Friday, October 31, 2008

Weekend Update

Lots of stuff to report: the Hawkeye Downs HPV race, laps on the IA speedway and Nuvinci testing, Downfalls of my current hybrid design and the improvements in progress, redesigning my doublestand to fit the Big Dummy, Pugsley and Big Dummy builds, gathering gear for the upcoming snowbike season, adventure racing, and next years touring.

The Hawkeye Downs race weekend was a small but fun affair this year. I lucked out with some of the best weather October in IA has to offer. Minimal mishaps and hangups running the event, mostly due to the help of a few volunteers keeping things moving. Many thanks to Warren Beauchamp, Rick Gritters, Ted Wheeler, and my parents.

Lots of velomobiles at the race, most of them were Garrie Hills', at least at some point. I managed to trick Tracy Thompson into racing one, and then he ended up taking it home for next season's use. This is going to be interesting.
I had Garries' WAW for a couple of days before I could get it over to Tracy's. I've come to the conclusion that pretty much all Velomobiles are made for people under 5'8" and I still don't like three wheels or u-bar-ish steering. I got some good pics for further study and comparison though. Maybe I'll build a quad velomobile with tiller steering someday.

The weekend after my HPV race I hauled the Cuda over to Des Moines for the Track and Back charity ride. As suspected the route was to follow F70 from Des Moines to Monroe, same as I did on the loaded longtail two weeks proir during my Tour to race. This was concerning, as those are some really monsterous rollers on F70. This was afterall test number two for the Nuvinci, hills were on the menu for a reason. Turns out, climbing Grand Ave from Squirrels' house was a harder climb than anything I found on F70. There was no momentum to be had cranking up Grand and the Nuvinci obviously didn't have the low range I was needing. I almost fell over on my first climb of the day. Then I rode bike path from Ashworth park over to the El Bait Shop. On the corner under the tracks by Science center, I found a pair of unleashed dogs, one of which I missed, the other, not so much. Then I did fall over. Neither of us were injured, just annoyed, so I continued on. Did I mention it was super foggy? Cause it was. Somehow I managed to get to the start on time, only did a couple laps lost in the stadium parking lot. There were a good three donut holes left for breakfast. Within fifteen minutes we rolled out with police escort and soon enough we were clear of town. I glided off the front of the group towards the first climb, Blackford caught back up by the time I cranked to the top, then I bombed the next hill and I was on my own till I stopped in Monroe. The rollers on F70 were mostly defeated by the momentum of streamlining, though the recent road construction/speed bumps before the bridges were less than appreciated. Makes me rethink the need for full suspension again. A few miles further and I make it to the IA Speedway. I'm met by a flock of kids from the Central IA Boy and Girls Club. The spaceship has landed. They all seem to be really interested in the bike, I talked a bit with them, and with any luck we may see them build something of their own. A few more people start showing up and get out on the track, so I go out for a few laps. The track is smooth and flat, the corners are large enough that g forces at 36mph are not noticable at all. This would be a really nice track for an HPV race. The ride back was faster without the fog and I only fell over once.

I was hoping the Nuvinci would be the solution to my gearing woes on the streamliner, but it's not to be. There is just too much drag for race use and it's too hard to gauge your efforts without shift detents. It is nearly indestructable and a great bargain for utility uses, but I'll stick with gears and chains for the race liner.

Speaking of the Nuvinci in the utility bike role, the one on the Xtracycle has been working flawlessly. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the drivetrain, but they don't call it research and development for nothin. I've gone through two primary drive chains, two sets of idler bearings one set of jackshaft bearings, and four motor drive freewheels, an now the jackshaft is in for repair/redesign. Basically what I've learned is that when you add a 1hp(746watts continuous)motor plus one semi-fit human(150-350watts continuous) through one primary drive chain, plus gravel dust, equals lots and lots of chain streach. To the point of streaching 1/8" chains in half actually. Keeping all three chains taught and in working order has become a weekly chore, to the point that I've decided to rethink my drivetrain. I've also learned there is no such thing as a sealed skate bearing, I don't like 1/8" industrial chain(they don't twist at all and behave even worse than bicyle chain in dust), and all freewheels used on the motor drive box will unscrew their innards if you do not peen the threads. Anyways, the redesign involves putting two freewheels on the hub via the adapter shown in the pic above. Turns out Dicta and Shimano 1/8 freewheels have threads that run all the way through, makes it easy to just turn out a super long threaded freehub adaptor. I'll end up with two chains instead of three, one going from the motor to the hub, and another going from the pedals to the hub. Almost normal. Actually, just like this:
Just need a little idler on the slack side of the pedal chain to keep it off the frame, a tension bar in line between the motor and rear axle, and an idleron the slack side of the motor chain to keep it of the frame a little better. Worked out way easier than I would have guessed. Now if I can get the Dummy setup to work even better.

And of the Dummy, I've got it together too....sort of. It still needs it's own freeloaders, fenders, and tires. The Gazzalodis just don't roll all that well, and I keep getting flats with the rear one(and its a freakin doublewall tire!). I think I'll get another dynohub to replace the totally out of place blue King front hub.
The super tall stack and Nitto North Road bar make for the least aero position I've ever ridden. Feels kinda like riding an old cruiser, only this one climbs better. The bars are really a little straighter than I'd hoped for. They really do work well when standing and climbing though.

As far as adding an assist to this one goes, I think I'll go the modified GEBE route this time around. I kinda want to keep the derailer to see how it compares to the Nuvinci when fully loaded. Finding or making a syncronous belt cog in the large-ish size turned out to be way more expensive than I'm willing to bother with, but then I remembered GEBEs' 148t ring. Add to that the cost of ordering another EH035 and clutch housing from Staton and I may as well just buy a whole kit from GEBE and modify it.

I'm well on my way to having a couple doublestands made for some Big Dummies. Who knew that oval boom tube would cause so much trouble in my original design? The new attaching bracket is completely different, and quite frankly, entirely too much time was involved making these. I'm gonna have to simplify the process of making that thing somehow if ever want to make them for anything but a loss.

The Super Puglsley Adventure Machine is a crankset away from being rideable. Damnit Phil and White Ind. Hurry up already!

Epic Eric is gonna build me some Epic luggage to haul all the essentials.

My Warmlite bag showed up yesterday. Holy crap that thing is awsome. Makes my TNF Cats Meow look like a baby sleeping bag. Good for 4 seasons and down to -65F. Vapor barrior and down air mattress built in. Cushy.

Luxerylite cot showed up last week. Also cushy. This thing is gonna be the bomb for summer camping. The DOM in the Warmlite makes it pretty unnecessary for winter camping, but I'm thinking the light top off the Warmlite used as a quilt plus the cot should be perfect for summer camp weather.

And my RBH vapor barrior socks and cap showed up, as well as the PsolarX facemask, and Forty below bottle boots. All I need now is some weather to test all this stuff in cause it's way the heck too warm for any of it yet. I bet this'll be the year it'll be in the 50s all winter long now isn't it? Being well prepared for a snowbike season is akin to owning a set of CX ski's or a snowmobile. No better way to garauntee a mild winter.



Andy said...

Just ride as far north as you need to, you'll find some cold weather up there.

Neve_r_est said...

Will do. Oh, it comes.


Steve Fuller said...

Good to see that you've been keeping yourself occupied. Ill be interested in your opinions on the cot once you have used it some. On the 10 days of bike camping I did this year, I used the thermarest one day, even though I had it on the bike. It was just as comfortable sleeping right on the ground.

I've been thinking of trying to get an S240 in yet this year, but I'm not sure my current gear is up to the task. 3 season tent should be OK as long as it's not too cold at night. I'd have to come up with some extra insulation so the ground didn't suck the heat out of me too. It would be a good excuse for me to go get a stove as well. Might have to visit the local Active Endeavors with the gift certificates I have.