Tag: recumbent trike

2020 ….. A year of challenges!

Small HollyChristmas 2020Small Holly

The team at DT Recumbents wish you all a Safe and Merry Christmas, and thanks you for your support over the last 12 months. 

We will be having a Christmas break, so we will be closed from Christmas Eve 24th December, re-opening Monday 4th January 2021.  We will be monitoring emails, so if you have a major catastrophe, send us a message and we will see what we can do to help!

GreenSpeed Update

In March we saw the sale of GreenSpeed Australia to WhizWheelz USA, who packed up all the GreenSpeed stock and shipped it to America.  We went from “yes, we can have a GT20 ready to go for you next week” to “We don’t know if new GreenSpeed Trikes will be available to Australia in the foreseeable future.”

Greenspeed GT26 Trike
GreenSpeed GT26

In October, Victorian company Trisled was announced as the new Australian distributor for GreenSpeed.  Trisled have been doing their best to secure an Australian share of GreenSpeed Trikes in production at the moment.

So far, we have seen a quantity of GT20’s (all sold now) and Magnum BW’s (1 left) and are expecting some GT26’s very early in the new year.  Other models including Magnums and Anura’s are anticipated around mid-year.

We’ll keep you posted!

COVID Impact on the Cycling World

COVID has had a massive impact on the cycling world.  As our gyms and fitness classes closed under lockdown, cycling took over as a COVID-Safe form of exercise that we suddenly had the time to explore, often with our families.  The demand for all types of cycles soared, and is still high. As the cycle manufacturing world struggles to catch up with the upright (upwrong?) and growing eBike demand, the smaller Recumbent market is experiencing similar issues.

It is going to take a while for the industry to recover and catch up, so 2021 will still see lots of ups-and-downs regarding availability of bikes, trikes and components.

Electric Assist

On a more positive note, Electric Assist kits and batteries have recovered from the COVID-induced shortage, and are more readily available. We can supply and fit your Mid Drive or Rear Wheel Hub drive.  See our E-Assist web page for more info on which type will best suit your needs, and give us a call if you have any more questions.

Coming Soon….

Performer JC26X Suspension Trike
Performer JC26X

As well as our GreenSpeed GT26’s, we have a Performer JC-26X – Suspension trike due to arrive in early January to add to our demonstrator range.

Our demonstrator Trikes include: 

GreenSpeed GT20, and a GT20 with an Electric Assist Mid Drive motor;
GreenSpeed:  Magnum BW; Aero; GT26 (mid Jan 21);
Performer JC20, and JC26X-Suspension (early Jan 21);
Rehatri Delta with USS.
(See our Recumbent Trike Web Page for more details.)

Our Demonstrator Bikes include:

Bacchetta:  Giro A20 & Giro A26
Performer:  Folding Front Wheel Drive
(See our Recumbent Bike Web Page for more details.)

And of course our personal bikes are here for discussion…  Challenge Mistral, Performer 700C Highracer, and M5 Carbon High Racer.

Remember, the more you ride, the more Christmas Treats you can eat....

Trike Maintenance – Wheel Alignments

Sometimes I’m asked about maintenance on a trike, “what sort of maintenance do I need to do on my trike” type questions. The answer in many cases is, “it depends”. Not helpful.

The “depends” varies with the cycling conditions  Riding in fair weather will put fewer demands on the trike than the all weather (and all road) triker, and the ‘smell the roses’ rider will put different strains on the trike than the performance rider. Your trike manufacturer will have recommendations regarding maintenance, check their web pages or hand book….

It’s safe to say that our trikes are pretty robust and normal bicycle type maintenance will suffice. I would suggest a look around the trike every month to see if anything is loose/worn/rusting or crying out for attention. Maybe incorporate it with a regular clean?

The area that is radically different to – ahem – “normal” bikes is the steering. Trike steering has much more in common with…*cough*…cars. The one thing we must do is to make sure the front wheels agree on the direction we are going to go. Commonly termed wheel alignment, and even more commonly “toe in”, all we are really doing is making sure the wheels are parallel to each other when in the straight ahead position.

Trike with poor wheel alignment.
Not like this!

Poor wheel alignment will make the trike harder to pedal, wear out the tyres quickly, and make the handling of the trike unpredictable. It will not cause speed wobbles or make the trike pull to one side all the time. If a trike continually tries to turn in one direction, or has speed wobbles, there are other issues that need to be investigated!

So how to check alignment? It can be done with a tape measure but it’s difficult, not very accurate, and really needs 2 or more people. Some manufacturers suggest telescopic rods to check the distance between the wheel and frame, and between both wheels. Better but still awkward. I’ve even seen recommendations to remove the tyres to do an alignment properly….

Tools

We use a telescopic rod, a large carpenters square, spanners, and a purpose made alignment tool sized to suit the average trike’s track and setup for 20” diameter wheels. With this tool it is easy to read and set the toe-in to within ½ millimetre.

Alignment tools
Grubby floor and old tape is optional

To the procedure (Batman)…

Note, this is written with indirect steering and no suspension in mind, but the basic process is applicable to all tadpole trikes.

Setting it up

Somehow secure the handlebars in the straight ahead position. I use webbing tie down straps, and a large carpenters square to get the handlebars as near as possible straight ahead. Pump the tyres up nice and hard merely to minimise any difference in diameter.

Trike with handlebars secured
Carpenter square gives visual reference for handlebar position.

Measure from each wheel to the frame main tube and choose which one is closest to parallel to the frame. I normally choose the left wheel as then I don’t have to try and measure around chains and idlers. Using the telescopic rod, adjust the track rod until the wheel is as close as possible to parallel to the frame centre line. Tighten the adjustments then leave it alone!

Measuring from wheel to frame
Like this…

Put a bit of masking tape on the tread of each tyre, and mark on the tyre a reference point, a cross for instance. (This doesn’t have to be on the centreline as we’ll be using the same mark for measuring both the front and rear distances.)

Reference mark on tyre
X marks the spot

Place our special tool in front of the tyre, set the taped mark of the right tyre and the fixed pointer of the tool against each other and secure the tool in position with the rubber band.

Alignment trammel in front of trike
Like this!

Measure it

On the other wheel, rotate the wheel until the tape mark aligns with the ruler. Read off the measurement and record it. Let’s imagine it says 90mm. (Or in this case 74…)

Reference measurement
A sharper pencil would help

Take the tool off the tyre, now roll the trike forward (or back) ½ a wheel revolution. Slide the tool under the trike, and position it against the tyres again. The fixed pointer will be against the trikes left tyre this time. Line up the pointer and mark, and rubber band it in position, read off the measurement at the other wheel. Our imaginary reading for this wheel is 50mm.

Now the math! Subtract 50 from 90, divide the answer by 2, and add the result on to 50. In this case we get 70. That’s the measurement we want for the wheels to be parallel.

Here’s the really neat bit. Sit on your trike, and looking at the scale adjust the track rod (of the wheel we didn’t set straight ahead remember) and watch the measurement change. Set it at 70mm, (or maybe 70.5 to 71mm to give a touch of toe in), lock the adjustments and that’s done. (Make sure it didn’t change during the tightening up process 😊)

Final alignment measurement
Set and done.

Test it!

Take the tool off, make sure all the nuts are tight and go for a quick ride up and down the road. Leave the tape in place for this ride, if the alignment is poor it will show scuffing and tearing, but I’ll bet it looks just fine when you get back.

How often should it be checked? Not more than once a year, unless there is an incident or something starts to feel wrong.  Set it up right, from the start, and off you go!

Trike-ing my way to work.

(Mrs DT Recumbents dips her toe into the world of recumbent cycle commuting)

It’s been nearly 35 years since I was a cycling commuter.

Back then I was an active teenager whose only reliable means of transport was the bike.  I rode an inherited, fixed gear Malvern Star upright lady’s bike. As soon as I got a car, the bike pretty much got the flick.

Over the intervening years, hubby got me onto its successor, a Giant MTB, but I was never comfortable riding it. My neck and wrists hurt, my butt went numb, and when a kamikaze Magpie gave me such a fright that I fell off, that was pretty-much the end of my cycling, except for brief forays with my young kids.

Spring 2019 and I’m still quite active and have just hit the half century. Running and walking have been my primary choice in exercise for ages, but I’m about to go back to my summer job, 8km away, as a School Swimming Teacher. I won’t get time to run before work – I am NOT an early-morning person!  How to keep fit????

The Trike

Since we started DT Recumbents 2 years ago, I have tried a few of the recumbent bikes and trikes that have come through our business. While I can ride the Bacchetta Giro bike (the Bella didn’t adjust enough for my short legs), it wasn’t quite me.  I took the Performer Trike E and JC20 for a few longer spins, but they weren’t quite right either.

And then a friend left an older Greenspeed GT3 trike with us. Small size frame, 16” wheels, fixed seat and no head rest.

It was wonderful! Greenspeed GTS trike

Sporty looks, very efficient and agile performance and best of all, very comfortable to ride.  A bit of playing around with different length cranks and changing to a 2 speed front crank-set and I am now on the most comfortable cycle I have ever ridden. I will now voluntarily head off on a ride.

Getting Moving

The final block to making riding to work feasible for me, fell at just the right time. A new back road opened, meaning I could avoid the busy major road with unfriendly cycling allowances, and the major hill associated with it.

I did a weekend test run to the school pool and back. 25 mins each way! And on my sporty little trike I was able to do the 50 min/16 km test loop without being a total wreck at the end.  This would work!!

I got myself organised.   I made a couple of long sleeve cycle jerseys to go with my tights (sun protection for riding home at midday, late spring in sunny QLD); stole hubby’s old pannier bags; found a pair of cycle shoes, and I was all set to go.

The Trip

I thoroughly enjoyed the cycle commute (except for 1 day with 40-60kph head winds on the way home, and 1 idiot driver who decided that giving way didn’t apply to cycles.).  The majority of my trip was on either cycle lanes or footpath, with a couple of back roads here and there. Moreton Bay Regional Council have been slowly improving the cycle ways around Redcliffe, particularly near the waterfront.

Michelle on GT3 front viewAfter 6 weeks of riding 3-4 days/week, my legs were no longer shaking at the end of the steep hill leading up to the school. I had increased my average speed 1-2 kph, and did the whole term on less than 1 tank of petrol (vs filling up every 9 days or so).

The trike behaved beautifully. Uphill was sometimes a bit of a slog, but downhill I got up to 48 kph (I was never game to go that fast on an upright) and on the flats I could cruise at 25-27 kph.  Not bad for a 50 year old woman who had never been an avid cyclist.

Now the challenge is to keep that cycling fitness, which I discovered is really different to running/jogging fitness – those triathletes are really fit!!

Maybe a weekly trip to the café near school for a cuppa? A regular run along the Kippa Ring to Petrie rail-trail?

I’ll think of some excuse.