Observations from a new to tadpole trike rider.

marka-ee

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Mar 24, 2020
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Up till recently I've been riding a Nazca Pioneer short wheelbase recumbent with 26 inch wheels and a regular upright mountain bike, both electrified. I recently purchased a used Optima Rhino FS, which is a low rider tadpole trike with 20" wheels. Until I come up with another solution, I installed a small bafang geared hub motor, which with a 10S pack gets me to about 35 kilometers per hour. My first run out with it felt rather jittery, but after I changed the toe in to be less than what it was, it seems to have helped a lot. I can practically ride no hands with it. I want to change the motor to something that gets me to at least 50 kilometers per hour, which is about the speed I like to go with my other bikes. There are no hills in my area.
Today I did a slightly longer ride with it, about 20 kilometers, and running pretty much full speed the whole time on a backcountry road. Here are some observations:
> This is a very low-slung trike and going at speed, it's difficult to spot some of the potholes sometimes, which makes me a little nervous.
> Speaking of potholes, I now have to think about three separate tire tracks to be aware of to avoid them instead of just one track with a bicycle.
> The full suspension is wonderful. I think it would be complete insanity to ride at higher speeds without suspension. It doesn't make any sense.
> Even though it seems to track nicely now, I can tell that at any given moment I could roll it if I wanted to by doing a quick turn.
> I don't know if it's my imagination, but being so low to the ground, I can hear cars coming, even over a small hill horizon before I can see them, almost as if the sound also stays close to the road.

Anyhow, those are just some initial observations to me, someone who has never ridden a trike before this.
 

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My Greenspeed Magnum Big Wheel (link in signature has pictures) is somewhat the opposite - no suspension, high ground clearance (feature for me - I'm building a truck that can go off-pavement) and I agree with your other observations.

Potholes, 3 tracks, and a suicide roll-over is in my grasp any time I'm above ~10km/hr. Slower speeds are iffy if I'm side-hill off-road due to bumps.

I wonder if the sound reflecting off the pavement adds to the sound traveling direct, but I won't speak to the over-the-hill aspect yet.
 
50kph (30mph) would be scary fast for me on your recumbent, though I could see the advantage of it when running with the cars in a low slung three track machine.

















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My Greenspeed Magnum Big Wheel (link in signature has pictures) is somewhat the opposite - no suspension, high ground clearance (feature for me - I'm building a truck that can go off-pavement) and I agree with your other observations.

Potholes, 3 tracks, and a suicide roll-over is in my grasp any time I'm above ~10km/hr. Slower speeds are iffy if I'm side-hill off-road due to bumps.

I wonder if the sound reflecting off the pavement adds to the sound traveling direct, but I won't speak to the over-the-hill aspect yet.
That Stoke monkey drive is neat, as you can set the final drive gear ratio to whatever works best with your wheel size and motor specifications. I wouldn't have enough room for a full-size DD hub motor, but maybe I could set it up with a more compact Bafang 500-watt gear motor that I have from another bike as its diameter isn't that big. I think I'm going to have to live with a noisier setup than my other bike, which is a direct drive hub motor with a sine wave controller, and that's almost completely silent.
 
50kph (30mph) would be scary fast for me on your recumbent, though I could see the advantage of it when running with the cars in a low slung three track machine.

















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Without full suspension, I believe anything over 35 kilometers per hour would be downright risky. Something like a Wright Brothers first flight on a trike. My trike has coil spring suspension, which is almost striction free compared to air shocks, (which I despise). Even going over some railroad track crossing was a joy.
 
I think I'm going to have to live with a noisier setup than my other bike, which is a direct drive hub motor with a sine wave controller, and that's almost completely silent.

I replaced my GMAC with a Shengyi SX2 (both from Grin, with locked clutches) this last weekend, and it is quiet. Other parts of my drivetrain make some noise and I get a whir but the difference in the motor is quite notable compared to the previous GMAC.

With the 'gearing' I have now (26T Gates sprocket on motor, 60T sprocket on rear wheel) the Shengyi can climb the same steep hills. I think the difference would show in the maximum weight I could take up the hill with me.
 
I have an unsuspended trike driven by a bbshd mid drive. Climbs well, quiet also. I regularly travel smoother roads at around 20 mph, but find it ok at 30. I have larger tires running at lower pressure. I suppose quick turns would risk roll over at those speeds, but it's a low slung trike and pretty stable. I've been riding these things for 20 years so used to all the issues... Real problem is cars and their drivers.
 
.. Real problem is cars and their drivers.
Being so low to the ground, I really sense this problem. Do you think that a series of high-powered rear flashers are enough? I'm thinking of something a little bit beyond the normal blinky lights that are sold to average bicycle riders. I don't ride in what I would call traffic normally, but I do ride on streets. So the occasional car is a concern. So I'm more concerned about cars just not seeing me in open stretches of road, rather than the problem of being to the right of a car and the car makes a right turn problem, which is far more dangerous, I guess.
 
Wow, those are practically a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade type situation behind and above the trike, surely not to be missed. Where I ride, the trails are fairly narrow, and sometimes the bicycle traffic coming head-on is actually fairly dangerous. The couples that are riding often have the man in front and the woman riding behind, and she can't see anything. And I have experienced sometimes that the woman will suddenly swerve out or do something ridiculous causing a near-miss accident. This was all during my two-wheel recumbent riding days, and now that I have this trike, I am concerned about it even more, even though the season hasn't started yet. I'm thinking of maybe putting a flag or a strobe light on the left front wheel to make it more obvious that there is something sticking out there.
 
Well, I received a direct drive 20-inch hub motor hoping that it would go faster than the small 250-watt Bafang hub motor that I was testing with. But alas, it's not the case. In fact, the direct drive hub motor at 48 volts is getting the exact same top speed as the small geared hub motor that was running at 36 volts. Call me disappointed. Incidentally, while running 35 kilometers an hour, it's drawing 400 watts from the battery. I was really hoping that the 48 volts on a direct drive hub motor would get me close to 50 km per hour, but darn it, these direct drive hub motors really don't like spinning very fast, do they? So maybe I will now pursue the MY 1020 motor driving a belt to a very large sprocket or pulley on the rear rim. At least this way I can select what gear ratio I want.
 
I was really hoping that the 48 volts on a direct drive hub motor would get me close to 50 km per hour, but darn it, these direct drive hub motors really don't like spinning very fast, do they?
Sure they do. You have to use enough voltage for the specific winding of motor (kV) you have in the specific wheel size you have for the speed you want out of it.

What was the advertised speed for the new motor you bought, at what voltage? That lets you determine its' kV (rpm/volt), which lets you calculate how fast it would spin at your voltage.


Also, have you verified your controller is not speed-limited? I'd suspect that if you are getting literally exactly the same speed to however many decimal points your speedometer shows.

If it's speed limited, it will have the same max speed off ground as it does while riding.
 
It's a Chinese kit, so as everybody knows, even if they did state a maximum speed, it would be in what I call Red Chinese units, which mean nothing. It came with its own controller, so that's what I tested with. getting the red Chinese kit was fairly affordable. Other options would have been double the price here in the EU. The previous one, I was using an older, different controller. Today I'll try to hook it up with a different sine wave controller I have to see if it makes any difference. If it doesn't, then it looks like I am off to the MY1020 motor experiment which will have a large pulley on the rim and a one-stage system going to the motor.
 
::busts up::

Red chinese units?

Brother do me a favor, wander around your place and look at every bit of tech that is more complicated than a toaster.

Find one that was made entirely in the EU.

I mean ALL of it. Not some bullshit mealy mouthed "they assemble it in a factory down the street" My son assembles complex circuits monthly, they come in a box from New Zealand and a YouTuber, don't make it american made, just means he is good with his hands.

Now, remember, before you spew racist stuff, some of us don't dig that.

Yes, everybody lies, look up the whole Volkswagon Diesel fiasco. Is that in grey Nazi units they were lying?
 
I'm fully aware that the world is supplied by the Chinese. What I'm talking about is when we are purchasing things such as hobbyist electronics devices or other more esoteric things, the Chinese are very inaccurate often on the specifications. Take for example 18650 lithium cells. I go around to my local Chinese market and see ones that are rated at 4 amp hours. I don't see any cells like this from Japan labeled in such a way, do I? There's one example. Another example is I just bought a little LED motion activated light for above my garage. I knew full well that this little tiny unit is not the 250 watts that it says on the cover of the box. Should I go on? These types of misinformation typically do not occur on things like clothing, shoes or other more common household items. So, are you saying that I should trust the Chinese ratings for these types of gadgets just as much as I would trust the German company for the same type of gadgets? As I stated, maybe on a different thread, the motor kit I bought was affordable for me, so I took a chance. It actually did say that it was 50 km per hour speed, but I knew that that wasn't trustworthy. If I were to buy a German or Austrian or American motor kit like this, I'm sure it would be two or three times the cost. I readily buy Chinese things.
 
Now, remember, before you spew racist stuff, some of us don't dig that.
I don't agree that his comments are racist.

China is a culture, and a way of life, currently based on values different than other cultures. That's not race. 'Race' means 'by birth' or 'inherently'. Culture is learned and adopted and abandoned.

Using the 'racist' label is an attempt to slam and shut down discussion - a term to hide behind. I think the discussion of facts is appropriate.

The facts might even bolster your own perspective.
 
I remember a lot of cheap American tools back in the day when everything was made in America. Then the Japanese goods came in, and we thought that was junk. Look what happened there. Then Taiwan was the low budget shop. Now they are the world's preeminent chip maker. I watched those rough iron tools and stuff come in from China in the '90's. Now they the build iphone.

I would say some of those Chinese producers are playing the capitalist's game -- maximize profit now, future be damned.

And the future will be interesting, as most of the stuff we use in bike world is now made in China.
 
To clarify: Racism (blanket unit often misrepresented because there are only 7 racial phenotypes)
Cultural racism maybe a better term? Cultural hate? Xenophobia is a good one.

Point being, if you see my drunk arse wandering down the street looking for a cab and say "Oh ffs Lan is shitfaced again, what a loser" you are making a serious of comments supported by evidence and a judgement call based on your preferences.

If you see my drunk arse wandering down the street looking for a cab and say "Oh FFS, these bloody Mics can't handle anything" You are making a disparaging remark about my genetic/cultural stock.

If you say "I don't know why so many Chinese vendors lie about their products" you are stating that you have found inconsistent product information provided by the manufacturer/sales chain/distributor that does not map to reality.

If you say "These Red Chinese" you have already failed.

So, as for the lying portion, yup, it is a huge issue. Which is why when I do ordering I always do a test order, I am in the odd group though that has done bulk ordering and I have that history to back me up. Still get shafted every once in a while. I have done test orders from a company, did a follow up slightly larger order. Then did a large volume (hundreds of thousands in merch) and got garbage. I have to hand it to the guy who burnt me on that one. He played the long game very well.

There are cultures that have the attitude "They are not one of us, screw em over at every opportunity" I don't think that is the Issue in China. I think it is because for more recorded history than us euro types have, they have had a HUGE population in relation to the rest of the planet. If you have a nearly endless supply of "people from out of town that buy our stuff" it gets easy to believe the statement "there will always be someone to buy our merch" A problem we are seeing now. America has a vast seemingly never ending supply of people that are looking for a better deal. If you have a flock of sheep, the urge to fleece them can get overwhelming.

So, sorry if I came off harsh, but there is a clear separation from blaming the problem on the unchangeable vs the changeable.

IF I choose to get drunk, fall down and puke on myself. I have a drinking problem and/or poor self control.

If I drink to excess throw up and fall down because my parents were from a small island in the Atlantic, you are condemning people for things beyond their control. And yes, I have a sore spot for that BS. I am not only an Orphan but a literal bastard. The church vocally blamed me in my parents death "If they hadn't brought the bastard into existence the lord would have had mercy" grow up around that attitude and you get a wee bit tishy about things.
 
Just a shift-of-the-gears if I may.

One week ago, my neighbor hailed me and asked me if I had seen the "weird" tricycle at the local secondhand. "Nope". I replied..."what'd look like", I asked. "Well"... "It had two small wheels in the front and a single at the rear". "It was black & yellow". "How much were they asking for it?" I asked. "750 bucks". It was long gone when I rushed to the store, so i asked the store owner what brand it was.... He said, "Catrike".


My apologizes for the interruption gents.
 
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To clarify
As a statement of fact - I agree with what I wrote, and don't agree with everything you wrote, but...

I also don't think I responded well or quite to what you were writing. I don't think now you were writing what could be implied by my response. I personally don't accept the concept of 'race' as it is completely arbitrary where the boundary is drawn and I don't accept any reason behind attempting to draw such boundaries - I find all such motivations suspect.

But that's my thought, and quite likely nothing to do with what you are writing, so there was no reason for me to respond.

This is a thread about trikes, and I'm only writing this here because I wrote my earlier response here so I think I should write this in the same context to reach the same people. While I think I'm correct about my idea (stated above) I don't think it's really relevant to anything you wrote and I would have better not replied. Apologies for messing up the thread.
 
Back to my trike topic, I did notice that when I was doing my speed test with the direct drive motor that the 48 volt battery pack I was testing with was rather saggy. It actually sagged down to about 41 volts. So the first thing I have to do is get a real battery pack on there and test it again.
So far my e-bikes have been 36 volt 10s type battery packs. My two wheel recumbent with this voltage and a direct drive goes 50 kilometers an hour which is my goal for my trike.
 
Just a shift-of-the-gears if I may.

One week ago, my neighbor hailed me and asked me if I had seen the "weird" tricycle at the local secondhand. "Nope". I replied..."what'd look like", I asked. "Well"... "It had two small wheels in the front and a single at the rear". "It was black & yellow". "How much were they asking for it?" I asked. "750 bucks". It was long gone when I rushed to the store, so i asked the store owner what brand it was.... He said, "Catrike".


My apologizes for the interruption gents.
The problem with both flea markets and secondhand stores is now they look stuff up on the internet to get closer to the actual value. In the old days, they probably would have sold that weird bicycle for $100. I consider myself lucky to get my full suspension trike for $1200 recently.
 
Tads don't really push that magic 'warm'n fuzzy' button for me. If the Catrike was exceptionally clean (I assume it was), and available to me, I likely would've snagged it - just to flip it.
 
To clarify: Racism (blanket unit often misrepresented because there are only 7 racial phenotypes)
Cultural racism maybe a better term? Cultural hate? Xenophobia is a good one.

Point being, if you see my drunk arse wandering down the street looking for a cab and say "Oh ffs Lan is shitfaced again, what a loser" you are making a serious of comments supported by evidence and a judgement call based on your preferences.

If you see my drunk arse wandering down the street looking for a cab and say "Oh FFS, these bloody Mics can't handle anything" You are making a disparaging remark about my genetic/cultural stock.

If you say "I don't know why so many Chinese vendors lie about their products" you are stating that you have found inconsistent product information provided by the manufacturer/sales chain/distributor that does not map to reality.

If you say "These Red Chinese" you have already failed.

So, as for the lying portion, yup, it is a huge issue. Which is why when I do ordering I always do a test order, I am in the odd group though that has done bulk ordering and I have that history to back me up. Still get shafted every once in a while. I have done test orders from a company, did a follow up slightly larger order. Then did a large volume (hundreds of thousands in merch) and got garbage. I have to hand it to the guy who burnt me on that one. He played the long game very well.

There are cultures that have the attitude "They are not one of us, screw em over at every opportunity" I don't think that is the Issue in China. I think it is because for more recorded history than us euro types have, they have had a HUGE population in relation to the rest of the planet. If you have a nearly endless supply of "people from out of town that buy our stuff" it gets easy to believe the statement "there will always be someone to buy our merch" A problem we are seeing now. America has a vast seemingly never ending supply of people that are looking for a better deal. If you have a flock of sheep, the urge to fleece them can get overwhelming.

So, sorry if I came off harsh, but there is a clear separation from blaming the problem on the unchangeable vs the changeable.

IF I choose to get drunk, fall down and puke on myself. I have a drinking problem and/or poor self control.

If I drink to excess throw up and fall down because my parents were from a small island in the Atlantic, you are condemning people for things beyond their control. And yes, I have a sore spot for that BS. I am not only an Orphan but a literal bastard. The church vocally blamed me in my parents death "If they hadn't brought the bastard into existence the lord would have had mercy" grow up around that attitude and you get a wee bit tishy about
::busts up::

Red chinese units?

Brother do me a favor, wander around your place and look at every bit of tech that is more complicated than a toaster.

Find one that was made entirely in the EU.

I mean ALL of it. Not some bullshit mealy mouthed "they assemble it in a factory down the street" My son assembles complex circuits monthly, they come in a box from New Zealand and a YouTuber, don't make it american made, just means he is good with his hands.

Now, remember, before you spew racist stuff, some of us don't dig that.

Yes, everybody lies, look up the whole Volkswagon Diesel fiasco. Is that in grey Nazi units they were lying?
First of all great majority of Chinese goods are overhyped junk. The fact you have them all over your house means nothing. I have some Chinese goods in my house too, but the great majority of what I own is not made in China. Second, they are all made in a regime controlled communist country. "Red Chinese units" is as accurate description as it can be. Actually it should be Red Chinese junk. If you buy something made in China you should always cut stated parameters in half and assume that you will have to fix it before you use it. It is clear from your posts that you have some internal problems and by calling someone racist you are trying to shift these problems on others. This will not work. Disclaimer: I was born and raised in a communist country. What I know you will never get from books or computer or TV.
 
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