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View Full Version : Trike steering - direct knuckle vs USS



FrankCrank
01-03-2014, 11:59 PM
.....just back from a morning cycle ride, and one thing kept rattling around inside my noggin - what would it be like to have under seat steering (USS) on my trike rather than direct knuckle steer (DKS)? This I think was brought about by something in a couple of recent threads.

Emma has stated that she would not go back to DKS now she has USS, which is nailing your colours to the mast for sure! Does anyone else have a strong preference for one over the other, and if so, why?

I have not had any of the 'dangerous' effects that Emma describes, but then again I'm a plodder. Would there be an advantage in having USS on, say, a low racer style of trike? My style of trike is more like the Terratrike Rover, which also incidentally has DKS.

To me, the advantages of DKS are mainly it's simplicity, using standard bike parts. I do also enjoy the direct, go-kart-like feel of DKS, and was also very fond of that feel on a couple of old Minis I had back in the eighties.

Anyhow, would welcome any feedback/opinions from those that have tried both types of steering, so thanks in advance......:)

darnthedog
01-04-2014, 12:25 AM
I think your question verges on the same level as what type of trike do you like to ride- delta or tadpole or do you prefer 1,2,3 or 4 wheels with that bike? It is a personal preference and your riding style can affect your preferences. There are a few that like the standard upwrong handle bars over the DKS or USS. If your comfortable with the DKS keep it. I like USS because of where my arms will sit in comparison to the DKS. I don't know that either one is better than the other as I have not built the DKS. But figured you would not mind an opinion. However realize Brad designed to allow everyone to pick their preferred method of steering and left the plans open enough to allow us builders to choose how we cycle. Hope that helps.

Twinkle
01-04-2014, 06:20 AM
Hi Folks

For what its worth after 10 months of Trikeing with both electric and Push Trikes , and up to 60 or 70 miles ( 100km ) a week , This is my experience .

Riding around at 10 mph there is no real difference :sleep1:but at 15 -30 mph :surprised: ( leaner meaner e-trike ) USS I find is better over those not so nice roads and these pesky traffic calming squares in the road where only one wheel is attacked by these lumps :evilgrin: . As you hit the lump the steering goes side ways and of course you turn into the lump .:taz: ( found this out the hard way with DSS as you and the trike part company :builder2: ) .
This is the reason the Trex has been decommisioned as an electric trike . its safe as a push trike but unstable as an electric trike .

This does not happen with USS as you can brace yourself against the seat back and push on both bars and reduce the effect of the impact with the lump .:)

Also thinking like this :- sitting in your reclined armchair its nice to put your legs ups:evilgrin: and OOps :surprised: a pair of pedals and yawn :snore: you put your arms down beside you and hey a pair of handlebars . wow! :cheesy: an armchair you can ride :cheesy:

thats my tuppence worth on the subject :smartass2:

regards emma

Ticktock
01-04-2014, 07:08 AM
Well, here's an opinion from some who has not used either!!
If the geometry is correct on , both work, as its only a ,matter of pushing or pulling on something to make the wheels point in the right direction--which is usually where you want to go.
One difference is that Direct Knuckle steering is just that direct. Move the handles (bars?) through 5 degrees and the wheel moves through 5 degrees--no choice. With most Uss systems there is the [possibility, at the design stage to change this, but not by much.
So it comes down to one thing---what you find to be the most comfortable for you. guess the only way is to try both for a while and see what suits.
By the way Emma, I suspect you may have a problem with the geometry on your beastie if it was bump steering that much. Probably king pin not lined up on wheel center patch as a guess.
So there is my 2 Yuans worth of useless information.
Steve G,
Beijing

Twinkle
01-04-2014, 08:07 AM
By the way Emma, I suspect you may have a problem with the geometry on your beastie if it was bump steering that much. Probably king pin not lined up on wheel center patch as a guess.
So there is my 2 Yuans worth of useless information.
Steve G,
Beijing

Well folks

The Trex (circa 1995 vintage ) has tractor joints , and the dss came straight off the brake caliper arms and pointed upward (scarey and it was a manufactured trike ) I can accept that having problems really ....
but Pythagoras helps sort out the perfect centre point on the fox and I hope that will have USS in a few weeks time after I finish welding up the bar mounts . Going to do a retro fit on that without mucking up the paintwork ( what this space ) I hope to post a "how to" , Just in case anyone else wants to do it .

regards all

emma

FrankCrank
01-04-2014, 08:25 AM
....thanks for the feedback so far, maybe for me it's a case of 'if it ain't broke, why fix it?'........

Ticktock
01-04-2014, 08:43 AM
Not only that Frank, you won't have to train the hands to push in slightly different directions to go where you want!
I forgot to mention that point.
I like the simplicity of Direct steering, but have not tried it yet. I have tried steering My Delta (quite heavy steering on it ) with very short bars and it is heavier, obviously, but quite steerable at all speeds, so I would I imagine direct steering would have to be Ok based on that.
Probably better worded as "if it works for you, leave it alone--no one else uses it!"
Have fun,
Steve G

DannyC
01-04-2014, 09:02 AM
Well Frank, hopefully we can compare notes later this year.
I have only my limited experience of DKS on my StreetFox to go by, but I have found it to be easy and predictable steering behaviour.
So much so that one-handed operation on the straight has not been an issue.
However, I can see the attraction of USS and the advantages it might offer.

SF-Alike Mk2 will have USS and disc brakes and (if I can wangle it) a suspended seat. It will be built of those funny "ROUND" things called tubes.
Space provision and capacity for a mid-drive e-bike upgrade is also strongly indicated. :)
It will probably end up looking like an elongated cross between a StreetFox and a Terratrike Rambler.

Regards,

Dan.

Twinkle
01-04-2014, 09:42 AM
Throwing in another penny worth .-

I must admit that the action of moving the hands in the opposite direction to the way I want to go , felt odd , even after 300 or 400 miles on the DSS trikes , probably due to spending the last 50 years or more riding an upwrong , mind you I never got on with the tiller on a motor boat , but hey that's me
and as Ken says " Im uni - que " on a more polite day !!!.
I can blame it all on John , I was almost going to give up riding the trike as didn't like the DSS until I sat on Johns trike and the feeling of USS and the precision of movement was so much nicer , Hence my MKII was born with USS .

regards all

emma

DannyC
01-04-2014, 10:02 AM
Throwing in another penny worth .-

I must admit that the action of moving the hands in the opposite direction to the way I want to go , felt odd , even after 300 or 400 miles on the DSS trikes , probably due to spending the last 50 years or more riding an upwrong , mind you I never on with the tiller on a motor boat , but hey that's me
and as Ken says " Im uni - que " on a more polite day !!!.......

emma

Eeek! - That sounds so counter-intuitive as to be a recipe for certain disaster in an emergency. Heaven forbid!

Regards,

Dan.

bambuko
01-04-2014, 10:42 AM
What is DSS?
I understand USS (Under Seat Steering) and OSS (Over Seat Steering).
I am familiar with DKS (Direct Knuckle Steering).
but DSS eludes me (despite google searches)

Twinkle
01-04-2014, 11:35 AM
What is DSS?

but DSS eludes me (despite google searches)

DSS is when I get a simultaneous senior and blonde moment and hit the wrong keys
Shows some people actual read this thread !

regards emma

bambuko
01-04-2014, 12:46 PM
OK, now that we know the colour of your hair :)
next question (if I may) please:
Assuming that you are talking about direct steering? I am confused by your reference to "...moving the hands in the opposite direction to the way I want to go..." .
Being direct I thought it is exactly the same as the (so called) normal bike, which is also direct?

Can you elaborate please?
btw - My next bike is meant to be tadpole trike and I wanted DKS (Direct Knuckle Steering) for simplicity and lightness.

Twinkle
01-04-2014, 01:16 PM
With the voyageur and USS you move the steering the same as a upwong , ( my voyageur became my tadpole e-trike )

but with DKS you move the steering ( as it points backwards )
left and right moving your hands to the right you turn left ( you can try this at home ) as per the the streetfox plan .

Another disadvantage with DKS is your hands get covered in water when it rains ( only If you are on the trike )
USS your hands dont get so peppered with water spray

regards emma

sandman
01-04-2014, 01:27 PM
Salutations all
Well despite warnings to evacuate the boat last night I am still here, was going to do the decent thing and go down with the boat, even had an orchestra ready to play as I sank ( think Titanic):joker:had to send them home HAHA
My take on Steering, I prefer USS, Tuula prefers Tiller steering on her SF but I put that down to her being Finnish and an ex rally driver where if it points you somewhere near the right direction and is fast is good enough !!!!
Its whatever floats your boat,
I do think at speed,i.e above 30mph USS is more stable, that is from having ridden machines at that speed with both steering setups on the same trike.
Regarding DKS some people do have difficulty initially pushing the tiller (Bars) to the left to turn right, very common in the sailing world, just a mental adjustment soon resolved.
And finally for the simplest Direct knuckle Steering one simply has remove the steering bars and in true basic neanderthal style drag one knuckles on the ground creating drag ???? can it be more basic than that?:jester:

regard
John(still floating)
PS,Emma blames me for everthing, :surprised:

darnthedog
01-04-2014, 02:01 PM
Direct steering - When sitting in a chair- you have to pull the right bar to the left (towards you) and the left bar you push to the left to turn right. See Twinkle's photos in gallery. The handles trail the back of the king pin. So it is like grabbing the backside of the wheel (when sitting still) to make it turn right you turn the backside of the wheel to the left so the front side of the wheel is pointed to the right.
On Underseat Steering you pull the right side back and push the left side forward to turn the wheel to the right. Just like in an upwrong. The USS attaches to front of left king pin if you follow the AZ USS plans.

At least that is what I picture in my minds eye.

bambuko
01-04-2014, 02:09 PM
Thanks for the explanation Emma - understand now what you talking about, but I am with John (perhaps as an ex-sailor) - I don't see this as an issue.
It's the same as reversing a car with trailer attached - some people never get it :cheesy:

sandman
01-04-2014, 02:20 PM
As an addendum, I think the extra linkages in USS systems add a certain friction which does deaden the feel transmitted from the wheels to the hands in the same way power steering does on cars and boats
regards
John

Twinkle
01-04-2014, 03:11 PM
It's the same as reversing a car with trailer attached - some people never get it :cheesy:

But that is one thing I can do with a 15ft caravan on the back .

But I still wont be persuaded to ride a trike with DKS at speed

As John says "I do think at speed,i.e above 30mph USS is more stable, that is from having ridden machines at that speed with both steering setups on the same trike."

and

"PS,Emma blames me for everything, :surprised: "

but praises him for everything else ho ho Thank you John again for machining the hub on the MKII .

regards emma

PS

BTW When do the ducks fly back to visit you in the UK ?

sandman
01-04-2014, 03:19 PM
BTW When do the ducks fly back to visit you in the UK ?
They are back now after a little problem to solve for AUDI
You cant beat the four sprung duck technique

Tradetek
01-04-2014, 07:18 PM
Seems like it would be nice to see a video of what people are calling "Direct Knuckle Steering" because I've ridden a Terratrike Rover and the direct steering on it which I think is almost exactly the same as that on the Street Fox, definitely does not require a movement any different than a mountain bike to turn the wheels. You pull with your left hand and push with the right to go left.

:confused:

FrankCrank
01-04-2014, 08:48 PM
On mine I pull with my left hand and push with the right to go left, just as Bill describes, and same as my MTB.

30MPH............I wish.....

Twinkle
01-05-2014, 07:07 AM
Seems like it would be nice to see a video of what people are calling "Direct Knuckle Steering" because I've ridden a Terratrike Rover and the direct steering on it which I think is almost exactly the same as that on the Street Fox, definitely does not require a movement any different than a mountain bike to turn the wheels. You pull with your left hand and push with the right to go left.

:confused:
the streetfox video in the PLANS section shows the standard dks setup

regards Emma

Ticktock
01-05-2014, 08:49 AM
Ahhh--but if you fit mudguards---?
It is hard to convince people that you do actually move things then opposite way, because when you can SEE the connection, the brain accommodates.
If you cover the steering in a velo body, then DKS would appear to be totally reversed to logic. Logic, unfortunately based on an upwong, says that you pull left to go left.
Pilots push left to go left--and that's has probably come from ease of mechanical connections, but is still totally logical when you don't see the connections.
And I bet any one who uses both has no real problem switching from one to the other. On my trike I used to pull left to go left, now I have to turn left to go left, as in a car.
Could have made it the other way, but chickened out on that idea!
Its horses for courses, but I tend to agree with the general feelings being expressed here, that USS starts to win as the speed increases (but that's an opinion from a non user of either--just an engineering hunch!)
This would have to be one of the only times I have posted on a subject that I have absolutely no personal experience.
Any way , all fun, and hopefully educational to all,
Steve G,
Still in Beijing for a few days.

Tradetek
01-05-2014, 10:07 AM
Sorry but Kat is clearly pulling right and pushing left to go right in the Street Fox video as seen in this URL which is placed directly at the point in time in the video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=RK2WK0ax_gU#t=76

A picture of the TerraTrike Rover steering:

http://electricbikereport.mountainbikeridi.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/gallery/terratrike-rambler-and-e-bike-kit/terratrike-rambler-wheels-turned.jpg

Anoter video of a builder wiggling his wheels:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=TwZ5Yv6BXkA#t=129

Now if this is what you meant, then it is just a terminology issue, if it isn't then how about posting a video of what you are talking about because I can't imagine what you describe as being safe even at 10 MPH...

Bill

Twinkle
01-05-2014, 10:39 AM
AT THE END OF THE DAY :jester:

It all amounts to preference , Nothing is written in stone .:)

You pays your money and you takes yer pick :confused:

Or you weld it how you want it :builder2:

and being zombies we modify it to suit :evilgrin:

regards all :sleep1:

emma

sandman
01-05-2014, 10:59 AM
Bill,
I think your Terratrike picture hits the crux of the matter, the hand position is at 90 degrees to the wheels unlike the SF so a transition from upwrong to that trike needs no mental adjustment,whereas the SF has bars in line with the wheels that require left, right inputs rather than forwards,back. I do believe having seen novice dinghy sailors helm the wrong way it really is a mind issue as far as steering goes.Another aspect is that I suspect most of us have more strength pushing and pulling in our arms than in resisting side forces(arm wrestlers excluded) so it is possible that with USS we are more able to resist the deflection forces exerted by the road surface than DKS systems.
maybe just turning the steering bars 90 degrees is all thats needed but I think that only will work if the steering geometry is correct.
Thats my thought for the day

regards
John(waiting on the next big wind to come)

darnthedog
01-05-2014, 12:22 PM
Emma hit the nail on the head- and sort of what I was saying in my the first response.
Frank I think you got it correct in your second response in post number 6.
Bill my wordy explanation in post 16 was in reference to Emma's trike and her steering handle positioning shown in the Gallery. Her grips are in parallel the wheels and not 45 to 90 degrees on the DKS steering before modifying to the USS. Not sure if it was her MK! or build 2. You are correct in the you evaluation of Kat on the Streetfox video. But if you look at Emma's direct steering you will see what I was referring to.

So essentially we all have a preference. So there is no one best method of steering it is just what YOU the builder likes and dislikes. As builders Emma got it right. Build it the way you like and let no one tell you it is wrong. Even if you can't explain why it is right it is right for YOU.

Glad we got that out of the way.

Twinkle
01-05-2014, 01:45 PM
reference to Emma's trike and her steering handle positioning shown in the Gallery Not sure if it was her MK! or build 2.

Glad we got that out of the way.

Hi Folks , Phew with that out the way pehaps we can get on with a bit more building ,
I still have the Green MKI standard Streetfox built as per the plan streetfox , It sits in the conservatory on an axle stand and until I put the USS mod on it ( retro fit ) there it will live , It has not been on the road for 6 months , It has been advertised , but It does make a good trainer and I use it to keep my blood sugar under control ( diabetic using diet ( wot diet ) control ) But the MKII and the leaner meaner E-trike both have USS with "north road" bars ( sit up and beg ) reversed and at an angle , It would be interesting to know how many people out there use flat bars ( mtb ) on their USS trikes .

hope I haven't started something else

regards emma

DannyC
01-05-2014, 03:13 PM
Oh NO!

The great Steering & Handlebars war of 2014 has begun. LOL

Light blue touch-paper & retire immediately ;-)

Regards,

Dan.

vk3ckc
01-05-2014, 07:56 PM
I guess there is DKS and there is DKS - same thing but different designs.

My first tadpole - a Warrior - and the 'first' term first sort of proves there is a second, had DKS but it was different to Emma's. Should be able to get a pic on this site somewhere. Emma's arms come straight back from low down on the knuckle. My arms consisted of two half bicycle handlebars that were attached to the top of the knuckles (long knuckles) using the same height-adjustable mechanism as the donor bike. The handle came back at roughly 45 degrees and pretty well replicated the feel of a motorcycle and was intuitive. The hand grips were over, above, or outside the wheels and, if one applied the same sort of effort as one would when riding a bike, it turned in the appropriate direction. One hand operation was easy but I noticed the odd grain of sand making its way to my hands. That could be fixed by mudguards.

It was never built for speed but instability would have been no worse than a standard bicycle. Use 1 or 2 hands as appropriate.

The next tadpole, more purposely designed and built, will have a T handle to closely replicate the control of a steering wheel - if it works out OK. If it doesn't, it will be the product of evolution and, by definition, much better.

Kevin - VK3CKC

Twinkle
01-20-2014, 07:23 AM
Before and after fitting the USS Mod ( http://forum.atomiczombie.com/showthread.php/8540-Adding-USS-to-a-streetfox?highlight=adding+streetfox )


http://s11.postimg.org/j8azks5rn/dks.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/tidek0vn3/full/)
Built as per the plan (http://postimage.org/)

http://s17.postimg.org/9ogro5csf/sideuss.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/reig96qd7/full/)
after the mod (http://postimage.org/)

Radical Brad
01-20-2014, 10:27 PM
Great work!

Brad

savarin
01-20-2014, 10:38 PM
I suppose I had better put my 1c down.
I am a staunch follower of USS. I've used begging hamster on a couple of bikes and didnt really like it.
I love the way your hands automatically fall onto the bars in a natural feeling position with USS.
The last two trikes I built used greenspeed style crossover steering rods and feel natural to use. I built the last trike with direct steering on the stems for speed of building but didnt like the feel so converted to USS with the cross over rods.
I dislike the teeny teeny bit of play that can creep into knuckle joints so on my lowrider I used USS with cable steering. Out of all the styles I have tried the USS with the cable steering feels the most natural and most precise steering I've ever used.
If you feel like going down this routs have a read here first, there are a couple of gotchas to be wary of.
http://forum.atomiczombie.com/showthread.php/3606-Some-investigations-into-the-implementation-of-cable-steering-part-1?highlight=