Category Archives: How To

ACCOMMODATING SHORT RIDERS by SHORTENING the BOOM

We as people come in all sorts of different sizes and shapes. That is why the X-seam measurement is so important. Inseam measurement won’t do.  Those who are quite short or quite tall can and often do run into problems finding things that fit them. That includes tadpole trikes. But there is help so don’t give up. NO you don’t have to undergo surgery to have your legs lengthened. Actually there are various options including adjustable seats … something I personally advise people to avoid as moving the seat back and forth on the frame changes the weight distribution and effects the handling and safety of the trike. The same is true when cushions of any kind are used to move the rider further forward in the seat. By far the best way to accommodate a short rider is to shorten the boom.

If the trike’s “boom” does not slide far enough in to allow the rider to reach the pedals properly the boom can be shortened by cutting off the end which goes into the mating part of the trike frame. This is a common practice. Trike dealers do this all the time. However, I caution anyone doing this not to cut any more off of the boom than what is necessary to reach the pedals. The boom should go into the mating frame as far as it can so that the entirety of the boom is strong. Please be aware that shortening a boom slightly devaluates a trike’s worth when one goes to sell it. Definitely this is something which should be disclosed to anyone who is considering buying the trike. If it is being purchased by someone who is tall then a new boom might need to be purchased in order for the boom to be able to extend far enough to accommodate them.

I myself am short and my boom has been shortened. Oh yes, another thing which helps short riders I highly recommend is shorter crankarms. I also use these and it has helped me tremendously.

Yes, there really is hope and help for short riders. You too can …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

DO YOU LUBE YOUR TIRES & TUBES?

Yes, you read right. I asked “do you lube your tires & tubes?” Now I am not talking about using oil or grease. I am talking about using talcum powder (corn starch) … ie … baby powder. I don’t know about you but I hate getting flat tires. I would much rather be riding my trike than working on it. I used to get a lot of flats. I remedied that by using Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. However, that only eliminated those flats which were externally caused. I still occasionally got internally caused flats.

I don’t remember how I learned of using corn starch baby powder inside my tires and on my inner tubes but I tell ya it works … at least for me. I can’t remember the last time I had an internal flat. Well, actually I can as it was fairly recently. I learned a valuable lesson which I will write about in the next paragraph.

One thing I learned … make sure there is no moisture around inside of the tire or on the inner tube as that will cause the powder to clump together and become an abrasive which will cause an internal flat.

Yep, I always liberally apply  it inside of my tires and use my fingers to spread it all over coating all of the inside. I do the same with the inner tube. It can be a bit messy but it is well worth it.

What does the baby powder do you ask? That is a fair enough question. Have you ever taken an inner tube out of a tire and had it stick to the tire requiring extra pull to get it loose? Have you seen the imprint on an inner tube from being pressed against something inside of the tire? On a trike turning a corner involves placing lateral (sideways) force on the wheels since the trike does not lean like a bicycle does. Those lateral forces work the tire on the rim … like taking your hand and pulling and pushing the tire from side to side on the rim. With that tire movement the inner tube inside is also effected. There is friction taking place and in time it can cause a hole to form in the inner tube. The baby powder helps to eliminate all of these things I have mentioned. The rubber surfaces are lubricated by the powder.

Like I said, it works for me and I highly recommend it. It will help you …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

DANGER DANGER DANGER … CROSSING ANGLED RAILROAD TRACKS

I learned as a child as I am sure many of us did that one must be careful crossing railroad tracks that intersect the road on an angle. The more of an angle the more dangerous the situation is. This is especially true for a bicycle than it is for a tadpole trike yet even a tadpole trike can be susceptible to the possibility of a wheel going down into the tracks and causing a wreck. It is always safest for a narrow width wheel vehicle to cross over railroad tracks at as close to a perpendicular (90 degree) angle as possible.

This is to prevent a wheel from getting caught in the railroad tracks and causing a wreck. Depending upon the width of the road the rider may have to ride over into the oncoming traffic lane to make this maneuver so be sure the way is clear ahead and behind.

Although the video below is about bicycles it illustrates what I am talking about including a wheel getting caught and causing a wreck. Fortunately the rider saved the situation and managed to avoid going completely down.

As a child I learned what can happen. I had the same experience as the bicyclist in the picture above did. Fortunately I didn’t get injured but it taught me how important it is to cross tracks safely. I might mention that the worse the pavement is at the train tracks the more dangerous the crossing is. Be safe out there so that you can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ALL ABOUT E-BIKE BATTERY CHARGING & DIY UNDERTAKINGS

While looking for a battery charger on LunaCycle.com  I came across these articles on batteries and battery charging and read them. They are well written with useful information so I am sharing them here. They are found on the  ElectricBike.com website.

Ebike charging for long Battery life

Ebike Charging; Fast or Slow?

Ebike charging for long Battery life

How to make a lithium battery last, or…kill it, if you like.

BMS’s, what the hell do they do?

A Home-Built Ebike Battery Pack from 18650 Cells

What’s inside an 18650 cell? And why its important

Definitive Guide to Ebike Connectors

Mid Drive Kit Install Part-2, Matching Connectors from Battery to Controller

FREE GIFT awaits you!

ATOMIC ZOMBIE D.I.Y. PLANS

Atomic Zombie … tis rather a strange name, but it is a well known name for do it yourself folks. For $16.95 you can buy a set of plans to build a tadpole trike. They have a few different designs to choose from including a tandem model. You can check their complete website out HERE .

 

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HOW TO FIND INFO ON THIS WEBSITE

I am quite sure that there are many readers of this blog who don’t know that there are easy ways to find what you may be looking for or how to go about it. So I thought I would write this posting to explain it.

SEARCH FOR IT … I have tried to lay out this blog making it “user-friendly”. I purposely placed a Search Box at the very top of the right hand column and selected one with a Go button to use in case the reader doesn’t know to use the Enter Key to proceed with the search. So whatever the reader is searching for is quite easy to accomplish. Just type in whatever it is and push Go. If something exists it will show up in the search results. There may be more than one posting about it and, if so, they will all be listed. Please note that any misspelling of the words typed in will result in zero (nothing) in the search results.

SEARCH BY CATEGORY … Just a short ways further down in the right side column below the Recent Posts is “CATEGORIES”. There are many to choose from and using these is an easy way to find all sorts of postings on things the reader is interested in.

There is also a third way … searching by tags, but I don’t have a clue how to do so. Anyway, these two methods can be quite valuable. Give it a try.   And, of course, …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HOW TO TRUE A BICYCLE DISC BRAKE ROTOR

We all know  that SHIT HAPPENS. That includes disc brake rotors getting bent. If they are not bent too much they can usually be straightened and continue to be used. To do so requires the right tools and the knowledge of how to go about straightening them. Here is a tool you will need. It sells for about $18. Park Tools makes some good bicycle tools. This is a Rotor Truing Fork – DT-2C. There are a few other companies that sell their version of this tool. I personally  like Park Tool’s and recommend it.

Here is another well made tool … Foundation Brake Rotor Truing Fork Tool

Park Tools not only make good tools, but they make good instructional videos. Here is their video on how to true a bicycle disc brake rotor.

Here is another video showing a different tool being used.

And here is yet another video …

If you choose to accept this assignment I assure you that it is not mission impossible. Just be careful and follow the instructions. You can do it! And then you can …

  KEEP ON TRIKIN’ & ENJOY THE RIDE

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

MOUNTING HEADLIGHTS AND OTHER ACCESSORIES

A guy (or gal) just can’t have too many headlights. Ha Ha! One thing about it … ya gotta have some place and some way to mount them as well as computers, smartphones, GPS nagivation, mirrors, etc.  Fortunately there are options available. If you’ve got the money somebody will come to your rescue. Not all of the various means of mounting these devices is expensive, but it can get that way with some of the mounts. Some mounts are after market made by a third party and are fairly generic and fit most trikes. Some are specifically made for brand and even model. Some are a trike brand manufacturer but will work on other trike brands. All that being said if you don’t know what is available you will probably be at a loss and need some help from someone who does. I am afraid I can’t be of much help to you so don’t even ask. I am just reporting what little I know and think I understand on the matter.

There are a few different options for mounting to the front derailleur post …

Below is a Minoura Swingrip Accessory mount …

Below is a TerraCycle (not to be confused with TerraTrike) Light Mount …

Greenspeed makes a neat looking mount …

Here is an ICE mount made to bolt onto the water bottle mount on the front derailleur post …

TerraTrike does offer various mounts for lights and accessories …

This is a boom mount for a TerraTrike Rover …

I used to use this item to mount lights on although mine was black …

I used to have 3 headlights … two on the mount like shown above and the third on the Catrike accessory mount built into the front derailleur post …

Since I rarely ride after dark I decided to remove two of them so I just went back to using the original built in horizontal post on the front derailleur post.

There is also a product called The Nob, but it doesn’t seem to be available and no one seems to know when it will be …

As you can see this KMX trike has sufficient mounts for computers, GPS device and mirrors …

 

There are even axle mounts …

And then there are a bit more elaborate products …

Catrike cockpit mount …

Here is an offering from TerraCycle which I personally use along with the Catrike Cockpit Mounts. It is called a “cockpit mini-Tee” …

 

 

I have my computers mounted to them as well as my AirZound horn. Here is the one on the left side taken before the AirZound horn was installed …

There are other similar products avalable.  Most of them are to aid the rider in getting up out of the seat.

Be safe out there and …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

NOW YOU STAY (ALL ABOUT PARKING BRAKES)

NOW YOU STAY!!!

There is a joke about a woman who drives her car into the parking lot at a shopping center to do a bit of shopping. A man nearby sees her exit her vehicle and then turn toward the car pointing her finger saying “Now you stay!” Thinking she is talking to her car he says to her … “Lady, why don’t you just put it in ‘park’?” What he couldn’t see from his vantage point is the small dog seated inside the car which the lady was talking to.

Now that has absolutely nothing to do with tadpole trikes, but I thought it was appropriate to lead into what I want to discuss here … some means of getting our trikes to ‘stay’ when we dismount and leave our trikes unattended.

Both ICE and HP Velotechnik offer a parking brake … either a caliper type or disc type as both are options.  If any other manufacturers offer a parking brake I am not aware of it.

That being said, Catrike now comes with locking brake levers … a huge improvement over the Velcro strap they used to provide.

So unless your trike comes with some sort of parking brake or locking brake levers you need to come up with some means of keeping your trike where you leave it as I assure you that saying to your trike “now you stay” isn’t going to work.

Using a Velcro strap works, but are a pain in the neck to use in my opinion.

I have also used a heavy duty rubber band of sorts to wrap around the twist grip and hook both ends around the brake lever. This worked pretty good, but again it was a bit of a pain to use.

And I used plastic cable ties which also worked pretty good. It only required one hand to use it. I much preferred it over the Velcro strap.

There are locking parking brake levers which are my preference. They are what I have used for several years now.

For me to use them they require two hands to engage the lock.  They sure beat using the Velcro strap method.

There are other ways to keep your trike from taking off on its own, but these are the most common means that I am aware of.

One thing I want to mention is that if your trike has a rear brake it is intended to be used strictly as a parking brake. Braking the rear wheel, especially by itself with no front brake application, can be dangerous and have bad consequences. The two front brakes on a tadpole trike are plenty powerful and effective enough to stop a trike. There is no need of using a rear brake.

Regardless of what means you use to keep your trike from departing the scene without you aboard I hope you can always …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BRAKE STEER

The two front brakes on a tadpole trike are such an important component. We need them to slow us down at times and to completely stop us. That is a given. But did you know that you can help steer your trike with them? I do it all the time. It is very helpful for those who like to ride a little faster than others. Entering a curve going faster than is recommended the use of one brake applied properly can make a big difference in how the trike handles the curve.  Those who are really skilled at riding fast thru a turn may use a combination of leaning their upper body into the turn as well as braking on the inside wheel of the turn. Using a brake to help the trike turn thru a corner is something one must be careful of as if it is not done correctly it could have bad results. So my suggestion is to learn how to do it slowly … at slower speeds … discovering how it works and becoming skilled at it. Then one can start speeding up a little at a time until they reach their personal potential or the physical limitations … whichever comes first. Be aware that applying the brake too hard in a turn is dangerous and can result in a crash. Like ol’ Dirty Harry said … a man’s gotta know his limits … and the physical limits of the trike. Anyway, by slowing the inside wheel down in a turn the trike will want to turn thru it easier. Too much brake application is not good so as I said practice is needed. I would suggest practicing and honing your initial skills in an empty parking lot where you have plently of room. Then you can move onto streets, roads and trails. Just don’t “hotdog” around others.  Be a good ambassador out there when you are around others. In doing so we can all …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

E-MOTOR BATTERY MOUNTS FROM TERRACYCLE

TerraCycle makes some great products for our trikes. With the ever increasing popularity of electric motorized trikes having a way to mount the battery is crucial. It is not desirable to mount a heavy battery up high on a trike as it raises the trike’s center of gravity considerably and effects the handling and therefore safety of the trike. Keeping the battery mounted down low and out of the way is important. TerraCycle offers some solutions … some specifically made for certain trike and battery brands and others which aremore less generic. Actually as far as I can tell from their webpage they only have kits for Catrike and ICE (rigid rear) and (suspended models) at this time.

They do offer a highly configurable mount so chances are pretty good they can help a guy (or gal) out with their battery mounting problem. When ordering one needs to specify what trike (brand and model) as well as e-motor system and battery they have so TerraCycle can send the correct spacers needed for the specific kits or to help them in getting you a mounting bracket which will work on your trke.

I said that keeping the battery mounted down low is important as far as the trike’s center of gravity. This is quite true, however, the downside of mounting the battery down low is that it is then very vulnerable to getting water, mud, slush and whatever else flung up on it. I presently have my battery down low, but I am seriously considering mounting it up on the rear luggage rack somehow as my battery is getting so messed up for all kinds of stuff being flung up on it. I don’t like that. When I first got my electric motor pedal assist kit I had the battery located in the rear rack and I didn’t have any issues with handling. The battery certainly stayed a whole lot cleaner up there and it was a lot handier to get to it. Some manufacturers of e-motors offer a special rear luggage rack designed to hold their battery. Unfortunately most of these rack mounted batteries are not very powerful so the cruising range they offer is limited.

A larger battery can be mounted on top of a rear luggage rack, but then the luggage rack can’t be used for a trunk bag. Panniers can still be used. I sure will miss my trunk bag if I end up mounting my battery on top of the rear rack.

The battery can also be mounted on the boom. However, that is a lot of weight sitting on the boom and the boom was never intended to carry weight like this so I don’t know how wise it is to do this. I am not saying that it won’t hold it okay. I just don’t know.

The Beatles said it all in one of their songs … “we can work it out” … and when we do it will most certainly help us to … ENJOY THE RIDE & KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

THE ONLY REASON

Today as I post this is December 25th. It is the day when most of the world pauses to one degree or another to acknowledge the fact that God came to earth in the form of a human Baby on a mission to provide a way for man to be saved from the consequences and penalty of his sin. Man can not save himself although many try. That Baby grew into a Man and completed the mission He was on. Unlike us He lived a perfect life free from sin. This was most important as He was to be the sacrifice offering for sin … the only offering acceptable to a holy God. You can read more about all of this in great detail HERE . Sadly the world (most of mankind) has rejected this salvation God offers to us. Doing so comes at a very high price as our eternal soul is at stake. God offers us this FREE GIFT of His salvation, but for all those who reject it and ignore it they forfeit the opportunity He offers to be forgiven of our sin and we then must pay the penalty and answer to Him in judgement. God is love and He demonstrated His love for all of us by dying a cruel agonizing death in our place. His love is AIMED AT YOUR HEART. He has done all that is needed and all that He can and will for us to be saved from our sin. The choice and decision is ours. Once we breathe our last breath it is too late to choose Him and receive His gift of salvation. Our fate is sealed. So I ask you … if you have never responded to His invitation … WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS? Someday your heart will be asking … WHAT WILL JESUS DO WITH ME? The answer to that question can be readily found in His written word … the holy scriptures. God is holy and can not allow sin in His presence. We as sinful people have a problem. Our eternal soul will spend all of eternity either with God (if the sin problem has been taken care of) or apart from God. Being apart from God means spending eternity suffering in anguish in hell fire. God has warned us. We are free morale agents. God created us with the ability to choose to do what we want. We have free will. We are not robots preprogrammed by God to do what He wants us to do. There would not be any expression of God’s love in that. Recognizing and responding to God’s love for us loving Him in return is the ultimate expression of love. It is not a matter of obeying God because we have to. It is all about obeying God because we want to … we want to please Him out of a motivation of our love in return. Yes, God demonstrated His great love for us while we were yet sinners … in the very act of sinning and rebelling against Him … Jesus Christ died for us. Therein is love!

I know there are those who will read this and get upset over it. There will be those who want to tell me it has no place here on a blog about tadpole trikes. But you know … none of that matters. There is not a more important message to communicate to others than this message. In obedience to God I am willing to ruffle a few feathers upsetting some. This timeless message may touch a few hearts and that is what matters. So on this Christmas Day I present the Christmas message. It is not about the many things man does at this time of year … putting up an evergreen tree and decorating it, giving gifts to one another, feasting together as family and friends or any number of the things man does during this holiday. The truth is most everything man does is based on paganism practices the Roman Catholic church brought into our culture. And no where in the holy scriptures are we commanded or instructed to observe the birth of Jesus Christ. And He wasn’t born in December anyway. With all of this being true it is important not to “throw the baby out with the bath water” so to speak. This Christmas holiday does exist in our culture so I for one intend to take advantage of it and proclaim the message of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The reason for the season is truly all about the fact that Jesus did come to earth to provide salvation. He came the first time as a helpless Baby. He will be returning soon … very soon … as the King of kings and Lord of lords. His word tells us that He is coming to pour out His wrath (His anger) on all of those who have rejected Him and the salvation He alone offers. Far better is it to accept and respond to His love now than to be the recipient of His anger later. We are without excuse if we fail to respond to His great love while it is being offered and is available to us. Time is short. Besides none of us know what a day may bring forth. Our last final breath could be seconds away. It is all a most serious matter. The greatest gift is not one placed under a tree. The greatest gift in the One Who was placed on a tree. His Name is Jesus. Merry Christmas to all!

HOW TO CHANGE AN INNER TUBE

Sooner or later if we ride any kind of a cycle with pneumatic tires we are likely to get a flat tire. Many of us have been fixing flats since childhood so we can handle flats when they happen. However, some riders have never done so and don’t know how and are intimidated by such a challenge. In today’s world there is help as close as our computers/smartphones/tablets. There are quite a lot of tutorials available in the way of videos where things are not only explained, but they are shown making it even easier to understand. Here is one such video which is pretty comprehensive:

And here is another:

One cardinal rule is never use a sharp object such as a screwdriver as a tire lever. This young person in THIS VIDEO uses two of them.

If you find you have a damaged tire that you are concerned about continuing on riding on there may be hope for it. HERE is an article I wrote on dealing with such tires.

HERE is an article I wrote on rear wheel removal and reinstallation.

Here is another video on changing a tube:

One tip I would share here which makes a whole lot of sense, but is seldom mentioned in instructional videos is to use the punctured inner tube to discover the location in the tire where the puncture occured. Simply carefully remove the inner tube from the tire paying careful attention to its exact positioning in the tire so that you can later place it upon the outside of the tire the same as it came out. Pump the punctured inner tube back up with air to discover the location of the leak. Once you know where the leak in the tube is at you can determine where to look in the tire for the cause of the leak. The cause may or may not be there, but if it is still there it is most important to remove it before installing the new inner tube. Otherwise it will just cause the new inner tube to fail also. Be very careful running your fingers around inside of the tire attempting to locate the cause of the flat as you could get cut or otherwise injured.

When I watch most instructional videos I usually find at least one thing they cover which I take issue with and don’t agree on. That’s okay, I guess. They can do whatever they want and I will do the task the way I want. That is just the way things are in this ol’ world we live in. I guess the most important thing is that we “git ‘er dun” so that we can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

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

**********

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

TIRE SEALANTS … DO THEY REALLY WORK?

 

Steve Greene recently posted an article on his Trike Asylum blog about tire sealants where various brands were tested and compared. I have never been a fan of Slime and the article isn’t very flattering for Slime as it states and shows exactly what I have observed and experienced with it. In short, it is very messy and only works on very small punctures. As you can see the top performers are: Orange Seal, Stan’s NoTubes and Schwalbe’s Doc Blue product (which is made by Stan’s). Interestingly the Schwalbe product scored better than Stan’s NoTubes. None of the sealants could stop a leak of the largest size hole in the test. The Orange Seal did the best however and might have allowed the tire to be pumped up as necessary to make it home. If someone insists on running tires that easily get flats a sealant may be practical to use. As for me I think I will stick with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires as they have never failed me. I have never had an externally caused flat tire nor a glass cut in the tread … and I used to get both all the time when I ran other tires.

Since Orange Seal scored the highest I offer this video demonstrating how well it works.

I reckon it comes down to personal preferences and the environment one rides in. I know I much prefer to ride my trike than work on it … especially alongside the road or trail. Yep, I like to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’ 

and simply…

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

HOW TO ADJUST STEERING ON THE PERFORMER TRIKES (models X, E AND F)

FREE GIFT awaits you!

SETUP & ADJUSTMENT OF MECHANICAL DISC BRAKES

This is a subject like many others where you can find varying opinions and instructions on how to go about setting up and adjusting mechanical disc brakes. I only have and use Avid BB7 brakes. I started off with Avid BB5 brakes which I would not wish on my worst enemy as the saying goes. They are junk in my opinion. They required almost constant daily adjustment which got old quick. The BB7 is a far superior brake and well worth the additional expense over the BB5 brakes. The main difference between the two besides the brake pads is that the BB5 brake only has one adjustment knob for the brake pad … that is, only one side can be adjusted. The other side is stationary. The BB7 has adjustment knobs on both sides making it much easier to get proper adjustment initially. And once adjusted the BB7 seems to remain in proper adjustment for quite some time. If you have the BB5 brakes you are on your own as I won’t waste my time trying to instruct how to adjust them as they aren’t worth the time and effort involved. My advice is to upgrade to the BB7s. Anyway, I am not going to link to the instructions of others here, but rather I am simply going to share how I go about setting up and adjusting the brakes.

To start out it is important that the rotors run true. If they are bent or damaged they need to be repaired or replaced. There is a special tool to use to straighten a bent rotor, but if one lacks this tool an adjustable wrench can be used if the bend is only near the outer part of the disc. If it is further inward toward the center of the disc an adjustable wrench won’t do. I have a Park Tool straightener, but there are other brands available.

If the rotor is straight and true you can move onto the setup of the brake. Basically by setup I mean positioning the brake caliper and brake pads properly on the rotor. Again, not everybody goes about this the same way, but I am only sharing how I do it and it has worked great for me. Ideally it would be best to do all this with the rider of the trike seated on the trike so that the effect of the rider’s weight is taken into consideration as I am sure things would change a little just like the toe in measurement sometimes changes when the rider is seated on the trike. This is especially true if the rider is heavy. I have never done that myself as it would be difficult if one is by themself to sit in the seat and perform this procedure.

It is most important that the caliper be positioned correctly so that the rotor is centered and parallel to the brake pads. Otherwise it is likely that the brake will rub and make noise, especially when cornering. Also the brakes won’t work as well as they could and the brake pads will wear uneven.

The mounting bolts have special washers which are dished and cupped so that they fit together and “adjust” to the positioning of the caliper over the rotor.

The procedure I use to align the caliper and brake pads on the rotor is simply to leave the mounting bolts loose so that the caliper can move freely.

I then sort of wiggle the caliper around while I turn the brake pad adjustments (red plastic knobs) in so that they tighten against the rotor and center the caliper over the rotor. I initially wiggle the caliper around a bit just to ensure it is freely moving while the brake pads are being adjusted in. Turning these adjustment knobs can tighten the brake pads sufficiently to hold against the rotor aligning it properly. I then carefully tighten the mounting bolts being careful not to move the caliper in the process. An alternative way of doing this is to tighten the brake pad adjustment knobs only partially so that squeezing the brake lever will tighten the brake pads on down against the rotor. Holding the brake lever on (or using some means of holding it on) I then tighten the mounting bolts carefully. Now with the caliper and brake pads aligned the brake pads can be adjusted properly.

Here is a video about centering hydraulic disc brakes which is pretty much the same process as mechanical disc brakes with the exception of having to push the pistons back out..

When adjusting the brake pads I simply back them off just enough initially so that they don’t rub when the wheel is spun. I then pull the brake lever to see how it feels. If it is too tight I loosen one of both of the brake pads a bit more. I also look down at the brake pads to see what the gap is looking like as I want to be sure both pads are evenly spaced out from the rotor. One should try to keep the gap between the brake pad and rotor the same on both sides so that when the brake is applied both brake pads make contact at the same time and not be forcing the rotor over to one side. It should remain straight and not flex (be forced) sideways.

Keep in mind that when cornering hard there is some flex in the wheel  and often times some rubbing will occur between the brake pads and the rotor. If this is bothersome the brake pads can be further adjusted out if needed.

Keep in mind that if a wheel is removed or realigned (adjusting the spokes) or a rotor is removed and then reinstalled or a new rotor is installed the caliper and brake pads may need to be realigned. That is what happened to my trike recently. I adjusted the spokes realigning the wheels which resulted in the need to reposition the caliper and brake pads. Once I did that my brakes worked much better. Obviously having properly working brakes is most important. They will help us …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

HERE is a link to all of Park Tool’s videos.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

SO YOU WANT TO BUILD YOUR OWN TRIKE, HUH?

There is lots of information about building a tadpole trike available online besides what I have written myself. I am not really adding anything new here. Rather I am simply posting this one article with links to all that I have written about the subject before making it a bit easier to find it.

Here is one of them: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/gotta-do-your-homework/
Here is another one: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/tadpole-trike-construction-the-science-of-tadpole-trike-steering/
Here another one: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/home-built-recumbent-trike-detailed-plans-and-construction-steps/
And here are a bunch more postings on my blog about custom built trikes: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/category/homemade-tadpole-trikes/

FREE GIFT awaits you!

WHEEL (RIM) REPAIRS

It can happen all too easily and quickly … slam, bam … and I ain’t talking about heading off for the moon. I am talking about damage occurring to our wheels by hitting a bad bump or hole. It happened to me this Spring riding along on city/county streets and roads. Pot holes are everywhere and hard to avoid, especially when riding a trike with three wheels all tracking their own separate path. With traffic alongside and sometimes parked cars on the other one doesn’t have the luxury of steering out and over to the side to avoid hitting such bad pavement. I have two front wheels with pronounced flat spots on them. What’s a guy to do? New wheels are not cheap and it is something that can happen more than once.  To continually replace damaged wheels would be a rich man’s game. There is hope as long as the damage isn’t too severe.

Like so many things we can do an online search for help and information. First if we have the money we can have a LBS (Local Bike Shop) make the repair for us if they offer that servoce. There are special tools to use to make such repairs. I try to do as much of my own repair and maintenance work on my trike as I can. I rarely need to take my trike to a shop as I can do most everything myself.

How do you fix a flat spot on a wheel you ask? It is not as difficult as one might think. Probably the most helpful information I have come across is the website of the late Sheldon Brown. He is well known and respected as a gold mine of information about bicycle repair and maintenance. HERE is his article on this subject. Most of the way down the page you will find his instruction on how to remove flat spots on wheels.

The tools needed are simple enough … a spoke wrench, a strong fence post (or something such), and some sort of a strong strap. After removing the flat spot as much as you can the wheel will need to be trued. HERE is Sheldon’t article on truing wheels.

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There are other ways to go about this. Another of them is to simply stand on the flat spot and physically pull the rim back out removing the flat spot. One needs to be careful however as other damage can happen to the wheel. Above a person is using a hydraulic bottle jack to push the flat spot out. Notice he has in place a block of wood on the base of the jack  and a curved piece of metal on the top … both to help prevent damage to the wheel components.

Here is a helpful video covering this subject and more …

http://www.vitalmtb.com/videos/features/How-To-Wheel-Truing-with-Arts-Cyclery,25038/sspomer,2

Like many subjects there are a “blue million” videos available about wheel truing.

Here are some articles I have written:

Wheel Truing

Catrike Front Wheel Bearings

Wheel Building

Rear Wheel Cartridge Bearing

Wheel Alignment & Spoke Tension/Breakage

Of course, the best advise is to try to avoid riding places where this damage can occur. It is no fun riding on rims with flat spots and it is no fun trying to fix them either. But hey, like something else we all know about … IT happens! And when it does we have to deal with it if we want to ENJOY THE RIDE and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

STICK CATCHING … NOT A NICE GAME TO PLAY

For those who have quick release wheel axles there is a matter which should be taken into consideration if you never have before. When tightened down the lever should not be pointed forward as many people often do. When they are pointed forward they can easily and readily do catch sticks, weeds, etc. A lot of people just tighten them up in whatever position that they happen to be in. I have seen the result of having these levers positioned facing forward. They are very good at snagging twigs, etc. as we ride along. So I highly suggest positioning them to face backwards if possible or “tucked away” somehow to avoid this problem. Here is one pointing up which is okay.

And here is one sort of tucked in where it would be hard for a stick to get snagged by it.

This applies to both the front and back axles.

This one on a front axle is positioned ideally.

This may sound like nit picking and silly, but from personal experience it can help avoid problems as we ride along. Just be sure that in changing the position of the lever the entire axle skewer assembly is sufficiently tight. You sure don’t want a wheel falling out of it’s proper position like in this picture of a mountain biker. Actually I photo edited this as I couldn’t find a picture online to demonstrate it. Hopefully we won’t be flying thru the air like some bikes do.

Snagging sticks is not a game to be played while out riding. It is much better to just …

ENJOY THE RIDE & KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!