Steering

The amount of "stiction" in my Rover's steering crossing left or right of dead center was getting irritating to me. This evening I loosened up the clamping hardware on the steering arms and adjusted the cap screws. I backed them out until they were loose then screwed them down to "finger tightness" then tightened the clamping hardware. This done while I was sitting on Honu. Here's my question....

There is vertical free play of about 1.0 to 1.5mm of the metal washer that sits between the top bushing and the steering arm. I hadn't noticed this before and have no idea if that is normal. There doesn't appear to be any side play that I could detect. Do you other Rover owners have that same vertical free play?

Comments

  • Hmmm... just found this by doing a Google search for TerraTrike Rover steering....

    https://www.terratrike.com/ttforum/discussion/442/steering-adjustment

    Looks like I will need to re-do what I did this afternoon.

    Still doesn't answer the question I have relative to vertical free-play on that metal washer atop the upper bushing.
  • That's why I always go to the lbs.  They are the experts!
  • Hoo boy... it's hot outside. Just got done working on Honu's steering. Took the arms off and checked for grease on top of the upper bushing.... what grease? Pushed the kingpin done and checked the exposed inside of the upper bushing, bottom end of the lower bushing and kingpin... some evidence of a very small amount of grease that might have been there sometime but not now. Wiped everything down nice and clean, applied liberal amounts of white lithium grease and reassembled. Feels better now but I have to take it out for a ride to be sure. Just waiting for my body to cool down a bit. Probably a good idea to imbibe some hydration while I'm at it.
  • Alrighty, then... back from a 2 mile cafe ride. Steering was slick as snot on black ice... uh, no... that would be too slick! Steering was smooth as silk and light as a feather with absolutely no sign of "stiction" across center point. I had checked alignment a few days ago using TT's method and it was spot on despite a tendency to "hunt" due to having to over-correct for the "stiction". Today tracking was perfect on the flat and smooth, slow turning in the direction of road camber... just like it should be.

    The ride was 2.04 miles with 6.1mph average and 11.6mph max. I did not notice any signs of skittishness at the 11.6mph speed.

    The method I used to adjust after lubricating and reassembly was to position the handlebars as desired sans cap bolts then lock down that angular position. Once that was done I inserted the cap bolt and very lightly snugged it down. I did not sit on Honu while doing the adjustment. For someone heavier than my 155 pounds it might be advisable to "pre-load" the bushings by sitting on the trike.
  • Since this thread is titled "Steering", I have another question.  Can anyone ride with only one had on a handlebar and still drive a straight line?  I have not been able to do so effectively and it's made me wonder if I should tighten my steering.
  • Yes, I ride one handed a lot during the colder weather. Usually have the other hand in a coat pocket warming.
  • Elrique, you are correct.  I can easily ride in a straight line while using both hands.  When I'm riding one-handed, I'm constantly needing to correct myself to travel straight.  That's why I wonder if the steering should be tightened.

    Right now, the only time I ride one-handed is while cruising and getting a drink of water.  I am not pedaling hard and sometimes, not pedaling at all.
  • Inability to track a straight line while "hands off" can also be caused by the rear wheel not being correctly aligned. A slight angle either way relative to the central frame tube will cause a bias leading to turning one direction or the other unless under continuous manual correction.

    Another cause could be one or more of the wheels being out of true due to a bent rim, loose spoke(s), tire not centered on the rim, etc.

    I did a second short run yesterday afternoon. I had to go to the Fedex office a short distance from my apartment (0.78miles round trip). On the way back I got Honu up to 13mph for about 100 yards. For part of that distance I took my hands off the bars and watched my front wheels relative to the white lines demarking the "bike lane". Probably only 50-75 feet or so but there was no drift to either side during that time.
  • My 26" rear had a bunch of loose spokes, the wheel was way out of true. Fixed this winter.
  • I thought about the spokes getting loose.  I have had the larger wheels for about 6 months now.  I have to take the trike to the lbs for a tune up and other issues.  I'll have the check the spokes at the same time.

    But, I really think the issue is that I move as I pedal and so does my arm.  When that happens, I move the handlebar then need to correct it.  I have been trying different seat positions to see if any would help.

    Sorry, MichaelHebert.  I didn't mean to hijack your thread.
  • No problem, Florida. You didn't hijack the thread... it's a steering related issue so on topic.

    When you pedal does your upper body rock from side to side? If so that is may be an indication that you are pushing against greater resistance than necessary. What happens if you drop down to a lower gear that permits you to spin at a higher rate against less resistance?
  • My upper body does rock from side to side but it would happen no matter how much resistance.  I have limited mobility in both my knees and hips.  

    I have a long term plan to get my two sets of handlebars combined to create a higher set up.  I think that might help the problem.
  • The upper body side to side rocking will result in torsional forces being applied through the frame and cruciform to the front wheels in addition to the for linear forces being applied through your arms. It's only natural that would create a tendency to "tadpole" requiring further steering inputs to correct. The stiffer your steering, the greater the force that must be appliied at the handlebars to "correct" the tadpoling tendency. Stiffness in the steering will exaggerate the tadpoling effect rather than reducing it. Increasing the height of your handlebars should give you better thigh clearance while at the same time increasing the torque applied to the steering assembly. If steering is a little stiff the higher torque will give a false impression that it makes steering easier. I seriously doubt that it will improve on the tadpoling issue.

    My recommendation, FWIW, is to make the action of the steering assembly as light as possible without introducing any side or end play in the bits. Make sure the toe-in is correctly set. Test by coasting on a non-cambered surface to make sure your trike's steering self-centers. If it passes that test then don't worry about the residual tadpoling that occurs when pedaling. Any attempt to tighten the steering to "correct" it will only make it worse.
  • Is it fair to say that steering should be about as loose (or tight) as on a two wheel bike? When I picked my Rover up from the dealer, it was very tight. I backed it off some, and that helped. Feels like it could use more, but concerned about going too far?
  • isleskipper

    When I got my Rover the steering was very tight also.  Adjusting with the allen wrench as the directions say did not help.  I took the advice of another Rover owner and took the steering apart and it looked like there was little or no grease on it.  I greased the king pins and washers with white lithium grease.  It made a HUGE difference.  It's too bad they didn't do that at the factory or bike shop (whoever assembled the steering).  Tight steering is dangerous at speeds.
  • Tight or sticky steering is not normal nor desirable. Fortunately, it is easily corrected.

    Remove the capbolt and cap at the top of the kingpin. Loosen up the steering arm and slide it off... let it hang. Tip your trike on its side then pull the whole wheel and brake assembly down until the kingpin slides out. Clean the kingpin as well as the upper and lower washers with alcohol. Lube the washers and the kingpin liberally with lithium grease then reassemble. Place the trike back upright, clean the excess grease off the top part of the kingpin. Put the steering arm back on but do not tighten it yet. Install the cap and capbolt "thumb tight" then give the capbolt about 3 to 5 degrees further tightening with an allen key. Position the steering arm as desired and tighten the clamp bolts. Repeat the process on the other side then go for a ride and enjoy your incredibly smooth, precise steering.
  • @MichaelHebert
    Thank you very much for the detailed instruction to grease the steering.  I picked up my Rover from the lbs yesterday and thought the steering to be a bit stiff.  I followed your guide and now it seems to be more free. I can't test ride it yet because of the rain here in swFlorida.  Hopefully, I can get in a couple mile test ride between storms.
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