Brexit, Duties, Taxes and Rules-of Origin

Now we have a bare-bones UK/EU Brexit deal, I can summarise how this will affect things:

tl;dr: EU customers can order as normal, the cost should still be the same. UK customers, if you use the price lists or configurators from HPVelotechnik or Hase, add 14% to the price.

  • Rules-of-Origin now apply to all imports and exports – basically, if 55% or more of something is made in the UK or EU, then duty won’t be charged. It gets quite complicated working out what “made” means, and this is a problem for many bike companies who make frames in the Far East and use mostly components also made in the Far East.
  • This means that most bikes I import – from HPVelotechnik, Hase etc – will now have 14% import duty added by UK customs. There’s nothing I can do about this, I’m afraid. Riese & Muller electric bikes manage to avoid this, by using Bosch electric motor systems that are made in Germany.
  • Some parts in the UK will also go up in price, if they’re bought from EU distributors, but the duty on bike parts is 4% compared to 14% on complete bikes.
  • Most things I export – Bromptons, Brompton upgrade kits and parts – do meet rules-of-origin, because I manufacture the frame parts here in Scotland. So they should not attract duty when sent to the EU.
  • This is all very new, so I’m still working out how to document and prove the Rules-of-Origin so couriers don’t charge you – hopefully things will settle down a bit over time.
  • I can also send EU orders as DTP – that’s Delivered Tax Paid, so you pay the VAT to me just like a UK customer, and then I pay the courier to clear your order through customs, the order should just arrive with you as if you’d ordered from the EU. This is also a new thing, so again there might be some teething problems but we’ll work them out.
  • The slight advantage/disadvantage with DTP, depending on where you are, is that VAT rates vary across the EU – so depending on where you are, if your VAT rate is different from the UK’s 20%, then you might slightly win or lose this way, but only by a small amount.

Brompton Hub Comparisons

With a bunch of different hubs available for the Brompton, I thought a comparison would be a good idea:

KindernayRohloffAlfine 11Alfine 8Enviolo
NuVinci
Sturmey 8
Number of gears1414118n/a8
Gear range543%525%405%307%380%325%
Weight1.4kg1.7kg1.6kg1.7kg2.4kg1.8kg
Gear ratios18″-98″19″-100″24″-99″24″-74″25″-95″29″-95″
ShifterThumbTwist
or Thumb
Lever*Lever*TwistTwist or Thumb
EfficiencyVery goodVery goodGoodMediumGoodMedium
AxleSolid 10mmQuick releaseSolid 10mmSolid 10mmSolid 10mmSolid 13/32″
Disc brakeYesYesYesYesYesNo
Kit cost£1795£1595£795£725£725£395

Gear ratios are the most common possibilities – with the Rohloff and Kindernay, they are with the smallest possible rear cog and largest Brompton front ring (54t). With the Alfine and Enviolo, it’s 18t/50t. So getting higher gears is possible on the Alfine and Enviolo hubs, more difficult with the Kindernay and Rohloff.

I know it seems a bit odd that the Kindernay has a wider range than the Rohloff but has very similar gear ratios, but it’s because the difference between 18″ and 19″ at the bottom end is a much bigger difference than between 98″ and 100″ at the top end.

Other factors are harder to quantify in a table: In terms of fitting, the Rohloff is easiest – it’s a simple quick release hub (though I usually use an Allen key skewer) and cable fitting is very simple. The Alfine and Enviolo hubs are nutted, so need a spanner to fit, but cabling is pretty simple. The Kindernay is the most complex, with a nutted through axle, and hydraulic shifting that has to be cut and perhaps re-bled to fit.

*A rapid-fire shifter is available, but I strongly recommend the Jtek shifter for the Brompton handlebars.

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:

Kettwiesel train

  • 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!