Hacking Question revisited: The Rover deraileur post!

edited April 2017 in Rover

After the related discussion about whether or not to continue upgrading my Rover or upgrade to a different bike, It became apparent that over the years, several people have tried to produce an upgrade path for the Rover.  There are several good reasons for this.  You can attempt the internal hub up front, which has pros and cons I won't go into.  I wanted the external front derailleur, which requires a trike post.

As I mentioned in my prior discussion, I purchased a trike post from Utah Trikes but didn't like their design.  They no longer sell them.  I had a dozen of my own design fabricated at a local metal shop where my brother in law worked.  I installed the post years ago but for various reasons didn't put the front gears on until a week ago.  Viola!  Problem solved. For me anyway. 

In the other discussion, I found out that some other folks have been working on a similar contraption, but I haven’t seen any photos of what they have produced, nor have I seen any details on what they cost, or how to get them.  For folks who were not part of that discussion, I was hoping we could put all related information into this post, so that anyone who is looking to upgrade their Rover with a triple can see what we’ve done and possibly purchase one if we have them available.  At the moment, I still have seven collecting dust.  I don’t know if there is a huge interest in purchasing them. 

Once mine are sold, I probably won’t be making any more.  Even though I didn’t do the labor, it’s still a time consuming task to order the right materials and components, get the materials to the fabrication shop, review the design specs, follow up to make sure they are building it correctly, and pick up the product when it’s done.  I’m also not overly fond of packing and shipping products, and the profit margin is pretty small.  They cost me almost $60 each to produce, and I don’t think the market can support a price tag over $70.    $70 + shipping is what I’m charging.  
I think if Terratrike took an interest, they could probably get these made in China for a fraction of the cost and sell them for a higher price tag with their engineer’s stamp and their name on it, but I’m guessing the market isn’t big enough for them.
At any rate, this week, I started installing one of my posts on my wife’s trike.  I'm reposting a few of the comparison photos from the previous discussion, along with a play by play on how I install my version:

The Utah Trikes version had a hole in the front and the back for you to put your Allen Wrench through, so you could bolt the post down to the Rover.  My design (the silver one) uses a different method to get the bolts in place.



Now this is how you install my version:

Remove the bottle cage holder:


Put the plastic spacer in place:


Put the trike post on and slide it forward so you can get the bolt screwed in.  Don't make it tight.


When you have the bolt almost all the way down, slide the post into the correct position:


Get everything aligned and tighten it down.  I added a washer on the second hole to help the bolt:




Remove the old crankset, put on the new crankset, and add all your cables!


This is a "mount-at-your-own-risk" process, which assumes you know a little bit about bike mechanics. Undoubtedly a local bike shop could help you.



  • Mark Power is charging $40 plus shipping. Sorry.
    However, he seems slow to send, so . . .
  • Can we get a picture of his? If you send it to me I'll put it on my server and post it.

  •   I have the former styled post... wondering if will see the newer version this month. He does have a hole inside the tube on the version I have, no spacer though.

    ¬ ITL
  • If you don't design it to slide, you have to have the hole. Otherwise you won't be able to get the bolt into position.
  • Old one slid, just not far enough back
  • We need a pole like that on every trike just for the headlight.
  • Agreed! Why TT didn't include one on the Rover is beyond me
  • Cost and lack of a necessity.

    - PaulNM
  • edited April 2017
      Wonder why TT didn't make an upgrade option to add a post, chain rings, and such. For nearly a decade people have been posting and asking about upgrading the Rover to multiple speeds, yet TT has ignored the near constant desire.

      TT thinks we will sell to Rover and buy a Rambler. But the Ramble can only hold 350# undocumented payload, and I know the Rover can do over 400# undocumented payload. And a lot of use exceed the Rambler's undocumented payload so we have to make due with the Rover.
      The only other option really is the Greenspeed Magnum XL with has increased its payload, has a larger seat, and I think 24 inch wheels. Only glanced at it cause the price was out of reach.

    ¬ ITL
  •   There is some interest seen on the TT Owners forum on Facebook. Have read a few references, but I can pull back 6+ year old posts on this forum of people wanting to upgrade the basic 3 speed Rover to a more virile street-predator.

      There is interest. People may have found alternative options to upgrade, kept what they have, or they are selling their Rovers and going elsewhere. 1 & 3 is lost revenue that TT could be making.

      Success comes from repeated business. If a company supports their consumers more will come. Alternatively, if a company dead-ends a product line there with no growth, sales will suffer. Would be in TT interest to expand on the capabilities of their Rover. Over time people may actually spend more on upgrading their Rovers than if they could of bought a Rambler.
      Consumers are a fickle creature. Best to keep them entertained with options, upgrades, possibilities.  :)

    ¬ ITL
  •   Do miss the California Super Beetle I had. Had a pop-up moon roof too.

    ¬ ITL
  • K.I.S.S. if you know this acronym you understand the thought process behind the Rover.
  • edited April 2017
    1968 Bug. Baja'd, front and rear. 1600cc engine with an exhaust pipe that stuck straight up into the air, and some idiot (blush) stuck a Hurst Slapstick in it and Crager slicks. Damn that thing could GO!
  • K.I.S.S. is a favorite saying of the military.
  •   KISS is for the closed minded, old sticks in the mud, or those contented to live in caves.

    ¬ ITL
  • I thought it stood for "keep it simple stupid."  Is that what everyone else is thinking?
  • Keep it simple, it's a trike not a dresser Harley Davidson.
  •   This is why we can't have nice things. Stuff gets derailed instead of staying on topic. Will try to get a photo up of the post I have, for what it is worth.

    ¬ ITL
  • Bikes are raced worldwide on and off road using derailleurs. Nothing old or outdated about them.
  • edited April 2017
      Mark Powers / Power-On Cycling Rover Post - Road version at 57.5°
    • 5mm base (thick), 3mm at cut-away (thick). 38.5mm (wide). 12.5mm channel
    • 25mm channel (length), 39mm apart. 38mm from front base to post cutout, 16.5mm from trailing end to cutout
    • Post 32mm (outside), 29mm (inside), 1.5mm (wall), Approx. 20.32cm in length (center to base)
    • 7.4cm to braze-on from base plate

      Down the tube...

      Mounting surface (minus 2 screws)

      Side view with cable stop


    ¬ ITL
  • The new one from Mark is not too different:

    1. bottom front hole groove in plate it now extended to fully under the tube, allowing a mount position farther back on the frame.
    2. Post angle is 66 deg.
    3. Cable stop is down on the flat plate, vice up on the post. This is because Road and MTB derailleurs have different locations for the cable nut, and the current cable stop could cause issues with cables having to go too much "sideways" for smooth operation. By moving it to the plate, almost any cable nut location is ok.
  • edited April 2017
    @Idaho That is a really nice looking post.  Hopefully I can sell all of mine before Mark starts getting those out the door!  Mine is made from Aluminum, so if Mark is making his from steel that might be one selling point in my favor, but if they were both on the shelf next to each other I think most folks would buy his instead of mine being that his are so much less expensive.  You can cut the cost a lot when you make it yourself!

    I don't understand how it will work with the cable stop on the plate, so I'd be curious to see that when you have one and have it installed. 

    I am a little mystified as to why there are no posts from people who used the one from Utah Trikes.  I was under the impression that they sold dozens of the things.  I found one article from a reviewer who was testing one of their units, and he liked it but was complaining because they had put really tall gears on it which made it hard to pedal up hill.  But you'd think someone else would have chimed in by now.  Incidentally, your post is on its way.  You should have it before the end of the week if the USPS can be relied upon.

    I finished the installation on my wife's Rover on Saturday, and we got a decent family ride in on Sunday.  We both have the post set up with an identical gear range with 26" MTB tires in the rear, which also happens to be identical to what I have on my mountain bike.   44-32-22 * 11-32 (8)

    My nine year old pedals on his own.  I have a crazy contraption I built that allows me to tow my five year old on her kiddie bike behind my Rover.  All together, her and her gear probably weigh about 65 pounds.    My wife gets frustrated really quick if her Rover isn't perfect, so I had to make sure her gears were fluid.  She really struggles going up hill, so this was a test ride to see if adding a triple up front was enough, or if I needed to reduce her rear wheel from a 26" to a 20".  We went about eight miles and she was still wearing a smile.  Having that MTB granny gear gave me enough torque to pull my daughter up the hills with ease, and my wife didn't complain about the hill climbs like she usually does, which leads me to believe this was a win for her.  For once, she was complaining about her allergies instead of complaining about the bike.  That's the biggest compliment I can expect!

    The transformation it made on the Rover didn't seem dramatic at first, but after a few miles I noticed I could maintain faster speeds a little more easily.  Just as importantly when I got to the top of the bridge while towing my daughter, I didn't feel like I needed to take the normally scheduled catch-your-breath-or-die break.  The gear range that this gave me is impressive (17.7 ~ 103) compared to what I had without the triple (25.8 ~ 74.9) and I think that all Rover owners would benefit by putting something up front in addition to whatever they have in the rear.  This gave me just what I wanted : a little more on the bottom, and a lot more on the top.

  •   If I only had the time, the resources, and the knowledge to do it all myself...

    ¬ ITL
  • Utah Trikes sure squeezed that 26" tire into there, didn't they? Not a millimeter to spare - especially not a fender.

    By completely removing the bottom chain tube, they've lost the tubes protection on the one spot it probably needed it most - the lower chain run.

    @Moontimber I see that you've got a 26" on the back too. I know that the front 22T ring should give you around 13GI on a 20", and I've used mine for sure. A few spots in Ann Arbor's Border to Border trail are very steep, dropping from street level down to the river and under the bridges.
  • @Jrobiso2 It's true, the 26" tire on the rear leaves little room to spare.  Initially I attempted to put the 26X 2.10 from my mountain bike on there.  It was too big and rubbed not just the frame at the circumference of the tire, but also on the sides of the tire.  The "slick" 26 X 1.9 I have on there now is about as big as I can confidently run.  Backing the axle bolt up about a half inch gives me about a quarter inch of space on edge and sides of the tire.  I just bought a 26 X 1.25 that I'm going to try, as it will have a lot more room to spare, but that limits my ability to travel in dirt a bit.  Ultimately, what I want is a 24" wheel in the back, but the gear range I just put on there is pretty righteous for me as is. I'm guessing that if I dropped to a 24" rear wheel, I could probably go with taller gears up front, like a 28-38-48?  Maybe?  I'm having trouble finding a used 24 wheel to experiment with that can either accept a cassette or an 8 speed freewheel.

    @jamesr I hadn't thought of it, but 12-34 rear will server her better than the 11-32 I have on there right now.  I might swap out her cassette, especially as I have another wheel in my farm that could use her existing cassette.
  • edited April 2017
    Moontimber can you do PayPal? If it's thick aluminum it's probably way better than thin steel.

    ¬ ITL
  • @jamesr ; That is a VERY tempting offer.  I've been considering that upgrade for her for a long time, but didn't know how to pull it off.  Why would you want to give up your Rambler?

    I'm hoping to go to Florida this fall to visit my parents and take the kids to Disney.  If you're still interested we might be able to pull off a swap like this without incurring crazy shipping expenses.  I think that a frame and seat could count as luggage for Southwest Airlines.  I could build a small crate to carry everything in.

    I'll have to go see the wheel at Utah Trikes.  $60 is reasonable for a rear wheel that's already properly dished.

    I am VERY much looking forward to hearing how the post works for you.  My wife seems happy with hers and is making me jealous.  My shifting has gotten far worse after I tried mimicking her set up.  I'm going to have to put my Rover back on the stand and tinker with the derailleur.  I can't understand why hers shifts so smooth and mine is frustration city when all the equipment is identical.  Better me than her though.  If she ended up with the misaligned one she'd be throwing a revolution by now.
  • "It's not the tools, it's the user . . "  *ducking and running fast*
  • Love the 13gi I get with the 22 up front and the SA in first
  • One problem. The all terrain type trikes are a clunkier and heavier load to manhandle for transport of lifting. I like it but would not own one, limited range primarily due to lower top speed.
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