Monthly Archives: September 2016

BICYCLE CHAIN – HOW IT’S MADE


Bicycle Chain Bowl

bike-chain-bowl

Chain is a key component of most bicycles and tricycles. Without it we aren’t going anywhere. Did you ever take a good close look at a bicycle chain? Most riders just take the chain for granted not paying much attention to it. There just might be more to one than you ever realized. Here is a video showing how bicycle chain is made.

TALK ABOUT FAT TRIKES


Talk about FAT trikes is what this posting is about. I am not going to say much however. I will let another Steve speak on the subject. Trike Hobo, Steve Greene, of Trike Asylum blog fame discusses aspects of the ICE Full Fat recumbent tricycle, and also fat trikes in general. I can’t speak from any experience as I don’t have a FAT trike nor have I ever ridden one or been around any. Trike Hobo has an ICE FAT trike and gained personal experience and knowledge so without further ado here he is:

WHEEL TRUING


If you have never experienced a bicycle wheel being out of true you are most fortunate. Actually it is fairly common for wheels to get out of true. Here is a video showing a brand new wheel which is badly out of true.

I will state upfront if you are not mechanically inclined and savvy don’t attempt to true a wheel yourself as you can make it much worse than it already is. That being said it really is not complicated if you understand the basics involved. A wheel can run out of true in roundness and/or in side to side movement. Although ideally it is best to use a truing stand and remove a wheel from a bike/trike and remove the tire and inner tube so that all you have is the wheel itself the procedure can be done with everything intact on the bike/trike.

This video below does a pretty good job explaining and illustrating it.

I don’t own a truing stand although I have always thought it would be nice to have one. I have made temporary ones in times past which worked sufficiently. However, I almost always true wheels on the bike/trike. One can either find something on the bike/trike to use to “gauge” the trueness or make something to use to gauge the trueness. I oftentimes have simply used my finger or thumb alongside the rim. One must be careful not to overtighten spokes attempting to pull the rim over to one side as you might end up pulling it out of round. If the rim needs to move very far one should always be sure to loosen the spokes on the opposite side and not just tighten the spokes pulling the rim over. That will help eliminate pulling the rim out of round.

In order to tighten (or loosen) a spoke you will need a spoke wrench. There are lots of different types. Most are just one size, but some have multiple sizes in one wrench. Unless you work on wheels that have different size spokes I would suggest using a spoke wrench which is just one size. Be sure to get the size that fits your spokes. I use one like this and really like it.

spoke-wrench-being-used

As I said, there are lots of different types. Here are just a few of the ones available:

spoke-wrenches

As to truing stands one can buy one for less than $50

50-truing-stand

Or pay more than $500 for one:

over-500-truing-stand

Or anywhere in between. You can even get very precision using dial indicators:

wheel-truing-stand-with-precision-dial-indicators

Some folks seem to get quite confused with the direction threaded parts need to turn to tighten or loosen. Spokes are always standard … righty tighty and lefty loosey. You just have to remember which way to view the spoke and spoke nut (called nipples). That is not difficult. The nipple simply screws down onto the spoke so you view it accordingly. To tighten the nipple it turns clockwise down onto the spoke. To loosen it turns counterclockwise. Although it is certainly nice to have a wheel turn perfectly true most of us don’t really need such precision.

Lastly this video although a bit lengthy brings out some good helpful information and tips:

Keeping your wheels properly aligned will help you to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

LED LIGHT SAFETY POLES (or whatever they are called)


safety led light poles 2

We may not have actually seen any in person, but many of us have seen them in pictures and videos online. I am talking about LED light poles or whips as I have heard them called. There is no denying that after dark these things are highly visible and can be rather beautiful as well. Some are fiber optic with the light showing thru out the pole. Some are a bit more traditional with individual lights up and down the pole. Some have blinking/flashing light in various patterns.

whip lights by Arizona

I haven’t found them to be the easiest item to locate online. All too often when searching for them for bicycles the search results show those that are for motor vehicles with 12 volt systems. I read where one person used a 9 volt battery to power his. Here is a picture of it:

arizona whip led light pole

Many people make their own buying the various components online.

As I said, I have had a difficult time finding much of anything as far as sources to buy these LED pole lights. Here are a few although the Arizona Whips are pretty much designed for 12 volt vehicle use as are many of them I found. They can be adapted to a bike/trike, but one still needs a battery (power source) sufficient to operate them. LEDs are a pretty low current draw so I don’t know how long the 9 volt battery would last. Also the Arizona Whips are not cheap … $150 according to what I read.

made in China fiber optic (would be my choice) $28.50 each with a minimum purchase of two

Arizona Whips

Australian source

 

LOW COST FOLDING FAT TIRE TADPOLE TRIKE


Chinese FAT tire trike

FAT is where it’s at for some folks. I am sure they are fun to ride, especially off road which, of course, is mostly what they are designed for. I will have to admit if money was not an issue I would probably have one in addition to my current tadpole trike.

Here is a low cost FAT trike made in China. I don’t know anything about the overall quality of it. As has been discussed on this blog previously buying a trike from overseas from a source unestablished as being reliable and providing great customer service would be a major concern for me. That being said, if the buyer is mechanically inclined most of the various components are pretty much standard bicycle parts and so they can be replaced. The frame being made of steel is fairly easily repair weldable by a qualified weldor should it fail. And it can always be reinforced if needed. So for me personally I would not be all that concerned about purchasing one of these. I am capable of doing all the mechanical work and the welding if the need arises. My biggest concern is not so much with the trike itself as it is dealing with the unknown … sending my hard earned money and not having the assurance I will receive my trike. I am not trying to say anything bad about the company as I know nothing about them. But I do know that there have been problems in the past with buying such products from China. In short, people have been ripped off. Well, anyway … on with the information available about this FAT trike.

$1,460.93 includes shipping ($950 for trike & $510.93 for shipping) Estimated Delivery Time they say is 11-19 days … which is very reasonable. What I don’t find reasonable is the shipping charge. Trident trikes only charge $125 and their trikes come from Taiwan.

* 26 inch X 4 inch FAT tires * steel frame * 24 speed * mechanical disc brakes on all 3 wheels * comes with neck rest, front chainring guard,

Available color: red, orange, black, blue, silver and green

It has direct steering which I applaud. It lacks fenders which is quite typical. And finding fenders to fit a FAT tire trike is challenging, if not impossible. The rear disc brake is actuated by friction lever so it could be used for parking to keep the trike from rolling or as a drag brake on descents. One needs to be careful of that however, as the rear wheel can lock up and contribute to loosing control.

The tires are Chinese, of course, so probably are not the quality of some others such as VEE or Schwalbe tires. But, hey, for $950 for the entire trike … once they are shot put better quality tires on it.

Chinese FAT tire trike 2

As you can see in the picture below the only thing that folds is the boom. That being the case this trike is still pretty bulky as far as fitting it into some vehicles and other small spaces.  I also see a cable which is unattached and laying on the ground. I don’t know what that is about, but it is not desirable.

Chinese FAT tire trike folded

I am sure that all the components are inferior off brand ones, but I am pretty sure they work and would suffice for most of us. Again, they could all be upgraded to better quality components when the time comes.

Chinese FAT tire trike misc

The shifting levers can be seen although not close up enough to make out much of anything. I tried cropping and enlarging the image, but I still could not make out much.

Chinese FAT tire trike shifting levers

There are alternatives such as the Trident Terrain FAT trike. It also folds (better than the Chinese FAT trike). It lists for $1399 plus $125 shipping (total of $1524). That price is for a 20 inch wheel trike. For only $100 more ($1624) you can get it in 26 inch wheels.

Utah Trikes sells the SunSeeker Fat Tad CXS trike which they produce starting at $1899 plus $299 shipping (total of $2198). That is about a $737 difference and I think is about the next cheapest FAT trike available. It features rear coil-over suspension and integrated front suspension. It too comes with Chinese tires.

So if you are wanting a FAT trike they can be had for less than $8000 like the one ICE sells … or even $4559 for an Azub FAT trike . (One could buy a very nice used car for that kind of money.) Yep, I would buy one if money were not an issue. Alas, I will just have to continue to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

on my non-FAT trike and be content. 🙂

Honestly I am most thankful I have what I have.

MAKING A WOODEN WORK STAND


Workstands are a subject matter which has been discussed previously on this blog. One can buy them or make their own. Some of the most popular ones are made of PVC piping and fittings. Some of them are made of metal. Wood is also popular. Here is a video showing how one person made his workstand out of wood.

SKIPPING A BEAT … I HOPE NOT


knee-xrays

As some of you know I am going to have knee joint replacement surgery later this month followed by a second surgery for the other knee joint replacement in November. I am sharing this with you, the readers of this blog, so you will know what is going on. Not knowing how I will be doing as far as whether or not I feel up to writing new articles for posting on this blog it is possible I may not have any new articles for awhile. I hope that isn’t the case, but in case it is I want you to know what is going on. At the time of my writing this I have articles written and scheduled ahead thru October of this year. Again, I assume I will be able to write some more new articles and keep posting them ahead and no one would be the wiser as to what is going on.

Uncle Art (arthritis) is no friend of mine and not welcome in my home.

pre-post-op-knee-xrays

I am not looking forward to the surgery and rehab, but if it is as successful as most are I reckon it will be worth it. My knees have gotten much worse as time has gone along and it has greatly effected my riding. I can no longer ride  as far or as fast or as long as I used to and it has greatly effected my motivation and enjoyment of riding. Right now I need all the help I can get to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

I am certainly hoping I can get back to the way it used to be … riding faster, longer and farther and truly enjoying it.

COMFORT TRIKE … A FULL SUSPENSION TADPOLE TRIKE FROM LATVIA


I received an email from a man by the name of Dmitry Vinogradov in Latvia asking me if I could advertise a tadpole trike for sale on this blog. Since it is new and not used I can’t post it on my used trike page. I decided to first post it here on its own page and then include it in the other pages I have for new trikes. Here is what he sent me: (I have added a bit more here and there as I looked up the company and found various helpful things to include here.)

For sale – Comfort Trike, a full suspension recumbent tadpole trike by Design Bureau Specbike Techniks Ltd. (Latvia). New.

Comfort Trikes red and white

Features and advantages:
• 3 year manufacturer frame warranty;
• Independent three wheel suspension;
• Adjustable shock absorbers. Controlled trike stability;
• Front wheel hub features professional ball bearing, provides a smooth ride;
• The front steering wheel bearings with rust protection;
• Adjustable seat sport-comfort;
• Powder coating;
• Adjusting to the user’s body dimensions – height from 1,40m to 2,2m.
designation producer model pcs
1 shock absorber DNM DV-22:165x35mm/560lbs 3
2 front wheel custom Rim ETRTO 451, Tire Schwalbe Durano28-451, Bitex hub with industrial bearing, aluminum axle one screw easy mounting 2
3 front brake shimano mechanical disc brakes, rotor 6 screw, 160mm 2
4 front brake double handle no name with parking brake and adjustable 1
5 rear brake force mechanical disc brakes, rotor 6 screw, 160mm 1
6 rear wheel force 26″, 9 speed 12-25, disck brake, Tire Rubena Flash 26×1.5, quick release. 1
7 rear derailleur shimano Sora 9 speed 1
8 chain shimano 9 speed 1
9 front derailleur shimano Tiagra 1
10 pedal force MTB 1
11 crank arm shimano 48/38/28, 170mm, 3 speed, bottom bracket square, adjustable distance to the seat 1
12 shifter shimano Dura Ace Bar End 3×9 speed 1
13 seat custom composite fiberglass with soft mat, adjustable 1
14 idler custom with industrial bearing 1
15 headrest custom adjustable 1
16 front light bracket custom diameter 22mm 1
Additional options:
• Metallic parts galvanizing
• Colors chosen by the customer

Trike specification and technical characteristics available upon request.

30 days Delivery
Price $2499 USD
Delivery $249 USD         (Total Price is $2748)

Best way to place order – use our email crosstechnik@gmail.com  ,,,,    or ebay listing: http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/dmitrijsv2005/m.html?_nkw

info@bent.lv

http://bent.lv/

http://bent.lv/comfort-trike-white/

Comfort Trike white

Comfort Trike red

Comfort Trike white front suspension 2

Comfort Trike white front suspension 3

I know nothing of this company or this trike so I am in no way personally endorsing them. I am just sharing this to let you know of their existence. I am always leery buying anything from overseas in a far away country as I am quite concerned about getting any needed parts or customer service. This is not to say that this company would not respond quickly to customers should they need something. I simply have no idea since they are not an established international sales entity with a good and proven track record.

 

SHOKA BELL … ONE HIGH TECH GADGET


Shoka bell

think we are all very aware that we live in a day of very high technology compared to yesteryear. All kinds of products continue to appear on the scene and some of them are for cyclists. One such product is the Shoka bell. It is far more than just a bell for a bike. It is actually pretty amazing. For what it is worth they call it a bell, but I wouldn’t. It has electronic sounds. It does not sound like a traditional bell … well, maybe it does a little … about like an electronic musical keyboard sounds like various musical instruments. But that’s okay. It has some really neat sounds.

Shoka bell 2

Shoka bell 6

Shoka bell 5

As to the light it is only for others to see you … not for you to see where you are going as it is not that bright nor that kind of light.

Shoka bell 4

One of its features is a an alarm that will alert you if your cycle is messed with. It has a range of 250 meters or 820 feet.

It certainly seems to have impressed a lot of people as the kickstarter campaign is going great … way beyond what they were looking for.

It comes in six different colors.

Shoka bell 3

HERE is their Facebook page. HERE is their Twitter page.

So if you are a high tech electronic junkie and independently wealthy you might want to look into this gadget. I am only joking about the money end of things. I have no idea what the cost is, but I am pretty sure it is a lot more than my traditional bicycle bells I have bought in the past. 🙂

DON’T CLICK ON THAT !!!


I‘m tellin’ ‘ya … DON’T CLICK ON THAT !!! On what you ask? That is a fair question deserving of an answer. This subject matter certainly does not apply to lots of folks, but it may be of concern to some so I am sharing this here and now. I am a “Google Alerts” subscriber and for a few years it has always been a good safe method of receiving notification about anything posted online about recumbent/tadpole trikes (which is what I signed up for). But alas I have noticed for some time now that there are malicious websites managing to sneak into the listings Google Alerts is sending out. They appear to be legitimate … stuff about recumbent/tadpole trikes as they use those search words and create stuff that looks much the same as the normal stuff I always see. But if you click on it … WOW … the computer goes bonkers. The screen turns to some wild color and there is a loud annoying sound which I am afraid will disturb the next door neighbor. That is the effect it has on a Linux operating system. I don’t know what it would do on a Windows computer. I wouldn’t be surprised if a horrendous virus or something such would come aboard and totaling crash the computer making it worthless. (I don’t miss Windows!)

Besides the above described event there is another type. It is a real website which screams at you a security alert. There is an audible voice alert as well as a webpage warning that the computer you are using has been hacked and contains dangerous malicious stuff aboard. It further warns you not to try to navigate away from the screen in front of you warning you that it can result in losing valuable files, etc. on the computer. If you try to close it no matter how you try the computer will freeze up and the only recourse then is to “pull the plug” (push the power button) to restart the computer. Regardless of what you try that is the only way to resolve the matter that I have found.

Here is an example of one of the listings in a Google Alert which is malicious:

malicious website in Google Alerts

This particular one is not as good of an example as some others simply because it speaks of motorbikes. There have been many in the past which only mention recumbent trikes or tadpole trikes.

Interestingly I just tried using a url scanning website which will supposedly report malicious urls. I pasted the url in and it ran a scan showing that it was a safe website. I don’t understand that.

The problem is it is hard to spot these malicious websites just looking at the links. And obviously it sure doesn’t help any when you use a url scanning service and it shows it is safe when it is not.

Another result of clicking on some of the links in the Google Alerts results is that you are taken to a website that seems harmless enough, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject matter you are signed up for. I clicked on one  moments ago and it took me to some restaurant website.

There are alternatives to Google Alerts. I don’t know anything about them, but I think I am going to try at least one to see how it does. I think some of them involve paying money to them. No thanks.

You might ask me … “why then do you use Google Alerts?”. That is simple enough. I do it for you … those who read this blog. I am always looking for stuff concerning tadpole trikes and Google Alerts can be a big help at times.

Well, at least now you know … if you are one who subscribes to Google Alerts for recumbent/tadpole online postings and haven’t ever had the misfortune of clicking on one of these malicious links that have become all too common at least now you have been forewarned. In short … “DON’T CLICK ON THAT !!!”  But do try to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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a couple of post scripts follow …

Just in case you are not aware of it you can place your cursor on a link and see what the link actually is as it is displayed on the very bottom left side of the screen. Don’t click on it, just leave the cursor there. Here is a screenshot captured of my blog page showing this posting. I have circled the link in red. You can see the words “alternatives to Google Alerts”. Down along the bottom of the browser window where I have the two arrows you can see the website url (address) the the link goes to. This can be very handy and useful when trying to avoid malicious websites. Often times the link might look legitimate, but in reality it goes to an address altogether different than what the link indicates.

url link display

For what it is worth clicking on this link has had two results. The first time I clicked on it I had the horrific experience I have mentioned above. The second time I clicked on it it opened up what seemed to be a legitimate website, but it had absolutely nothing to do with tadpole/recumbent trikes. Again, this seems to be all too common anymore … using various search terms to send traffic to some website like this. Welcome to the real world we live in.

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

And from my Used Trikes For Sale page I have this posted:

“Another option is to sign up for Google Alerts.

Actually this option is a great one as it not only lists lots of trikes for sale but anything else related to recumbent tadpole trikes. Google will send you an email showing you whatever is being posted online about whatever you enter as the search criteria.

Be sure to select “as it happens”, “everything” and “all results” so you will find out about trikes for sale which have been posted online as quickly as possible. Select your “Language”, “Region” and provide your email address. I would suggest creating a Google Alerts for “recumbent trikes” and “tadpole trikes”. It doesn’t seem to make any difference as to whether you use trike vs. trikes in your search criteria. Upon creating the alert Google will send an email to you with a link you must click to confirm the alert setup process. Cancelling these alerts is simple enough although you may want to keep receiving them if you have an interest in tadpole trikes.”

CHAINRING GUARDS


Hopefully you have never had the experience of encountering the big bad teeth of your largest chainring. I am here to tell you that our skin is no match for such an encounter. More than once over the many years of my life I have come out on the losing end. Not only was it painful and sore for some time, but it sometimes got infected and I had to take antibiotics to combat it. If we are fortunate we only get the infamous chainring tattoo.

chainring tattoo cropped

But if we are not so fortunate we might experience the wrath of those teeth.

chainring-teeth

Can you say OUCH?

chainring wounds

It happens all too easily and without protection we are readily its victim. Even if it doesn’t result in penetrating our skin it can really mess up clothing with a nasty oily dirty stain that is hard to remove. Of course, in warm/hot weather most of us are wearing shorts so there is no clothing covering our legs to help protect us. Even when we do have such clothing on unless it is some very tough material like blue jeans it is no match for those big teeth. Even with blue jeans those teeth can get our attention and cause pain and suffering. And we only have ourselves to sue! Oh my! 🙂

CHAINRING GUARDS TO THE RESCUE!

Catrike Chain Guard

ICE chainring guard

As far as I am concerned they are one of the very best investments we can make for our trikes. I bought one several years ago and it has quite literally saved my hide several times since. On rare occasion I still manage to get a little bit of a tattoo although even those are much lesser than they were without a chainring guard.

My advice to you is don’t wait until you experience those nasty teeth in your flesh. Invest in a chainring guard soon. Don’t procrastinate. It is no fun getting bit by those big teeth. It will help you to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

without concern of this calamity. An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.