First ride on a trike

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Sep 17, 2020
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Not laughing either, my first test ride i had one gear and one rear brake and going around the block about killed me.

I seemed to recall going up a hill on a bike when I was 13 years old, a lot less difficult, I think hills are getting more steep or something.
 
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Ackerman will be useful to have. Without it you'll scrub speed in a corner. Given your fitness every little helps. You'll need caster too to help keep the rear wheels straight when not turning. Suspension can be done. Front will require a rear triangle and enough extra chassis to allow that to pivot at the leading edge. Rear will involve pivoting the entire rear beam.
I suggest the steering ratio is, initially at least, adjustable to find the optimal amount. You'll likely want a lot of bar movement for little wheel. For low speeds it should be ok and you're never going down any big hills where you live.
 
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Feb 10, 2022
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Thanks guys. All good comments and appreciated. My lack of even moderate fitness is the reason for suffering at the moment. I've been using gearing to give me something like one rev per second (is that a cadence of 60?) This for a speed of no more than a slow trot. I live in Norfolk and we don't do hills here! I do remember hills Thom_G but even in my youth I was never a fan. I used to walk my bike up a particularly steep one on the way to Scouts! Ah the good 'ol days. Climbing hills is not a problem I have to face now which is probably a good thing at the moment. I could possibly pedal slower and travel slower but I actually want that pain for now to get my legs working. I have poor circulation so the doc says and need to get the muscles going. I'm sure any of you guys would have no problem with my trike or it's gearing.

There really isn't anything wrong with my trike as far as I can tell. It works and is nice to pedal. It handles well at my speeds and now stops well and the gears are fine. It is quite lengthy but that's not a particular problem. My reason for building again is not to simply replace a machine I'm not happy with but to enjoy building and experimenting. My wife has a small economical car and I have a van so transport is not a problem. Cycling is purely for 'fun' and building is just an addition to that fun. Maybe in the future that will change and we'll do away with the van. At that time I may find a bike actually useful but for now it's a 'toy' and a pleasant way for me to get my old body in some kind of shape again.

Paul I do realise that RWS is generally thought a really bad idea. I accept that I may find out why soon enough but I'm sensible enough to be very careful while I play and get used to the odd feeling. I have driven forklifts and know how odd it is to have your backside dictate your direction of travel. That in itself must take some getting used to while cycling. I am slow, really slow and will be very wary while playing so I'm happy that no blood will be spilled. If it just doesn't work for me then all the parts will be reusable and I'll move on to trike number three.

You're right on all counts Darren thank you. I will go without suspension for now to save complexity and weight but can always redesign and build again if I find I'm happy with the concept.

Thanks all for the comments and advice. I'll try to remember to take some pics as I go and put them up here.



I realise ackerman is necessary. Irrespective of where the third wheel is the two steered wheels still travel different paths when turning so the inner wheel still needs to follow a sharper turn. Obvious once my brain started working.

I've been wondering if I should make the rear axle adjustable to allow trying different castor angles. Would be simple enough to weld a plate to the front of the axle beam and rear of the main chassis rail and use bolts to hold them together. I can then space the tops or bottoms with washers for trial runs and fix permanently when (and if) I'm happy with the setup.

Thanks again
John
 
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On the front of a taddy I've never found castor to be critical. So long as there's a moderate amount it self centres.
 
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I'm probably wrong but I sort of visualise a pretty drastic weight transfer type of effect with RWS when cornering with large forces on the rear wheels. Again it's just a feeling but I wonder if this would be causing a strong tendency to oversteer if there was much castor on the wheels. Again it's just a gut feeling and in truth a taddy has a similar amount of excess weight on the steering wheels so I may well be way off base. Making the castor adjustable will be interesting anyway so I'll go with it and see what the effect is.

John
 
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Feb 10, 2022
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Well this project is at a temporary stop now. Today I received the contents of the shed clearout advertised here from ducunderdoor. He was kind enough to go to the trouble of packing it all into boxes/crates or bubblewrap and allowing a courier to collect for me.

Both courier and I were amazed at just how much was sent. Dozens of wheels including twelve hub motors, four battery packs plus a pair of lead acid traction batteries and a load of chargers, several bike frames, a quad frame, forks, hubs, controlers, etc plus a complete sit-up-and-beg trike plus another in pieces. Lights, bike computers, and a mass of general bike parts including eight boxes of smaller parts.

My workshop is now brim full and it will take a couple of days just to sort through and find spaces for it all.

My thanks to Bryan (ducunderdoor) and the courier James via Shiply who was amazingly helpful despite his large van being half filled with the load.

Once this lot is sorted I'll get back to my new build.

John
 
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Still sorting boxes but found about 14 hub motors about half in wheels and others loose. Most seem to be 24v or 36v and 250watt and some look new- others used. Loads of controlers but not yet sorted- again all 250-350W with one or two 500W I believe. Three of the four battery packs seem ok but one shows no voltage and charger doesn't want to charge it so may be a dud. Traction batteries both read over 12v.
Three or four new cycle frames. One quad frame with small wheels (almost like wheelbarrow wheels) cw front beam axle with steering etc. Several rear axles of various types. Four or five good quality front forks with suspension. Loads of wheels, innertubes, tyres etc. etc.

I'm still wading through boxes and bubblewrap in the workshop and will be for a day or two before I can start getting some of the motors and controlers tested. I wish controlers had a standard wiring plug and colour scheme because they seem to be all different, there's only one or two connection diagrams which don't seem to be obvious which controler they're for and the rest will be trial and error to connect up. it's going to take forever to work out connections for each one to test them. But hey! I'm in no hurry and will just do them as and when.

John
 
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A lot of motors.
Personally I will not use the 250w hub motors.
The problem with the hub motor that small, is the lack of torque, or you need to use 2 of them.

I noticed tested several bikes after rebuilding them with a new controller and the size of the motor makes a huge difference.
The controller is set back ad a lower Amp output. This to make them 250w. For the people that buy them or let their bikes fixed, this is better.
But even with the same settings, you feel a very big difference in between the motors.
The bigger motor delivers more torque, without using more from the batteries.
As your build is heavy, and Trikes are heavier, than those small motors will have it a lot heavier.

Those controllers give more than what they say.
But you can lower the amps on the controler and set it to the rated spec.
I didn't do that on mine and my 250/350w motor, pulls on 48v 550w.
 
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Hi Emiel. Yes I agree 250w is not very powerful but it depends on what you want to do. I know you do long journeys and pull your caravan so 250w will never be very helpful. I don't intend to go very far (at the moment anyway) and will have only me or maybe me and my dogs to cart around on flat country roads. I mostly want to ride for the excercise so may not use the motor much anyway.
Mostly though I just like the building and 'fiddling'. To make something in my workshop and then test it out and fettle it to make it better is my idea of heaven!
John
 
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Hi Emiel. Yes I agree 250w is not very powerful but it depends on what you want to do. I know you do long journeys and pull your caravan so 250w will never be very helpful. I don't intend to go very far (at the moment anyway) and will have only me or maybe me and my dogs to cart around on flat country roads. I mostly want to ride for the excercise so may not use the motor much anyway.
Mostly though I just like the building and 'fiddling'. To make something in my workshop and then test it out and fettle it to make it better is my idea of heaven!
John
No mountains, than it will be fine to have a bit of assist.
I understand that, I do the same. Next week my trike gets some changes and improvements.
 
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Workshop is now useable again.....just. New shelves put up and now straining with boxes and wheels hanging from every spare bit of wall space. Lawnmowers now have to be unburied before I can get them out of the garden sheds. But everything is now sorted roughly and has a place to live.

My wife decided she really liked the look of the trike so I spent a couple of days going over it. A few problems like a misaligned main sprocket due to the need for space behind it for the PAS sender. Only two gears were actually useable or the chain fell off. I removed the sendor and replaced the sprocket and now better. Electrics not yet sorted but ready to ride so I took it up the lane. Jeez it was horrible. I ended up on the verge three times before I worked out how to ride it.

I know the science bit of bike riding is still a bit of a mystery. Apparently we should not be able to ride a two wheeler as easily as we do without a lot of wobbling as we correct and re-correct for steering and stability. There's something the scientists can't theorise using their equations, vector diagrams and the like. The human brain has some sort of 'instinct' which allows us to balance and ride without realising what adjustments we are making to stay upright. Whatever- we do it.
An upright trike is a whole different ball game for me at least. It just seems to take so much effort to keep it heading in the direction you want. It starts to veer off course and I immediately reacted by veering even further off course??? After a bit I managed to force myself to correct in the right direction but it felt like I was going to topple over- really strange.
So I warned Joan she would struggle and she did indeed mount the verge twice in the first 50yds but then seemed to get the hang and just rode off down the lane. Her verdict- 'I love it' So now I have to sort out chainguard, rear basket and electrics etc.


Hopefully I can get back to building soon if the weather stays mild enough for me to spend time in the 'shop'. Leg feels good, I feel fine, lots of bike bits to fettle, life is great.

John
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
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John

Don't know how she managed that , those things are EVIL !!!

They follow the camber with a vengeance and take a huge amount of force to get them to change direction.

I fell off one of the 700c versions like this :-

when I trapped one of those 3 ft road cones inside the rear wheels and then even more embarrassing a lady marshal ran to me asking if I need a hand to get up and was I alright :(

Paul
 
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Evil is the perfect description Paul and I did indeed hit the verge at the nearside each time although the lane has only a tiny amount of camber.. It does take quite a yank to get the bars back to straight ahead once you start to veer.
Strangely Joan managed to veer off of both sides of the road before she mastered it?

I assume you were racing? Unless these things become considerably more stable as speed increases you are a very brave man!

PS I hope your tilter problem is resolved. That break was quite unexpected but I guess it does demonstrate just how much stress certain parts of the machine are under. I think mostly you get a sort of feel for where the high stress points are and reinforce accordingly but that pivot doesn't look as obviously vulnerable as it must be. At least your welds are good which is more than can be said for some I've seen-scary! Keep a close eye on it won't you?

John
 
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I assume you were racing? Unless these things become considerably more stable as speed increases you are a very brave man!
No I suspect like you I though how hard can it be to ride one of these things !
I ride with a club made up of 100% those [ and me ! ] if I am following them the front wheel constantly twitches to the right to lift them out of the gutter , I don't think they know they are doing it :whistle:

Strangely a recumbent does not behave like that at all , my Kett could not be ridden no hands for very long as it gently turned away from the driven wheel[ stronger if you where pedalling hard ] however that was it's only foible.

PS I hope your tilter problem is resolved. That break was quite unexpected but I guess it does demonstrate just how much stress certain parts of the machine are under. I think mostly you get a sort of feel for where the high stress points are and reinforce accordingly but that pivot doesn't look as obviously vulnerable as it must be. At least your welds are good which is more than can be said for some I've seen-scary! Keep a close eye on it won't you?
Thanks for the concern , yes welds held under the onslaught , someone tried building a Python front ended JetTrike another tilter out of stainless steel and the Python front end tore it apart and he gave up. That is why I was worried the tilting had something to do with it , however now I am not convinced......

So proceed with caution and get the miles in is the plan.

Paul
 
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Those bikes are here used for people with disabilities. They are only useful on low speeds and on good roads. As the roads aren't great, they start to be very uncontrollable, and they aren't that stable.
The only reason that you see them here, us because they are reasonable cheap and it makes that people that can't ride on a normal upright, have something to ride on, while being on the same level as other upright cyclists.
But those bikes aren't that much used any more. The people that can't ride a normal upright, swap more to recumbent trikes.

As you don't have an disability, than I don't see any advantage over a normal upright. I only see disadvantages.

As you want to have a lot of luggage space, you can better get a bakfiets.
 
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