May 13

May 13, 2004

I had some time to take the lean steer trike (Discombubulator) out for a watts test today just to compare it's speed to the two wheeled low racer, the M5 lowracer, and my triathlon bike. It was also the first chance I had to give it good road test, and it passed with flying colors! Here is the ride report:

I found on the out leg, that the left steering lever was becoming progressively floppy, but controlling the trike was still easy, as the faster you go, the more it wants to stay straight. The steering levers are not required to maintain control of the bike, as it's easy to balance the trike while riding hands free. However, a nice tight cable-lever loop helps keep the trike from wobbling while peddling. The cause of this slight wobble could be my flimsy frame, the weak front wheel fork/drive assembly, or it may have something to do with the lean-steer itself - not sure yet. However, light hand pressure on the levers tends to 'lock' the pivots in a neutral position and pressing against the peddles doesn't seem to cause any resulting wobble. When I stopped to check out the cause of the loose cable, I found that the right turn-buckle had vibrated out, and fell apart as soon as I touched it! I'll need to do something about locking those turn buckles. After tightening the turn-buckle for the return leg, I found the trike much less wobbly and a lot stiffer and easier to peddle.

When I got up to a speed of about 35kph, I took my hands off the levers and continued to peddle without any problems or wobble. When I tried to make a quick turn at that speed, I had to really put a lot of pressure on the levers to cause any kind of turn at all. It seems the faster you go, the more the bike wants to stay pointing straight ahead. A wide turn at 35pkh wouldn't be a problem, but I'm still not sure how tight a turn I can do without the trike flipping over - that will be the next test!!

The result of the watts test was fairly predictable - it's way slower than the two wheeled lowracers, but only slightly slower than my triathlon bike which I was surprised about! Here is a table showing the various bikes and their respective speeds at 150 watts of power:

Vehicle Photo (click for large) Watts Ave Speed
Home built
150 31.6 kph
M5 lowracer 150 31.3 kph
Triathlon bike
(on aerobars)
150 28.9 kph
Lean steer
150 27.3 kph

The watts data table for previous tests is here.

The trike fits perfectly in the Element

The test track (Highway 22 to Bragg Creek and back)

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