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Old 06-10-2012, 07:21 PM   #207 (permalink)
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Feedback from initial test

The first chance to test the machine was meant to be a quick acclimatisation run around the industrial estate where I have constructed it. It is limited to relatively low speed due to the proximity of cars and other solid objects, but it has a value to check systems. Unfortunately one of my fabricated parts failed and cut the test short just as we were about to record a short video on my phone. It’s a simple fix and has shown up a design flaw, which is really the purpose of this type of test anyway.

So my feedback from the limited experience is as follows –

A – The bike feels VERY unwieldy moving it around (not under power) before the test. The seating position has seemed fine during the construction process, but that has been stationary. Being pushed into position (to start the runs) it feels very awkward, something like a mix of moving a litre sportbike around in a tight space and pushing a full weight cruiser.

B – Preparation for “moving off” from a start needs some coordination. With foot operation of throttle and brake and needing one foot down for stability you have to think a bit. When I tilted the bike to my left side so that I could put my right foot on the throttle, I felt vulnerable to falling to the right. It turned out not to be a problem, but the mind plays tricks on you.

C – Moving off was actually drama free! I was expecting some wobble at low speed as I learned to balance in that crucial 2-10 mph speed range. I easily cracked it first time and it felt very stable. A quick burst of power to get above 10mph where stability is always easier on a bike gave me plenty of confidence, but after later runs I proved to myself that it wasn’t difficult to master anyway.

D – The gearing is no problem. Concerns about the tall (this is geared to do 100mph) first gear with a three speed box and no manual clutch were misplaced. The bike feels responsive, but judging power and weight at these low speeds is difficult. The point (for me) is that early talk about the heavy components, and their effect on a low powered bike, has proved to be wide of the mark. Presently this has all been at low speed (first and second gear), but that’s where problems would show up.

E – Steering is simple. ALL steering is done by the handlebars, as there is no provision to shift bodyweight in the reclined, seated driving position. I noticed my front wheel steering angle during one turn, and was surprised at the large degree of lock I was using, but it’s a by-product of the long wheelbase. At no point did I ever worry about steering, it was very intuitive, but I was reluctant to make slow speed tight turns.

Next steps – after fixing the primary drive tensioner I will recommence testing. This time I will get the video early in the process and post a link so it can be viewed here. Then once I have enough confidence in the reliability, its off to the airfield for some medium speed testing.
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