Sept 19

Sept 19, 2004

Since I have no new photos today, I thought I would dig out an old one and do some reminiscing... I have progressed a bit since my first wooden prototype. This shot was taken almost exactly 1 year ago. The concept was to keep the drive train efficient and simple with a short chain to the front wheel, and steering via a pivot at my crotch. Contrary to a misleading photo, it didn't work at all even though some have been successful with this approach.

The next big idea was a front wheel drive with a twisting chain and an intermediate drive. It worked well and tested very fast, but I was never really all that comfortable riding it. It took quite a lot of control inputs to keep it straight and steady. I couldn't imagine spending 18 hours a day controlling this with a fairing and a cross wind - I could see that this approach would never work. Soon after construction of the lowracer prototype, I bought an M5 lowracer and found exactly the same to be true - fun and fast, but add a big carbon fiber sail and a cross wind - well, you get the picture.

So - I added a third wheel to the rear and instantly LOVED it! This mother of all trikes was heavy and complicated, and I still didn't like the mechanical inefficiency of the intermediate drive system. Somewhere in the back of my twisted mind still lurked that original pivot bike attempt.... there must be some way to combine a trike with the pivot to simplify the drive....

And so, with a lot of brave experimental stupidity, and some needed direction from Bob Rohorn of S'trike fame, I ended up with the discombubulator - a lean/cable steer delta trike.

Then, after a proper re-engineering with help from Ben Eadie, a new and vastly improved TCR1!

I spent the entire day welding and cutting chunks out of the front chain stay section to finish what I started two days ago, and to make some room for a bigger chain ring and to solve the crank clicking on the frame problem. The HPV email group suggested I leave the derailleur where it's supposed to go, and deal with my heal interference issues another way, so I moved the der back up and ended up solving my foot collision issue by switching to an old pare of SIDI cycling shoes that are paper thin and moving my cleats down about 1/4 inch on my shoes. Remember this advice: "When you solve one problem, you create two more". Although everything seems to work just groovy now, the weather is getting colder, and the reason I stopped using those paper (toilet paper) thin SIDI shoes is, well - you get the idea....

I am still kind of concerned with a bit of frame flex. If I stand over the trike pressing one hand down on the bottom bracket and the other on the pivot at the back, the frame flexes up about 1/4 inch. I'm not sure it's supposed to do that and I do notice it as I'm riding and pushing the cranks hard. I think I will add some gussets to the bends tomorrow to see if that changes anything. Stiff means better high speed handling and more efficient power transfer to the drive wheel.


1. Buy and install right brake
2. Invent new cable tensioner to allow more steering bar turn radius
3. Add front derailleur
4. Order 20mm axle bolts for the rear wheels (I'm using 1/2 inch now which isn't right)
5. Design and machine 2 seat mounts out of aluminum to replace current steel ones ( LATER.
6. Design and machine 2 steering tensioners out of alum to replace LATER
7. Order a new front wheel! (Helen is kind of upset that I am user her Zipp race wheel!)
8. Start work on the first fairing
9. Invent steering stiffener
10. Add larger chain ring and modify chain stays
11. Make clamp-on out riggers and try to flip it
12. Fabricate new steering bar (aluminum or composite?) or rework existing
13. Lathe an aluminum collar for .5" hub axles.
14. Design and build a trainer to fit mag trainer.
15. Replace steel cables with Kevlar
16. Crotch guard / fender
17. Narrow chain stays to allow foot to clear
18. fix derailleur
19. crank hitting chain stay
20. chain stay frame flex?
21. Narrow, high density foam for seat

TOTAL distance on TCR1
178.6 km

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