Monthly Archives: November 2017

RECUMBENT RAG TOPS


Recumbent RagTops

Canopies are an item which can be a real blessing to have. They can help shield us from the hot sun and even offer some protection from rain. I have a friend who slips a large plastic bag over his to make it totally waterproof if he has to deal with rain while out riding. Some people make their own canopies. My friend made his and another friend made his. There are only a few manufacturers of canopies that I know of. Prices range considerably as do the design and build. I have written about CANOPIES before. One manufacturer I know of (Ed Miller) offers several options on his canopies. The other canopy manufacturer I have written about before (Andy Vardik) no longer makes them. There are a very few companies around who offer them. One of them is Recumbent RagTops. There is also VelTop which offers canopies for recumbent bikes and trikes. This posting is featuring Recumbent RagTops as I have never written about them before.

I think it is safe to say that this design would catch a lot of air especially with the rear flap down over the mesh “window” so no air can flow thru and out the back. Also it is domed quite high which makes the canopy much higher than most others I have seen. Personally I would want the canopy much lower down than this … just a few inches over the top of my head. I have no idea how it handles winds. Also I wonder about visibility of traffic lights as one approaches them

Here is a video with a review of this canopy which addresses all of this and more …

 

Speaking of homemade canopies, I came across this video which I really like so I am sharing it here …

 

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BIONX UPDATE


Dec. 16, 2017

NOTE: Today I sent an email to BionX requesting a full refund. The new hub motor they sent still has the issue of not being able to obtain the advertised top speed of 20 mph. It also does not have as much torque as the first motor I originally had. As much as I like their designed system I am tired of all the problems and not getting anywhere getting them to resolve them. I will buy a different hub motor system later on after I get the refund.

Nov. 21, 2017

NOTE: I just got off the phone a few mintures ago. A man from BionX called me to discuss my issues. They admitted that they had sent me the wrong motor as replacement under warranty and this is why I have been having this issue with the hand throttle. They will be sending out the correct motor which has considerably more torque. This has made my day. Below is what I had written for this posting which will be published Nov. 24th.  I am leaving it here so readers will know what has transpired prior to this phone call I just received. Needless to say, if they get my problems/complaints all resolved I will gladly change the thumbs down to a thumbs up as I really do love the BionX system on my trike.

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As many of you know I have been having problems with my BionX hub motor kit I purchased last summer. Although BionX has taken care of some of the problems I am still dealing with the hand throttle problem and BionX is not doing anything further to help me on this despite my pleading, attempting to reason with them and even threatening them. I eventually filed a complaint against them with the Better Business Bureau hoping they would be concerned about having that on record against them, but it hasn’t made any difference. They didn’t even bother to respond to the complaint. I don’t know what is going on, but I have pretty much written them off as a company that business dealings should be avoided. I had told BionX I would be filing a complaint if they continued to ignore me and refuse to resolve this issue. I truly don’t understand why any legitimate business would not want to address this complaint and satisfy their customer rather than receive a bunch of bad publicity. They don’t seem to take this seriously nor take me seriously, but I am most serious. I paid a lot of money for this hub motor kit and I want and expect it to work right like it did when I first bought it. I don’t think that this is asking or expecting too much. It is looking more and more like I have ran out of options and won’t get this made right by BionX. They don’t seem to care. And so as a result of all I have been dealing with and continue to deal with I can not recommend BionX to anyone. They get a big thumbs down from me.

to BionX

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Remember – they finally contacted me and say they will take care of me and get this resolved to my satisfaction. If they do as they say I will be most happy to give them a thumbs up.

By the way, just as a side note … I have noticed that battery performance is only about 50 % in cold weather of what it is in warm weather. My friend who has an identical setup as mine says the same thing.

TRIKE TRANSPORT IDEAS


Here is a man who came up with a simple means of transporting two trikes using his SUV. One is inside and the other is outside. With his rig no lifting of the trikes is involved.

The product links mentioned in the video are listed below for your convenience.

Harbor Freight Tools: 400 lb. Receiver-Mount Motorcycle Carrier $125

Grainger – U-Channel, AL 6063,1 In Leg, 2 In x 8 ft  $18.30 each

 

BLUESKY CANOPIES


Here is a rather unique canopy which may or may not appeal to you. Since I like having the air on me it has no appeal to me whatsoever. But if it “flicks you Bic” it is available. I had a very hard time finding the price on the website.  However, I finally found it in their catalog. Here is what they show:

“Our popular M4 canopy can be used for many HPV applications for a simple wind and rain fairing. The 8 lb acrylic tinted (or clear) canopy is adaptable but you must make your own attachment and support system. $400 plus $150 shipping.”

In other words all they supply is a hunk of plastic. You are on your own when it comes to mounting it. That has no appeal to me. If I buy a product for my trike I expect it to come with whatever is needed to use it on my trike. I am not at all impressed with what I see on this website. They don’t even have the canopy mounted on the trike they are using to display their product. Instead the guy sitting on the trike is holding the canopy in place with his hands. It is not even centered on the trike when you look at the front view. That seems very unprofessional to me.

There it is folks. Just selling a piece of plastic that one has to figure out how to mount. Nope, I ‘ll pass. I would expect most people would. They need to offer mounting hardware if they are going to sell this product. I wouldn’t know where to begin to come up with what would be needed nor would I want to. How about you?

 

50 MPH E-TRIKE


Matt Shumaker used a KMX Typhoon tadpole trike modifiying it considerably, especially the frame, to create this powerful monster. There is no doubt about it … he achieved his goal in making a strong frame.

https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=15634

https://www.electricbike.com/50mph-monster-electric-trike/

 

He lowered the frame 3/4 of an inch and also widened the frame 5 inches and lengthened it 3 inches to accommadate the motor and increase the handling of the trike. With two 15 hp (11,000 watt) motors powering it these modifications are a very good idea. Matt says it will accelerate from zero to forty in 4.5 seconds! That would indeed be exhilarating.

It sounds like a jet airplane going by. He says he has about $6,000 invested in it plus about 200 hours of time. He values it at about $9000. It is all wheel drive with motors for the front wheels and motors for the rear wheel. The trike does have pedals in case they are needed. The trike weighs about 90 pounds so pedaling it isn’t something one would want to do if they didn’t have to.
Matt reports that the range is about 35 – 45* miles on a charge which is a whole lot more than my 80 mile rated BionX battery gets. I am only getting about 20 miles using 80 % of a full charge on my BionX unit … not very impressive. Of course, this is a massive battery in comparison to what I have. (* one place I read 35 if it is babied and another place I read 45 with no remark about babying it.)

With all that power and speed it requires some hefty brakes. He used 203mm Hope 4 piston hydraulic brakes.

Matt reports that he sold this trike for $7500 with only one motor as he removed one.

 

LET’S GO FOR A RIDE


TADPOLE TRIKE BUILDS ON VIDEO


Being a weldor and metal fabricator most of my life I have a keen interest in “homemade trikes”. I made my first tadpole trike as I did my first recumbent bicycle. Here are some videos of others who made their own trikes. I will say this … it is very important to “do your homework” before building a trike. It is imperative that you build it correctly so that it is safe to ride. The complex geometry (angles) of the front end must be correct and the rider’s weight distribution is quite important so that the trike handles properly.

“RELIVE” YOUR ADVENTURE


Relive your adventure? Well, yeah … sort of. Actually I am talking about a smartphone app which is pretty nifty. Anyone who watches Matt Galat’s (JaYoe) videos has probably already seen it as he uses it on his videos.

RELIVE is free and works with Strava, Endomondo, Garmin Connect and Polar Flow apps to create a 3-D mapping of the route you rode.

HERE are other videos concerning this neat app.