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Bike Show 2016

HP Velotechnik Scorpion suspension recumbent trike redesigned for 2017

HP Velotechnik has announced a changeup to the Scorpion model line of suspension recumbent tricycles. After twelve (12) years in production, the original Scorpion model will be retired.

For 2017, the Scorpion model is getting a redesign to have a 26" drivetrain, and is targetted at the "comfort race-trike" market -- people who want to go fast, but prefer not to have the bone-jarring effects of non-suspension trikes.

HP Velotechnik has designed its No-Squat suspension to minimize pogo and energy losses due to pedalling activation of the rear suspension.

Large drivewheels give recumbent trikes good handling characteristics and efficiency. The original Scorpion model was the first recumbent trike produced by HP Velotechnik and its design principles have flowed into every HP recumbent trike produced.

However, the 20" drivewheel has held it back in an older recumbent era. The new Scorpion uses a 26" drivewheel, but toes the line of the original Scorpion's non-folding philosophy. Although foldability is useful for many situations, many recumbent trike owners refrain from folding their trikes if they don't have to, simply due to the extra steps and the possibility of added wear and tear on the trike. In addition, hinges and foldability add cost and weight, so eliminating that keeps the design simpler provided that the folding capability is not needed.

A preliminary look suggests that there might be enough room in the rear fork to accommodate a larger 700c racing wheel, but this is not yet confirmed.

The new Scorpion should be available by the end of 2016 in a metallic blue or grey color though HP offers custom color upgrades for most RAL colors.

A full range of options including a variety of electric-assists will be available for the newly redesigned Scorpion.

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High-tech rim tape saves weight / fingers

Rim tape is an invisible partner to all recumbent trike and bike riders. Rim tape protects the inner tube from sharp hole edges on double-wall rims and spoke-ends on singlewall rims.

On double-wall rims, the rim tape has to withstand extremely high forces, particularly with higher-pressure tires. In addition, its adhesive must resist migration and yet be easily removable when necessary in the future, even years after it was first installed.

Traditional rim tapes dominate in the bicycle industry, and these tapes employ thick woven fabric for their protective qualities. However, the thickness of the tape actually makes the rim well larger and hence makes tire changes more difficult. On the smaller recumbent wheels, this increase in the interior rim diameter is a significant factor causing headaches (and sometimes pinched fingers) for recumbent riders who have to remove their tires and fix their tubes. In addition, the additional weight of the thick cloth is unnecessary and wastes rider energy each time the wheel accelerates.

We have been experimenting with a new high-tech rim tape that uses a super-strength polyester film with amazing rigidity characteristics to keep it from stretching or puncturing under the high-pressure conditions on the inside surface of a bicycle wheel rim. Furthermore, it uses a silicone-based adhesive that has a perfect quality of staying in place while still allowing the tape to be easily peeled off years later.

Three years ago, we installed the tape on our own bicycles and field-tested it ourselves. The results were so good that two years ago we started building all double-walled wheels at AlphaBENT with this tape.

When we had the occasion to rebuild one of these early wheels for very different reasons, we got to see how this new rim tape has been working in regular real-world application for the past two years. The results are an absolutely amazing. The tape shows no degradation, even where it has been pressed at high pressure against the sharp interior edges of the rim continuously since it was first installed. There has been no migration of the tape, and when we peeled it off, it came off readily making our job of rebuilding the wheel easier.

Here are some pictures of the tape before we removed it from the rim.

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Cool riding Ventisit cushion relieves Terratrike seat hotspots

Terratrike owners sometimes find that the front corners of the seats are hotspots that chafe their legs as they ride. Additionally, the relatively dense weave of the seat covers on Terratrike Rambler and Rover models keep rider sweat from evaporating readily.

We have found a Ventisit seatpad that provides relief to Terratrike riders by resolving both issues at once. The pad extends for the full width of the seat and smooths out the front hotspots.

Made of high-tech material, the Ventisit pad provides improved air circulation behind and under the rider. The pad is available in standard and extra-thick and will raise the rider's effective seat-height by 20-30mm.

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RideAtaxia NorCal 2016 comes to Winters

Ride Ataxia comes to NorCal this coming weekend!

Come out Saturday, June 4, 2016 to support this worthy cause and these fine individuals.

Every year, we all come together at this time of year to raise awareness of and money for curing this debilitating disease called Friedrich's ataxia. Last year, RIdeAtaxia NorCal raised more than $109,000 for research to cure this disease.

It promises to be a scorcher this year, but there will be plenty of hydration and snacks and a meal afterwards to keep the riders going.

PLEASE NOTE: This year, Ride Ataxia Norcal begins and ends in the beautiful little town of Winters rather than Davis, where it has been hosted for the past several years.

Join Teams Kyle, Sean, Megan and all the other Ataxians and their supporters on this pretty and worthy ride.

Links

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Catrike Dumont Update: Availability and front-suspension retrofit

Many Catrike owners are probably wondering:

  1. Will Dumont front suspension spindles be mountable on other Catrike recumbent trikes?
  2. When will the Catrike Dumont full-suspension trike begin production?

Front-suspension Retrofits NOT possible

Catrike reports that the engineering specifications and forces involved preclude retro-fit capability. The suspension spindles (kingpins / kingposts) for the Dumont have been completely engineered from scratch and they are designed to different specification than non-suspension Catrike recumbent trikes. Therefore, retrofits will not be possible.

Recumbent tricycle spindles are extremely complicated. They are not only responsible for resisting riding forces, they also make the ride and steering what it is. Spindles are the nexus of a recumbent trike's handling, stability, self-centering, anti brake-steer, pedal-steer, and turning radius. In short, they dictate how a trike will ride and behave.

Catrike is understandably playing it quite cautiously with the new suspension spindles in order to avoid making any costly errors like their massive spindle recall when they last re-designed their non-suspension spindles. In this instance, there were a couple failures and Catrike replaced every spindle at its own expense.

It is common for front suspension to be non-modular and non retrofittable. Certainly, no one has ever expected HP Velotechnik to allow front suspension retrofits pulled from its Scorpion FS-20 and FS-26 models. The new Azub front suspension due out this summer will technically be retrofittable, but the retrofit will involve a replacement of the front cruciform including spindles and this is expected to be an expensive proposition.

The only currently commercially available front-suspension retrofit option is on ICE Sprint and Adventure models. In such an instance, a retrofit is possible, though more expensive than when installed OEM at initial purchase.

Catrike Dumont full-suspension trike not available until June at the earliest

On 3 June 2016, Catrike will get word that will dictate when they will finally be able to begin production of their new Dumont full-suspension big-wheel recumbent trike. Other than that, mum is the word, but is is likely that people anxiously awaiting this model will be able to look forward to getting their own in July.

The Dumont was announced in 2015 at the Interbike trade show, and Catrike has been shooting for a Spring 2016 initiation of production.

Catrike manufactures recumbent trikes in Orlando, Florida using Just-In-Time manufacturing philosophy and methods.

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Ti-FLY action video | full-suspension recumbent trike

Assuming that a video is worth a million words, even if it is only half a minute long, Azub released a video today illustrating the Ti-FLY front suspension in action.

The recently announced Ti-FLY full-suspension recumbent trike will be in full production during the summer of 2016.

Ti-FLY recumbent trike is to be built as two platforms:

Production is limited so reservations are being taken right now. Reserve yours now.

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ICE Sprint X RS-26 with 90mm drum brakes and 700c Bionx electric-assist

This is a custom build-up of an ICE Sprint X with a rear suspension, Bionx 350W electric-assist built into a 700c rear wheel, and 90mm Sturmey-Archer drum brakes.

The Sprint X has fancy wheels but they are usually built around front disc hubs and a conventional rear hub. In this case, the owner opted for the long-wearing, low-maintenance Sturmey Archer 90mm drum brakes. Since the trike is motorized, the slight weight penalty was not a factor.

She also wanted the largest rear wheel size. We found that a 700c rear wheel would fit with a few millimeters to spare. We custom-built the rear wheel around a Bionx 350W motor supplied from a previous installation. The larger wheel-size was not compatible with the standard rear V-brake parking mechanism, so we used conventional brake levers with locking buttons.

She also specifically wanted the SRAM X5 twist shifters over the standard X bar-end shifters.

We looked at a variety of battery mounting options. A tensioned, hanging system was the lightest and most elegant solution. We used the strength of the seat rails to hold the battery. A simple water-bottle cage holder was mounted to an upper seat-rail. We stabilized it with a custom-made brace to the next rail down. The cable length was perfect and the battery slides easily in and out of position. Its location is central and out of the way. The weight of the battery support system is minimal.

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Disability

RideAtaxia NorCal 2016 raises more funds for Friedrich's Ataxia research

Kyle Bryant rallied the Ataxians and their supporters at the 7th Annual Ride Ataxia NorCal. Riders, families, and friends gathered in picturesque Winters, California for the 4 June 2016 event. Kyle led the 25-mile ride on a stock-issue hyper yellow Catrike 700 recumbent trike with Iron-Woman Rachael on a modified HP Velotechnik Gekko recumbent.

Teams Kiela, Megan, Sean, Barney, ZOWIE, Riley, Lia, Tayggli, Lyndsay, MMCA, Horizon, Ash, Blue Skies, MAIN 40, Rupeloton, Buford& Co., Roadies for Kyle, Luke's League, Brown & Caldwell, It's Not Supposed to be Easy, Sophia's Flying Pandas, were there and a stunning $80,700 was raised in a few short hours.

After the 3-course Riders' Feast, Kyle announced promising clinical studies which are the fruits of the labors and fund-raising of the Friedrich's Ataxia Research Foundation.

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Announcements

Bacchetta 2016 changes affect Giro ATT-20 and Giro ATT-26 recumbent bike models | Adroit recumbent bicycles

The first of the new recumbent bike models from Bacchetta have started percolating into the market.

Code-named "Adroit", Bacchetta changed key parameters in the design of Giro ATT-20, Giro ATT-26, and ATT-700 recumbent bicycle models.

  • Frame dimensions now allow a larger range of rider sizes to fit each recumbent bike model. These changes include moving the cable stops forward so the seat can slide closer to the bottom bracket, and also changing the bottom bracket distance from the head-tube and the front wheel.
  • Innovative new dropout system allows 130mm spacing of road wheels or 135mm spacing of mountain bike / 29'er wheels to be used on these recumbent bikes.

The new dropouts mean that there is an incompatibility of replacement derailleur hangers between older Bacchetta bikes and newer recumbents. However, with the new dropout system, riders can use ultra-high-tech carbon-fiber wheel technologies available for the fastest road bikes, or opt for heavy-duty 135mm mountain bike / touring bike wheel technology for better durability -- without having to change the frame once everything has been dialed in.

Most of the well-refined Bacchetta recumbent design features have been untouched:

  • the seat clamping mechanism is the same
  • components seem largely equivalent
  • brazeons for brakes still allow caliper and disc brakes
  • Bacchetta signature EuroMesh and Recurve seats still have the same positioning and almost equivalent rider positioning
  • Giro ATT recumbent bicycle models keep the B-pivot that allows the handlebar to pivot out of the way for the rider to get on and off the bike.

Advantages of the new system are that models from 2016 forward fit more people better and let Bacchetta recumbent bike riders choose the best drive-wheel dimensions to suit their riding style.

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Long-term wear

Field-fix for broken ICE chain tube flex connectors

Foldability of recumbent trikes is an important feature. It helps many people with transporting and storing their trikes.

ICE pioneered the compact flat-twist (CFT) design which angles the hinge at 45 degrees so the rear section of the trike twists sideways during the fold and lands flatly in the plane of the cruciform of the trike.

This allows big-wheeled trikes to fold even tighter than some of the smaller-wheeled varieties.

The Achilles heel in the CFT design is at the flex-point in the chaintubes where the chain doubles back and twists all at the same time. There is a lot of force on those flex points, and, eventually, we see some of these trikes in the shop for replacement of the flexible connector.

Replacing the flexible connector requires labor, a special part, and some effort removing the chain from the chaintubes and then putting it back. An air compressor comes in quite handy, as well. All of these factors may not be present when you are sitting on the side of the road with a broken chain-tube.

We found that with some creative use of four zip-ties, we were able to recouple the chaintubes with a flexible mechanism and no need for special tubes, nor a lot of time.

We simply put an anchor on the chain-tube on each side of the break, then connected the anchor with two opposing zipties criss-crossing in a helical pattern across the flex-joint.

The zipties we used are white and will not weather as well as black ones. We used them because they show the technique readily.

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Weights and measures, Comparison

Compare weight: 500W Bionx v. 500W GoSwiss 26" wheel

It's not every day that we have the opportunity to measure the weights of different systems. Usually, everything is so intertwined with everything else, that it's hard to pin down exact weight differences of comparable items and components.

Recently, though, we had the opportunity to measure two comparable 500W 26" wheels with very different motor systems by Bionx and GoSwiss, so we chucked them up on the doctor's scale.

The Bionx motor has a huge diameter. Instead of the conventional large-hub system with a conventional spoke flange, Bionx has made the motor into a large disc that sits inside the spokes of the wheel and the spokes are a newer-style straight-pull variety that travel parallel to the motor case. This motor is very thin, but shows a large profile from the side. It looks quite large.

The GoSwiss motor hub uses conventional J-bend spokes with conventional flanges. The sideways diameter of the motor is much smaller than the Bionx, but the motor is much wider.

Given that both motors consume 500W, it might be reasonable to assume that if they use the same technology, then the internal windings would probably have a very similar weight. If anything, it appears visually that the larger diameter Bionx motor would weigh more.

We were quite surprised to find that the Bionx wheel was significantly lighter than the GoSwiss.

Our shop scale is a well-calibrated doctor's scale. It has a resolution of about 1-2 ounce (or about 50g). The wheels were measured with no tire, tube, or cassette.

The Bionx wheel weighed 5lb-4oz or 2380g. The GoSwiss wheel weighed 6lb-8oz or 2950g.

This is a very simple rough comparison of a single characteristic and does not measure comparable power output, acceleration, nor efficiency of the motors. It also does not include batteries, racks, or other auxiliary equipment.

It is also true that a mere 1+ pound of difference in a single component of a system that will have an overall weight in the 60lb range is relatively minor and insignificant.

[NOTE: This just an interesting fact about a measurable characteristic. We install and use both of these systems and find both to be quite impressive technologically.]

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Workshop

Mounting a Minoura bottle-cage holder on an ICE seat

Minoura makes a clever, strong, and lightweight strap-on water bottle cage holder that is useful for mounting accessories including electric motor batteries as well as water bottle cages.

The BH-95X can make a strong mounting point not just for water bottle cages on the back of the rigid seat frame of an ICE recumbent trike, but also for suspending a Bionx electric motor battery.

Here is an exploded picture of the disassembled device.

The rigid ICE seat frame used on ICE recumbent trikes has 4 1" cross-bars and the bottle cage holder can be mounted on any of them. We will mount this one on the second one from the top:

  1. Put the stainless steel strap around the seat frame bar.
  2. Bend the strap so the second hole from the end nests on the outside of the embedded nut at the other end.
  3. Overlay the plastic base over the nested strap ends.
  4. Put the re-positionable cover on top of the plastic base and lay the steel bracket within the groove with the long end downwards and forwards.
  5. Insert the bolt through the steel bracket and the holes of the plastic cover and plastic base and engage the threads at the end of the bolt with the threads of the nut embedded in the strap.
  6. You will be able to feel when the threads engage and your success will be visible inside the plastic mounting base.
  7. Tighten and when you are finished, the bottle cage holder is ready to be used.
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