Last year the ever increasing demand for GreenSpeed trikes forced us to buy a third factory in Knoxfield, and we have now completed a major re-organization of the Knoxfield factories.
The frame building section has been moved into the 3rd factory, Unit 3/31 Rushdale Street. The old frame building factory, Unit 4, was completely cleaned out with the aid of a "factory sale" and is now divided into just parts, and assembly, giving more room and better efficiency to both these sections. The original factory, Unit 5, which at one time housed all our operations, is now used for packing and office space, and the upstairs section is used for rim and and hub storage.
Last month we bought a new lathe for the frame building factory, to replace our old one which was made in 1942, and was getting too worn to work efficiently. This has put a smile on the face of all who use the new lathe, which is a lot more user friendly :-)
The increasing distance between the factories has made communications slower, so we have just installed a new phone system, which should make it easier for you to contact us by phone, and much easier for you to find the right person to talk to at GreenSpeed. All the present direct numbers will still work, but we now have the facility to transfer calls back and forward, even from Head Office, which is about 2 miles away. For direct phone numbers please see:- http://greenspeed-trikes.com/contact-us.html
These were 1st introduced on prototypes at the 2002 Interbike Show in Las Vegas, but it took us until July this year to re-design most of our trike models to accept the new seats and steering, and to get them into full production. The new seats are currently being fitted to the GTO, GTR, GTC, GTE, GTS, GTX, GTT and GTV. The new steering has been fitted to the above solo trikes, but is not needed nor compatible with the Tandem Trikes. For more details and photos on the new seats and steering see:- http://greenspeed-trikes.com/support/newsletter.html
We have had a number of enquires from owners asking about upgrading existing trikes. If you have a standard size GTO which has a frame made by our Taiwanese factory, then it is possible for us to make a new "Ergo" seat that will fit it, and the price for the new GTO "Ergo" seat is $600 AUD, including seat cover and shock cord. The "Ergo" seat covers are cut to go around the seat braces so that the cover sits better on the frame. The TW frames have tappered seat stays and chain stays which are bronze-welded to the dropouts, and use the neater TIG welding on all other tube joints. If in doubt, please email us, quoting your frame number, which is on a plate underneath the rear of the main tube.
Trikes with integral seats like the GTR, GTS, GTE and GTT cannot be retro fitted, as the seat is part of the frame.
Retro fitting the new steering is far more difficult and is not economical IMO. This is due to changes in the kingpins, tie rods, handle bars and finally the frame, to provide the room to fit the new handle bars between the main tube and the seat, and to provide more ground clearance.
Size has its advantages. As we have grow, we have had the economies of scale to do more, and get more special bits made for our trikes, so that they function better for our customers. One example is our new lightweight rims. I was un-happy with many of the narrow, box section rims on the market, as most of them use a shallow, curved well, with no clearly defined well or bead seat, making it difficult to seat to tyre correctly and difficult to get the tyre of and on the rim.
This became more of a concern when Schwalbe introduced their 28-406 Stelvio tyres, which we found rolled better, griped better, and lasted longer than the Conti GP tyres we had been using on the GTS, and on the light weight wheels for the GTO. Plus the standard Stelvio tyre has a Kevlar belt for puncture protection. Pressure rating is 120 psi.
Thus I designed a new rim section, with a proper well and bead seat, plus nicely curved side walls to give it a smooth aero section, like the wider disc brake rims we have been using on the standard GTO, GTR and GTT trikes. Velocity have now made new rolling equipment to roll 16" rims, so we now have the these new rims, called the Velocity Sims rim, in 349 (16" x 1 1/8"/ 1 3/8") and 406 (20" x 1.125") sizes. The 16" rims are available from us in 24, 32 and 36 hole drillings, and we have the 20" rims in 32 and 36 holes. The holes as also drilled at an angle making them suitable for large flange hubs like the drum brake hubs.
These rims are also suitable for bikes which use drum or disc brakes, and the bead seat is more likely to retain the tyre in the event of a blowout, making it a safer rim.
We also now have the new FOLDING Stelvio tyres in 28-406 (20" x 1.125") which have a Kevlar bead instead of the normal wire bead, making them both lighter and capable of being folded, so that you can easily stuff a spare one in your pannier, etc.. These tyres have a totally new puncture resistance belt, called the Armaduro, which Schwalbe claims actually LOWERS the rolling resistance over having no belt at all! GS part number TY-3SF. The best Schrader valve tubes we have for these tyres are the 18" x 1 3/8" (28/37 - 387/406) part number TS-1838. And the lighter Presta valve tubes are 18" x 1" (19-400), part number TP-181.
The main advantage of these tyres over the standard Comp Pools is that at 176 grams they are less than 1/2 the weight, giving noticeably faster acceleration. OTOH, they won't last as long as the Comp Pools or give as good a ride.
When Sachs discontinued the original disc brakes we were using a few years ago, we tried the Hayes disc brakes for a short period but some people had trouble with the pistons sticking and the brakes dragging, so we switched to using the Hope disc brakes, which had the reputation for being the best. I've had a set of these on my personal GTS Sports Tourer for a couple of years, and been very happy with them. However they are fairly expensive, and some customers have had problems in knowing how to adjust them, esp. then the fluid expands in warm weather.
Unfortunately most disc brakes are only made for bikes, and are not suitable for use on trikes, plus we found that all the cable disc brakes on the market did not offer any advantages, and some disadvantages, over the standard drum brakes.
This year Magura have introduced a new disc brake made esp. for trikes, and we have been testing it since the 1st prototypes were available. It is called the Magura "BIG" disc brake. Unlike the Hope C1 brake we were using, it is self-adjusting, and in testing this week on our tandem race trike, we found that it performed better, running cooler with more control under extreme conditions. (see left)
The best new is that we are able to buy them for a lower price than the Hopes, so we are now able to offer them for an upgrade price of only $600 AUD instead of the $900 AUD upgrade we had to ask for the Hopes.
Thus GreenSpeed will now be fitting the Magura "BIG" disc brakes to the tandem trikes as standard equipment. Both Angle Tech, and Go-Bent now have GTOs fitted with the Magura "BIG" brakes available for test riding.
The Hopes will still be available for the riders who prefer them.
Laws in Europe have restricted bicycle lights to 6 volts and 3 watts for many years, and although higher wattage battery lights have been available both here and in the USA, I have found them most inconvenient, as I can never remember to charge the damn things up, and they are inevitably flat when I suddenly need them for a night ride. And even when I have remembered to charge them up, the capacity has often been reduced by old age, or/and misuse, leading in one case, to a bad accident.
So I've been reduced to using a Swiss dynamo with a Busch & Muller 3 watt headlight, which has been enough to ride to and from the factory at night, but not really good enough for high speed. So I had intended to make up a new battery system to use as well as the dynamo system.
However the laws were recently changed in Europe to allow the use of 12 volt, 6 watt systems, and some time ago we got our first shipment of the new Busch and Muller 12 volt systems.
The B&M S 12 dynamo is more than twice as efficient as the many of the old 6 volt dynamos. In fact it will continue to spin after you give the roller a flick with the fingers, and I found I could not detect any extra drag in pedalling the trike with it on. It has a fully electronic regulation system, so that the voltage stays constant no matter how fast you go. The beam from the 5 watt headlight is both broader and deeper, with a greater range than the 3 watt headlight.
The "Toplight" 12 volt tail light contains two bright LEDs and has a super capacitor with charges up from the dynamo, and continues to shine for about 5 minutes after the trike stops. The headlight also has a super capacitor which runs a separate white LED after the trikes stops, giving enough light for me to park and lock my trike at night.
I'm quite pleased to see the use of 12 volts for cycle lights after cars have been using 12 volts for many years. This should reduce the number of problems with bad wiring connections, which are a common fault. The headlights will mount on our standard headlight mounting as shown, and fitted to nearly every GreenSpeed as standard, since the very first prototype. The tail light mounts on the rack mounts, which were introduced a couple of years ago, and we have an alloy mount to fit the dynamo to the chain stay. These lights are now available from GreenSpeed, both as an option on new trikes, and as upgrade sets or separate parts.
The only downside to the new lights is that they cost twice the price of the 6 volt system :-( The good part is I'm so pleased with them, I won't need to bother with battery lights again :-)
For more info about the lights check out this URL :- www.bumm.de
Our seats are laced with elastic cord, providing suspension within the seat itself, plus there is a fair amount of shock absorption from both the tyres and the cross member. So most people find they do not need the extra weight, cost and complication of suspension. In fact, I don't think the human body was designed to float on a cushion of air, and think that some massage as one rides is a good thing ;-)
On the other hand we have had a number of requests from people with genuine needs for suspension, and have been building trikes with suspension to special order for some years. Without suspension, one feels the worst bumps from the rear wheel, as this is directly behind one's head, whereas it is easier to avoid bumps with the visible front wheels, and in any case, the the frame only lifts 1/2 the amount of a front wheel bump. So rear suspension has been more popular than full suspension, which is more complicated, and does not give as much bang (or rather the lack of it) for the buck.
So we have decided to offer rear suspension as a regular option, on our GTO and GTR trikes. A MTB air shock is used, being adjustable for both load and damping, and it provides 3 inches of travel. The luggage is suspended as well as the rider, with a special Cro Mo pannier rack.
We will be attending the Interbike show at Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. This goes from Friday 10th October to Tuesday 14th. This year the Out Door Demo will be held over the first two days instead of one day, for the 1st time. This is where people get to road test many of the bikes and trikes in the desert. This mainly a trade only show, so if you would like your local shop to be a GreenSpeed dealer, please suggest that they attend. Each year we have something new to show, and each year we sign on new GreenSpeed dealers. Our booth at the Out Door Demo will be #808, and our booth number in the main hall is #5016.
For more details please see :- www.interbike.com
One of the advantages of not owning a car is that I ride more often, and can spend more time testing new trikes and equipment. While in Europe for Spezi, my daughter Rachael and I took some time out to ride the Cab-bike faired trikes, for some distance, as we travelled north in Germany from Germersheim to Frankfurt. I rode both the fully faired machine and the headout one, while Rachael just rode the headout, machine. We were disappointed that they did not seem to be any faster than our bare trikes, as our average speed was the same. Also the suspension did not seem to offer any improvement on our elastic laced seats, and they were definitely harder to hold on line at speed with the joystick steering. The good part was they were warm and dry inside (I had to strip down to my singlet after a few kilometres) and not quite as tippy as I had expected with their narrow track.
Thus when we got back to Oz, I designed a new trike for a fabric fairing, to see if a could build a faster trike with a much lighter fairing. I used 16" wheels to reduce the weight and to allow a narrow track, without limiting the turning circle too much. The track is only 700 mm, instead of our normal 800 mm. So far we have built up the bare trike for road testing, and I have used it for everyday commuting. While the road test team were not impressed with the reduction in stability, I discovered that I could not have been using the roadholding of My GTS Sports Touring to anywhere near the limit, as I found myself going around corners just as fast with the narrow track trike, as I had on the GTS. I also found that the 16" wheels with the 37-349 Primo Tyres gave a better ride than the 20" wheels with 28-406 Schwalbe Stelvio tyres I have on the GTS. OTOH, riding another prototype, with 16" wheels, the 37-349 Schwalbe Marathon tyres gave a worse ride, proving again, that the tyres make more difference to the ride than the wheel size.
The next project will be to construct the fairing. However this may have to wait until after Interbike, as spare weekends are few and far between..............