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Replacing (Catrike) Wheel Bearings

Says Bruce:

With the wheel removed from the trike, remove the six screws that hold the brake rotor on and set the brake rotor aside. Now, remove the black, stepped-spacer that slips onto the end of the bearing spacer tube. It is being held on by the o-ring inside, so it may be a little stubborn to slip off, but it will come off with just your fingers.


You are now looking at the side of the inner bearing, with the end of the bearing spacer sticking through it. With a leather or plastic mallet, gently tap on the protruding end of the bearing spacer tube until the outer bearing at the other end falls out. Push the bearing spacer tube the rest of the way out and turn it around to use to drive the inner bearing out. Just be very careful when tapping on this tube because the shoulders that the bearing inner races ride on is very critical to bearing placement within the hub. Maybe using a wooden dowel of the same diameter would be better to drive the inner bearing out. The inner bearing keeps the bearing spacer centered well enough to use it as a driver for the outer bearing. Now, your bearings are removed. The bearing spacer and the two bearings that go on either end of it, and the stepped spacer, are shown below assembled and disassembled.



At this point you can relube the old bearings, or install new ones. To relube the bearings, you remove the plastic seals, clean out the old grease with thinner, add new grease, snap the seals in place, and install the bearings. These pictures show those steps. Bruce says that someone who is trying for maximum speed out of a bearing, whether it is a ceramic of a steel bearing, should avoid putting too much grease in the bearing. Real speed seekers can even thin out their bearing grease with 3-in-1 oil, with oil forming 30% of the grease mix, and pack the bearing lightly with this “thin” grease.




To insert your new bearings, start with the outer bearing, insert it by hand and get it as squared up as possible before driving it all the way in. Slide the new inner bearing onto the protruding end of the bearing spacer and drive it all the way against the shoulder on the spacer. Now, insert that bearing into the hub on the brake rotor side. Using a 1/8″ pin-punch, SLOWLY drive it in, working around the outer race 1/8 circle at a time. Don’t use any kind of press, unless it is a precision press that drives absolutely flat against the bearing. If you get the bearing cocked even a little bit, it wll distort the hub’s recess for the bearing. Not good! Both bearings will be slightly recessed when they are fully seated, with the inner bearing being moreso.

Before starting this process, make very sure that the shoulder inside the hub for each bearing is absolutely clean. Again, this is very critical to the bearing’s location within the hub. Any dislocation of either bearing will cause a preload on both bearings when the wheel is back on the trike. This will create bind and make the trike pull to one side and cause premature bearing failure. Once the bearings are both back in the hub, slip the black, stepped-spacer back onto the bearing spacer tube protrution, making sure that the o-ring inside is in good shape. Now, put the brake rotor back on and you’re done!

When both bearings are inserted correctly, if you spin one bearing, the other should spin with it. The black, stepped-spacer shouldn’t rub on the brake rotor tabs. Once you get the old bearings out, do a thorough cleaning of the inside of the hub, especially inside the machined pockets where the bearings fit.

For more pics of the hub disassembly, refer to trikeblkr’s hub photo archive here.

Replacing Rear Wheel Bearings on a Catrike

Belt Drive Bike from 1890

Here is an interesting belt drive bike from 1890.  Belt drive 1892

The Recumbent Couch-Cycle


Nate Welbourn showed me his recumbent couch, and I had to know how that beast came to be built.

"The whole notion of an amphibious tall couch trike is the beer-induced brain
child of a Rat Patrol member who goes by the name of Nancy Porker; I am simply
the conduit between a fantasticly absurd idea which should never have been done,
and something that now exists and is actually practicle to use in the real

Why? That’s a fair question, but one that I haven’t seriously considered
until now; I guess we were looking for a ride with style so we figured a couch
bike is probably going to satisfy that brief, and it had to be a tallbike so
that the eye level of the pilots would be well above that of all but the tallest
pedestrians (good for concerts and the like)… also the couch had to be easily
removeable for parties (it’s held on to the frame by 8 bolts, and the brake and
gear levers simply pull off)…


Yes, we happened to have quite a bit of refuse steel lying about our
workshop too… Plans are afoot for a parasol cover, fold-out bed, etc, etc.
This is a chick magnet by anyone’s standards! In any case, it probably hadn’t
been done before, and that seemed like a sound reason in itself. It made sense
at the time!


What else? Well, you’ll notice a bit of a cocktail bar/table at the couch;
this will soon be completed with drink holders in which to put one’s beer, thus
affording our no-doubt-soon-to-be-patented Steer by Beer Technology (you need a
beer in order to steer!). Seing as we were already building a tall trike with a
serious inherent danger of off-camber cornering disastery, I thought it would
also be great to have a reliable 360degree-turning system, allowing it to
(theoretically) spin on it’s own footprint in traffic. And guess what; it turns
on it’s own footprint!!! It was all "educated guesswork" (I’m a graphic designer
working at a university, so that seemed to make excellent sense!), but I tried
to design the weight distribution such that most was over the back wheels so
that the bike would turn well and minimise the tendancy to roll over and snap
people’s backbones…


After working out some basic dimensions, it just seemed to make some kind
of ‘lateral sense’ to create such a thing which could be ridden into and through
the water without stopping (we had consumed a lot of beer at this point)… that
makes sense, doesn’t it?
After a lot of talk about using empty coke bottles, discarded newspapers
and old candy packets for displacement, I found myself insiting on retaining
‘some kind of hydro dynamics’. We ended up sourcing some old plastic barrels,
chopped the tops off and smashed them together with a film of epoxy. All of a
sudden the hulls became very strong — even stronger than I had invisaged. Then,
we used a 2-part expanding polyurethane foam to fill each barrel, ensuring
enough displacement (and that at the very least, the hulls couldn’t sink), based
on some rather blurry mental calculations. A rudder? The front wheel would


The floatation hulls and associated frame
attach or detach easily by one person and are held in place by 4 high-tensile
bolts. The aqua propulsion system also easily detaches when required. I think
the floatation system weighs about 80kg (you’ll be used to do your own metric
conversions of course, living in probably the only country in the world still
using emperial measurements! Anyhoo…), while the rest of the bike is probably
around 70kg. Surprisingly (and this REALLY surprised me!), she is pretty stable
on land and absolutely stable in the water. We have tried to capsize her,
but to no avail!!
I think I must be quite good at guess work and bring with me a wealth of
good luck, because the test float was so successful that no further structural
changes were required. This was good news, after about 250 humorous hours of
late-night labour and much domestic anxt.


OK, it probably has a top speed in the water of about 1 knot, but it’s a
STYLISH ride! The cops aren’t sure how to take this one, it’s a bike but it’s
much bigger than a car… or is it a boat? We are quietly confident that she is
legal in this country.
So, what’s the next project? Sleep 🙂

Arizona Whip Lighted Flagpole

I have been looking for a way to light up the flagpole on my recumbent trike, and found a product that looked like it would work, the Arizona Whip.  Jerry at was very nice to work with, and I got it hooked up this past weekend. The whip is 5 ” tall, and is of clear lexan. Inside the clear tube are 24 LED lights, 12 facing forward and 12 facing backward. Each side has a red group, and a yellow group, and on one side the red and yellow groups of LEDs flash on alternately. Jerry has other color configurations, including a red, white and blue one. The whip screws into a clamp that grips the 1.25 inch tube of the rear wheel fork. The clamp is for 1.5 in. tubes, but with some rubber and duct tape shimming, it grips the 1.25 inch tubing nicely with one Allen bolt for tightening. It extends up through the frame and clears the panniers, rack, seat, and headrest nicely.

These pictures show the whip in daylight, and the clamp attached to the frame.

LED whip 002

LED whip 003


I ran a switch forward to the left hand grip, so I can turn it on
and off from the seat. It runs off a 9 v battery. I have not ridden it to work yet, so I don’t know how long the 9 v battery will last.


LED whip 004


The picture below is how it looks at night, from the rear. The bike is facing not quite straight, and the bag on the rack is blocking one of the LED lights. The headlight is shining across the street at an angle, and provides lots of illumination.


LED whip 015


This sucker is not cheap at $150, but if I can get noticed by a car either ahead of or behind me, it will be worth it.