Blog Archives

“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.

FREE GIFT awaits you!

PERFORMER JC-70 TADPOLE TRIKE REVIEW

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BIONX … THE JURY IS STILL OUT ON THIS ONE

This is an update — Many of you know that I purchased a 350 watt hub motor kit from Bionx. Everything was fine at first with the exception of not getting many miles out of the battery. I was truly disappointed in that factor as I found myself having to stop during my daily rides to plug in somewhere and recharge my battery. That was no fun. I wanted to be riding not sitting around waiting on a wee bit of charge to go back into my battery. One hour of charging was then used up in ten minutes or less. I shared my disappointment with the  Bionx dealer and they told me to bring my trike in and they would check things out. It is a 2 hour drive to the dealer so I am not crazy about having to drive down there any more than I have to. I went down and they checked everything out saying it is all normal. That being said, Bionx was good enough to send the larger battery free of charge to replace the medium size battery I had purchased which was rated at 65 miles. I was getting about 27 at best. The larger battery is rated at 80 miles. One of my friends has this battery with his 350 watt hub motor. He gets far more miles per charge out of his battery than I was … probably twice or more miles. While waiting on the larger battery to arrive my pedal assist mode quit working. All I had available to use was the hand throttle which uses up the battery even quicker. Again, I had to take my trike back to the Bionx dealer. Bionx determined that the problem was in the hub motor so they sent a replacement under warranty. Once it arrived I, of course, had to make another trip down to the Bionx dealer to get the new motor and the new battery installed. The pedal assist worked again, but now this larger battery didn’t perform as well as the smaller battery. I only got about 22 miles out of it before it was used up. And when charging it it got extremely hot as did the charger. So another trip back to the Bionx dealer was needed. They tested everything out and said that it all checks out okay (normal). They did however, replace the 2 day old battery installation with another battery. This one doesn’t overheat, but it still takes way too long to charge and two out of the three times I have charged it thus far it never showed that it was charged up. The green light never came on. Bionx states that their batteries should charge up in 4 to 5.5 hours, but I have been dealing with batteries that sometimes take as much as 11 hours to charge. As I said, the battery I have now most of the time never shows a green light indicating it is charged. It just remains red. BTW, they state in their manual that it first shows red indicating it needs charging and then when the charging begins it changes to amber and finally to green when it is charged. Well with 3 batteries it has never had an amber light … only red and green. My friend says he has never seen an amber light either. With this new battery and over inflating my tires 5 psi I finally got about 40 miles out of the battery charge. I am happy enough with that, but I sure am not with the matter of charging the battery taking so long and not showing it is charged after such a long time.

I also complained about the hand throttle not working right with this new motor and battery. They test rode it and said it works fine. They don’t know what they are talking about. It has no power when applied. Before when it worked right using the hand throttle was like having JATO assist. The trike really took off. I could shoot across a road getting out of the way of traffic or I could zip up a hill. Now I have to pedal up the hill as the hand throttle does next to nothing. My two friends who have this same setup both have hand throttles that work like mine used to. I could not believe that the dealer claimed that the hand throttle works the way it is supposed to.

So …. I have emailed Bionx and shared with them what is going on. I am hopeful that they will do whatever it takes to get me a system that works right and stays working right. I am not a happy camper at this time. I told them that if they can’t get me a system that works right I want my money back. I am waiting to see what happens. I will let you know.

From what I have seen I think Bionx has a serious problem with quality control. I sure hope they get their act together. I really like their system, but I sure can’t recommend it as things stand now. I mean … I want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

(and not driving back and forth to the Bionx dealer.)

FREE GIFT awaits you!

Update – My battery problems seem to be doing much better now. I can ride much further on a charge and the battery seems to be charging normally now. Bionx instructed me to run the battery completely down so that the sensor would refresh and reset itself properly. That seemed to work. Now if they can just get the hand throttle working right I will be a happy camper.

verdict is in

Update – As instructed to took my trike back to the dealer (which is about 150 miles round trip) as BionX was supposed to resolve the hand throttle issue. It was a wasted trip as they accomplished nothing and said that there is nothing they can do to get it working like it used to. So I am stuck with an expensive system that doesn’t work right and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. I am considering requesting my money back. I have no idea what would happen if I were to do that. I have also considered attempting to file some sort of a consumer complaint against BionX which is a Canadian company. I have no idea how to go about that. Needless to say I am not a happy camper and as a result of all of this the jury is in and I give BionX and thumb down. It truly saddens me as for the most part I really like this system. I think they have a serious problem with quality control, but this is to be expected when one is dealing with Chinese made products. Advanced western nations never should have got involved in getting any products made in foreign countries with cheap labor. We should only make our own and thereby benefit our own people.

BIONX HAS PROBLEMS

++++++++++

FREE GIFT awaits you!

PEDAL POWERED USB CHARGER

I am sure most of us who are old as dirt like me remember the generator dynamo light sets we had on our bicycles. They worked, but the amount of light varied according to the speed we rode. They could be very dim or we could ride so fast that we could burn out the bulbs (which I did many times). In short, they lacked good technology to better regulate the power being produced. Yet they did work. We have certainly come a long way when it comes to bicycle lighting. I only mention these old generator dynamo light sets because what I am writing about here is something which looks very much like the generator dynamo of old.

This new generator dynamo very much incorporates modern day technology, but its purpose is not to produce power for lighting. Nope, this unit provides 5 volts of D.C. current for a USB outlet so we can power up all sorts of modern day electronic gadgets to charge them as we ride. I don’t know much about it, but I find it intriguing.

The cost is reduced to about $33. However, the website shows it is “currently out of stock”.

Specifications
PBDNC10
Pedal Power Waterproof Bicycle Wheel-Powered USB Charger Energy Generator Dynamo
Pedal Your Bike, Generate Power & Charge Your Device
Generates Electricity and Charges from Spinning Bike Wheel
Charge Your Phone or Other Device While Riding
(If it has a USB Cable you can charge it!)
Attaches to Almost Any Style Bike Old or New
Connect Your Device Directly into the USB Port
Built-in Lithium Battery Recharges While You Pedal
Lightweight, Durable, Shockproof and Made to Last
Waterproof Marine Grade Construction
Easily Mounts and Un-Mounts from Bike frame
Dynamo Quickly Disengages from Tire
USB Output: 5V/1A
Battery Capacity: 3.7V/700mAh (Li-Ion)
Works with Smartphones, MP3 Players, GPS, Tablets, etc.
Dimensions: 5.0″ × 5.0″ × 2.4″
Pyle is helping you save the environment with every pedal of your bicycle. The Pedal
Power Wheel-Powered Energy Generator allows you to ‘Go Green’ and charge your
device while riding! Simply mount the dynamo to your wheel and the built-in
rechargeable battery creates and stores power with every rotation.
The system fits virtually any size and style bike and quickly attaches and detaches. If
you have the USB cable, you can charge it.
(Works with all your favorite devices: Smartphones, MP3 Players, GPS, Tablets, etc.)
Reduce, reuse and rethink about the environment with the Pyle Pedal Power!
www.PyleAudio

Keep in mind that this product is designed to use on a standard bicycle so using it on a tadpole trike might involve some ingenuity mounting it so it would line up properly and work on a trike wheel. Some trike frames might be more challenging than others. Of course, it could be operated on any one of the three wheels of a trike. I assume that sooner or later it will be back in stock. The website does provide an email service to notify when it is back in stock. I really like the idea of being able to recharge a cell phone or other devices … and doing so while we are riding. It all helps us …

ENJOY THE RIDE

FREE GIFT awaits you!

BTW … there are other products out there besides this one:

Chain Charger

Ebay $25 free shipping

Wind Powered

Ebay $28.49 free shipping

and there are several others

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

HELP! I CAN’T GET UP

The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be. To be blunt, some of need help for one reason or another. Getting into  the seat of a tadpole trike can be challenging enough for some of us, but getting back up out of the seat can be even more challenging. I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first? 🙂             Let’s just go with the bad news and get it out of the way.

“SKY HOOKS” don’t really exist. It is too bad as they would be extremely popular. My first introduction to the imaginary sky hooks was when I was in the Navy. Along with the “mail buoy watch”,  “relative bearing grease”, “batteries for the sound-powered phones”, “shore line stretcher“, “a long weight” and several other pranks the sky hooks were a fun thing to play on gullible newbies. Anyway, a sky hook is a device which has a hook on both ends or at least the top end and a closed strap on the bottom end. One end hooks up to someplace up in the sky and the other end is used to hoist or hold something up. If we had two sky hooks it would be the cat’s meow in helping us get up out of our trike seats.

All joking aside let’s get to the good news. There really are devices available to help us get in and out of our seats. Various trike manufacturers (as well as 3rd parties) offer them for their trikes. Here are some examples:

Note: Keep in mind that I have not looked into shipping charges  to know where the best price can be found.

HERE is what Utah Trikes sells. They have several offerings, but I like the ones that they make “in house” which are illustrated in this video below. Although they are made for Catrike they say they will work on most tadpole trike which have direct steering.

HERE are the UT Custom EZ Entry Aids featured in the video above. $140

 

HERE are the ICE Helping Hands (shown above) for the Adventure model. $150

HERE are the ICE Helping Hands for the Sprint model (shown below). $155 (most other sources I have seen charge $163)


HERE is what PowerOnCycling sells for Catrike. (I like these & they are lower cost than most others.) $90

HERE is the Thrive Cycling Assistive Arms (shown below). $149

HERE are TerraTrike’s VersaBars (shown above). $90

HERE is the HP Velotechnik Stand Up Aid for the Gekko model (shown above). $89

HERE is the HP Velotechnik Stand Up Aid for the Scorpion model (shown below). $259


And HERE is a product for Catrike from TerraCycle (shown above). $149

And  HERE are the extra long version of the Catrike Assist Arms from TerraCycle (shown below). $169

And here are some other offerings for Catrike:

In order to use these Catrike Stand Up Assist bars as illustrated the vertical handlebars would have to be moved much further forward than I would want them. I like my vertical handlebars out near the ends of the horizontal bars coming off of the steering heads. Moving them forward changes the leverage and control feel quite noticeably.

My experience in attempting to pull back and down when trying to get up is that the trike wants to roll/move (slide) backwards, especially as the rider removes his/her weight off of the seat. This makes for a serious problem in trying to use any of these sort of devices. Only straight downward pressure will keep the trike in place. Others have said that these work and they don’t have this problem, but I can’t see how it is possible based on my own personal experience. Definitely I think that the design and placement of these will greatly determine how well they work … meaning some would work better than others. It is just my thinking and opinion as I have never tried any of them.

I think the idea of a sky hook would work best. 😉 Yep, I really think someone needs to get serious and invent the sky hook as it would make all this so simple and work so much better than any of these aids.A “lift seat would be nice though. 🙂 

So if you need help getting in and out of your seat you might want to look into one of these aids. They are all we have available for now. Hey, Enjoy the Ride … and …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

 

 

 

EVOLVE TRIKES

evolve-trike-ready-to-ride

Evolve Trikes  … interesting concept, but they are sure having problems getting into production and to market. Years and years seem to be passing by and still they are waiting for things to come together. It just doesn’t seem to be happening. Yep, they seem to be having trouble evolving to market.

Since it’s inception they have made some changes in its design. The main boast is that it folds faster and smaller than any other trike.

evolve-trike-the-fold

When I look at the design construction of trikes I am always concerned about how ell they are made and whether or not they are likely to fail. Mind you I am not an engineer, but I do have well over 50 years experience at welding and fabricating. In welding my “specialty” was repair welding. That means I worked on a whole lot of things that failed and required repair. In making the repair it was usually easy and obvious to see why the item failed. And in repairing it I always made it much stronger so that it didn’t fail again. Looking at many trikes I see areas of concern in many of them. They just look weak and apt to fail. Many folding trikes concern me for this reason. This one not only is no exception, but it is even more of a concern as it just looks weak. Any trike can have a failure, but some seem to have far more than others. Again, looking at the way they are constructed I can see why. A simple basic rule is that the more complex something is the more likely it will have issues over something with less complexity.

HERE is an article about this trike. And HERE is BROL’s article.

evolve-trike-in-suitcase

Here it is disassembled and folded up into a suitcase. The video  below shows how it is done.

I don’t know what the weight limit is for the Evolve trike, but I think that it would be best for those who weigh very little. A heavy rider would stress those areas which are already suspect of failure.

I personally don’t think I would buy one of these trikes as it just has the appearance that problems would develop due to failure in one or more parts of the frame.

evolve-trike-top-of-crucifix

The folding hinge is quite often a concern and this one is no exception. When I look at something like this the thought that comes to mind is “designed to fail” due to being underbuilt. Mind you, this is far from the only tadpole trike which in my opinion looks underbuilt.

evolve-trike-the-fold-joint

Another factor is wear and sloppiness developing in these areas. Things get loose and movement takes place where there should be no movement.

evolve-trike-crucifix

I know that the Evolve people are not going to like what I have said here and perhaps some of you may not either. I have to say what I think about these things. I hope I am wrong and this trike would hold up well. But my gut feeling is otherwise. I like the concept. I am just concerned about the quality of the build. Manufacturers underbuilding products brought a lot of repair work my way over the years. I would not want a trike that requires repair and reinforcing it to make it stronger. That would be my concern here. This may be okay for someone who rides very little and needs a small folding trike, but I could not recommend it for anyone who does serious riding. I don’t care how good of a warranty it may come with and how good the company may be in taking care of customers … when you are many miles from home and have a major failure leaving you stranded it is not fun. Nope, I will stick with my non folding Catrike which I am confident in … that it won’t fail me. I like to …

                    KEEP ON TRIKN’                  

 …. and ….

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

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.

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

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

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.

 

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FREE GIFT awaits you!

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

HOW TO FIX A FLAT TIRE ON A TADPOLE TRIKE

NOTE: Please read my comment following the last video.

Here is  Utah Trike’s video on how to fix a flat tire on the front of a tadpole trike:

And here is another video produced by the Bicycleman dealership:

And here is a video produced by Trek on fixing a flat on the rear wheel …

One thing I have noticed as I have watched various instructional videos on fixing flats is that they never mention a very simple and sensible means of finding the cause of the leak. If the leak is caused from an external puncture that means that the object that penetrated the tire and caused the hole in the inner tube is either still in the tire or it has come back out of the tire. Obviously if it is still in the tire it is most important to remove it or else it will puncture new inner tubes regardless of how many times you replace the inner tube. The easiest way and most sure way of finding the object is to use the leaking inner tube. To do so you must pay close attention to the orientation of the inner tube in the tire. Removing the inner tube carefully notice which direction it was in the tire as well as it’s position as to rotation. Again, the easiest way to do all of this is to always place the valve stem in the same place when installing the inner tube. I always place it right where the tire logo or name is. That eliminates any error. Then all one needs to concern them self with is which side was up toward them when they removed the inner tube. Once the inner tube is removed simply inflate the inner tube enough to locate the hole where air is escaping. Once the location is found lay the inner tube on top of the tire the same way it came out so that you can use the hole to locate the area of the tire to look for a foreign object. The hole in the inner tube may match up with the tread of the tire or it may be on a sidewall of the tire … or it maybe on the rim. If it is on the rim look for a sharp spot … a spoke hole or bad rim tape (hardened or out of place or both). What I have shared here is just common sense but I am amazed that I have never seen or read of anybody doing this when talking about fixing flats. It makes the job so much easier, faster and foolproof. I would much rather be riding my trike than working on it. There is an old saying that goes something like this … “if you haven’t got time to do the job right the first time how will you have the time to do it over?” Yep, learn to do it right the first time and then you can …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

FREE GIFT awaits you!

GOTTA DO YOUR HOMEWORK

homework

have entitled this “Gotta Do Your Homework”. Many of us didn’t like doing homework when we were in school. We might have even cheated in various ways to get out of it. Sometimes we might even have gotten away with it. But I am here to tell you that when it comes to building a tadpole trike you intend to ride (or provide for someone else to ride) human life is at stake. In short, you had better know what you are doing and do it right. Probably the most important aspect of this the steering geometry. It is complex and has to be correct. If not the trike won’t ride and handle correctly or be safe to ride. It is a most serious matter.

I have written a few articles on this blog in the past about the construction of homemade tadpole trikes and listed various resources there in those articles. I thought I would revisit the subject now and attempt to put all the stuff together here so it would make it easier for anyone looking for help in this.

WHEEL ALIGNMENT, SPOKE TENSION, SPOKE BREAKAGE

spokes

Spokes are quite small and not very impressive as being strong. After all, you can take one in your hands and easily bend it. Yet when several are used together they provide incredible strength. Therein lies the key … strength in numbers … all working together. And that is why it is so important that they remain working together. When spokes start getting loose or breaking the strength factor is greatly effected. Once a spoke gets loose it can lead to other spokes loosening. And once a spoke breaks it can easily lead to other spokes breaking as well. Of course, the result of all of this is wheel alignment gets off initially. Eventually much worse can result up to and including major failure and a wreck. Wheels should spin straight and true. The wheel should be round vs. having flat spots, oblong, etc.

spoke guage

The spokes come in varying types, sizes and materials they are made of. They make spoke guages to check the diameter of the spoke so you can know what size spoke is needed when replacing them.

double wall rim

On a tadpole trike the wheels have to be quite strong due to the side (lateral) forces they undergo in hard cornering. Double wall wheels are normally used as they are considerably stronger than single wall construction. The spokes in a wheel are laced in a particular pattern and it is quite important that this pattern is maintained when replacing broken spokes. So be careful to observe the pattern and install the spoke(s) properly. If this pattern is not maintained things can get off when the spokes are tightened to their proper tension. The spokes must be fed in from the correct side and cross the other spokes correctly. Oftentimes when just replacing one or a few individual spokes with the tire mounted it is necessary to bend them some to get them to go where they need to. Try to be careful not to bend them too much and try to straighten them back out once they are in position. As long as they are relatively straight they will work fine as far as retentioning them and having them function properly.

spoke lacing

When replacing spokes be sure you use the exact same sized spoke so that there is no change in individual strength factor for that spoke. As I stated, each and every spoke contributes to the overall strength of the wheel. If one uses a spoke that is different from the others it will effect the others. You most definitely don’t want to install a smaller diameter lighter duty spoke. If you don’t know what you are dealing with exactly it is best to take your trike with you or take a sample spoke so they can match it up. Not only does the diameter need to match up but the length does as well. Unless the spoke nipple is damaged I don’t replace it. Therefore it is not necessary to remove the tire and tube. In fact, depending upon what is involved in getting the new spoke in place I may even be able to accomplish it without removing the wheel from the trike. However, Murphy’s Law being what it is, I usually have to remove the wheel and not only the wheel but quite often the disc brake rotor as well as it is usually in the way. (But of course!)

Note: If you hear a clicking sound while riding and it changes in frequency as you speed up and slow down it might be a broken spoke you are hearing. They can be hard to spot so simply take your hands and check the spokes by squeezing two spokes together. When you come to a loose or broken spoke you should easily be able to detect it. Even if no spokes are broken sometimes there can still be a clicking noise being made by a loose spoke.

Purchasing spokes at a local bike shop is fine and I most definitely I believe in supporting them. However, if you find yourself replacing lots of spokes it can get expensive buying the spokes at a local bike shop. I ordered a package of 50 online for less than it cost me for just a few at a local bike shop.

There are special tools and equipment available to do the work involved in truing a wheel and adjusting the spokes. They can get pretty expensive, especially a wheel truing stand. I have never had one and they really are not needed although they are nice and handy. It is easy enough to true a wheel on a bike/trike. All one really needs is a good spoke wrench. I say good because there are some out there which are not worth buying. It pays to buy good quality bicycle tools (any tools for that matter). Be sure to buy and use the right size spoke wrench as there are different sizes.

spoke wrench

When tightening or loosening spokes just pretend like you are a nut. (That shouldn’t be too difficult for many of us.) Visualize the nut as it is threaded onto the spoke. Looking down on the nut and the spoke from the top side where the nut goes thru the wheel (rim) the thread is always a right hand thread so that means it turns clockwise to tighten it and counterclockwise to loosen it. The spokes are laced from both sides of the hub staggered so that as each spoke is tightened or loosened the wheel (rim) will move one way or the other. In the image below this is illustrated.

Spoke tightening

One needs to be careful when adjusting the spokes as it doesn’t take much to really mess up the wheel alignment. This can involve pulling the wheel (rim) over too far to one side or “flattening” it so it is no longer round.

spoke tension tool

As to the matter of spoke tension they make various kinds of tools to check the tension. However, I caution you before purchasing one (like I did) and wasting your money (like I did) unless you have a 26 inch or 700 wheel in the rear these tools won’t do you any good. A 20 inch wheel is too small for them to fit in. I don’t have any advice for others concerning getting the tension correct other than to say two words … “uniformity” and “experience”.

Adjusting the spokes to proper tension, replacing broken spokes and aligning a wheel isn’t terribly difficult. You just need to be careful how you go about it. Keeping these things done properly means you can …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

FOLDING ALUMINUM RAMPS

The last two days I have been busy working on fabricating a set of folding aluminum ramps for my friend to use to get his tadpole trike in and out of the back of his pickup truck. He only has a six foot bed so the ramps had to fold in order to store them inside.

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aluminum folding ramps

They are 8 foot long with a 21 inch long section of 1/4 x 4 inch flat bar which lays on the tailgate.

aluminum folding ramps folded 3

 

aluminum folding ramps partially unfolded

There are hinges in the middle connecting the 4 foot sections of C channel and at the top connecting the C channel to the 1/4 inch by 4 inch flat bar. The flat bar extends back off the tailgate about 2.75 inches and is bent down about 15 degrees or so to match the angle of the ramps as they come up to the tailgate. Currently there are no angle aluminum pieces in place at the end of the 1/4 x 4 inch flat bar, but I think it is going to need this added to help keep the ramps from moving. On my truck they stayed in place well as is, but on my friend’s truck they don’t. I originally had in mind placing  aluminum angle pieces on the end of the flat bar and even drilled and tapped holes for them already.

aluminum folding ramps 2

These pictures show the ramps set up on my truck and not on my friend’s. I ran my trike up and down them to test the ramps out. The ramps work fine and will be a big help to him as his HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs 26 electric trike is quite heavy to lift. There is a 1/4 diameter round rod with the ends bent 90 degrees which goes thru holes drilled into the 1/4 x 2 inch flat bar pieces on the bottom end of the ramps. The rod spaces the ramps apart and maintains the spacing. It is also almost pavement level so it can be easily stepped over as the trike is rolled up and down the ramps. The C channel is quite thin so it is very lightweight to handle. I personally would have selected thicker stronger material to use but these were given to him free so they are what were used. If I were making ramps for myself I think I would make them shorter than these although there is some merit to longer ramps as they provide lesser incline to deal with. There are pros and cons to both. Longer ramps means more flexing … especially when thin wall material is used.

Where the two 4 foot sections of C channel are hinged together there is a 12 inch long piece of the 1/4 x 4 flat bar used to strengthen the joint in the flimsy thin wall C channel. It is bolted down on just one side to the C channel and simply lays down in the other C channel section when unfolded.

aluminum folding ramps middle hinge

Here my friend is trying out the ramps for the first time.

aluminum folding ramps with trike

Here is a short video showing the ramps I made being used.

I would estimate a total of about $100 for materials and hardware is involved in making your own. It could even be less depending upon the design and hardware used. I drilled and tapped holes in the 1/4 thick flat bar for the hinges.  Both pan head and flat head (countersunk) head screws were used as well as some 1/4 x 20 nuts where no 1/4 inch plate was used.

These ramps could be made in one day if you have everything needed and the knowledge and skill level to accomplish the task. Our local Metals Supermarket will do all the cutting free if the material is purchased from them. I have a horizontal cutting band saw so I cut it myself. I have found that most places don’t do a very accurate job of cutting metal to the specified length and this bothers me. When I cut metal I try to get it cut within 1/64 of an inch. Sometimes 1/8, 3/16 or even 1/4 inch more or less doesn’t matter in the scheme of things but sometimes it can really cause problems. I am a perfectionist in my work and strive for accuracy. I am retired from a lifetime of welding and fabricating so I rarely do much of this sort of thing anymore. Well, that is enough tooting of my horn. I just want you to be aware that if you have the metal cut someplace it may not be cut accurately.

So, if you have a need of a ramp loading system it can be done. Here is proof.

Of course, you can buy ramps. Depending upon what you get it will be a lot more expensive … about $400 – $500 for one popular manufactured ramp system. I just found another source for under $200 … 5 Star Manufacturing Telescoping Aluminum Ramps  They look like they would work pretty good. And I just found some others as cheap as $101.75. Walmart sells a set for $140.

telescoping aluminum ramps

I think this is a 7 foot set which would be perfect for most applications. The only thing is I don’t know about how well they would stay in place without doing something to help keep them in place. They telescope in to about 4 foot in length so they would fit readily in most any type of vehicle.

7 foot aluminum telescoping ramps $150

With ramps to help us load and unload our trikes it will help us to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FREE GIFT awaits you!

AZUB TRICON FOLDING TRIKE FOLDING BY ITSELF

don’t know how they did this but the video is pretty neat … a video of an AZUB TRICON FOLDING TRIKE FOLDING BY ITSELF.

FREE GIFT awaits you!