August Schrader immigrated from Hanover, Germany, to New York in 1843. Within a few years he started a small company making brass fittings for the rubber industry, which had been started only a few years before.
In l890, pnuematic tires were in use on the bicycle racing circuit, and soon bikes with pnuematic tires began winning the races. A tire manufacturer asked Schrader to design a better air valve than the one they were using, and Schrader did so. Schrader and his son George applied for a patent on their design in 1893, and made many improvements over the years. Every car today uses Schrader valves to keep the air in the tire, whether tube or tubeless tires. Most bicycles today use Schrader valves, with certain tubes using an alternative valve, the Presta valve. The Schrader valves used today are very similar to the 1893 version.
Which was invented first, the bicycle or the tricycle? That depends on what you count as the first bicycle, and the first tricycle. If you say the Lallament version was a bicycle, it was patented before the tricycle below. If you count the John Starley Rover as the first bike, then the tricycle was first. If you count the Cugnot steam vehicle as a tricycle, it was before Lallament. Here is a very early tricycle, which looks very similar to Lallament’s bicycle, but inclues a verion that is in the tricycle format.
Twist grip speed control started with the first motorcycle, a steam powered oddity made by Sylvester Roper in 1869. His motorcycle was controlled by a twist grip throttle. The twist grip for control of bicycle derailleurs was first popularized in the 1960s by the Sturmey-Archer company, famous for their internally geared hub shifters. Other makers followed with their own twist shifters, a notable one being the 1990 the Campagnolo twist-grip shifter below.
Here is one method of front suspension for a bicycle that came out in 1889! This was patented by J. S. Copeland. When the front wheel hits a bump, it can travel up in relation to the frame. It also has a cool spoon brake, which was the norm before caliper brakes were invented.
It is the same idea as shown in the Softride shock absorber stem above, which is also a parallelogram with a strong spring, to cushion some shock from hard bumps. But in the Softride version, the wheel doesn’t travel up, the handlebars travel down. My friend Kurt inUtah really likes his Softride stem, and has used it for years.
I found that I needed to replace my factory bearings at 5 years of all weather commuting on my Catrike speed. I opted for a set of 4 cartridge bearings, rather than using the teflon bushings for the upper bearings. A great place to get these is Utah Trikes, who know exactly the size that is needed for Catrike bearings. The teflon bushings were made available to eliminate shimmy problems that certain models of Catrikes were having at certain speeds. I just never had the shimmy problem, so decided to keep the ball bearing type cartridge bearings. These are available from Utah Trikes for $10 each, for a total of $40.
To replace the headset bearings, you loosen and remove the top cap bolt and top cap, and loosen the handlebar clamp. When that is removed the steerer tube (the tube inside the head tube) can drop out of the head tube, so keep a grip on it to guide it out. Remove the top bearing, then remove the steerer tube from the head tube. You don’t have to disconnect the tie rod in order to remove the steerer tube from the head tube. When the steerer tube is free of the head tube, remove and replace the bottom bearings. Put the steerer tube back in the head tube, and replace the top bearing. Put the bearings in oriented the same way as they were when you removed them.
To cinch the bearings together on the steerer tube, put the handlebar on the top of the steerer tube, but don’t tighten the bolts. Put the top cap and top cap bolt on the steerer tube, and begin tightening. The top bolt engages a star nut inside the steerer tube to tighten up the assembly. At first there will be a lot of play in the steering tube in the head tube, but as the top cap nut is tightened, there will be less and less play. The top cap bolt will be “tight” when there is no “tick of play” and the bearings still allow the steerer tube to turn freely. When that point is reached, tighten the handlebar bolts. Its really the handlebar bolts that hold the steerer tube in place at the proper tightness. Check to be sure there is no “tick of play” in the bearings. If any play develops in the steerer tube, loosen the handlebar bolts, tighten the top cap bolt, and then tighten the handlebar bolts.
Once the handlebar is secured, you can remove the top cap bolt if need be to install or remove the front fenders on a Catrike.
Here is a nifty front end suspension for a bicycle, from 1889. In this design, when the front wheel hits a bump the front wheel and handlebars move up in relation to the frame. Thus the rider is not really protected from shock, it seems to me. Am I seeing how this works incorrectly?
A strong rival to derailluers for gear changing on bicycle was the Sturmey Archer three speed hub. The SA Hub had internal gears, which were selected using a lever on the handle bars. They are reliable, sturdy, and trouble free.
The Sturmey Archer hub was designed in 1902 by a schoolmaster, Henry Sturmey, and an engineer, James Archer. Both of these men had designed earlier internally geared hubs, and were brought together by Frank Bowden, inventor of the Bowden cable in 1894, and owner of Raleigh Bicycles. Raleigh favored use of Sturmy Archer hubs, which left the French to develop and popularize the derailleur. The story of the development of the derailleur is told in the wonderful book “The Dancing Chain”, by Frank Berto and Daniel Rebour.
Tony Hadland has written a book on the Sturmey Archer Story that has the complete history of SA Hubs. As usual, Sheldon Brown of Harris Cyclery has detailed information about Sturmey Archer hubs, the various models, and repairing them.
Around the turn of the century there were a number of bicycle designs which did not use chains, but instead had a drive shaft with bevel gears. This bicycle is from 1891 and uses four bevel gears and a drive shaft for propulsion. This idea was later taken to motorcycles, such as the BMW shaft drive motorcycle some 50 years later.
In fall of 2008 I (Bruce, trikebldr) bought a 2003 Speed. As I hefted it up to put it in the rack on top of my car I thought I would just throw it all the way over the car, it was so light. When I got it home I weighed it at 28lbs, complete with fenders. It made me wonder how light I could make my 2007 Speed. Stock, it weighed 31lbs.
I have a friend in Los Angeles who runs the computers that control the earthquake shift equipment under a high-rise building in downtown. He asked for a lot of pics, dimensions and weights, then plugged them all into this computer to do a stress flow analysis. It gave us back hundreds of diagrams that showed where the trike’s frame, and other parts, were most and least stressed under load.
DF bikes are made from butted and double-butted tubing to reduce weight. For those not familiar with the term “butted tube”, this means that the center has thinned out walls while the ends are thicker walled. These special butted tubes can be made in approximate lengths and cut to fit precisely into a DF’s frame. All trike makers that I know of use pretty much generic, uniform-wall-thickness tubing. It’s simply a matter of economics, since trikes of various frame design require too many tube lengths to be able to provide butted tubing for all parts of the frame. The old solution to non-butted tubing was to drill across the tube in the middle areas to reduce the weight. Tubes under side loading cannot be drilled, but those in longitudinal compression and tension can be. Most DF frames are completely triangulated, meaning their tubes are all under tension or compression, but not side loaded, appreciably. Trike frames are not so lucky!
Holey Spokes was drilled in those areas shown to be over-built as far as tubing wall thickness. The main, one-piece frame was drilled exactly as the computer showed, but I took some liberties on some smaller, easily replaceable parts. In the end the only area that I would do differently would be not drilling completely through the boom’s internal “peace” webbing. A stock, undrilled boom gave me 1/16″ of twist under heavy loading measured at the top of the der post, but the drilled version now gives me 1/8″ of twist, measured the same way. By loading, I mean causing the rear wheel to spin slightly with the front brakes on. This would not be acceptable for all you pseudo-Lances out there, but for me it isn’t a noticeable loss of efficiency.
A lot of criticism has been heard about drilling the cranks. You cannot drill most cranks, but the older Truvativ Elita cranks have a dog-bone cross section to them and the main strength is along the edges. Small, 1/2″ holes can be drilled with no problems. The most stress that can be applied here is until the rear tire breaks free, and I have done that, as well a stomping on them hard.
I have about 200 hours of drilling and de-burring in the project, as well as other tweaks to make it handle quicker. The wheels were tightened up to the max recommended spoke tensions for each rim. Ceramic bearings are used everywhere except in the Frog pedals. I have one set of Stelvio Light tires that are over 11,000 miles old and are much lighter than new Stelvios. I keep these stored except for special rides. I normally run newer Stelvios. I dumped the stock seat mesh and made up a new sling from a single layer of the stuff POC sells. It’s laced inside the seat rails with some parachute cord.
The cost to build this trike (other than the stock trike) was $12.53 for the materials to make the seat, plus about $183 for the new XTR Shadow carbon-cage rear der. The der weighs just 181grams as opposed to the 495grams for the stock Deore der. I was already running Q-rings and hollow-pinned chains, so throw in a bit more money for those if you must. Ceramics for the whole trike run about $500 for everything, including BB and idler.
The base trike weighed 31lbs, 3oz when I started. Set up for final weighing, with the lighter tires, no headrest, mirrors, bottle cages, it weighs exactly 24lbs. I normally run it with newer, heavier Stelvios, one mirror, one cage and a POC headrest. Set up like that it weighs at 25lbs, 14oz.
Holey Spokes drew a lot of flak on the Catrike forum as it was being built. Comments like “fold up around his ears” were found often! The drilling was not done helter-skelter like so many bikes were in the old days. It was done carefully according to indicated high and low stress areas. It’s now three and a half years old, and I ride it about 3000miles a year. I almost always pull my dog in her trailer behind it, too (another 56lbs, total!)! If Cindy is pulling the trailer, I get carried away and take a lot of curves on two wheels. After all, higher performance in handling was what it was built for. I prefer to bicycle it rather than slide through a corner.
I have weighed between 207 and 225lbs during the last 3-1/2 years, so it has endured a lot of heavy abuse from my riding style, with no failures yet. The reason is, those drilled tubes are not being BENT, but are under tension or compression. The seat side rails were not drilled specifically because they are being pulled sideways, inward from the weight of the rider in the mesh. There’s one short video in the link to my pics of this trike, showing me bicycling the trike as well as doing hard stoppies. This is pretty much normal for me while I wait for others to get ready to ride. It’s just a fun trike to play with like this!
About six others have test-ridden it and two of them have had me do this treatment to their’s. One is a 2008 Speed, and the other is a 2007 Pocket, called Piccolo Pockets. I consider the 2007 to be the very best Speed of all models, especially to do this with.