Monthly Archives: March 2017

MASA SLINGSHOT, A BIT OF NOSTALGIA


masa-slingshot-racer

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

HERE are lots of pictures of two of these trikes.

_________________________

tadpole trike, tadpole trikes, tadpole tricycles, recumbent trikes, recumbent tricycles, recumbent tadpole trikes, recumbent tadpole tricycles, American Cruiser, Atomic Zombie, Azub, Bikes Reclinadas, CarbonTrikes, Catrike, Challenge, David Bruce Trikes, Edge Recumbents, Evolve, FFR Trikes, Fortrike, Greenspeed, HP Velotecknik, ICE, KMX, Logo Trikes, Outrider USA, Performer, Podersa Cycles, Scarab, Steintrikes, SunSeeker, TerraTrike, Ti-Trikes, Trident, TrikeWars, TriSled, TW-Bents, Utah Trikes, Windcheetah

Masa Slingshot Trike, tadpole trike, tadpole trikes, tadpole tricycles, recumbent trikes, recumbent tricycles, recumbent tadpole trikes, recumbent tadpole tricycles

Advertisements

GOPRO MOUNTS TIPS & TRICKS


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

 

___________________________

tadpole trike, tadpole trikes, tadpole tricycles, recumbent trikes, recumbent tricycles, recumbent tadpole trikes, recumbent tadpole tricycles, American Cruiser, Atomic Zombie, Azub, Bikes Reclinadas, CarbonTrikes, Catrike, Challenge, David Bruce Trikes, Edge Recumbents, Evolve, FFR Trikes, Fortrike, Greenspeed, HP Velotecknik, ICE, KMX, Logo Trikes, Outrider USA, Performer, Podersa Cycles, Scarab, Steintrikes, SunSeeker, TerraTrike, Ti-Trikes, Trident, TrikeWars, TriSled, TW-Bents, Utah Trikes, Windcheetah

CATRIKE MODEL LINEUP


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

_____________________

tadpole trike, tadpole trikes, tadpole tricycles, recumbent trikes, recumbent tricycles, recumbent tadpole trikes, recumbent tadpole tricycles, American Cruiser, Atomic Zombie, Azub, Bikes Reclinadas, CarbonTrikes, Catrike, Challenge, David Bruce Trikes, Edge Recumbents, Evolve, FFR Trikes, Fortrike, Greenspeed, HP Velotecknik, ICE, KMX, Logo Trikes, Outrider USA, Performer, Podersa Cycles, Scarab, Steintrikes, SunSeeker, TerraTrike, Ti-Trikes, Trident, TrikeWars, TriSled, TW-Bents, Utah Trikes, Windcheetah

TRAIL RIDING IN GERMANY


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

REAR WHEEL STEERING = HIGH SPEED INSTABILITY


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

ENJOY THE RIDE!

“SORTA FAT”


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

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

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

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

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

rear-tire-clearance-in-frame

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

WHO NEEDS FENDERS ANYWAY?


fender-set

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

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

ice-and-catrike-fender-mounting

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

front-fender-braces-2

planet-bike-fender-braces

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

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

AH … TO BE A KID AGAIN


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

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

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

masa-slingshot-racer

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

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

abby-riding-my-catrike

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

lucys-recumbent-smile

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

lucys-recumbent-smile-2

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

ENJOY THE RIDE!

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

DOES THIS GET YOUR ATTENTION?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The concept of being able to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

appeals to me. How about you?

BEFORE YOU BUY A TADPOLE TRIKE


bicycleman-trike-display

MANY ARE CONSIDERED, ONE IS CHOSEN

I came across this webpage which is a pretty well written article on the many varied considerations of selecting a tadpole trike to buyCheck it out.

BEFORE YOU BUY A TRIKE!

And HERE is another webpage which delves into this.

HERE is an article on Trike Asylum blog on this.

Below are other articles on this subject:

http://recumbentcyclistnews.blogspot.com/p/recumbent-101.html

http://takeatrike.com/