Blog Archives

eGO – AN INTERESTING CONCEPT IN TRIKES


eGo … not to be confused with EGO which is an ultralight trike aircraft … nor is it the electric scooter of the same name … nor is it the velocar of the same name. I sure think they should have and would have picked a different name so that people don’t have to deal with all this confusion.

It is powered by electric motor hub only. There is no chain or sprockets. However there is a crankset and it is used to pedal to charge the battery. They used an existing TW-Bents tadpole trike to create their electric trike. The frames looks the same for both the Trident and Artifice models TW-Bents offers.

HERE is an article on this trike.  HERE is another article.

There is very little information available I can find about it. The one article says that they hope and plan on building more prototypes and work to promote the trike.

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT


They got the title right …

I came across this video and immediately had to agree with the title … Blinded By The Light. There is definitely a whole bunch of lights there. I assume they own a battery manufacturing company. That top light must be to warn low flying aircraft. 🙂 If I were a car or truck driver coming up behind this I wouldn’t know what to do … probably need to find another route. 🙂 I believe in good lighting, but this is definitely an overkill to the point I would think it would upset others who have to deal with it. I don’t know what their purpose is in having all these lights, but hopefully they don’t ride this around other people at night with these lights turned on .

I won’t even use my bright flashing taillight at nighttime around other people as it would be blinding and offensive to those behind me. Defensive is the goal … not offensive. This next video is of my trike after dark where there is total darkness and no one else around. I have 4 taillights flashing, but one of them is so much brighter than the other three. The other three are plenty bright to be seen quite well at night. The extremely bright one is just too much. As bright as the other 3 taillights are this super bright one prevents the other three from being seen. It is great in the day time, but at night time I would never use it around other people. I would use 2 or 3 of the others and probably only have one taillight flashing and the other(s) turned on steady (no blinking).

Our headlights can also be “too much” Here is my trike with  maximum lumens in use. I would not think of riding around like this in the daytime much less at night. I would only use it when by myself and in need of good lighting to see where I am going (at night time, of course.) Too bright of a headlight can quite literally blind those in front of you so that they can’t see some of what is in front of them. This could easily result in an accident and even someone’s death.

And that is only 350 lumen. There are people out there with several thousand lumen lighting. Let’s all be safe but respectful of others. We all want to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

PROS & CONS OF ELECTRIC MOTOR PEDAL ASSIST


Those who have been following my writings from the git go  probably know that I got my start in this writing articles about tadpole trikes on Steve Greene’s Trike Asylum blog. One of my earliest articles (To Motorize Or Not To Motorize, That Is The Question which was posted on April 5, 2013) was on the subject of motorizing a tadpole trike and I made it pretty clear that I was against it. I made an exception for those who truly needed it Never the less I ruffled some feathers and caught some flak for writing the article. I have to admit that when I wrote it I didn’t know much about the subject of motorizing a trike. I don’t recall whether or not I was even aware of “pedal assist”. Anyway, since that time I have gotten myself a bit more educated about pedal assist. I also finally reached the point I felt I would benefit from having electric motor pedal assist. I have had one on my trike now for awhile so I have experience with using it and feel I am qualified to write about it. I am loving it. Anyway, I am reposting the early article I wrote so you can read it here in this posting. You will find it at the bottom of this article I am now writing. As you read thru it you should be able to pick up that I was thinking that this subject matter is about propulsion by a motor and not pedal assist.

Recently a fellow triker brought up the matter of a tadpole trike being a Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) … that is to say, they are suppose to be. Hey, that is exactly the position I used to hold so I know where he is coming from. We are all familiar with the terms “Pros & Cons” … stating those things in support or favor of and those things which are not if support or favor of. After having a motorized pedal assist trike and riding it quite a lot already I though it would be good to try to write an unbiased opinion and report on the pros and cons of having a pedal assist motor enhancement. Of course, now I speak only of “PEDAL ASSIST”. I like the description … “it’s like having a built in tail wind”. I am still against a motor propelling a trike where the rider is not required to pedal.

I will state the things that come to mind as pros as well as those things which come to mind as cons. I will say upfront that the list will be considerably lop sided as I have been giving thought to this matter and have to say that there is very little I can come up with to put on the cons list while there is a whole lot that comes to mind to place on the pros list. This certainly is not an exhaustive list. As I think of more I will add them to the lists.

THE PROS

1) It makes pedaling easier not requiring nearly as much pressure to be exerted on the pedals. This greatly helps in hill climbing and those with knee joint problems, pain and weakness.

2) The rider can go considerably faster even though they are exerting the same amount of pressure on the pedals and using the same amount of energy as they did previously. For instance, climbing a hill that used to slow me down to 2 to 4 mph I can now ride up at 14-16 mph if I want to.

3) If the rider tires out during a ride the motor assist helps them to get back to wherever they started from or need to get to.

4) If riding has become a chore rather than the fun it once was then pedal assist can make it fun again.

5) It enables a rider to ride at a faster pace so that being able to ride with faster riders is now possible. You still won’t be able to keep up with a lot of the roadies however as they really go. Funny thing is they are allowed on bike trails and some bike trails ban pedal assist bikes and trikes. It is not right.

6) It is a real blessing to have when you need to zip across a busy street when a break in traffic finally comes along. It can propel you across fast and out of any danger.

7) When you need to make good time to get some place faster than you normally could again the motor is such a blessing.

8) Having the ability to accelerate  quickly and go fast can be a big help in getting away from a dog or person you might be concerned about as far as your personal safety. Of course, most dogs can run faster than 20 mph.

9) Because you are still pedaling, but pedaling easier you actually get more exercise. You can pedal at a faster cadence which is a very good thing as many of pedal way too slowly anyway. And because it is easier to pedal you can ride longer.

10) Someone who has had problems with hernias and are concerned about overexerting them self and causing serious problems can greatly benefit from having pedal assist.

11) Having electric motor pedal assist does not mean that you have to use it. You can ride with it turned off just like it wasn’t there. And quite honestly most of the time I can’t tell the difference between riding my trike as it came from the factory and riding it now with the motor and battery installed but not turned on.

12) If you have long downhill grades you can set the controls to generate rather than use power and in doing this you  recharge the battery. You can also just ride along recharging the battery if you are strong enough to pedal with the resistance involved. Or if you are up to the task even on level ground you can pedal along recharging the battery if you are physically up to it. Please note that the charging rate in this mode is very little so it would take a lot of time and travel to put much of a charge back into the battery.

13) You can play with the minds of the road bike riders  by being able to ride their speed and maybe even pass them. Some of them however ride much faster than a motorized pedal assist can go (legally).

14) When riding off road the pedal assist is great to have. It makes such adventure so much easier and enjoyable and even safer as one doesn’t always have the strength to pedal in/over/thru some places.

15) It reduces the stress being placed on the drive system (pedals, crankset, chain & sprockets) as the motor is helping to turn the rear wheel.

16) If you are riding with others and you have to stop or slow down and they keep going having the pedal assist motor makes it much easier to catch back up with them.

17) It is great when riding into a headwind. Other than feeling the wind you can truly say “what wind?”.

THE CONS

1) The motor and battery add weight to the trike. It has added over 20 pounds to my trike and all on the back. That being said, much to my surprise and delight the only time I can tell there is additional weight is when I lift it. When I ride I can’t tell it at all.

2) Being able to go faster is fun, but it also adds a measure of danger and concern that didn’t exist riding slower. You may tend to go into curves faster than you should. If you are not used to handling a trike at higher speeds you could crash.

3) It is expensive to add a motor to a trike and the battery only lasts so long before it needs to be replaced at considerable cost. My conversion kit costs about $2500 and the replacement battery costs about $900 to $1000. There is always the chance that the manufacturer will either go out of business or simply not offer a replacement battery later on if they opt to make some changes in their product offerings.

4) Some trails don’t allow the use of any motors on  them. I personally don’t think that this should apply to pedal assist systems and I would hope that trails which say no to them will reconsider and change their position on this.

5) Motorizing a tadpole trike adds to the value making it more of a target for a thief.

6) Motorizing a trike makes it so much fun to ride that your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend will want to ride it and cut you out of the picture. 😉

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

TO MOTORIZE OR NOT TO MOTORIZE, THAT IS THE QUESTION

I am getting into something here which I will state upfront I am very opinionated about. I”M ‘AGIN’ IT! To my way of thinking motorizing any type of human powered vehicle is defeating the whole concept of the thing … exercise. I mean, come on … if you want a motorized open air vehicle buy a motorcycle for crying out loud. I rode them for over 50 years of my life until I finally decided I would give it up for strictly pedaling around. I was also riding a bicycle all those years so I still got some exercise … just not nearly as much as I do now.

I am sure that there are some folks who are not able to pedal to get around … perhaps can’t use their arms and hands to propel a vehicle either and so they may NEED something in the way of a motorized trike. But there are a whole lot of folks out there who are perfectly capable of pedaling who really don’t NEED to go this route.

That being said, I know it has become pretty popular. The man I sold my homemade tadpole trike to told me he planned on motorizing it. There is lots of information out there on the subject. And I am sure riding a motorized tadpole trike is a lot of fun even though it could lead to an added element of danger. And there may be some folks who just need help pedaling up hills as just maybe their bodies can’t deliver what it takes.

Obviously there are two main ways to go … electric motor or gas engine. Those who oppose gas engines because they “pollute” would no doubt only consider the electric motor route. But I AM STILL AGIN IT!

Here are some pictures of various setups:

KMX trike motorized

KMX trike motorized

gas engine motorized trike

gas engine motorized trike

solar charging motorized trike

solar charging motorized trike

ecospeed motor on boom

ecospeed motor on boom 2

And I say to ya’ll …

KEEP ON PEDALIN’

(We all need the exercise!)

By the way,  one needs to be aware that there are trails where it is against the rules to ride a motorized bike or trike. Our local trails here in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area do not allow them. Only motorized wheelchairs are permitted. When it comes to “pedal assist” it is not fair to ban them. They are as much as a human powered vehicle as the roadies out there zooming by at 25 plus mph while my top speed is only 20 mph with pedal assist. HERE is a good article on the subject.

NEW HEAD REST TO SAVE MY NECK


Recently I had a Bionx hub motor conversion kit installed on my Catrike Trail. In doing so I had to give up my super comfortable head rest which I made. I have neck issues so I need to use a neck/head rest when I ride. The reason I could not continue using my head rest is because it was in the way of plugging the cable into the front of the battery. So I purchased an ICE neck rest which mounts out of the way. Now ICE boasts that their newly designed neck rest is the most comfortable neck rest on the market. As far as I am concerned it is just like all the rest of the factory manufactured neck rests I have tried … very lacking and not very comfortable.  So I went to work to redesign it.  What I came up with was far more comfortable than theirs yet it still looked pretty like it did originally. Still it was not to my satisfaction nor my needs. So I went to work to totally remake it. It didn’t take me more than 20 minutes and now I have a very comfortable head rest again. It is not quite as comfortable as what I had previously but only because it is a bit smaller in size. And the good news is I didn’t do anything to change what ICE made. In 5 minutes I could put the neckrest back to the way it came from ICE (not that I would want to). I just don’t understand why the trike industry doesn’t offer comfortable neck rests. It is not that hard to make one that is comfortable. Like I said it took me about 20 minutes. I replaced ICE’s strap with elastic and put a piece of foam sandwiched in between it. Then I put a large piece of foam on the front side of the elastic. The large piece of foam has the front side of it cut concave to sort of cradle the head and neck. Here is what I came up with. I just used the cover off of my old head rest even though it is too big.

For  those who are interested here are some pictures showing the construction of my new head rest. (I am calling it a head rest rather than a neck rest because I have raised it up higher to where the back of my head rests on it. It is far more comfortable now against my head than it was against my neck.)

In the next picture I have duct tape temporarily holding the foam in place while the Gorilla Glue sets up. The foam is glued to the elastic.

In the next picture  which is a top view looking down you can see the concave curvature I cut into the foam to cradle my head and make the head rest more comfortable to use.

And here is what the original ICE neck rest looks like. I really don’t like the metal rods on the sides as they are located right where the head makes contact with them. And that is not very comfortable as I quickly found out when I tried riding using it. It is really dumb … more of their infamous “inspired cycle engineering”.

 

 

Now with this new head rest I should be able to ride in comfort meaning I can …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

RECUMBENT MECHANICAL TALK


Gee I love that kind of talk. 🙂 I hope you do too cause here is a whole lot of it …

 

ARE YOU DIRECT OR INDIRECT?


Now I ask ya … are you direct or indirect? Some of you I am sure know the answer to that question while others probably do not. Those ‘others’ probably don’t have a clue what I am talking about. We’ll remedy that pronto. I am talking about the type of steering your tadpole trike has. Direct steering means the “handlebars” come directly off of the kingpins (the axles the front end has to turn to steer). Here is a picture of an ICE VTX with direct steering. I have marked the various parts (green lines are the handlebars, red lines point to the kingpins, yellow lines point to the tie rod which connects both sides together so they work together). Direct steering is called direct steering because it is direct. The handlebars connect directly to the kingpins so that they turn directly in response to the input of the handlebars.

direct-steering-ice-vtx-marked

Indirect steering is altogether different. The handlebars pivot on an axis thru the frame under or just in front of the seat. A plate of some sort (they vary) is attached to the axis so that when the handlebars are turned the plate turns with it. Attached to the plate is linkage which goes over to one or both kingpins to turn them. Here is a picture of a TerraTrike Tour with indirect steering. I have identified the various parts in it as well. Of course, the blue line is the handlebars. The green line is the axis (the pivot point) of the handlebars.  The yellow lines are the tie rod linkage connecting the  plate on the handlebar axis to the kingpin axis.

indirect-steering-terratrike-tour-marked

Both systems work, of course, but they are not the same. Direct steering is more sensitive and “direct”. Indirect steering is less sensitive and not as direct. Some people like one better than the other. I myself prefer direct steering. Often direct steering trikes turn sharper than indirect steering. Some indirect steering trikes have a much larger turning radius. Again, I personally find this unacceptable. I want my trike to turn sharply when needed. I don’t like having to stop and back up … going back and forth trying to get turned around a sharp corner. That is ridiculous in my opinion … poor design engineering.

I have ridden various trikes with both types of steering input. As to the matter of indirect steering I will say this … not all trikes are created equal. That is to say I found some quite objectionable and others quite satisfactory. Some I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy as the saying goes.

As to preference on these two types of steering, some object to the direct steering saying it is too sensitive and “twitchy” … making it dangerous at higher speeds. I am sure I speak for many when I say it is all according to what you get used to. I have never had an issue with this in all the years I have been riding tadpole trikes. And I am sure many others would say the same thing. But, hey, I don’t much care what others prefer. If you like indirect steering that’s fine with me. If you prefer direct steering you’re my kinda guy (or gal). 😉 

There is an option that can be incorporated to make direct steering less sensitive. A stabilizer bar can be used. Here is one added to a KMX trike.

Hopefully by now we can all answer the question … are we direct or indirect? Whichever you are …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

WILL THESE TIRES FIT MY RIMS?


That is a good question. I wish I had the answer. Information like that would be nice to know. I suppose I could say … “your guess is as good as mine”, but I reckon that wouldn’t be very helpful. I have tried a few different times looking up information about tires and rims and pretty much  concluded that I must be dumber than I thought as I couldn’t make much out of most of what I read. It just seems to get pretty technical and complicated. I find it quite challenging trying to make sense out of all of it. It was pretty simple when I was a kid, but thru the years man has managed to make it quite complicated. You can try your hand at it if you want. Perhaps you will have more success than I have had in the past. My best advice is to go ask someone who works with this and has some understanding of it. That being said, don’t be surprised if they don’t know of a certainty the answer to your question.

But this much I know … more and more it seems as though people are moving toward wider tires on their trikes … trying to remake their trikes into “mini-FAT trikes”. I can understand and appreciate that, but hey, a rim can only handle so much additional width without concern of safety and performance.

HERE is Schwalbe’s article on this.

You can read the late Sheldon Brown’s article HERE.

There are some formulas for calculation HERE.

HERE is another good article on tire width and rim size.

Here are some things I have learned. Some of it is just common sense and logic.
Tires are designed to have a certain shape when they are properly inflated on the rim. If the tire is too narrow traction and stability when cornering will suffer. If the tire bead is too wide where is fits down into the rim the tire will be deformed from the way it was designed and the tread will be effected. Impact absorption will suffer as will control during cornering. Sidewalls can be more easily damaged and cut. A proper fitting tire on a rim will ensure maximum performance in cornering and traction as well as provide the least rolling resistance. Tires are designed to have a certain shape when properly mounted and inflated. When we modify things we can effect our safety in the performance and handling of the tire.
A wider tire has less rolling resistance than a narrower one of the same “build” and air pressure. A wider tire will also help prevent pinch flats.

Yeah, I wish I could give you a quick and accurate response, but the truth is “your guess is as good as mine”. Well, hopefully we can all …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

AND AWAY WE GO! (WITH BIONX)


It took several years, but I have finally succumbed to the concept of my using electric motor pedal assist. It is a matter of aging I think and finding it a bit more challenging climbing hills. I can still climb them, but oh so slow and if I am riding with others I just watch them ride on away from me as I can’t begin to keep up. So I bit the bullet and got myself some help. Now I can shoot up those hills and don’t have any problem keeping up with my friends should I choose to ride with them.

HERE is a webpage about Bionx products. And HERE is another one.

The electronics are quite sophisticated and pretty well thought out. The reviews of Bionx are extremely favorable. Pretty much everybody say they have the best system going. The company is out of Canada.

They have 3 different size batteries. They are all 48 volts, but their power in amperage varies providing a choice of 50 miles, 65 miles or 80 miles between charges. The one pictured below which fits under their rack is the middle one. The largest battery mounts down low behind the seat alongside of the frame.

Although with this battery mounted up under their rack means the weight is carried up high effecting the trike’s center of gravity and handling it also means that the battery is positioned so that it doesn’t get nearly as messed up from water, mud and other crud being splashed up on it like would happen if it were mounted down lower alongside the frame. Also having it higher makes it much easier to get at to charge it or remove it.

Their controller (shown above) has been upgraded as have their display console.

This display unit (shown below) has replaced the larger combination display controller they had previously.

This next video features an older version of the console and controller which has been replaced with the ones shown above. I offer it here as it still is helpful in understanding some factors of the Bionx system.

The new electronics also offers a  Bluetooth connection to their free smartphone app which among other things is a tracking and reporting info of the route,  ride and even pulse of the rider. The Bluetooth module sells for $175.

They offer 250, 350 and 500 watt hub motors. I understand that Bionx limits the top speed of 20 mph for all units shipped to the United States to comply with the law.

If your trike has a 20 inch rear wheel you are limited to the 350 watt hub motor as the 500 watt is too large in diameter to be laced into a 20 inch rim. If you have a larger diameter rear wheel such as a 26 inch or 700 the larger 500 watt hub motor is available for them although the larger motor may not be needed. The bike shop dealer told me that unless one lives someplace with a lot of steep hills to climb the 350 is more than enough power to use on a trike.

Having a FAT trike with electric motor pedal assist sounds like a very helpful addition for off road riding. It might require someone skilled at wheel lacing to come up with a wheel laced to a hub motor.

It is my understanding that the batteries can be charged approximately 1000 times. Replacement batteries cost between $900 and $1000 so they ain’t cheap.

The bike shop I am involved with is a Bionx dealer. He told me about the high tech system Bionx has in place making trouble shooting and repair easy for the dealers. They simply plug the unit into a computer with Bionx software installed on it and it connects with Bionx while running diagnostics on the system. The dealer gives permission for Bionx to remotely do various things while connected to your unit over the internet and they can remedy most problems or at least know what is wrong so it can be remedied. With this system the dealers don’t have to learn and know a lot about the Bionx system yet they can take care of the customer.

In closing I want to mention that there are more powerful hub motors made and available which can propel a trike much faster (not legally mind you) and even at 70 years old there is still a part of me that is attracted to riding along at 45 plus mph on my trike, but I am wise enough to know that when you play with fire you are likely to get burnt. I would probably wrap myself around some tree or telephone pole. Nope, I best stick with the 20 mph option. That is plenty fast enough.

With the use of electric motor pedal assist it can help us to …

ENJOY THE RIDE & kEEP ON TRIKIN’

Update (5/3/17) – I now have the Bionx hub motor system installed on my trike and I am loving it. I haven’t been able to ride it much as it has been raining for 3 days straight. I took some pictures of my trike with this unit installed. I remounted the controller from where the bike shop had located it. I like it much better now as I can see it much better and get at it much handier. I probably should paint the blue piece of steel tubing I used to place on my mirror where I mounted the controller. I need to paint it black so it is not so conspicuous. 🙂 Anyway, riding with this motor assist is amazing. For the same effort I used to exert to ride 5-7 mph I can now ride about 14-16 mph. And for the same effort it took to ride 10-12 mph I can now ride 19 mph. The battery has a built in LED taillight which is extremely bright. Above the taillight is a large red reflector. As I said, I haven’t been able to ride it much yet, but hopefully I soon will be. And it surely looks like I will most definitely …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

SO YOU THINK YOUR BIKE LOCK IS SECURE


You might want to take a look at this video if you think your bike lock is secure. And then there is the cordless battery powered right angle grinders with a cutting disk on it which can cut thru most metal easily and quickly.

 

CATRIKE ROAD AR … LIKE A TRUE CAT IT DONE SNUCK UP ON US


Cats are known for stealth … sneaking up on their prey undetected. Well, it looks like Catrike is sort of following suit. They are quietly introducing a new model … another full suspension trike. It is the Road AR. There isn’t much out about it yet. Catrike does show it on their website. They just have been rather quiet … no fanfare. HERE is a webpage about it. They say that it is expected to be in stock by the end of May. They show a price of $3550. That is $400 more than the regular Road model which has rear suspension only. It is somewhat like a trimmed down Dumont. It has 20 inch wheels all around whereas the Dumont has a 26 inch on the rear. Unlike the Dumont this Road AR does not fold. They offer it in 8 different colors.

Here is what Catrike says about this model:

he road AR is a vibrant and efficient machine. A progressive linkage air shock and CNC swing arm provide a highly adjustable suspension platform paired with the new patent pending front suspension to take the edge off the road for a smooth ride. An optimized cockpit design is supportive enough for a comfortable daily ride, commute or weekend adventure without sacrificing any control or performance. Lean into the corners with confidence. The road-AR brings excitement to the journey.

Here is a closer look at what some say is the best engineered front suspension on a tadpole trike to come along to date.

So if you are looking for a quality built well engineered full suspension trike which is hundreds of dollars lower in cost than most others you might want to consider this new model. I can hear it purring. With this trike you should be able to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

ARE WHITE LIGHTS LEGAL ON THE REAR OF A TRIKE?


white-taillight-on-trike

Are whilte lights legal on the rear of a trike? I will make this short and to the point …

NO !!!

Yet we see trikers using them all the time. I guess many just like to spurn the law. And I am amazed that most of them seem to get away with it. I have not yet seen the police pay any attention to it around where I live. That surprises me and, I have to admit, disappoints me. I believe the law should be enforced.  I tried a white light on the rear of my trike awhile back. It had plenty of red lights as well as you can see in the video below. It really stood out, but I didn’t leave it on my trike as I didn’t want to be in violation of the law.

The reason it is against the law is simple enough. It is confusing to others. In short, they don’t know whether you are coming or going and that is because white lights belong on the front of a vehicle. Most people who see a white light on a vehicle just assume, and rightfully so, that they are looking at the front of the vehicle. After all, that is where the law requires white lights to be. So if you are one of those who insist on having white lights on the rear of your trike you better hope you don’t get involved in a bad accident. Someone might come along and try to twist your head around 180 degrees thinking it is facing the wrong direction. LOL     Seriously, I know having a white light on the rear of a trike can be eye catching, but it really is illegal … to the best of my knowledge in all 50 states in the U.S.  I would recommend a high intensity red light. They are extremely visible and they are legal. I am talking about daytime use. Riding at night one should not use these extremely bright lights as they are too much and can cause problems for others as they are simply blinding. In the daytime though they work great.

BE SEEN, BE SAFE!!!

PEDAL REMOVAL & INSTALLATION


Here is a good instructional video produced by Park Tools. I will add some personal comments and suggestions further below.

In the video it was pointed out that the threads should have either an anti-seize product or grease applied. This is a very good idea as if you have ever encountered pedals that are extremely difficult to loosen and remove this the reason why as none was used when they were installed. If you find rgat you can’t loosen the pedals there some things you can try. My first recommendation is to try impact on rhe wrench. You can smack it with palm of your hand if you are tough enough to do so. You can use a soft hammer so as not to damage the wrench. You can also use a piece of wood to either place on the wrench handle to help protect it and use a regular steel hammer to smack the wood. You can use a board (such as a 2×4) as a hammer to smack the wrench handle. If you find the pedal threads don’t want to cooperate and turn to loosen you can try tightening it a bit more and then try loosening it. If you can’t budge the wrench to tighten it you can use impact. Just don’t try to turn it very far in tightening it. If you experience the threads being very tight and uncooperative as you try to unscrew it you may have to try using  special penetrating oil such as WD-40. Even after trying that it may be a good idea and necessary to turn the threads both directions back and forth to carefully remove the pedal without doing damage to the threads. I would advise you to continue to use the penetrating oil frequently as you turn the threads back and forth as this will aid the penetrating oil to “penetrate” and do it’s job. There is always the possibility that a threading tap should be used to clean up the threads before a new pedal is installed in a crankarm that you had a difficult time removing the pedal. Hopefully you won’t encounter this problem, but if you do I think this advise will be helpful. Let’s all try to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

FOLDYLOCK


bike-locks-galore

There are many bike locks already available and, of course, some are far better than others. In trying to secure our trikes we could do as the person did with this bicycle shown above or we could use just one lock … a FoldyLock. Yep, a rather unique product has come along called the FoldyLock. As many products have started out it used KickStarter which was successful for them and now their product is on the market and available. It is not cheap, but it does seem to be quite secure.

foldylock-on-bicycle

Website  KickStarter  Facebook

What is Foldylock?

Foldylock is a premium folding Bike lock that easily unfolds to a 90 cm (Approx. 35.5 inches) sturdy lock. When folded it is easily carried in its designated case, mounted on your bike frame , or in rider’s back pack. The case can be mounted to a bike frame using the bottle holder fixing screws or with two specially designed straps. The case has a rattle free mechanism to prevent your lock from shaking while riding.
Foldylock will retail at 95 USD.

foldylock-unfolded

foldylock-folded-up-in-its-holder

The plastic storage case comes in red, green or creme.

Certainly there are several other very good bicycle locks on the market and I am not trying to promote this one over any other. I am simply reporting this one to to you as I came across it recently and thought it worthwhile to share with you.

HISTORY OF RECUMBENTS


The BicycleMan, Peter Stull, has made videos on many topics. Among them are on the subject of the history of recumbents. Covering the history of recumbents does, of course, mean that the majority is about bicycles and not trikes. Trikes are included however. Without further ado here are the videos:

DOES THIS TRIKE MAKE ME LOOK FAT?


fat-man

laughing-fat-buddha

We often hear/read that line about one thing or another making us look fat. Frequently it is meant to be funny. But, hey, being fat isn’t funny … nor is it fun. Those of us who are fat, especially obese, are our own worst enemy. I ought to know. I have been fat most of my adult life. I come from a family that are mostly overweight. This was mostly on my mom’s side of the family. I was always normal weight as a child. I weighed 140 pounds when I graduated from high school. I started gaining weight when I reached about 22 years of age. This was while I was in the Navy. It has been a battle ever sense … one which I have not done very well in winning. I have lost all my excess weight about 3 times, but always gained it right back and usually more. On one of my weight loss attempts I got down to 135 pounds. Here is a picture of me in the Navy before I started gaining weight. I think I was about 20 years old here. As you can see I was still normal weight. I didn’t usually wear coveralls, but I was on this occasion as I was about to work on a nasty job which could easily ruin my work uniform.

coveralls-1-sharpened

Although I am talking mainly about myself in this posting I want to address the subject of being overweight and exercise. I don’t think it is any secret that here in the United States we have a serious issue with obesity. Just looking at people in most any direction or place we see it. (It is pretty hard not to see it.) And the tadpole triking scene is no exception. In fact, it seems that the majority of tadpole riders have an issue with their weight. We turn to our trikes as a form of exercise in hope that we will lose weight. Some do, but many don’t. I am among those who haven’t done very well losing weight no matter how much riding I do (and I have done a lot). I have talked to others who have told me the same thing. I am sure most of us have heard the saying … Calories In, Calories Out. The bottom line here is simply that exercise alone is not enough. It is far more about what we eat and how much we eat. It takes a whole lot of riding to burn off the calories of unhealthy meals, snacks, soda pop, milkshakes, candy bars, etc. And most of us who are overweight do not eat healthy foods like we should.

burger-fries-shake-2

candy-bars  chocolate-cake-with-vanilla-ice-cream

I love cheeseburgers, french fries, chocolate milk shakes, candy (especially chocolate), ice cream, cakes and pies … you know … all the foods that taste so good but aren’t good for us. A few years ago I tried to go the vegetarian route. At first it was okay and I definitely lost weight eating nothing but vegetables, fruits and nuts (the foods God told us that He gave us to eat). However, it didn’t take long before I grew very tired and dissatisfied and longed for meats and other unhealthy foods again … foods that I have eaten all my life. So I went back to my old lifestyle and gained the weight right back. I had lost about 50 pounds eating “bible foods” and I felt great. The original foods God provided for man were grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. “They constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect, that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.”  (see Original Bible Diet)

Recently I lost 30 pounds after the knee joint replacement surgeries. I was encouraged and thinking I would be able to continue losing weight. However, it didn’t take long before I gained back 20 of those 30 pounds rather quickly. Recently I have lost 4 pounds, but it is a battle ground and I am not doing well at it. As much as I would like to, I can’t blame my trike. It is not what makes me look fat. When I point a finger at it I have 3 fingers pointing back at myself. Nope, it definitely is not my trike that makes me look fat. It is easy to try to put the blame somewhere … anywhere … rather than simply admit we like food and don’t discipline ourselves as we need to. I stand guilty. How about you? Yeah, I know. Now I am medlin’. Sorry!

steve-climbing-hill-2

As much as I love riding my trike I know I greatly limit myself being overweight. Hill climbing is where it is most obvious. Pedaling a lot of weight up a hill is slow going and makes it extra difficult. When I am riding with friends they don’t slow down nearly as much as I do. Yep, all that extra weight makes a huge difference. I often wonder how I would do if I weighed 140 pounds again. I would like to think I could out perform my friends I ride with. (And I am pretty sure I could.)

So what’s the problem you ask? Well, I lack the motivation and self discipline needed. I confess it. Shame on me. I have nobody or nothing to blame but myself. I certainly can’t blame my trike. It has done an amazing job hauling my fat carcass around all of these years. I have to sort of feel sorry for it because of all I put it thru. I just recently discovered that I have two more broken spokes on my left front wheel. I have had a lot of broken spokes and have come to the conclusion that most of this is probably the result of the load the wheels carry. Hard cornering with a fat tub aboard tends to break spokes.

Nope, my trike doesn’t make me look fat. I make me look fat. I acknowledge it. I am guilty. I really need to eat a salad for lunch and probably supper too. (And without any dressing on it!) ( … but a cheeseburger sounds so much better.)

eating-cheeseburger

Some riders have  FAT trikes while some trikes have FAT riders. Hmmm, another fact of life. Well, fat, normal or thin … do your best to …

ENJOY THE RIDE!

and don’t believe the saying “Thin may be in, but fat is where it’s at”

It’s a lie!

GREENSPEED AERO SPORTS TRIKE


From the GreenSpeed recumbent trike company is this new speed trike … AERO.

AERO INTRODUCTION:

The Aero has been designed to satisfy the “Need for Speed”. The design builds on the best features of previous GreenSpeed trikes, including the SLR race trike which has dominated Australian Pedal Prix racing for the last ten years. Thus the Aero is a road version of the SLR, with more speed features to make it the fastest production trike in the world.

STREAMLINED AERO DYNAMICS:

At 20 mph, 80% of an ordinary bike rider’s energy goes into pushing the air aside. This is what makes it so much harder to ride into a headwind, than a tailwind. On the Aero you’ll LOVE headwinds! Because when you turn into a headwind on the Aero, you will leave the competition behind, if you haven’t already. Even the cross member on the Aero is streamlined. This is because a streamlined tube has 1/10th the drag of a round tube! The more the seat is reclined, the smaller your frontal area is to the wind and the faster you go. The seat of the Aero is reclined at a low 20 degrees. Wind tunnel testing shows a large gain in speed when using wheel covers. Most bikes and trikes cannot use front wheel covers due to instability in cross winds. The Aero overcomes this and further reduces drag by using 16” front wheels with a 20” rear wheel.

To further reduce air drag, the Aero uses the joy stick steering that was first used on the SLR. This is linear action steering, allowing the hands and arms to be closer to the body, moving fore and aft, instead of moving sideways, where your arms catch more wind. The cranks are above the seat, so that the feet are within the frontal area for the body, reducing air drag. Our wind tunnel testing has shown that the exposed calipers on disk brakes produce more drag that drum brakes, where the drum is contained within the wheel. So the Aero uses special 90 mm drum brakes which have been reduced in overall width to fit within the wheel slim wheel covers. Finally, there is a new headrest available if needed. It has a single support strut, in line with the neck, instead of the two struts on previous headrests.

LIGHT WEIGHT:

While weight has less of an effect on performance than aerodynamics, every aspect of the Aero has been examined for weight reduction. This starts with the frame. The frame of the Aero is non-folding, plus the seat frame is an integral part of the main frame so the weight of hinges and other joints and fasteners are eliminated. Plus the frames are mutually re-enforcing, and thus the whole structure can be lighter and more aerodynamic. We have used 7005 aluminium alloy for the Aero. This has reduced the weight of the frame by over 3 pounds, or 30% over the Cro Mo 4130 prototypes. Although the axle size has been increased from the 12mm of the SLR to 15mm on the Aero to reduce axle flex, the weight of the kingpins has been reduced, as has the front hubs, by totally removing the outer flange. Even the weight of the special GreenSpeed Scorcher tires has been reduced for the Aero. Thus you will notice how quickly the Aero accelerates with the first stroke of the pedals.

ROLLING RESISTANCE:

There is a myth in the cycling world that the larger the wheel, the easier it will roll. This is a carryover from the horse and carriage days, when the larger wheels would sink less into soft ground and a larger steel tired cartwheel would roll easier over a certain size stone. This changed forever with the advent of sealed roads and the pneumatic tire.

There is also a myth that thinner tires roll faster. In laboratory testing at GreenSpeed, on many different types and sizes of tires, it was discovered that not only did smaller diameter tires roll easier that large ones of the same construction and pressure, but wider tires rolled easier than narrow ones. Plus certain types of tire construction rolled easier than others. This led to the design and manufacture of the GreenSpeed Scorcher tires, which have been the number one choice of the top Australian racing teams for the last 10 years.

For the Aero we have taken another look at the design of the Scorchers and managed to further improve the rolling resistance by an extra 15%! When you stop pedalling the Aero and coast, you will be surprised at how easily it rolls.

TOP GEARING:

On a Penny Farthing bicycle, the larger the front driving wheel, the faster it went. This was because there was no gearing and it was direct drive. The ground covered with each wheel revolution was dependent on the size of the wheel, which was dependent on the length of the rider’s legs. Then the Safety came along with the smaller wheels and gearing, so everything changed. However the myth that larger wheels are faster persists to this day.

This myth is perpetuated by the use of gearing designed for bikes with 26” and 700c wheels which is fitted to many trikes with 20” wheels. This results in gearing which is far too low for speed. Thus instead of the standard 50/39/30 cranksets and 11/32 cassettes fitted to many trikes, the Aero has a 56/42/28 crankset and a 9/28 ten speed cassette. This gives a top gear of 20 x 56/9 = 124 inches, V 20 x 50/11 = 91 inches for a standard 20” wheeled trike, or 26 x 50/11 = 118 inches for a standard trike with 26” rear wheel. The Schlumpf Mountain Drive is a popular alternative to the triple, and with the standard 60t ring and the 9/28 cassette, will give a range from 17 to 133 inches. Thus on the Aero you can be sure you will be faster than a trike with a 26” or 700c rear wheel. Plus the Aero will handle better due to less rear end flex.

USES AND ACCESSORIES:

Since the Aero is built for speed, with no compromises, it is intended for use on sealed roads or good, hard packed trails. Accessories include wheel covers, headrest, rear fender and luggage rack. Riders who have previously ridden only recumbent bikes, due to their superior speed, but wished for a more stable machine that they could relax on over long distances, without losing speed, may find their dreams come true with the Aero.

30 DAY TEST RIDE:

We build our trikes with love and our confident that you will love your trike. However, a trike is quite different to a regular bike, and while most people feel immediately at home riding our trikes, some can take a little longer to get the best from them. Thus we offer you a 30 day Test Ride if you live too far from a dealer to take test ride at a dealer’s store. So if you are not 100% happy with your GreenSpeed trike, simply ship the trike back to us within 30 days of the shipping date and we will refund you the full retail price of the trike, less any allowance for wear and, or damage.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Frame: Aluminium Alloy 7005
Width: 30”- 76 cm
Length: 80”- 202 cm
Height: 20” – 51cm
Seat Height: 6.5” – 16 cm
Seat Angle: 20 degrees
Crank Height: 12.5 to 14.7” – 32 to 37 cm
X-seam range: 39 to 47” – 99 to 119 cm
Ground Clearance: 2.6” – 7 cm
Turning Circle: 14 feet – 4.3 m
Track: 28.3”- 72 cm
Wheelbase: 41.3” – 105 cm
Front Wheels: 16” Alloy rims with SS spokes and carbon fibre covers
Rear Wheels: 20” Alloy rim with SS spokes and carbon fibre covers
Tires: GreenSpeed Slicks, 16” x 1 ½” & 20” x 1.5” – 40-349 & 40-406, 40 to 100 psi.
Gears: 30 speeds
Cranks: Shun SS-ZO-300 56/42/28 x 165 mm
Cassette: 10 speed 9/28
Front Derailleur: Shimano 105
Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105
Chain: YBN S10
Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace 10 speed Bar End
Gear Range: 18 to 124” – 689%
Brakes: GS – Sturmey Archer 90 mm drums
Standard Equipment: Carbon fibre wheel covers
Optional Extras: Head rest, luggage rack, rear mudguard
Rider weight Limit: 250 lbs – 120 kg
Luggage Weight Limit: 66 lbs – 30 kg
Trike Weight: 31 lbs – 14kg
Boxed Size: 58 x 25 x 16” – 148 x 63 x 40 cm

PRICE: $4,490

Visit the GreenSpeed Aero website page: http://greenspeed-trikes.com/aero.html#rating

 

 

 

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, 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

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

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’