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badcheese
06-06-2009, 11:35 PM
Hopefully I'll have it done in time to ride it in the BikeMS 160-mile charity ride at the beginning of October. Working gets in the way of tinkering, and that can go on for months at a time. Last year's ride was 175 miles (a hilly century the first day, then flat 75 miles the second), which I did on an old DF touring bike, but I thought it would be fun to ride a homebrew recumbent this year. Maybe next year I'll build a tall bike for it! If I could just figure out a safe way to handle steep hills on a tall bike...
http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-1.jpg

comreich
06-07-2009, 12:53 AM
This is proving to be a popular design and yours has come along nicely. Looking forward to hearing your ride reports. I've thought about doing the MS150 here as well, but ours in a couple of weeks and I've now passed the registration deadline.

TheGiver
06-11-2009, 07:16 PM
Looking good. You're past the hard part (not that there is anything really difficult with this build) and it's all downhill (sorry) from here. Just gotta deal with the fiddly stuff.

graucho
06-12-2009, 10:25 AM
If your like me, things can get done if you stay off of the couch. :rolleyes4:
Looks like a great solid base you have started. Keep it going. It sounds like a great ride in october.

GregLWB
06-12-2009, 09:54 PM
I'll be watching your build.:1eye: I really like the look of the dual tall wheels. I wish I still had good enough circulation in my feet to pedal with them that far above my hips.

Good luck getting ready for the long ride!

Greg

badcheese
06-16-2009, 02:14 AM
One thing I'm not clear on is how the rear brake lines up with the rim. If you have cantilever brake studs on the fork at the rear, welding rear dropouts onto those fork legs moves the rear axle farther away from the studs. Won't that put the back brake pads on the tire instead of the rim?

My rear fork didn't come with cantilever studs, so I thought about mounting a caliper brake on the seat stays, but that looks even farther away from the rear axle. It looks like my only option for a back brake is to add a second drilled cross member for a caliper brake at the correct distance from the axle, either between the seat stays or between the rear fork legs. The other option I'm considering is using a pair of seat stays with the rear dropouts still attached, so the brakes will be in the correct location. Then it's just a matter of welding the fork legs to those dropouts, and making sure the seat stays reach the small square seat support tube.

I'll post pics of whatever solution I come up with.

GregLWB
06-16-2009, 10:40 AM
One thing I'm not clear on is how the rear brake lines up with the rim. If you have cantilever brake studs on the fork at the rear, welding rear dropouts onto those fork legs moves the rear axle farther away from the studs. Won't that put the back brake pads on the tire instead of the rim?

My rear fork didn't come with cantilever studs, so I thought about mounting a caliper brake on the seat stays, but that looks even farther away from the rear axle. It looks like my only option for a back brake is to add a second drilled cross member for a caliper brake at the correct distance from the axle, either between the seat stays or between the rear fork legs. The other option I'm considering is using a pair of seat stays with the rear dropouts still attached, so the brakes will be in the correct location. Then it's just a matter of welding the fork legs to those dropouts, and making sure the seat stays reach the small square seat support tube.

I'll post pics of whatever solution I come up with.

I had the same problem and I carefully cut the studs off and welded them on in the right location (I realized the problem a little later in the process). If you look this site you will find a jig that will help you attach them properly. http://www.sheldonbrown.com/cantilever-fixture.html I found this after I did it the hard way.:jester:

Greg

Greenhorn
06-16-2009, 11:57 AM
One thing I'm not clear on is how the rear brake lines up with the rim. If you have cantilever brake studs on the fork at the rear, welding rear dropouts onto those fork legs moves the rear axle farther away from the studs. Won't that put the back brake pads on the tire instead of the rim?

My rear fork didn't come with cantilever studs, so I thought about mounting a caliper brake on the seat stays, but that looks even farther away from the rear axle. It looks like my only option for a back brake is to add a second drilled cross member for a caliper brake at the correct distance from the axle, either between the seat stays or between the rear fork legs. The other option I'm considering is using a pair of seat stays with the rear dropouts still attached, so the brakes will be in the correct location. Then it's just a matter of welding the fork legs to those dropouts, and making sure the seat stays reach the small square seat support tube.

I'll post pics of whatever solution I come up with.

I faced a similar problem and wound up cutting off a caliper brake bridge from an old road bike and welding it in the proper place between the seat stays. It took a while to get it aligned properly (via eyeball), but it seems to be working ok.

badcheese
06-17-2009, 01:01 AM
I used a pair of seatstays with dropouts intact. Like most rear dropouts, they had a triangular cutout. I cut away one side of this triangle. I cut the bottom of the crescent off of the fork dropouts, leaving just a wedge-shaped flange on the fork, which fit (almost) perfectly into the (now open) angle in the dropouts on the seatstays. This photo shows the forks tacked to the dropout/seatstay combo:
http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-dropouts.jpg

Then I welded both sides of each dropout. It's very sturdy, and the rear triangle looks very nice this way. The top of the seatstays don't quite reach the angle of the seat frame, but very close, and the brakes are guaranteed to line up with the rim. It will still be a challenge coming up with a good route for the rear brake cable, but I have some ideas about it, and most of the stopping power is in the front wheel anyway.
http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-triangle.jpg

Here's the whole thing so far. Still plenty of work to do, but the frame is almost complete! Time for chain idlers and steering. The plywood of the seat is pretty thin, so I used tee nuts instead of driving screws into the wood. I may try other materials for the seat base, and I'll definitely swap the mtb tires for road tires, but that stuff can wait until after the first test rides.
http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-2.jpg

GregLWB
06-17-2009, 09:41 AM
I used a pair of seatstays with dropouts intact. Like most rear dropouts, they had a triangular cutout. I cut away one side of this triangle. I cut the bottom of the crescent off of the fork dropouts, leaving just a wedge-shaped flange on the fork, which fit (almost) perfectly into the (now open) angle in the dropouts on the seatstays. This photo shows the forks tacked to the dropout/seatstay combo:
http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-dropouts.jpg


I like the way you did this. If I do another HR that is the way I will do it. Looks cleaner and with a little glazing putty no one will ever know. I like that it keeps that whole area much thinner than the original plan. Way to go!:1eye:

Greg

Greenhorn
06-17-2009, 10:38 AM
I like the way you did this. If I do another HR that is the way I will do it. Looks cleaner and with a little glazing putty no one will ever know. I like that it keeps that whole area much thinner than the original plan. Way to go!:1eye:

Greg

On my HR, I found I needed the added width of the rear dropouts being placed inside the fork dropouts to fit on the hub axle (then again, I didn't cut my rear fork apart either).

GregLWB
06-17-2009, 11:16 AM
(then again, I didn't cut my rear fork apart either).

I think that is probably the difference GH. I think that attaching the 'chainstays' like in the plans gives a little more room between them and the tire than the method you used and so the dropouts don't need to be bent so far to fit the rear axle assembly. Then again I might be wrong.:jester:

Greg

badcheese
06-26-2009, 02:36 AM
I built the neck and added bars, road tires, and chain.

http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-6.jpg

With the steering and chain installed, I took the first test ride, just up and down the driveway a couple times, since it has no brakes or chain idlers yet. Everything seems to be working well. The tiller isn't too bad, since the short wheelbase means I get a tight turn radius from a relatively small steering input. Hopefully it won't feel too twitchy at high speed, but I can't test that without brakes and chain idlers. I'm looking for a local source for chain idlers now. The donor bike had center-pull cantilevers, which won't work on this bike, so I'm ordering V-brakes. In the mean time I'll weld the idler bracket so I can paint it, and then pack the headset and crankset bearings and get the derailleurs and cabling dialed in.

Greenhorn
06-26-2009, 04:04 AM
very nice and clean looking

did you use road forks on that ?

badcheese
06-26-2009, 11:04 AM
did you use road forks on that ?

The forks are from an old steel hybrid mountain bike. It actually looked more like a city bike. They're pretty heavy, even for steel, but the overall weight doesn't seem too bad. I'll weigh it when I have all the hardware installed.

badcheese
07-06-2009, 12:01 AM
Strange fruit hanging from the trees:

http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-7.jpg

The frame and bottom bracket will need a second coat, and then I'll paint the neck, fork, and seat base, which will all be matte black. Brakes, grips, and cables should all arrive in the next few days.

I haven't worked out exactly how I'll mount the return chain idler. I'll probably scrounge it from a derailleur, like in the plans, but I think I'll mount a hanger for it on the end of the same bolt that holds the big drive side idler pulley instead of welding the pin straight to the frame. I prefer to make things easy to disassemble, especially if they might need servicing or if I might want to experiment with different parts. For the same reason, I drilled a hole in the bracket for the big idler pulley bolt instead of welding the bolt to the bracket.

The wheels from the donor bike spent some time in the rain before ending up in my hands, so they need some love. The alloy rims and hubs are nice and light and I repacked the bearings (but not the freewheel). I'm not so sure about the spokes. They're dark with rust and a little bit loose. They look like they were plated with zinc at one time. If I strip the rust off, they'll just rust again quickly. Should I paint them? Replace them? Painting them seems hard to do without painting the whole wheel. Replacing them is probably a lot of work too, since I've never laced a wheel. Maybe I can get away with just cleaning them and waxing them to keep the rust away.

Now I'm swamped with work, and it's going to be really hard to find the free time to finish the build. So close, and yet so far away.

badcheese
07-11-2009, 08:18 PM
I should be working, but instead I put the painted bike back together. There are still a lot of little things to do: Return side chain idler and bracket (I plan to mount the bracket on the end of the bolt that holds the drive side idler), cables, front derailleur, rear brakes (I painted the bosses, so those have to be stripped first), grips, shifters, seat padding and paint, and cleaning and lubing of the rear derailleur. I'm happy with how it looks, and I can't wait to take the first good long test ride.

http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-8.jpg
http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-9.jpg

There are two small problems:

1. While the cassette is clear of the chainstays, the chain itself rubs a little when it's on the smallest cog. The short-term hack is to adjust the derailleur stop so I can't use the smallest cog, but I'll need that cog for long rides. I'll probably end up grinding out the inside of the chainstay where the chain rubs and welding a patch over the hole, so the end of the drive side chainstay where it meets the dropout will become more like a half-round instead of a tube. The way I built it, there should still be plenty of strength in the rear triangle, since the seatstays run straight to the dropouts.

2. While the bars are very comfortable, I think I'll want to reduce the tiller. I'll wait until I've taken the bike on a century before I start cutting and welding again. I'm sure an all-day ride will leave no doubt about what's working and what's not.

I left the front derailleur tube a little long and capped it with a chrome plug in case I want to try larger chain rings, which is very likely since the donor bike was a mountain bike. I've been leaving the seat for last, since the seat doesn't need to be finished in order to assemble, test, and adjust all the other stuff.

Radical Brad
07-11-2009, 08:46 PM
Looking great, can't wait for your ride report!

A washer on the axle will remove that slight chain rub.

Brad

badcheese
07-12-2009, 01:59 AM
That sound you hear is me slapping my hand onto my forehead. Of course! Okay then, I'll do it the easy way instead of doing surgery on the frame. Thanks for the tip. Good thing I didn't get the grinder out right away!

badcheese
07-12-2009, 02:23 AM
One more thing: I forgot to put bottle cage bosses on the frame before painting it, but I'll definitely want some for long rides. Anyone have any tips on a good (simple and easy) way to add them? It looks like one bottle could go on the underside of the boom below the seat and a second one could go on the back of the seat support tube inside the rear triangle. That one would be harder to reach while riding, but even if I had to stop to swap the two bottles when the first one is empty, that's still much better than running out of water on a long ride. I can't just wear a hydration pack on my back or carry an extra bottle in a back pocket of my jersey when I'm on a recumbent!

SirJoey
07-12-2009, 07:13 AM
One more thing: I forgot to put bottle cage bosses on the frame before painting...
Anyone have any tips on a good (simple and easy) way to add them?Although admittedly, brazing on some bottle-cage mounting bosses is a nicer,
more elegant solution, I've had good luck with a much simpler approach.

I've mounted several of mine by simply using hex-head sheet metal screws:

http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/6355/dsc04942e.jpg

http://img170.imageshack.us/img170/5317/dsc04943k.jpg

http://img518.imageshack.us/img518/6742/dsc05223.jpg

http://img518.imageshack.us/img518/7848/dsc04655e.jpg

http://img518.imageshack.us/img518/2551/dsc03960.jpg

Whenever possible, I like having TWO of 'em.
One for water, the other for dog repellant!


http://img384.imageshack.us/img384/7131/sirjoeysigmedij1.gif

John Lewis
07-12-2009, 08:02 AM
.... I can't just wear a hydration pack on my back when I'm on a recumbent.....!

True but you can do what I do and fit it to the back of the seat.

The bike looks a real treat.

John Lewis

comreich
07-12-2009, 10:07 AM
Nice work there. The bike looks great in yellow.

You could buy threaded inserts (and the tool to install them) that go in like pop-rivets. That's been my plan for a while.

Since my HR is a little different, the one cage I have on it is mounted to the seat frame with hose clamps, but I had also thought of bolts through the seat itself to hold the cage on.

As for my hydration bladder, it's held in a small bag that sits on the rack behind me. For longer rides the bladder (filled with water) and the bottle cage with a sports drink is usually enough although I haven't gone further than about 44 miles at a time.

And after reading this site (love his home-built lites) http://bike-recumbent.com/hydsys.shtml, I figured out what to do with the hose from my bladder. I wear a waist-pack to carry my phone (doubles as a reasonably accurate GPS) and wallet. So I slipped the snap end of my key-card retractor over the bite valve of the hose to hold it and then clip the retractor to the belt of my pack. The downside to this is that I have to remember to unclip the retractor from my belt when I walk away from the bike.

badcheese
07-13-2009, 09:02 AM
http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-10.jpg

Thanks for all the great feedback! I mounted a return idler and took the bike for some more laps on my long flat driveway. This is my first experience with a recumbent, so I'm still adjusting to it, but the bike feels great! As long as I remember to relax back into the seat, avoid pulling against the bars, and look out ahead instead of at my front wheel, it's smooth sailing.

Two small problems with the return chain: Because the front fork has a high wide shoulder where the legs join the steerer tube, it's hard to keep the chain away from it unless I move the return idler farther forward, and also my leg picks up grease from the chain when I put my foot down. I should be able to solve both issues at once by swapping the return idler for a chain tube, which should work well since the HR design doesn't have much chain deflection.

GregLWB
07-13-2009, 09:33 AM
Thanks for all the great feedback! I mounted a return idler and took the bike for some more laps on my long flat driveway. This is my first experience with a recumbent, so I'm still adjusting to it, but the bike feels great! As long as I remember to relax back into the seat, avoid pulling against the bars, and look out ahead instead of at my front wheel, it's smooth sailing.

Two small problems with the return chain: Because the front fork has a high wide shoulder where the legs join the steerer tube, it's hard to keep the chain away from it unless I move the return idler farther forward, and also my leg picks up grease from the chain when I put my foot down. I should be able to solve both issues at once by swapping the return idler for a chain tube, which should work well since the HR design doesn't have much chain deflection.

Looks really good.:sunny: I had dual idlers on my HR and came to the same conclusion. I only use one idler now and I tubed both the power side and the return side of the chain from the seat forward. Works good and actually is less drag than the dual idlers.

Also, I found an adapter at the bike shop that allows you to clamp on a bottle mount to any round tube on the bike. On the HR, I initially had it mounted on the derailleur tube (you can see it on the gallery pic) but have since moved it to the handlebar stem (makes it really handy). I found that if I mount it on the inside of the stem (closest to me) that it doesn't get in the way or hit my knees when I turn.

Greg

badcheese
07-18-2009, 01:54 PM
I added seat padding, using Brad's flap disc method to shape the foam. It really takes a light touch to avoid going too far, but I think it came out pretty well for my first try. I also tubed the return side of the chain, and it's a big improvement over an idler, especially since my front brake cable sits right up against it. I'll take new photos soon.

Of course, now I'm figuring out how to deal with lack of cables and housings long enough to reach the rear brake and derailleur. After reading some other threads, the best solution seems to be welding cable stops on the boom and extending the cable by clamping another length on where the cable is exposed.

My plan is to make the stops by drilling some little brackets to hold cable adjusters from some beat up old brake levers. It's going to be a bit sad to strip away some of that nice new paint to weld the stops.

To join the cables, I'll probably cut the cable clamps off of some old brakes (and drill them larger if necessary), unless someone can suggest a prettier way to clamp two cables together? I plan to run the cables close to the frame, so I'd rather have a low-profile clamp instead of a big chunky thing possibly tearing up the paint. I could crimp a swage onto the cables, but that would make roadside repairs harder.

The other thing I desperately need is a chain keeper for the idler, which should be pretty easy to make.

Greenhorn
07-18-2009, 02:55 PM
Get a set of jagwire tandem cables & housing.

badcheese
07-29-2009, 10:26 PM
I finally did the cabling and added a chain keeper to the idler. Then I started tightening the spokes, and they started breaking. So I put on some lower quality but less rusty wheels from the junk pile. Too bad, since I already put some work into those wheels repacking the bearings and lubing the freewheel, and they were basically of good quality. Oh well, I guess I can relace them, or maybe I'll just look for another donor with decent wheels.

Here are the current pics. Aside from not painting the plywood yet, it's complete. The rear U-brakes don't release, probably because I scuffed up the bosses while stripping off the paint. The headset feels slightly loose when I apply the front brake and the wheels need truing. In fact, the rear wheel that's on it now has a slightly bent axle. I'm tempted to spring for new wheels, but I didn't want to spend the cash until after I'd really gotten used to riding it. I haven't even had a good long test ride yet! There's no time for it today, but maybe this weekend.

http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-12.jpg

The seat came out pretty well, except I cut the middle piece of foam too short and had to splice in another piece near the top.

http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-13.jpg

Here's my solution for mounting bottle cages. The mounting screws go into tee nuts in the plywood. Reaching back here works pretty well, sort of like keeping bottles in the pockets of a cycling jersey. This also shows the cable routing and the chain keeper on the idler.

http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-11.jpg

Here's a better view of my idler bracket. It's a wedge of the same square tubing as the boom.

http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-14.jpg

I can't wait to get out for a real ride! Just riding around my street feels great. I just need more practice at those tight low-speed turns. You know what I'm talking about! Hopefully I'll post a ride report soon. I'm up to my eyeballs in work right now.

Radical Brad
07-29-2009, 10:54 PM
Mint work dude! Kat will be scoping this out for a galler photo soon, I bet!
Yellow and black is my fav. color scheme as well, but I might have used it too much now.

Brad

SirJoey
07-30-2009, 12:59 PM
OUTSTANDING! :)

Man, that's just beautiful! Really nice work! :punk:


http://img384.imageshack.us/img384/7131/sirjoeysigmedij1.gif

likebikes
07-30-2009, 01:28 PM
Wow, very nice! I can't wait to get started on mine. Have you considered re-lacing those wheels you had? Get some nice SS spokes and lace and true them.

badcheese
07-30-2009, 03:03 PM
Thanks for the nice feedback! I also wanted to say that I really appreciate Brad's effort at making plans that anyone can follow and avoid the common pitfalls, but still encouraging experimentation and tinkering. And kudos to Brad and Kat for making this site a gathering place for a community of builders. I really love the anyone-can-do-this-and-we'll-help-you-figure-it-out spirit here.

likebikes: I will probably relace the alloy wheels I had on it to begin with, assuming I find affordable spokes. It looks like ebay might be a good source. On the other hand, those wheels are bolt-ons, and if I can find quick-release wheels cheap and in good condition, that would be sweet. Part of the reason I wanted a SWB recumbent is that I want to be able to put it on my fork-mount car rack, and that's a lot more convenient with a quick-release (at least on the front).

Several months ago I found a Specialized hybrid bike from around 1990 at the local thrift store, outdated but in almost mint condition, with a CrMo frame and beautiful components and wheels. You never know what you'll find. I already sold it to free up some space, but if I still had it I would steal all the parts for my High Roller and give away the frame.

GregLWB
07-30-2009, 05:04 PM
bc - great job! I think you're really going to like the ride once you get some miles on it.

One word of caution though. I used to have bottle cages mounted that way on my first commuter LWB bike and they would get loose and not hold the bottles properly when you hit a bump (YMMV). It kind of sucks when a bottle falls off that close to the rear wheel as it will usually either fall under the wheel and it becomes another bump for you to ride over, or it falls into your spokes..... either way, bad day.:jester:

Greg

John Lewis
07-31-2009, 04:03 AM
A great looking bike you've built there bc. Looks like it came out of a store. You will sure enjoy riding that one. A neat way to mount the idler pulley too. Keep a look out for some nice wheels they will be better I think than older style wheels.

Now go Riiiide!:scooter:

John Lewis

badcheese
07-31-2009, 11:44 PM
http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/ride1.JPG
http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/ride2.JPG

Thanks for the continuing good feedback. You guys are very encouraging! Next: Training rides for the 160-mile MS fundraiser!

TheGiver
08-01-2009, 02:00 PM
Outstanding job! :rockon:

dynodon
08-01-2009, 02:14 PM
Looks great!How does it feel for us that have never ridden the HR?Is it stable and predictable?

locolarry
08-01-2009, 10:01 PM
:punk:
Nice Job!
I like the innovation of the idler mount! Will be remembering that one!
Loco

badcheese
08-02-2009, 03:12 AM
It's very smooth and stable. The head tube angle and wheelbase feel like a standard DF bike, so the handling is predictable. There are a few things I'm still getting used to, but it shouldn't take long. Those things are:

1. It's easy to scrub my heel on the tire in very tight turns. Not dangerous, but the tire can pull my shoe off of my heel if I'm not careful. I have to learn to keep my inside foot high when turning sharply.

2. There's a bit of tiller in the steering. Again, not enough to be dangerous, just enough to interfere with my knees. Again, I have to learn to keep my inside foot high when turning sharply, because that keeps my outside knee low and out of the way of the gooseneck. This could be fixed by making the neck rise straight up in line with the stem, then bend back to the clamp instead of making a diagonal directly to the clamp as I did.

3. I'm not yet used to balancing at extremely low speeds in that reclined position. I live on a very steep hill, and the only way to pedal up it is to keep the bike balanced while riding extremely slow.

I would be curious to know if anyone is trying an under-seat steering variation. I'm sure I'll get used to the little bit of tiller, but I'd like to try it with USS. As an added bonus, it would greatly reduce the cable runs to the rear of the bike.

likebikes
08-02-2009, 09:13 AM
Looks great BC. I'd like to do the longer MS ride next year, I did their 60 mile bike ride but they also have a 150 miler from Duluth that I'd like to ride. I also do their motorcycle run to Wisconsin from St Paul, very nice rides for a good cause.
Do you mind saying what your inseam is? I'm wondering where my boom is going to end up. I have a 32-34 inch inseam so I'm hoping it will be a little longer. I see that it's the foot on the back side of the pedal stroke that's hitting.

dynodon
08-02-2009, 10:16 AM
Thanks Cheese! All of the riding charactistics are important to us greenhorns that dont have a bent ........yet

badcheese
08-02-2009, 02:50 PM
My inseam is about 32 inches. You can easily move the bottom bracket and seat forward a little to reduce the heel interference. I kept my seat pretty far back because of the way I left the dropouts on the seatstays, instead of cutting them off and welding the dropouts inside the fork dropouts and welding the seatstays to the fork legs like Brad does in the plans. I think I would prefer moving the seat forward, because it would reduce the heel interference AND reduce the tiller, and as you can see, my weight is a little more on the rear wheel than on the front.

badcheese
08-02-2009, 10:24 PM
I rode down to my local non-profit volunteer-staffed do-it-yourself bike repair and recycling shop today looking for new wheels, and I scored these nice red alloy quick-release wheels. They even greased and trued them, and I got my choice of freewheel cogs on the rear. The yellow of the frame is a bit blown out and greenish in this shot, but the red wheels and yellow frame look great together.

And for the curious, I weighed the bike today: 35 lbs.

http://rickert-digital.com/atomic_zombie/high_roller-15.jpg

John Lewis
08-03-2009, 04:34 AM
My inseam is about 32 inches. You can easily move the bottom bracket and seat forward a little to reduce the heel interference. I kept my seat pretty far back because of the way I left the dropouts on the seatstays, instead of cutting them off and welding the dropouts inside the fork dropouts and welding the seatstays to the fork legs like Brad does in the plans. I think I would prefer moving the seat forward, because it would reduce the heel interference AND reduce the tiller, and as you can see, my weight is a little more on the rear wheel than on the front.

On my Bentec I have heel overlap. It was a pain at first and I took one tumble due to it. Slow speed and turning tightly. Now I don't give it a thought and don't even notice it. Many SWB bents if not most have some degree of heel overlap. Just so long as its not the crank arm and pedal. That could be nasty.

John Lewis

locolarry
08-03-2009, 10:08 AM
BC,
As you can see by my old avatar above I have a factory built Lightning Thunderbolt with a LOT of heel strike...It took awhile to learn where to keep my feet in the turns!..Best Bet?...Ride...Ride...Ride...Soon heel strike won't be a problem anymore!
Loco

badcheese
08-03-2009, 11:23 AM
Yes, I feel like the heel overlap is not a big deal. I'm more interested in reducing the tiller, which requires one or more of the following (assuming I don't want to mess with the head tube angle):
1. Move the seat forward
2. Make the seat more upright
3. Extend the arms forward more

If I were building another one, I would do a little bit of #1 and a little bit of #3. I don't think I would do #2, because I don't want to reduce the aerodynamics.

I may do #3 with my current build, because it's pretty easy to do by just building a new gooseneck.

badcheese
08-08-2009, 11:32 PM
Today I took the bike for a 30-mile training ride. I loaded the bottle cages, which worked great. I chose beefy MTB cages, which I think helped to keep the bottles in place over bumps despite the mounting angle. I moved my clipless pedals over to this bike from my DF road bike. They definitely improve the effectiveness of my pedaling, though I have to be more deliberate about unclipping than I did with the same pedals on my DF bike. The terrain was flat, so I cranked hard in top gear to see how it felt at higher speed. Aside from wanting to reduce the tiller (as mentioned before), everything felt great. I don't have my computer installed yet, so I don't know how fast I was moving.

This was an urban ride, so I had to deal with a lot of stops and starts at intersections. On my DF bike, I'm used to being able to push off against the ground with one foot as I start up. Either that, or on a good day I can just stand up on the pedals and balance in a track stand until the signal changes (if the signal isn't too long), and then put all my weight on the front pedal. Well, on a recumbent I can't effectively push off the foot that I have on the pavement, nor can I stand over the leading pedal. It's all about pressing out on one pedal against the support of the seat. I have to crank pretty hard in order to get rolling enough that I get my balance quickly. I would drop my front derailleur from the large ring to the middle ring as I slowed to a stop, but I wonder if maybe I should have downshifted further, because after 30 miles of frequent stops and starts, my knees were starting to feel strained. I'm more of a spinner than a pedal masher, so I don't usually feel a lot of stress on my knees, but every time I started from a dead stop today I was doing some pretty serious pedal mashing. Maybe I just need to get in the habit of using the granny ring when I stop. I'm sure my starts will improve anyway as I get used to balancing in this new riding position at low speed.

My only near-mishap was when I stopped and put my foot down on wet pavement and my hard-soled cycling shoe (with steel cleat) slipped in the water. Propping myself up with one foot on a recumbent with such a laid-back position is so different from a DF bike. On a DF bike, it's just like standing. On the HR, it's more like trying to kick my leg out behind me, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I'm very happy with how the bike performed on a longer ride. I'll try to find time to work up to a century before the benefit ride in late September, so I'll post anything else I notice. Otherwise, I'll at least post a report about the 160-mile charity event.

I almost forgot: The seat starts to feel a little hard on my tailbone after a while (I'm a pretty bony guy), but still much better than the ache I get in my ischial tuberosities (sit bones) from my DF bike, not to mention the sore neck and shoulders from the tortuous riding position. Hooray for recumbents! I may decide to beef up the padding a bit before the big ride.

comreich
08-09-2009, 11:00 AM
badcheese, the starts and stops will come with time. I'll still get a little flustered at some lights, especially when I've just come to a stop and the light turns green again. And beefing up the padding is a good idea anyway. Mine has three layers of foam to about 1.5" and it's pretty good over the haul.

Radical Brad
08-09-2009, 12:47 PM
Great ride, and thanks for the reports.
I know what you mean about stopping only to start right away - annoying to set the pedals up in a hurry for that initial push. I wonder who will be the first to built a lightweight outrigger for red lights?

Brad

badcheese
08-17-2009, 02:37 AM
Now that I'm more comfortable with the balance at low speed, I'm not cranking as hard to get rolling and the knees are happy again. I did a slow 22 miles with a lot of hill climbing today. Yes, this bike is heavier than my DF road bike and on steep hills my bottom bracket is at head level. But taking those things into account, the only time I think this bike doesn't climb as well is on hills so steep that I would have to stand on the pedals in my lowest gear on my DF bike, which lets me keep my knees straighter and use my arms and torso to help. So I still don't see why people complain about the climbing ability of recumbents.

The thing that bothered me today was the seat. My tailbone was getting pretty sore, and also I tend to slide down in the seat a little if I hit a bumpy patch. More padding on the bottom section of the seat would help, but it's also the shape of the seat that's the problem. I feel like the bottom section should be on a little bit of a steeper angle, so the angle between the bottom and middle parts of the seat would be a little sharper. Even better would be to make a curved seat, with the bottom end curved up just a little. I'm sure it could be done by soaking and bending wood, but there must be other ways to accomplish the same thing. Maybe I can get a similar result by adding a thick block of closed-cell foam to the seat bottom and carving a curve into it. Has anyone tried something like this?

The edge of the chamois in my cycling shorts was also hitting right on my tailbone, which made it worse. I'll try either removing the chamois from one pair of shorts or getting some that don't have the chamois to begin with. Sometimes on these boards there's some scoffing about "spandex-clad" cyclists, but I'm guessing that anyone who has cranked out 100 miles in a day knows the advantages of purpose-built cycling clothes. I'll wear casual shorts to ride around town (though I'm not crazy about the parachuting I get with loose shorts on a recumbent), but not when I'm doing serious mileage.

John Lewis
08-17-2009, 04:26 AM
Hi bc,

Enjoyed reading about your Highroller. Its on my list to build. I wonder if your seat is a bit far back? How does it feel when you slide down? I'm just thinking that you may be sliding forward because you are stretching a bit.

On the curved moulded wooden seat. I made one like that for my Marauder. See here

http://forum.atomiczombie.com/showthread.php?t=2116

posts 18, 23 and 24 have some pictures. I got the idea from BROL homebuilders.

John Lewis

SirJoey
08-17-2009, 05:38 AM
I did a slow 22 miles with a lot of hill climbing today.

....but I'm guessing that anyone who has cranked out 100 miles in a day knows the advantages of purpose-built cycling clothes. I'll wear casual shorts to ride around town (though I'm not crazy about the parachuting I get with loose shorts on a recumbent)...22 miles! WOW! :punk: Wish I could do that!

Good points on the clothes! If I was able to do any serious mileage,
I'd have invested in some, long ago. I hate that "parachuting", too.






On the curved moulded wooden seat. I made one like that for my Marauder. John, not to hijack BC's thread, but I'd forgotten that you built the M2,
& what an outstanding job you did, not only on the seat, but also
that awesome bit of engineering on the double-bearing swivel!

How's that working out, BTW?


http://img384.imageshack.us/img384/7131/sirjoeysigmedij1.gif

badcheese
08-17-2009, 07:04 AM
22 miles! WOW!

Thanks! Unfortunately it's not enough. I still need to try to get my mileage up to 100 before an event at the end of September. I just don't have time for the training right now. I did it last year on a DF bike, so I expect I can do it again, it's more a question of how badly I'll be hurting afterward.

John: I'm sure I'm not stretching to reach the pedals. My knees are still a little bent at the limit of the pedal stroke, just like they should be.

If you look at the angle of the bottom segment of the seat on the High Roiller, it sits flat on the boom, which runs directly to the underside of the bottom bracket shell. In contrast, look at the base of the seat on your Marauder and the bases of the seats on most of the other AZ recumbents. If you follow the angle of the bottom segment of the seat, in other words draw a line along the bottom segment in a side view of the bike, that line is above the BB shell, not below it. I think my seat would work better if the bottom segment were tilted up a little relative to the BB.

But as I said, maybe I can do that with the shape of the foam, instead of doing some sort of surgery.

By the way John, I really like your formed wood seat! Nice work.

On my DF bike, I could carry my tool kit in a wedge pack under the seat, and my mini pump in one of the rear pockets of my jersey, along with food and such. For this bike, I cut an old water bottle to turn it into a tool container that fits in one of my bottle cages. Of course, this means that I can only carry one water bottle. I'm thinking of mounting another bottle cage on the upright 1" square tube supporting the top of the seat. It would be a terrible place for water, since I don't think I could reach it while riding, but it would give me a place to mount my tool kit and pump.

That's also the general location where I'd have to mount a hitch for my Cycle Bully, so it remains to be seen if everything will fit.

John Lewis
08-17-2009, 08:14 AM
Yes, see what you mean bc. I'm sure the seating could be fixed with judicious use of some high density foam placed appropriately. Perhaps you could have a wedge cut. I don't know what time of year your long ride is as regards weather. Down this part of the world if its a bit warm then foam seats become uncomfortable. For that reason I usually make mesh seats. On the Marauder I'm making a ventist style pad from some ACS 10. It gives very good ventilation on a hard seat. I'll photo document it when I put it together.

Highjack
Joey. My Marauder stalled while I built bikes for other people and generally found excuses not to work on it. Got back to it today. I'm just cleaning it up ready for paint. I have to find a back wheel to replace the one borrowed from my LWB and some brakes to replace the ones I used on Chris's bike. Hope its ready by the weekend painting weather permitting. If the early tests mean anything it should be a great ride.
Highjack ends.

John Lewis

badcheese
08-17-2009, 12:04 PM
I look forward to seeing how your ventist pad works.

likebikes
08-18-2009, 06:09 AM
BC, in both my motorcycle seat and my LWB seat, I have a piece of saddle gel in between layers of exercise mat foam. Works great for me. My seat base and back are flat 1/2 inch plywood and very comfortable as the plywood has some flex in it.

likebikes
08-18-2009, 07:58 PM
Hey BC, I just saw your ride in the gallery, Bananna Boat?
I thought maybe, cheddar is better?
Or, a slice of American?
Bike Builders "KRAFT" ?
Rides like "Velveeta"?
You're the cheese man, why go with a bananna? :jester:

badcheese
08-19-2009, 07:28 AM
I named it Banana Boat because a friend who saw it said, "It's a banana!" Also, I thought Banana Boat sounded laid back and relaxed, which is what I hope to be while I'm riding it 160 miles to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis.

...I mean to fight MS, not to promote MS, in case that wasn't clear ;)
http://bikecal.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?px=4469273&pg=personal&fr_id=10521

likebikes
08-19-2009, 01:22 PM
Just kidding you on the name choice. Your ride came out very well. If you're like me, you'll take what you've learned and turn it over in a year or two and build something a little better. My LWB has been great but it's time for better. I'm looking at round tubing as a possible choice for my HR right now but I realize that will create more choices down the line so I have to figure out all the possible issues before I jump into the fire.

comreich
08-19-2009, 09:48 PM
badcheese, here's a potential solution for carrying extra water. I mounted a rack on the back of mine to carry panniers for commuting. Since I'm not commuting right now, I put a rack bag on it and put my water bladder in it. It's a little heavier than carrying another water bottle, but the upside is that there's a lot more water coming with me. I haven't run out even after 44 miles or so.

I also had a little trick that was pointed out to me by Jake von Slatt at http://steampunkworkshop.com/cheap-hydration-system-recumbent-bicycle. I used one of the retractable key-card holders to hold the end of the hydration hose, and then clip the holder to my waist-pack belt and it's really easy to get at the hose. It also retracts almost instantly when I'm done with it. The only issue is that I have to remember to unclip it when I'm getting off the bike :)

badcheese
08-20-2009, 06:11 AM
likebikes: No problem, feel free to giggle about the name. I don't take myself too seriously. I will definitely be using lessons learned as I build my Cycle Bully and Warrior.

comreich: Excellent idea for carrying water. I've read your previous post about this solution, and I like the retractor idea. I have a large hydration pack that I always take when I hike or ride my mountain bike, because I go far from civilization.

SirJoey
08-20-2009, 06:57 AM
I go far from civilization.So you're an astronaut, too?


http://img384.imageshack.us/img384/7131/sirjoeysigmedij1.gif

badcheese
08-23-2009, 07:44 PM
I took a 50-mile training ride today. I placed a closed cell foam wrist rest from a mouse pad on the seat so my weight would be more on my sit bones (ischial tuberosities) and less on my tailbone. It was a definite improvement, but I still need to do more before I can comfortably ride centuries on it. I'm considering ordering the fiberglass seat linked to by Odd Man Out, but there may not be time to receive it before my charity ride and there's no way to try it beforehand. Otherwise, I need to do some major surgery on the bottom section of the seat and a little on the frame. Here's the seat:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320413390905&ssPageName=ADME:X:RTQ:GB:1123

Aside from that, the bike has been performing very well. I will say this design is not fond of potholes! Especially the way I ran the seatstays directly to the rear dropouts. I think I'll keep the 60psi slicks to soften the ride instead of installing a more sporty tire.

likebikes
08-28-2009, 06:42 AM
I used exercise mat and a motorcycle gel seat insert on my seat base and it has given me a comfortable ride. The only changes I intend to make to my seat design on the HR will be to switch from a vinyl cover to a canvas one. I don't over brace the seat base either, I allow the plywood to have it's flex so it absorbs some of the bounce.
I hope you get her out on the road for the ride you're anticipating.

http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p142/courtnek100/secondphase013.jpg

http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p142/courtnek100/secondphase003.jpg

http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p142/courtnek100/seatpadding.jpg

badcheese
10-06-2009, 02:44 AM
I finished my MS charity ride. I was planning to do 160 miles, but I ended up riding 120 instead. I was planning to ride a 100 mile course on day 1 and a 60 mile course on day 2. I took a wrong turn on day 1 and ended up on a 60 mile course instead of the 100 mile course. I made a couple of last-minute changes to the bike before the ride with no time to test, but they worked out very well: I shortened the crank arms from 170 to 150, and I modified the seat (again).

Compared to my old CrMo DF touring bike, the High Roller is heavy and has more rolling resistance with its wide low-pressure tires, and I haven't done enough riding on it yet to develop the different muscles enough. The result is that I'm still slower on it than on my old touring bike, especially when climbing. I still think people make too much of the difference in climbing ability between recumbents and DF bikes. The only things slowing me down on the climbs were the weight, the tires, and my lack of recumbent conditioning, not the riding position. On the long downhill sections, I could cruise comfortably at 35 mph and the bike felt completely smooth and stable. I'm very happy with the way the bike performed, but of course I still have some tweaks I want to make.

I want to put on faster tires (I don't know why I didn't do that before the event), replace the seat with something more comfortable, and change the steering. For the steering, I will probably just build a new straight stem to get rid of the tiller, but I'm still toying with the idea of USS. For the seat, I guess I need something nicely curved like one of those fiberglass ones pointed to by Odd Man Out (which I would make easily removable so I could also use it on a Warrior trike). The seat really seems like the biggest challenge. I need something I can ride 100 miles on, and my butt has no built-in padding of its own. The seat I have now feels good when I'm just riding around town, but when I get up to about 35 miles or so, the pressure points become a real problem. Maybe I can mold some thermoplastic directly to the shape of my butt or something like that.

One other thing I noticed was how the bike handled high winds. On day 2 we had winds up to 30 mph. I was glad not to be in an upright position when I was pushing against the head winds, but whenever my speed got down around a jogging pace I could barely keep the bike upright when the winds buffeted me sideways. So when I got stuck behind a slow rider or had to stop at a signal and restart, I would often get knocked over or blown off the pavement onto the soft shoulder.