New NSR Steering Geometry
People new to our trikes sometimes have problems with the sensitivity of the steering, and people changing to trikes from bikes sometimes habitually use only one brake lever which can give problems at high speed. Braking one front wheel will tend to steer a trike or car in that direction, even if it has Centre Point Steering, so that there is no reaction through the steering, and steering does not move in that direction. So how can this problem be overcome? We spent a lot of time testing different prototypes, with a whole range of different riders, and then decided to arrange the steering geometry so that when riders braked only one wheel, the steering automatically turned in the opposite direction! This is known as Negative Scrub Radius, or NSR. The effect is so subtle that the rider is not aware of what is happening, except that the trike now continues in a straight line when only one brake lever is used. This is better than linking both levers together, as it enables the rider to brake with either hand, while signalling with the other, and gives the power of both hands for emergency braking.
Normally the slower and less sensitive the steering ratio, the larger the turning circle, making it harder and slower to manoeuvre in tight spaces. However, with the NSR steering we found a way to BOTH reduce the "nervousness" of the steering, and at the same time, REDUCE the turning circle! So newcomers will feel comfortable with the new steering at once, and be pleasantly surprised at the small turning circle.
These changes required completely new frames and new kingpins. So the opportunity was taken to improve other things as well. The kingpins are now of a simpler design, so that they can be removed and adjusted with a 5 mm hex key, instead of needing a 24 mm wrench. Likewise the mirror mounts are now clamp-on instead of screw-on, and only need the 5 mm key. The other good news is that the front fenders/mudguards from the Series I GT3s will fit straight on, so dealers will not have to stock another set of fenders/mudguards.
The rear of the frame has been dropped slightly to give more chain clearance, and the rear fork cross piece has been narrowed to improve the appearance of the rear end and reduce weight. The crank extension is now black anodised alloy with etched graduations on the bottom to make it easier to set up for different leg lengths.
The colours have been upgraded to a candy apple metallic to reflect the quality of the trikes and the latest Tiagra two piece cranks are used, see picture. Finally, despite numerous cost increases, we have been able to keep the Series II price increase down to only $150 per trike, so the MSRP for the base model Series II GT3 is only $2,745USD.
Production of the first 100 trikes has now been completed and are on the water to our USA distributor in Illinois. Thus, delivery to dealers should start in June.
Design Rational & Standard Equipment.
We have been aware for some time that there is a demand for a high quality, user friendly, recreational trike for older and handicapped riders who are unable to get up and down from our low trikes, and from people who would like to ride higher in traffic. When I toured our GreenSpeed Dealers in the USA in 2004, I found the delta trikes on offer were very heavy and had poor steering and braking. The dealers said they wanted something better for their customers. So I designed a rather unique higher trike for this market and Paul and Michael spent some time developing and improving the steering to make it a "no brainer". The reason we have used the one wheel front and two wheels rear format (delta) for this trike, is that it avoids having the cross member in front of the seat, making it easier to sit down, and the wheel in front of the rider gives a feeling of greater protection when riding in traffic. It also resembles the traditional upright trike, making people feel more comfortable with this format. Some of the problems reported with deltas on the market were the front wheel skating sideways on steep hills and poor braking. Thus we have fitted a differential as standard equipment, as well as three wheel disc brakes, to eliminate these problems. The differential balances the drive to each rear wheel, so that the trike will turn easily in either direction, and track straight up steep hills. The two rear brakes are controlled by the right hand lever, and the front by the left, so the braking can be modulated to obtain maximum braking on any surface. We have used under seat steering to put the hands in the most natural and ergonomic place, beside your hips. This avoids the cheaper "Ape Hanger" handle bars, with the "sit up and beg" riding position and having to swing the bars in the opposite direction to which you want to go.
Having found both an increase in performance with the lighter weight of the 16" wheels, and a reduction in overall size and weight of the trike, we have used 16" for the the delta with our 16" x 1 1/2" Scorcher tyres. These tyres were 1st used on our GT3 Folding Trikes and have proven to have both a lower rolling resistance, and a better ride than most 20" tyres.
To improve ground clearance we are fitting the Schlumpf Speed-Drive as standard equipment. This two speed bottom bracket enables a short cage rear derailleur to be used to increase the ground clearance at the rear axle. It is used with an eight speed free-wheel giving 16 speeds, but with the same range as a 24 speed system. As the low ratio is 1:1 and the high ratio 1: 1.65, this gives less overlapped and redundant gears. It also allows you to shift while stationary. So if you have to stop quickly, and have not had time to wind the derailleur gears down, you can shift to low in the Speed-Drive, to allow an easier take-off. Another advantage is the whole gear range can be moved up or down by replacing just the single chain ring. The Speed Drive is changed by kicking the cranks with the heel, avoiding the need to fit a front derailleur and a front shifter, leaving one of the handle bars free to fit a rear vision mirror, if desired.
We tried using only two brakes on the rear wheels as used by some deltas, but found that the braking was not as good as our other trikes. However when we tried discs on all three wheels, the braking was awesome - even better than our other trikes. So we are fitting the three discs as standard. Having a disc brake can make the wheels more difficult to remove, as sometimes the caliper needs to be removed first. So at the rear of the trike we are using a six-pin drive so the wheel can be removed with one cap screw, leaving the disc brake rotor on the axle. See pic.
We were aware that some people had problems finding space for their trikes, so we have made this trike so it can be parked vertically to take up very little floor space.
The population in Europe exceeds that of the USA, yet our sales in Europe have only been a fraction of that of the USA. I had put that down to the fact that Europeans seemed more conservative than the Americans. However when one of the Euro bike makers started making trikes, copying our folding design, and saying that our trikes were not available in Europe, I began to question the performance of our European distributor, and we started looking for another. Mick asked Peter Eland from Velo Vision and he suggested AZUB Bikes. They were interested, so in November/December last year I visited them in the Czech Republic. I was pleased with what I found. They were a young, growing, enthusiastic company, with a commitment to technical excellence. I liked their bikes and the fact that they rode them, both for development and for promotion. Furthermore they did all the assembly themselves and they were in an ideal position to import our frames and assemble them, thus avoiding the high duty that was being added to our trikes when they were imported fully assembled. Plus they can keep a stock of frames with less expense than fully assembled trikes, and assemble them as required, giving dealers better delivery times. This also meant that we could sea freight the frames, again lowering the cost of the trikes. Another advantage of this system is that the trikes can be assembled with equipment to suit the local market.
So there is currently a large shipment of frames on the water which should arrive very soon. This includes GTO Touring Trikes, X3 and X5 Sports Trikes, GTT Tandem Trikes and SLR Race Trikes. The GT3/5 Series II frames have been air freighted direct from Taiwan so they they will be available for this Northern Summer Season. We have also sent a large quantity of parts with the frames so that AZUB will be able to supply GreenSpeed parts at short notice to European Dealers. This GreenSpeed/AZUB partnership was launched at the Spezi Special Bike Show at Germersheim in Germany where we shared a booth, see picture.
The 1st Show for this year was the Spezi Bike Show, see :- http://www.haasies-radschlag.de/cms/index.php?show
I had planned to take the last prototype to Spezi, but it did not arrive in Oz in time, so I made a box from Corex to take the 2nd prototype and Paul made a small subframe for the end of the box to take four 110 mm inline skate wheels. The box was larger than necessary due a mistake on my part, measuring 126 x 75 x 35cms. However I managed to stick most of my clothes in it and the airline accepted it without a problem, plus the lady behind the counter did not charge me any excess baggage, even though the trike and my baggage combined was well over the 20 kg limit for flights to Europe from Oz. I put the wheels in the box for safe keeping and fitted them at Frankfurt airport. I found it ran nicely across the airport and when I could not find a lift to get up into the train station, I discovered it rode quite well on the escalators! I often have fun with the trains in Germany and this was no exception! I managed to change trains O.K. at Mannheim, with the help of a fellow passenger, to haul the box up a flight of stairs to the other platform. Then a couple of stations later I was wondering why the train was suddenly empty and got going anywhere. Then the guard told me I had to get off and I discovered that the front part of the train had driven off, leaving me behind in the rear section!! I was NOT impressed and let the guard know about it. Of course the platform for the next train was some distance away and I discovered I could actually carry the box up a flight of stairs by myself. The next train was late, but fortunately some school children helped me get the box up the steps into their carriage and I enjoyed the rest of the trip talking to them about the trikes :-) Then when I got to Germersheim, there were no taxis larger than a car, and I had to wait for the bike shop to come and rescue me with a van!
Beside the booth inside hall 2 with AZUB, we had a tent outside where we offered GS trikes and AZUB bikes for people to test ride as well as having trikes on the official test track. There was a LONG wait for test machines and this arrangement worked quite well, resulting in many more test rides than would have been possible with the official test track alone. As I have no language other than English, I invited Mary Arneson and Dale Hammerschmidt, from Minneapolis, Minnesota USA, and http://www.velomobiling.net/index.php to help me, as they can both speak German! Thanks Dale and Mary!
There was quite a lot of interest in the Anura - the new delta, and Mary liked it so much she bought the sample I took to Spezi, which was the 2nd aluminium prototype.
The next exhibition will be Cycle Vision in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, June 2nd and 3rd.
Please see :- http://www.cyclevision.nl/
AZUB Bike will exhibit both GreenSpeed Trikes and Azub bikes.
At the time of writing the Cycling Australia Bike Show has been cancelled this year due to lack of entries from a number of the larger wholesalers, thus GreenSpeed is looking at displaying at other shows. The 1st one in Australia this year will be the MindBodySpirit Festival in Brisbane, June 29th, 30th and July 1st. We will have at least three trikes on display including the new Anura. The stand number is 145, and on the walls, to increase the energy on the stand, will be Berislava's paintings - see www.berislava.com
If you are in or near Brisbane, please come to the Festival and enjoy yourselves - see http://www.mbsfestival.com.au
We have been using the Bionx power assistance kit for sometime now, but while it is an advanced unit with direct drive wheel motor and regenerative braking, we have had some reliability problems. The makers have also declined to provide us with the latest 350 watt units, which many would-be buyers have asked for. Thus we have been testing a new motor system, which puts power into the cranks, and thus the rear gears can be used to give power over a wider speed range than the hub motors. We have found that the Sunstar system gives speeds up to 40 kph with a surprisingly small battery. At the Taipei show I found they had improved the motor over the sample we had on test, so we have asked for a new sample which we are waiting on to test, before we order the 1st batch for sale. See brochure pictured.
I've often been asked by customers about wind trainers which are suitable for the 20" and 16" rear wheels on our trikes, so that they can exercise on their trikes in doors, when the weather is too bad outside. Also we have had Pedal Prix teams looking for dynameters to measure the power output from riders, and to train them for the races. Well, while I was in Taiwan, I came across a very neat trainer that very accurately stimulates the drag forces on a trike - the inertia, the wind drag, and the tyre drag. Thus the power output by the rider can measured just as accurately as on a dyno costing thousands of dollars! The power is simply measured by a special cycle computer, which computes the power according to rear wheel RPM.
It has a large flywheel which matches the inertia of the trike plus rider, and then the fluid resistance system accurately matches the cube power resistance factor due to air resistance from a bike or trike ridden on the open road. The the pressure of the roller against the tyre stimulates the tyre rolling resistance of the trike, completing the sum of all the forces on a bike or trike on level road. For larger riders there is a larger flywheel available. The trainer comes as standard to suit 26" and 700c wheels. Wheels smaller than 22" require the optional Small Wheel Adaptor, which suits wheels down to 16", the size used on our GT3/5 and X-Series trikes.
Paul has been using it for his own training. He says that the ride is very realistic, and the machine very quiet. It has massive cooling fins, and will absorb up to 3 kw of power, so there will be no problem even if you are an Olympic athlete! The power resistance unit has a magnetic coupling, so that there are no rotating fluid seals to leak in this unit. The only faults we could find with this unit was it took some time to change from trike to road bike, and the web site was very slow to load, so I've copied the manual to our web site for people who are interested in the nuts and bolts :- Kinetic Trainer Manual
For more info., please see:- http://www.kurtkinetic.com
Having reviewed and tested this trainer, we can now recommend it, and consider it to be the best on the market.