people mad at me.
HERE is a review article on another blog about headlights which is pretty well written and informative. It is from 2013 however, so it doesn’t have the latest lights that have come out.
HERE are the headlights offered by Performance Bike. It will give you a pretty good idea of what is available (from them) and their prices of each light.
HERE is one great deal on a very good headlight and taillight combination. (This is one I would seriously consider myself if I were in the market to buy lights for my trike.) It is a 4 watt Cygolite Metro 360 headlight and a 2 watt Hotshot taillight … both for $71.43 (at the time of this posting)(on Dec. 4,2015 the price was under $50 so it came down quite a bit) with free shipping from Amazon. The battery life is pretty good too. They have built in USB rechargeable batteries. Both have very good optics. And the headlight has good side visibility … yellow light in fact. It is sort of a “what’s not to like?” I would say. The one thing I am wondering is how long will the rechargeable batteries last as far as total number of times they can be recharged … and when they are kapoot what then? Can they be replaced and, if so, how much … or do you have to junk the lights. If that is the case it would seem like a real waste if they are still good otherwise.
- Super bright 4 watt headlight with 360 lumens for distant throw; Ultra bright 2 watt red LED tail light for intense visibility
- Internal rechargeable batteries saves cost of replacing batteries, headlight lasts up to 10 hrs. and tail light last up to 500 hrs. on a single charge
- Headlight 6 lighting modes: Medium > High >Low > Steady Pulse > DayLightning > Walking
- Tail Light: Adjustable flash speeds to maximize visibility; 5 Flash Modes: Steady > Zoom > Triple > Single > Random
- Includes Metro 360 headlight, Hotshot 2w tail light, USB charging cable, seatpost mount and Lock-tite handlebar mount.
I can’t help but wonder what the bicycle light manufacturing industry will be coming out with next. I guess I will just have to wait and see. Well, as long as my trusty Planet Bike lights continue to serve me I don’t think I will be buying any more lights. It is not that I am not tempted mind you. It is all a matter of self discipline! 🙂 Having good lighting on our trikes will help us to …
ENJOY THE RIDE!