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Electric-assist torque anchors

A hub-driven electric-motor such as Bionx, Neodrive, or GoSwiss needs an anchor point that is physically fixed on the recumbent trike or bicycle, so it has something to push against. Without this anchor point, the hub would simply spin when activated with electricity.

With the anchor point, the hub can convert its spinning force or torque into forward force moving the trike forward. Every manufacturer has a unique spin (pun intended) on how this is best implemented, and each manufacturer calls the anchoring device something different. Bionx calls them "torque collars" whereas GoSwiss calls them "torque arms".

To complicate matters, Bionx has a gravity-sensitive strain-detector inside the hub. This means that the Bionx hub must be fixed in the recumbent tricycle at a particular orientation or it will not accurately sense the rider's pedaling force. Therefore, Bionx originally designed a torque collar wedged itself in place at any angle and it could be positioned differently to fit all of the plethora of different bike dropout profiles in existence.

This was a very simple and infinitely-adjustable design, and its only flaw was that removing and repositioning the torque collar required a special press tool and each shop preparing aftermarket Bionx electric-assist systems had to purchase the special tool.

After a while, Bionx redesigned the torque collar to go on and off with no special tool and it would key into a particular position with a flat edge of the torque collar fitting perfectly onto a flat edge of the motor axle. This design made it much easier to get the torque collar on and off, but it meant that a different torque collar had to made to fit each of the different dropout profiles / angles. All of a sudden, shops that used to be able to pop a torque collar off with the special tool were now required to maintain an extensive inventory of these torque collars, each holding the motor at different angles.

The standard torque collar included with a Bionx 350W electric-assist is a 27-degree torque collar. However, some recumbent trikes such as Catrike always require a different torque collar.

We recently came across a pair of these Catrikes that had Bionx systems installed without the correct torque collar. The tip-off was how much force it took to get the axle nuts off. When we pulled the wheels of each trike, we found that the unscrupulous dealer had filed away the flat keyed part of the torque collar and re-installed the torque collar with no torque anchor. To keep the axle from rotating under load, that dealer had had to tighten the axle nuts to an amazingly high torque!

GoSwiss and Neodrive electric-assists do not have the same gravity feedback as Bionx systems, so the orientation of the axle doesn't matter. Both of these European systems use a splined interface that allows the torque arm to be angle however it works best for the physical shape of the cycle frame.

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Terratrike

AlphaBENT has extensive experience servicing most brands of trikes including those made by Terratrike.

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Directions

Directions to AlphaBENT

Getting to AlphaBENT from anywhere

Our location is at a major hub of roads, trains, and planes. [Here are directions particularly from the Bay Area.]

By road

We are located at the junction of I-5, I-80, US-50, and CA-99

From any of these roads, we have found the directions given by Google to be quite effective.

By train

We are less than a mile from the Sacramento Amtrak train station. Here are walking directions and a map.

By bus

Greyhound: The Greyhound bus stop is on Richards Blvd, quite close (only 1.2 miles) to the shop. However, that particular direction from the shop is a world away and a walk from the Greyhound terminal goes through a rough neighborhood. We recommend getting a ride.

By plane

The Sacramento Municipal Airport (SMF) is very close. To get from the Airport, take the Yolobus 42A. Take light rail or walk from downtown Sacramento. To get back to the airport, take the Yolobus 42B.

By cycling

Sacramento is blessed with a very nice cycle transportation system. The American River Trail is roughly a mile from the shop and is an excellent place to ride a trike. There is a bike path causeway that comes in from the west if you are travelling from the Bay Area. A nice bike route comes down from Rio Oso if you are traveling from the north.

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Bay Area to AlphaBENT

Directions to our recumbent trikes showroom from the Bay Area

We are located on the northern edge of Downtown or even Midtown Sacramento.

By train

Amtrak takes you from Richmond (on the BART Red Line) to Sacramento on the Capitol Corridor train.

The shop is less than one mile from the Sacramento train station. Here are walking directions and a map.

By bus

Greyhound: The Greyhound bus stop is on Richards Blvd, quite close (only 1.2 miles) to the shop. However, that direction from the shop is a world away and a walk from the Greyhound terminal goes through a rough neighborhood. We recommend getting a ride.

MegaBus: Megabus runs a very inexpensive shuttle from San Francisco in the heart of the Bay Area. The MegaBus terminates in Sacramento near CSU Sacramento at the 65th Street Light Rail Stations. Here are directions to get from the Megabus bus stop to AlphaBENT.

By car

We are at a major interstate hub. We are near the junction of I-5, I-80, CA-99, or US-50. From San Francisco, it is very efficient to take US-50 to the Capitol City Freeway. It brings you into Sacramento past Raley Field and the Gold Bridge.

By trike or bike

When you get close to Sacramento, there is a causeway just west of West Sacramento with exclusive bike lanes. Here are directions to the shop by bike if you are on bike travelling from the Bay Area.

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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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United States

Day-6 semi-recumbent bikes

Day-6 has a long history of making great easy-to-ride bikes.

Owner, Kelly Hutson, believes strongly in the product and has worked tirelessly to get this innovative design into the market. The product speaks for itself: most people who can ride a regular bike, but not a recumbent, seem to do quite well on a Day-6 bike without the pain of conventional bikes.

Shipping and service are centrally located in Iowa where Hutson and his crew serve the entire U.S. market.

AlphaBENT proudly stocks, sells, and supports Day-6 bikes in Sacramento and serves all of Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Bacchetta performance

Bacchetta is known for making high quality recumbent bikes.

The products concentrate on short wheelbase (SWB) design with a hat-tip to the easier rideability of the long-wheelbase (LWB) philosophy.

Products range based on:

  • frame materials
  • seat style and angle
  • wheel configuration
  • level of components
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TerraCycle

A real manufacturer of real products. TerraCycle has a mission of providing the finest upgrades available for recumbent cycles.

TerraCycle is wizard at machining. Their claim to fame is making the best idler pulleys out there. (So nice, in fact, that the Sport edition became standard OEM on all Catrike products.)

Expanding on this base, TerraCycle is the leader in fairings, specialty packs, and more funny little parts you never thought about before.

AlphaBENT keeps TerraCycle products on hand for all of the trikes in the shop.

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Catrike USA made

The AlphaBENT Catrike Concept Store stocks and services the full lineup of USA-made Catrikes ready for you to test-ride.

Catrike trikes are characterized by: efficiency, top-notch components, lightweight design, and sexy good looks -- which means they look and ride like sports cars.

Innovations Catrike has pioneered include:

  • direct steer - lightweight and responsive
  • space frame - lightweight and efficient
  • peace boom - boom extrusion with internal stiffening ribs and anti-twist keyway
  • seat pockets - integrated seatpockets and emergency pump carrier

Catrike includes standard features with all trikes. This minimizes your out-of-pocket costs when purchasing.

  • integrated light mount - a stub that accepts most conventional handlebar-mounting lights
  • computer sensor mount - a bracket to put a sensor pickup for most cycle computers
  • clipless pedals - pedals with cleats that anchor your foot for added safety
  • TerraCycle idler pulleys - top-quality idlers with sealed bearings and durable materials
  • 30-speed barend shifting and drivetrain - bar-end shifters have less effect on steering

It's hard to say if Catrike is more engineering, design, or production. Paulo, Mark, and co. have seemingly waved a magic wand and incarnated a US factory producing world-class products in real-time.

Whatever it is, Catrike does it all, and, on our end, not much gives us more pleasure than calling in another order for another Catrike. We know the Catrike products inside and out, and are consistently amazed at how this outfit accomplishes so much.

The Catrike success story is well worth following.

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Czech Republic

Azub recumbent technology

Azub manufacturers solid recumbent bikes and trikes in the Czech Republic.

Everyone agrees that Azub marches to their own beat and that, different as it is, it makes its own style-sense.

Take, for instance, Azub's devotion to thumb trigger shifters. Everyone else in the recumbent industry rejected the idea long ago, but not Azub. Instead, Azub steadfastly puts thumb trigger shifters everywhere they can. The cables fly up, loop around and get routed into the top of the handlebar, but, you know what? It works! These shifters have dominated the mountain biking industry because of their fantastic ergonomics and Azub owners get that benefit.

Take also, for instance, the innovation of an optional folding hinge. Only Azub makes take-apart cycles that allow you to insert a hinge should that functionality appeal to you.

Take also, for instance, the Azub tail. Look at the Azub lineup and you are sure to notice the tails. Oversize aluminum tubing forms the backbone of many Azub cycles and then a little stub stick out in the back. That stub is more than a fashion statement, it is the mounting point for the rack.

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Australia

Greenspeed recumbents Down Under

Greenspeed is the first company to bring a commercially viable recumbent trike to market.

Its founder, Ian Sims, has a long history of design and engineering and a deep understanding of what works.

The Greenspeed GTO is the trike that really started it all. Because of its take-apart capability, it was relatively easy to ship, and helped Greenspeed form a worldwide dealer network. The design of the GTO was refined in 2004 and has filtered into all modern-day Greenspeed trikes including the GT1-5, X1-5, and Magnum.

The GTO remains one of the finest handling, robust platforms in the world today, even as other designs and innovations have evolved around it.

Greenspeed has literally "done it all": manufacturing, marketing, design, engineering in the recumbent industry.

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Germany

HP Velotechnik German Engineering

AlphaBENT is a Premium HP Velotechnik dealer stocking almost every model of HP Velotechnik made, including bikes and trikes.

Working out of their factory in Kriftel Germany, HP Velotechnik engineers some of the finest-handling recumbent trikes in the world.

There are few trikes as comfortable as the suspension Scorpion models put out by HP Velo, and the front suspension models incorporate such features as anti-sway-bars, and have the most plush rides in the industry.

On the other end of the spectrum, HPVelotechnik also puts out non-suspension versions of its trikes that fold up tightly and have incredibly tight turning radii.

HP Velotechnik recumbent trikes are characterized by:

  • superb handling at speed
  • plush suspension
  • and great low-speed turning.

HP Velo has been engineering fine machines for a long time, and their products show it. These fine designs have come from HP Velotechnik:

  • NoSquat rear suspension, designed to maximize comfort and minimize loss of efficiency
  • split knuckle kingposts maintaining integrated front wheel and axle while allowing convenience of easy wheel removal
  • advanced steering geometry (ASG) for stable high-speed handling mixed with agile low-speed
  • self-locking folding hinge on some models
  • inifinitely adjustable BodyLink hardshell seat

Thanks in part to these innovations, HP Velotechnik's plush full-suspension Scorpion FS-26 won the BROL Recumbent of the Year award for 2013.

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