Why Ride a Folder?

Why Ride a Folder?

Bikes can be very inconvenient when they are not being ridden. You need to find somewhere to park them safely or squeeze them onto some other form of transport. By contrast a folding bike is there when you need it, and when you don’t it packs away easily under seats or in lockers. You can commute by train using the same cycle at both ends, and a folding bike can be taken anywhere, even into a bar or restaurant with you for security.

Folding bikes have become very sophisticated – the old Dawes Kingpin of the 1960’s with it’s heavy frame and simple hinge has been replaced by a wide range of lightweight high performance cycles which fold much smaller and are far better to ride.

Why Ride Recumbent?

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Why Ride Recumbent?

 

There are some very good reasons for reclining. You rest on a supportive and comfortable seat, rather than perching on a saddle. Your diaphragm can expand freely, improving your breathing. Weight is taken off your wrists, your neck does not have to strain to see where you are going, and you have better all-round vision. Recumbents are quite often very beneficial to cyclists with back or knee problems, who would otherwise need to restrict or stop cycling altogether.

Recumbent bikes and trikes come in many flavours, and are often very fast machines, partly due to the improved aerodynamics of having your legs in front of you not below you. And with a firm supportive seat to push against, a recumbent cyclist produces just as much energy as an upright cyclist. It is also argued that recumbents are safer than upright cycles – for one thing, the first part of your body to hit an obstruction is your feet, not your head. Brakes can be pulled as hard as they will go with no fear of diving over the handlebars, and car drivers seem to be much more wary of recumbents. Read lots more on the General Info page….

Which Recumbent?

That all depends on what you intend to do with it 😉 Two-wheelers are generally lighter and faster, and happier in traffic. Three-wheelers are more stable, especially at very low speeds, and can be a lot of fun to play with as they’re like pedal-powered go-karts.

Recumbent Sizing

Setting a recumbent up for your size is pretty simple. The main measurement used is the x-seam. To find this, sit on the floor with your back against a wall, and measure from the wall to the soles of your feet.

xseam

If you want to be a little more accurate, you can arrange an angled board, or even a stack of books so your back isn’t vertical, but I’ve found that this doesn’t usually make much difference to the result.

With this x-seam measurement, I can adjust your recumbent to approximately the right size for you before shipping it. You may need to make some fine adjustments, so it’s always good to go for your first few rides with a set of Allen keys so you can fine tune it, but you shouldn’t have to make any big changes or adjust the chain.

Tadpole or Delta Trike?

It’s a common question – which is the better kind of trike? The answer isn’t so easy – both configurations have their advantages and disadvantages:

Tadpole:

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  • Simple drive system – a normal chainset at the front with a chain leading through to normal rear wheel gearing.
  • Very stable, you sit right in the middle of all three wheels.
  • Can carry normal panniers alongside the rear wheel.
  • You can see how wide it is when riding, for narrow gaps.

Delta:

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  • Very manoeuvrable – the front wheel can turn through about 80 degrees to either side, so it can almost turn in its own length.
  • Very easy to get onto and off – you can sit down first, then swing your leg over. Access from a wheelchair is simple.
  • More complex drive system, with single-sided drive to one rear wheel or a differential to drive both, sometimes with mid-mounted gearbox gearing.
  • Less stable when cornering fast.

Heinzmann Half Voltage

Heinzmann controllers are clever – they often use a half voltage tap from half- way along a battery pack to monitor the cells. This causes problems when you try to fit a new lithium battery to an old controller.

To disable the half voltage detection, simplest way is to bridge a diode on the circuit board. These pictures show you which one to bridge, depending on whether your control board is surface mount or not:

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More About Recumbents

Advantages of recumbent bikes:

 

There are two main advantages of riding a recumbent bike – speed and comfort. Recumbents are more aerodynamic than any other bikes (your legs are in front of you, not below you), so you slip through the air with less effort. Touring recumbents are probably about 5-10% faster, racing recumbent bikes can be 30% faster – even before you start adding aerodynamic fairings.

With a recumbent, you don’t really sit on the bike, you sit in it. Your back is fully supported, and there is no strain on your neck, wrists or back. Almost all the power comes from your legs, so you don’t need a death grip on the handlebars. All of this means that on a recumbent you are a lot more comfortable – nice for everyone, but wonderful if you have a problem which makes it painful to ride an upright bike.

 

Disadvantages of recumbent bikes:

 

There aren’t many, but you should be aware of what differences a recumbent makes:

To start with, you won’t be faster – in fact, you’ll be slower. This is because recumbent riding uses different muscles to upright riding, and it will take 2 months at least of riding for your muscles to adapt.

You will attract attention – recumbents aren’t for the shy and retiring! 99% of comments you’ll get are good ones, but don’t expect to blend into the background. Of course, this also means you are more visible to car drivers, which is always good…

Some kinds of riding aren’t possible – serious off-road riding, for example. You can’t get out of the seat, so you can’t hop the front wheel over obstacles. With a full-suspension recumbent, you can just hit things at speed to get over them (within reason!) but it’s not as slick as hopping the front wheel on an upright.

 

Learning to ride a recumbent:

 

Most people take 5 minutes to get the basics – the real trick is to relax. You should always be back in the seat – don’t sit forwards to start. Your shoulders should always be hard back against the seat. If you need to push hard on the pedals, push with your shoulders, don’t pull on the bars. You should never need to put any force on the bars – your hands should just rest on teh bars. If you find this hard, try holding the bars just with your thumb and index finger – you can’t force the bars by accident that way.

Starting, especially up a hill, is the hardest thing to learn. The trick is to rotate your “good” pedal to vertical, or a bit closer to you. Give a very good push on that pedal, and that will give you enough momentum to get your other foot up.

 

Types of recumbent bike:

There are two main classifications for recumbent bikes – the wheelbase, and the handlebar position:

 

Wheelbase – can be short, medium or long. Short-wheelbases (SWB) have the front wheel behind the pedals, almost under the seat. This is compact and fast, and also amnouverable. It is a bit trickier to get used to, as you can’t directly see the front wheel, but SWB recumbents are the best performing types.

Medium-wheelbases are also called compact long wheelbases (CLWB) just to be confusing… The front wheel is small, and directly below the pedals. CLWB bikes are very easy to get used to, and still quite compact.

Long-wheelbases (LWB) are now rather rare – the front wheel is out in front of the cranks. This design is very stable, and good for serious touring – though there are now SWBs which are just as good for touring without the disadvantages. LWB recumbents are heavy, take up a lot of space, and not very fast.

 

Handlebar position – the bars can be either over the seat or under it. Overseat steering is very direct, manouverable, aerodynamic and easy to get used to. Underseat steering is very comfortable – a lot better for touring.

Heinzmann control board

The Heinzmann controller board is a very sophisticated system – it’s basic features are:

It is a pulse-width controller, with very high efficiency.  There is a relay which overrides all the power, and is controlled by moth the on/off switch and a limit switch in the throttle for safety. The controller is specifically designed to prevent “spikes” – common with other controllers, which can damage the motor.

The controller is set with a ramp-up period of about 2 seconds – this is for the safety of the rider, and also to protect the motor from excess torque. The ramp-down period of the motor is zero – as soon as the throttle is turned off, then the motor stops.

The controller has a number of safety features: It continuously monitors the motor’s temperature, and cuts back on the power to prevent overheating. It also uses this to monitor the average power going to the motor. The controller also uses the “half voltage” from the cells to monitor the battery pack – if just one cell starts behaving erratically,t ehn the controller cuts back to prevent damage to other components.

Disabling the pedal sensor:

Some Heinzmann systems are supplied with a pedal sensor, which does not let you have any power unitl you pedal. It might be illegal where you are to disable this Cheap Pandora Outlet, but here’s how to do it if you really want to:

There are two types of controller board – the older style has an exposed relay, and standard microchips. The new type has a fully enclosed relay, and surface-mount chips.

Old type: the pedal sensor electronics are on a separate board, attached by three black wires. Simply snip those wires, and remove the entire subunit.

New type: this board looks like this:

This board has the pedal sensor electronics built onto the main board. To disable them, find the Zener diode on the lower left of the board. It’s NOT a surface-mount one. Snip out this diode (see above). That’s it!

Heinzmann Black Box

The Heinzmann Power Pack looks like this:

The box has three main components – the battery cells, the battery meter, and the control board. The control board is described in more detail elsewhere. The basic electrical arrangement is this:

The cells have a positive and negative from them, along with two (usually) wires from a pair of thermistors which measure the temperature of the cells, and an additional wire from half-way along the pack. This “half voltage” is used by the controller.

The negative goes to the battery meter, which is of the amp shunt type – it counts exactly how many amps flow in or out of the cells, so it is very accurate. The negative then goes on to the controller, via a 30A fuse. The positive goes straight to the controller, with a thin wire running to the battery meter to power the meter’s electronics.

Three wires from the charging socket go to the controller – but the controller is not involved in the charging process. The charger itself uses the thermocouples to monitor the temperature of the cells.

The Heinzmann motor

Looking inside the motor:

To open the motor, first remove the thin 17mm nut on the right side (rear motor: remove the spacer tube as well). Then unscrew the 6 cross-head screws around the perimeter of the shell on the left side. The motor should then slide out of the hub shell – you might need to give a gentle tap to the right axle. It will now look like this:

If you want to send the motor back to us, but don’t want to send the entire wheel, then this is a good stage to stop. If you want to carry on, then undo the 5 cross-head screws shown. These are the non-recessed screws – NOT the 4 recessed screws around the axle.
The gearbox will now open up – this is a tight press fit, so you will probably need to pry it gently with a flat-bladed screwdriver. Work around the gap, prying a little at a time, until it pops open. It’s easier if you have the motor axle in a vice to do this. It will now look like this:

As you can see, the motor has a small steel gear on it, which drives a larger spur gear. On the 200W motors, this spur gear is made of nylon to keep down the noise. This nylon is very durable, but after a lot of use it can wear – so check that the teeth look perfectly symmetrical, and that they’re all there of course! The high power motors have a steel spur gear, which never wears at all.

Going beyond this stage requires heavy machinery, so if your motor needs more than this, send it back to us. While you’ve got the motor open, clean out the old grease and pack in plenty of fresh grease. The reassemble:

Put the gearbox cover back in place – it may just push back on, or you might need to GENTLY tap it back with a rubber mallet. Make sure that the gears are meshing properly before you hit it too hard. Refit the 5 cross-head screws – note that three of them (usually) have washers, whereas the two outside the centre ring do not. Now slide the motor back into the shell – you might need to turn it about a bit to get the gears to mesh. Refit the 6 cross-head screws and the 17mm nut. NOTE: do not use any power screwdriver or similar on these screws – the alloy is quite soft and strips easily. Just tighten them with a standard hand screwdriver.

Motor fitting tricks:

The Heinzmann motor is usually pretty easy to fit to any frame or fork, but sometimes you’ll have a pair of (usually suspension) forks which will not spread far enough. If this happens, try replacing the thin 17mm nut on the right side with a washer – the washer must still be on the INSIDE of the dropout when you fit the wheel to the fork. If you still need more room, do the same on the left side – but be aware that the protective disc will be loose when you take the wheel off if you do this.