Monthly Archives: August 2016

TIRE LINERS – DO THEY WORK?


Mr. Tuffy & RhinoDillos

Tire liners … do they work? Well …………………………….. yes and no. Once more it all depends. I used to use them and as far as helping prevent externally caused flats, yes they work. However, I and a couple of friends who also used them found that they caused flats internally. Now there are things which can be done to help prevent this from happening. Unfortunately we did not do any of it so we got occasional flats as a result. I would think that there should not have to be any thing done extra such as this for the tire liners to work properly and not cause internal flats. Now that I use the best tire money can buy I no longer use tire liners as I don’t need them. That being said when I first switched to the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires I installed the tire liners initially as I already had them and had been using them for a few years on all the various tires I had tried previously. I thought it would be a good idea to have the extra measure of protection. Big mistake! I got about three flats over a period of a few years. All were internally caused flats. When I replaced the inner tubes I removed the tire liners. I have not had any flats since.

So my advice is if you are going to use a regular tire prone to getting flats the tire liners are a good thing. If you are going to use them either sand the end of the tire liner where it overlaps itself to remove any sharpness or use duct tape to help protect the inner tube from any sharpness on the end. Personally I would do both … sand the end and use the duct tape.

rounded end

And be sure the end is rounded as this will help with the edge the inner tube comes in contact with.

Lastly with or without tire liners I highly recommend using talcum powder inside the tire and on the inner tube to reduce rubbing and abrasion which cause ‘internal’ flats. Put the talcum powder inside of the tire after the tire liner is in place.

Definitely there is “abrasion” which occurs when tire liners are used. Take a look at this picture.

inner tube tire liner abrasion

You can plainly see the outline of the tire liner on the inner tube. Notice the sharp line of the end of the tire liner where it overlaps itself. Again, using duct tape on the end will greatly reduce this. As to the use of duct tape some say to put it over the end which overlaps. Some say put it on both ends. I see no reason to put it on both ends as it is only that which is in contact with the inner tube which is a concern. I would only put it on the overlap area. Here is one way to do it … wrap it around the top and bottom of the tire liner and then trim the duct tape to the rounded end shape.

duct tape drawing

I wonder if it would not work better to just place a piece of duct tape over the overlap once the tire liner is in place inside of the tire. That way there would be less thickness at the overlap so that the overlap would not protrude out as far into the inner tube. I see no advantage to having tape on the bottom side of the tire liner since it is not in contact with the inner tube. Also the tape on the overlap would help hold the tire liner in position inside of the tire. The end which overlaps tends to want to drop away from the rest of the tire liner once it is up inside of the tire so I think it would be very helpful to place duct tape over the overlap.

tire liner toughness 2

To the best of my knowledge there isn’t all that much difference in quality and protection offered between the various brands of tire liners. I have read that the Kevlar liners should not be used as they don’t work very well. Stick with the plastic type such as Mr. Tuffy, Rhino Dillos, Stop Flats 2, Zefal, and Slime. As you can see in the picture above they are pretty tough.

I think that with the exception of Rhino Dillos all of the tire liners come packaged all rolled up tightly in a small coil/roll. In doing so the inside end is all curled up and presents  problems when trying to work with it to install it. So because of this I recommend buying the Rhino Dillos as they are packaged so that this doesn’t happen. They are rolled up in a larger diameter. If you buy one of the other brands it is best to take it out of the packaging and hang it up by the small inside curled end (if it is one rolled from the end) so that it can straighten out for a day or two before installing it.

tire liner rolled up

If it is one rolled from the middle like pictured below then, of course, you should hang it from the end (either end).

curled up end of tire liner

Again, my thinking is the worst way of packaging these tire liners is to fold them in half and then roll them up like the red one pictured above. If I were buying any I would steer clear of any packaged like that.

I myself have only used Mr. Tuffy tire liners, which is the originator of tire liners. They are made of made of durable, lightweight polyurethane. They also have what they say is a lighter weight product for those who are weight conscious/concerned. They claim that their liners will not cause tire or tube damage. I take issue with that as I consider causing internal flats as “damage”. Whether the hole is the result of a puncture from the outside or abrasion on the inside it is still damage and has the same consequences … a flat and a destroyed inner tube.

Tire liners come in different widths since tires come in different widths so be sure you get the correct width for the tires you are using. They also come in “XL” for FAT tires.

FAT tire liner

As to installing tire liners you will find different methods and suggestions ‘out there’.

tire liner installed

Some say to remove the tire and inner tube completely off of the rim so you can install the tire liner inside of the tire off of the rim. That is the way I have always done it. Some say to leave the tire and inner tube on the rim and just remove one side of the tire off of the rim so you insert the tire liner between the tire and inner tube. Some say to remove on side of the tire off of the rim and remove the inner tube. Certainly it can be accomplished in any of these ways. It is important, of course, to ensure that there is nothing sharp inside of the tire or rim before installing the tire liner. That is best and easiest accomplished by removing both tire and inner tube off of the rim. It is also important to be sure the tire liner is centered inside of the tire and that the inner tube is installed correctly with no twists or other abnormalities.

Here is what Mr. Tuffy shows as to how to install the tire liners:

installation instructions

I found it interesting that their instructions say to remove any debris found inside of the tire casing before the inner tube is removed. How in the world are you supposed to check inside the tire casing without first removing the inner tube? DUH!

I personally much prefer to take the tires completely off of the rims to install tire liners. Doing them while still on the rim one can not nearly as easily tell where the tire liner is positioned as far as getting it centered in the tire. Of course, no matter how one goes about it there is always the chance that the tire liner will move out of position during final assembly and reinflating the inner tube.

Another good reason for removing the tire completely off of the rim is one can much more easily and thoroughly examine the casing of the tire and do anything needed to ensure the tire is fit and ready to use.

stop flats 2 round end

The side of the tire liner that has the extra layer of material bonded to it (it is usually darker color like shown above in the picture) goes outward toward the tire.

I watched several videos on installing tire liners and quite frankly I was not very impressed by any of them. I settled for this one to use here.

Well, like ol’ Forest Gump … that’s all I have to say about that. Tire liners? … Use them if you need them. As for me, I am going to just continue to use the best tire money can buy and not concern myself with flats. My Mr. Tuffy tire liners are hanging up on the garage wall. I will probably never use them again. It is a real joy to just be able to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

and not be concerned about flats. And it is great to get such phenomenal mileage out of the tires as well.

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HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF GETTING PUNCTURES


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.

CHEAP ELECTRIC TADPOLE TRIKES


Chinese motorized trikes

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.

red 250 watt

Their 250 watt model with no suspension (shown above) sells for $1,818.76 including shipping to the U.S.

rear suspension 250 watt

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.

silver rear suspension 500 watt

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.

Chinese motorized trike components

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 (product of Texas)


Scarab trikes 320 vs 2026

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.

Scalab yellow 2026 ft front view

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.

Scalab yellow 2026 ft right side view

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).

Scarab crucifix

SCARAB SPECIFICATIONS:
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

Scarab front spindle

Scarab rear qtr

Scarab yellow front qtr

Cruising along at 18 mph on a Scarab trike:

Scalab yellow 2026 ft right side view close up

B & M ENTERPRISES
Barry Beuershausen
210-212 Dowlor
Refugio, TX 78377
361 526-4458
Email Address: bment@prodigy.net
(Note: when emailing, please put “Scarab Trikes” in the subject line due to spam filters)

TALK ABOUT TIRE MILEAGE


worn out trike tire

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.

tire protective liner showing thru all the way around

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 wear

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 BOTTLE HOLDERS


H2O

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.

plastic water bottles

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.

plastic water bottle holders 3

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 …

my water bottle plastic holder my water bottle plastic holder 2

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.

adjustable water bottle holder

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.

strapped in water bottle holder

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.

wristband on water bottle water-bottle-in-holder-with-elastic-band

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.

plastic water bottle holders

Stay well hydrated so you can  …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

CHAIN LUBRICATION


WD-40 not recommended

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.

wd40 bike products

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.

variety of lubes

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.

nasty bike chain

Keep your chain properly maintained and it will help you …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

CATRIKE GETS A NICE WRITEUP


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.

Welding Journal

VEE TIRES FOR TADPOLE TRIKES


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: info@veetireco.com      I see that they are headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.

Among their offerings are:

MK3

Vee Tire MK3

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.

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Speedster

Vee Tire Speedster

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.

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Zilent

Vee Tire Zilent

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.

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Baldy

Vee Tire Baldy

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.

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Capsule

Vee Tire Capsule

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.

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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.

451 inner tube in 406 tire

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.

Vee Tire FAT tires

The H-Billy (shown on right below) is the most aggressive knobby among them.

Vee Tire FAT bulldozer & h-billy tires

Vees FAT tires

Vee Tire FAT Vees 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’

OH FOR SOME SHADE


high heat thermometer

Sunshine on my shoulders, in my face, on top of my head, on my arms, legs … all over me. That’s okay when it is 30 degrees F., but when it is hot and humid it makes it mighty uncomfortable out there riding as well as dangerous and even deadly. Consequently I can’t go along with the song lyrics of it making me happy.

So I ask ya … which trail would you prefer to be riding on?

sunshine vs shade

There certainly is a world of difference. That shade feels soooooooo good! Actually these pictures are of the same trail (Maumee Pathway near Fort Wayne, Indiana). Fortunately it is mostly shaded. And it is my favorite local trail to ride, especially during the summer months when it is hot. I mostly ride on it just so I can be in the shade and take advantage of the cooler temperatures found there. I would guess that about 6.5 miles of the 8 miles or so I usually ride back and forth on is well shaded and another 1/2 of a mile is somewhat shaded.  And depending upon what time of the day one is riding out there some of the remaining trail is shaded for awhile.

Now I ask ya, doesn’t that look inviting?

shaded trail

and this?

shaded trail 4

Over exposure to the heat is dangerous and deadly. So be careful while out riding when it is quite hot and humid. Be sure to stay well hydrated and avoid being out under direct sunlight anymore than necessary. We need the sun, but be respectful of it as it can do a number on you. Heat can make you feel miserable and even kill you. I am not a medically trained person, but I know that if we start to feel overly hot, flushed and weak we need to stop and find shade to get relief from the heat. We should do something to help cool down our bodies, especially our heads. Pouring water over us or soaking a cloth of some sort to use to wipe ourselves with will help. We should relax and allow ourselves to cool down and recuperate before trying to go on. If we are by ourselves it is most important that we discipline ourselves as we have no one to give us aid should we need it. If we are with others we need to watch out for one another as there may be signs we miss that someone else picks up on. Slowing up and not keeping up the pace may be such a sign as heat can zap our strength.

sweating on trail

The older we get the more we need to be concerned about all of this. Even so a young person can be overcome by heat exposure. A 12 year old boy died from the high heat while hiking on a trail just recently out near Phoenix, Arizona.

We all want to safely …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

Oh, before ending this article I want to mention the use of canopies. They do help in comfort while riding. I certainly have nothing against them and would myself like to have one on my trike. However, I can’t for a couple of different reasons I won’t go into here. What I want to point out is that they only offer immediate shade and usually only partial shade at best as they don’t shade all of the body. And the bigger factor is since it is only local shade and not constant shade over the entire area where we are riding they don’t lower the temperature. It is still hot. I really enjoy riding along a very shaded trail as it feels so much more comfortable than out under the sun. The difference is temperature can be considerable.

handheld umbrella shade

trike rag top 2

WHO’S FOOLING WHO?


Many of us know the popular commercial where we hear the words “It’s not nice to fool mother nature!” Well, I am here to tell you that it works both ways. It is not nice for mother nature to fool us. Of course, sometimes it is a case of “mine eyes deceiveth me”.

sun rays shining down thru tree foliage 3 marked

While riding along a trail I frequently see “something” up ahead which from a distance appears to be another person. As I get closer I discover that it was not another person at all, but rather it was a tree, a bush or a sign of some sort … something other than what it first appeared as from a distance. Often times there was sun shining on it … a matter of the sun managing to find its way down thru the tree foliage and illuminating just a small area in the midst of an otherwise dark shaded area. I also see what appears to be litter along the trail which I am prepared to pick up to properly dispose of it. As I get closer I discover it is only a leaf that the sun is shining on which makes it stand out and take on the appearance of man made material … litter … out there on or alongside of the trail. It is not such a big deal except sometimes I have slowed way down to retrieve it only to find out it was for nothing and I have to expend all the effort to get going again and back up to speed. Another thing that happens frequently is seeing a bright green or yellowish color in an otherwise dark shaded area. I am thinking it is another person wearing one of the safety florescent colored shirts or jackets. But no, it turns out to be sunlight striking some green vegetation and once again fooling me.

sun rays shining down thru tree foliage marked

Yep, I find that mother nature likes to play tricks on me. Oh well, I guess it adds to the riding enjoyment while out there. One thing for sure … I am not going to let it keep me from …

KEEPING ON TRIKIN’