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Old 03-19-2013, 03:24 AM   #75 (permalink)
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Weeeell... temptation got the best of me and I just couldn't resist any longer, so this past weekend I dragged the taddy out just for a quick initial test run around the lot... and it went far far better than expected! *lil dance*

Sure, there were some teething pains - as it turns out I'd bunged up a jackshaft bearing the last time I removed it, due to the keyed shaft being somewhat stuck & my impatience. Still, they're inexpensive & I got some good laps in before the bearing really started hatin' on me, at which point I just limited myself to the electric drive for "just a few more lil runs". heh... yea... just a "few" lol

That's the "bad" news - the good news is everything I was really worried about turned out to be fine, even better than fine & in fact I was surprised at just how well it all seems to work. It's the important stuff that can't be just "fixed" with replacement parts that concerned me, the math - the ergonomics, handling characteristics & suspension, clearance & turning radius, emergency stopping - all those pesky design details that I'd had to mostly guess & hope for the best, the ones that if faulty I'd have to chop up the frame to change.

Instead I was stunned by how well it performed, summoning up my courage I took the laps a lil faster each time to see how she did in the hard, slightly inclined turns of the lot. I was getting some sidewall roll from the front tires, but they were a bit low in pressure so I aired them up to 60psi (max) and tried it again. Now I was able to take these turns at least as fast as I could with my two-wheelers and still the taddy felt rock-solid stable, with me leaning a bit to help ofc. I wanted to try it even faster, but I was starting to get sketched out given I've still only front brakes, there's not a lot of room in the lot, it's an untried vehicle and ofc that jackshaft bearing was failing...

So I figured I'd switch to electric only and toodle down the road a bit, just to the next lot down (bout 1/16th mi) to see how she went in a straight line. I got to the lot & thought "gee, lousy place to turn around" and decided to go a bit further to the corner store as everything was going so well in any case. Cutting across the road I hauled into the lot & did a lap around the pumps and thought to myself "gee, I might as well finish the trip to my buddy's place, I'm halfway there" & zipped on over to the far side, cut out back into the road and off I went - making the trip & back again (a mere 1/2mi or thereabouts) without any problems save I desperately need mirrors, it's a pain to see behind me on this thing.

I came in hot, turning across the road & into my parking lot, leaning hard the silly thing still felt like it was on rails w/o any feeling of instability or even raising a wheel - I decided I'd do some braking stability tests as taddys are known to nose over during panic stops. I'd already tried full front braking on dry pavement with nothing interesting happening save stopping, this time I tried hitting the brakes hard right before a strip of glare ice, locking both fronts up fully then hitting the dry pavement on the other side to see if I could get the pedal boom & crankset to hit ground...

...nope, no nose over, no instability or pulling to one side, again - it just stopped like I'd asked it to.

That's a major relief as I'd had to move my seat, my body's center of mass at least 4" further forward than pedal taddys, praying the engine's weight would counterbalance it. Not only did that work out, as apparently I can't make it nose over it seems more stable than your average racing taddy!

A bit bummed that I couldn't try the four stroke drive more than I had, it couldn't overcome the sheer joy of overall success - I parked the thing and just walked around it, fighting the temptation to take off down the road again w/a a battery pack of unknown reserve being my only drive, I poked & prodded, checking fasteners & bearings, bushings & bolts... while everything still looked good I decided I'd be mature for a change & just park the thing until I could get some replacement jacksaft bearings, it really should have a thorough examination with partial disassembly to be sure everything was actually as good as it seemed before I headed out again - and there's the fact I wasn't "supposed" to be riding it at all, I was supposed to wait till spring & while it was nice & dry out, there's a wall of snowy crap headed our way... which was the final straw, why I dragged it out a lil early as it's gonna be at least another month before I get another chance.

Still, to say I'm relieved & excited would be the understatement of the century lol, the one failure an $8 part I'd broken months ago & just didn't know it.

I wish I'd taken some real vids, but I was a bit preoccupied & I hadn't planned any of this, it was a "spur of the moment" sorta thing as I caved in to a sudden impulse - I did maintain enough presence of mind to stick the cam on a stump to grab just the last few seconds of the testing, the ride down the somewhat steep, rough, muddy & root strewn trail I use to get to my shop, the final test of the day - clearance & suspension, which as you can see for yourself also went really well;

motorized recumbent tadpole first ride - YouTube

Safely tucked away in the shop I thought about the one handling characteristic I wasn't completely overjoyed with - the front tire sidewall rollover. I thought about just upgrading the tires to take 90psi, but wondered about high speed turns, potholes & pinch flats. Bustin' out the laptop I started hunting around for wider 20" BMX rims and surprise surprise - Alex rims now had the exact same DX32 double wall alloy I'd gotten for the rear (26") in a 20" version, more than I could have asked for & in fact wider than I'd hoped to find I bought a set of those puppies before the page had finished loading, or so it seemed heh

They're gonna be monsters lol;

2x Alex DX32 20" 36h Black, 39.1mm Width

Here's a coupla pics of the taddy outdoors for the first time ever, a little muddy, a little snowy it was still worth the filth on a brandy new machine just to finally play for a day;

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HHOTDI (03-19-2013)