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Debut: HP Velo Gekko FXS first to be seen at AlphaBENT

The new Gekko FXS designed for children and adults up to 5'-11" will make its debut appearance at AlphaBENT's Northern California shop in Sacramento.

Apparently, the young lady is not included with the trike, but there will still be plenty of good reasons to come and see this hot little trike.

  • the seat is adjustable for different body sizes,
  • the trike folds
  • the standard setup is a complete package ready for real-world commuting

The first Gekko FXS trike in the US should be available for test-riding on the weekend of 9/25-26 of 2015.

Come see it firsthand!

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700c rear & 26" front wheels on an ICE Sprint 26

This trike has already been heavily customized. We put a 700c / 29'er rear wheel on with a road tire. It often sports a TerraCycle fairing.

But, big feet are now the problem. With the 700c rear wheel, the bottom bracket is a bit lower to the ground, and its owner, MK, finds that his generously-sized feet sometimes hit the ground. We have examined all the possibilities we could think of to solve this problem, and in the end, settled on larger front wheels.

26" was chosen as a size that would be relatively strong and still have a reasonable selection of tires.

The results are good. There is a bit larger turning radius, and MK reports having to think a bit longer about how to avoid the wheels when getting in and out.

However, the ground-heel clearance is impressive. The handling is good. It's smoother on the rough roads. And, according to MK, there has been no change in overall performance. Perhaps, the better rolling resistance is cancelling out with slightly higher weight.

[Note: the handlebars are folded back in preparation for folding it to put in the back of a Toyota Prius.]

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Push brakes and paddle shifters on ICE Sprint 26

We are putting together a trike for a gentleman with a neurological condition that inhibits "pulling" action with his hands.

He has settled on an ICE Sprint 26 recumbent trike and we have determined a configuration that will allow him to operate his trike with "pushing" actions.

The pictures show a prototype solution. We intend to mount the brake levers backwards so they operate with pushes rather than pulls. Trigger shifters mounted upside down and on the "wrong" side allow the paddles of the shifters to be actuated with pushing action using the palms of his hands.

The cost to configure this is nominal.

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Patterson Metropolis on Terratrike Rover

The Patterson Metropolis is an economical way to extend the gear range of an 8-speed Terratrike.

This morning we put one of these on an 8-speed Terratrike Rover. The drive installation went smoothly. Then, a Terratrike front light mount was used to reposition the front water bottle cage to a much more vertical angle -- much improving its ergonomics.

Simultaneously, a cable stop was positioned on the end of an attached bracket. The bracket was custom fashioned in the shop.

Shifting is via a Microshift twist shifter with the cable run along the mainline of the frame.

The result looks great!

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Trigger-shifters on Gekko FX26

We have converted an HP Velotechnik Gekko FX 26 to use trigger shifters as an experiment. It seems to work well.

Trigger shifters offer full thumb control and have excellent ergonomics for regular horizontal handlebars. On recumbent trikes, they present some logistical difficulties, with the primary one being the cabling must go up into a loop and then get routed through the handlebars.

The main downsides are:

  1. a mounting point (the top of the handlebar) for the sideview mirror is lost;
  2. the shifting mechanism is somewhat vulnerable.

On the positive side:

  1. there is no twisting input into the steering when shifting;
  2. they use the parts of your hand that they are designed for, so the ergonomics are good.

The converted trike is available at its original price, and can be tested while it lasts.

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Patterson Metropolis on a Terratrike Rambler

Patterson Metropolis 2-speed geared crankset extends gear-range of 8-speed Terratrike Rambler

Using the Shimano Nexus internally-geared 8-speed hub on any trike gives you the enclosed reliability of planetary-geared hubs, but it's a bit slim on gear range -- particularly with a small 20" wheel on the back.

We installed a 2-speed Patterson Metropolis geared crankset on an 8-speed Nexus-equipped Rambler and economically extended its gear range up and down from the OEM spec while satisfying the owner's desire for internal (rather than derailleur-based) gearing.

There are several options for geared cranksets in the world, but the premier one is the Schlumpf drive. Schlumpf drives come in three flavors -- Mountain, Speed, and HighSpeed. They all have a 1:1 gear setting and a geared setting. They all shift by pushing a button across from one side to the other with your heel. As the dominant brand in the market, the Schlumpf drive is priced above newcomers.

The Patterson drive is a cost-effective alternative. It lacks the extensive options of the Schlumpf for satisfying all permutations of possibilities, but weighs in with a solid 28T integrated chainring and a 160% upwards gearing mode. Best of all, by just concentrating on one permutation, FSA is able to get the Patterson Drive into the marketplace at a lower cost. The Patterson drive uses a conventional shifter and incorporating a satisfactory cable stop is sometimes a barrier -- particularly on a recumbent trike.

We used a Minoura Water bottle mount on the front derailleur post for a cable stop. The mount is still useable as a front light mount.

For shifting, we used a 9-speed Microshift shifter. We had the choice of left (front) or right (rear) shifter, and decided that the rear shifter mounted upside down would give good tactile and visual feedback, so the rider can monitor the shifting position.

The gearing of this trike went from approximately 17.5-54 gear-inches to 15.4-78 gear-inches.

Our gearing calculator is quite handy for quickly doing these sorts of calculations.

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Bluebird tests Catrike 700

In a sight that's becoming quite common at the shop these days, some bluebirds tried out a Catrike 700. [In reality, only one bluebird tried the trike while the others watched.]

He liked the color and the lines, but found it too difficult to shift. Also, the headrest was too big.

Meanwhile, the young'uns zipped their mouths shut, abiding by engrained maxims to speak only when spoken to and to be seen and not heard.

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Bionx electric-assist systems

We just got some Bionx 350W electric-assist systems in!

A little creative work, and we found a great spot to mount it on the HP Velotechnic Scorpion (tight spaces.)

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Rohloff lacing for ICE

Left-dished wheel with non-dished Rohlloff Speedhub!

In the recumbent world, we get to rewrite the rules. ICE and Greenspeed have designed trike frames with offset rear forks/ triangles to accept non-dished, left-offset wheels. This allows use of symmetrical lacing patterns with offset hubs, resulting in stronger wheels to withstand tricycles' higher sideways forces.

However, as a recumbent trike customization specialist, it introduces a quirky problem: the super high-end Rohloff Speedhub must now be dished the wrong way in order to line up properly. Dishing the wrong way strikes us as WRONG.

AlphaBENT has been experimenting with wheel lacing techniques to resolve this problem and this answer presents itself:

a Rohloff wheel laced with all spokes left-wise to offset the rim to the left for proper presentation to the ICE rear fork while retaining the benefits of symmetrical lacing...

And, it looks totally cool! You don't see a wheel like this every day.

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Disability

The Ataxian arrives

Come out to Davis on Saturday, May 30, 2015 for the Ride Ataxia NorCal ride.

Join Kyle, Izzy, and a whole bunch of amazing people in the FARA Norcal Ride.

All the details right here on the official FARA Norcal website.

Always great food, friends, and beautiful weather.

See you there.

Find out more about FARA here.

Veteran's Memorial Center, 203 E 14th St, Davis, CA 95616 And, coming up soon, the movie...

The Ataxian

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Lighting

Light mount for recumbent trike boom with no derailleur post (HP Velotechnik)

On trikes with no derailleur post we are often challenged when mounting a front headlight.

A simple bracket mounted on the boom has limited light visibility (light to the right is blocked by the chainrings) and suffers from "foot flash" -- as your foot passes in front of the light, the light reflects back at you with a temporary flash. This limits your night vision and is downright irritating.

We have resolved these problems with a two-part light mount that extends forward far enough to avoid foot-flash issues.

The light-mount is made with sturdy aluminum and is well-triangulated for strength.

The pictures show this light-mount on an HP Velotechnik Scorpion with no derailleur post.

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