Hacking Questions, and at what point shouild I upgrade to a different trike.

I started with a pair of Rover 1 speeds in 2013, and put a 26" wheel with a rear derailleur on them. (11-32 8 speed).   That helped my wife and I a lot, but after riding that way for about three years I've decided to go ahead and put the much needed triple up front ( 22-32-44).  I'm investing a lot of time into these bikes so we can hopefully get more range out of them, and because I really can't afford to plunk down $2000 each on a  pair of Ramblers or $2500 each on a pair of sportsters (which couldn't support my 275 pound weight anyway).  However, I've noticed that my Rover really does get squirrely when I get over about 18mph. So my first question is this:

Can I continue to upgrade the Rover or should I just bite the bullet and save up for something originally designed for more speed?  I mean to say, how much difference is there really between a Rover and say a Rambler other than the gears?

Second question.

I'm running a Continental Top Contact II Fold Reflex 26 X 1.9 Bike Tire in the back.  The wheel is a quick release that I stole from my mountain bike (a Mavic wheel).  If I allow the wheel to move all the way forward it rubs the frame.  If I really get on the pedals, the wheel pulls forward and rubs the frame.  Has anyone run into this problem and fixed it? 


  • edited April 2017
    Is the handling problem on flat land or on downhills only ? 
    Are the two front spindles lubed and tightened correctly ? Is the front track set correctly ?

    Unfortunately the Rover is more a minivan then a Corvette and possibly the design cannot support the higher speeds. The trike is heavy and add a heavier rider, seat location plus the high seat height all contribute to a lack of quicker handling.

    Not sure if a 26 rear can work in that frame without dropouts to extend the axle point rearward to prevent the condition you describe. I may be mistaken but the drop outs are required on my T.T different model.
  • edited April 2017
    The handling weirdness is mostly on the downhills, but I have hit it a few times on flatter ground when I've managed to get the speed up.   I don't know if my track is set right.  I guess I need to go find the video on how to check that. 

    The Minivan thing is what I'm wondering about.  I don't think I can make it into a Corvette, but perhaps a Dodge Charger or a Chevy Nova?  I'm wondering if anyone has successfully set up 24 speeds on a Rover, and then  used it for long curvy rides without wishing they had bought a quicker trike. 

    With 8 gears I've never taken the Rover more than 25 miles a day.  On my mountain bike I used to ride about 75 miles a day with glee.  I'd like to get back to doing trips of that length.  I just don't know if I'm setting myself up for failure because I'm trying to soup up a minivan when I should really go buy a Corvette.

    As far as the 26" rear - I spoke to Terratrike about that before I put it on there.  Terratrike told me they designed the Rover to handle the 26" wheels, but didn't sell them that way to reduce the cost.  I don't think they intended for it to be used with a derailleur and quick release.  I know there is very little space left over.  I set up my Quick Release Axle so that it's about halfway back in the slot, and that gives me about 4mm between the center of the tire tread and the frame.  I called Laidback cycle last summer and they told me that they had no trouble putting a 26" with a derailleur on a Rover but they weren't using a quick release, so they could make it pretty tight.  The dropout would make life easier as the wheel can travel up and down but not back and forth, but that's not available for the Rover.  A skinnier tire might work too but I hate to spend money on a nice tire only to find out it still doesn't really fit. 
  • I think Utah Trikes had a dropout conversion.

    I converted my 2016 Rover to 24 gears but in truth, when I get my weight down, I'm thinking of trading up to a Sportster.
  • Whether Rover/Ramblers were designed to take 26 inchers depends on your definition of "designed for". A 20 inch rear wheel is definitely a better fit, but TT has supported and sold them with 26 inchers. (As opposed to 24 inch wheels, which only officially happened with the one offroad package.) 

    I have converted a 2012 Rover 8 with a Sturmey Archer hub to a 24 speed external setup. (Link at end of this post.) Both setups had a 20 inch rear wheel. As others have elaborated, while doable 26 isn't really ideal on the Rover/Rambler.

    My external setup uses a quick release axle and doesn't have sliding issues, but then I have the wheel all the way forward.

    Second @jamesr Patterson suggestion. A bit pricey, but much simpler. You get a similar range to what I have on my setup, but don't have to try and setup a front derailleur post or manually shift the front (like I currently do).  Then again, you already have a rear derailleur to take up slack chain.  

    As for squirrely-ness, I've hit over 25 downhill with no issues. Depends on the road conditions of course, but you should check out the trike setup if you're having issues. (Wheel alignments, kingpin, etc) You may also need to loosen your grip, as I've heard some people say the issues went away when they did.

    The Rover x8 has a larger front crankset than all the other Rovers (38 tooth instead of 32), So your current setup is actually geared slightly lower than a "normal" x8.  

    I suspect you'll end up being happier spending a little now on Rover upgrades, then saving up and buying something nicer a few years down the line. Trikes are getting much better and cheaper over the long run, and you'll have more experience and a better idea of what you want. The folding Traveler came out less than 3 years ago, and I wouldn't be surprised if a basic suspension model (of some name) is around the corner.  I also suspect 9 or 10 speed setups will be the stock configuration down the road, too. 

    Link to my conversion thread:

    - PaulNM

  • Correction on my comparison to the x8, as I forgot to take account of your 26 inch wheel. 

    Your current setup (32 in front, 11-32 in back, 26 inch rear wheel) is 26-75.6 gear inches. If you use the same cassette but switch to a 20 inch rear wheel, you'll have 20-58.1. The stock x8 is 22-66. (It has 38 teeth in the front and 11-30 in the back, 20 inch wheel.)

    Your current setup is slightly higher than a stock x8. Had you kept a rear 20 inch wheel, you'd be slightly lower than a stock x8.

    My current setup is 18.7-87.2. (48/38/28 up front, 11-30 in rear, 20 inch wheel). If you add the same size triple to your Rover setups without changing anything else, you'd see 22.75-113.4. (Adding both low and high end to your current setup.)

    - PaulNM
  • Or you could go with a Rohloff . . . :-)

    Heck, just spend a quick $10K and get the Mango Sport or Tour Velomobile. Although it uses post steering, so maybe a Quest velo with tank steering?

    Damn, why doesn't money just grow on trees? Life would be so much simpler!
  • *Dreaming about the Velomobile*

    Back in the real world, I followed the combined suggestions about the Toe In and watched the Terratrike video on alignment before hitting the sack last night. This morning I did a rough measurement and determined that I have a Toe-In between 1/4 and 1/2 inch.  That sounds pretty bad.  I'll have to spend some time with both trikes this weekend getting them aligned properly. That will probably solve my quirky handling problem.

    - JamesR - You answered my upgrade question.  What I really want in the long run is a TerraTrike Tour II, which they don't make anymore, but it sounds like plowing through with my upgrade and tuning the trike correctly will provide enough reward for me to stay on the Rover for a while.   I actually have the Niagara chain tensioner on the cassette side, but it just occurred to me to get another pair and put it on both sides.  The problem is I'm running out of thread to tighten the quick release, since I also have a "washer thingy hitch" for my bike trailer on that axle.

    I already have all the parts I need, I was just debating over sending them back.  Someone in my neighborhood is selling an older Catrike Road for $850, which made me wonder if I was wasting my time on this project.  But I already have a front post.  I purchased one from Utah Trikes when they stopped making them, then decided it wasn't a good design and had a metal shop fabricate about a dozen of my (ahem) superior design.  That gave me two for the wife and I, and about 10 that I intended to sell but never did.  They are just collecting dust in the closet. 

    The derailleur, triple crank set, and shifter cost me $180 for two sets (About $90 each set).  The Patterson would have run me about $600 (for two) plus a pair of shifters.  That was too expensive for me.

    Elrique, I have also been thinking about electrifying my wife's mountain bike just so she can make the hill climbs.  I'm hoping that adding the triple crank will be enough to give her the bottom end she needs, but if she still can't make it then I want to try electrifying her Rover or getting a RideKick.  Right now she can pedal 20 miles on flat, but only about 5 with hills.

    Paul, I used Sheldon Browns Gear calculator a week ago and got totally different numbers, but I was using "26 nominal".  I don't actually know what that means.  How did you get your numbers?  I've thought about fixing my problem by building some 24" rear wheels, but I have trouble comparing the gear ranges because I'm not certain what numbers to select in the calculator.

  • edited April 2017
    OK, so I just realized the calculator has my rear tire size (26 X 1.9 MTB) which I think would be accurate enough.  For my current setup [32T Front by 11-32T Rear], my gear-inch range is 25.8 ~ 74.9.  I need to go faster, my wife needs more leverage.  The triple cranksets I purchased are 22,32,44.  So using those we should end up at roughly 17.7 ~ 103.0.  That should give my wife sufficiently improved leverage, and me sufficient speed for my solo trips.  Does that sound right?

    I don't see a way to manually add a wheel circumference on the calculator.  So to switch to a 24" wheel I'm taking a guess that 24 x 1/25-520 is the normal tire size.  I don't see any other options.  I'm not sure if a 24" wheel axle would span the same distance as the 20 or 26 but I'm assuming it's universal.  If I go with the 24 the range becomes 15.1 ~ 87.9.  That would definitely work for my wife.  I don't know if that's fast enough for me and don't know of a way to figure that out short of putting a wheel on there.

    I actually have the original one speed 20" wheels, and I have a pair of 11-32 8 speed freewheels (still in the box) that I could have a bike shop put on them. (I don't have the freewheel tool).  It might be worth trying.  If I put that wheel on, the range becomes 12.8 ~ 74.7.  That top end is almost identical to what we have right now without the triple crank.  I think my wife could use a little more speed than that, but she seems happy with the top end right now so that might be the way to go on her bike as I already own all the parts needed - assuming the freewheel I have will fit on the original single speed wheel.

    Quite possibly, what I should do is give my wife the last setup I mentioned, but then I should send the other crank back and exchange it for a 28/38/48 and then put a 24" wheel on mine.  That would give me a range of 19.2 ~ 95.9.   I'm too lazy to send the stuff back though, and I don't own a 24" wheel.

    Oh, almost forgot to comment on the derailleur posts.  I think the the Utah Trikes one would work - there shouldn't be a ton of pressure on the post.  But the metal they used seemed pretty thin, They have a hole right up front to put your wrench through and the finish on their cuts and holes was a little jagged.  I can't complain too much because they had already stopped producing them and only made it after I begged.  But I designed it so you don't need the hole for the wrench.  I used a slightly thicker aluminum instead of steel, had the base laser cut so the edges are smooth, and had the whole thing powder coated the same silver that Rovers used to be instead of painted black.  If you're curious, I can try to post a side by side photo. 

    After I had them made my insurance agent told me that selling bike parts was risky.  Good chance someone would bump their knee on the thing and sue me for $50,000.  I chickened out, and that's why they are in my closet collecting dust.  I still don't know what to do with them.
  • There's a guy guy on here name Idaho Mountain Lizard or something like that that has been looking for a derailueer post.
  • edited April 2017
    I'll try to take some pictures and post them this evening.   I've had one mounted on my bike for the last three years to hold my GPS, my camera, and one of my lights.  If I can finish up my taxes this week, I will try to install the shifter and derailleur etc to finish the project this weekend.
  • IdahoTrailLizard
    Read above, re derailleur posts
  • I wouldn't mind one of those posts, but @IdahoTrailLizard has been waiting for one for ages. His maker had a loss in the family and hasn't gotten around to sending him the fixed one.

    So, if you want to get rid of a couple of your designs . . . He and I (mostly he) could make use of them.
  • edited April 2017
    Here is what it looks like on my Rover, without the triple installed:

    Here is what it looks like next to the Utah Trikes version.  You'll notice I made mine about one inch longer - this was so I could mount accessories at the top without bumping into the derailleur etc.  In hind sight, the Utah length was more than enough, but it does make it easier to hit the buttons on my GPS.  I also 3D printed a shim because the machine shop didn't want to cut a bevel in the bottom:


    In the next two photos you can see the holes and rougher finish in the Utah version.  I decided to set it up so you could slide the unit it on and use a ballhead wrench instead of cutting holes in the post.  Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not trying to bash Utah Trikes, but I wasn't happy with the unit they sent me and don't think I'll ever use it.  I created a 3D model and worked with a local fabrication shop to have a dozen manufactured (minimum order).   In the end, I think I spent just under $60 for each.  Low volume usually costs more.  If I had been willing to make 40 or more I probably could have gotten my cost down to about $45.   I think Utah Trikes charged me $85 plus shipping for theirs.  I think it would be fair to ask $70 plus shipping as long as eBay or Amazon isn't taking a cut.  I would be willing to sell nine of the 10 spares I currently have collecting dust if there is interest.  I want one on each of my two bikes, plus one spare in case I ever train wreck one.  I just don't know how we'd handle the transaction.   Anyone want to come visit me in Sacramento?  For that matter, anyone want to buy all nine at a reduced price and then take care of everyone else?  If someone wanted to buy the whole bunch I'd offload them for the $60 a piece.  My real goal here is just to get my money back and get these out of the closet.


    I'm not sure why theirs (the black one) had the rippled texture but it seemed like a bad cut to me.  I also added a chamfered edge to reduce the odds of paint chipping off.


    I loaded more pictures on my server if anyone is really curious.   Let me know what you think.
  • @Moontimber  I figure out GI the simple way. Sheldon's calculator is somewhat overcomplicated if you're really only looking at GI. (Also there's a lot of good info on the site, but you do need to take into account that it's dated and won't be updated.)

    # of teeth on front cog divided by # on rear cog, then multiply by rear wheel diameter. So 32 in front and 32 in back will be 20 GI on a 20 inch wheel and 26 GI on a 26 inch wheel. (Multiply that by pi if you're curious about how far you actually travel.)

    Unless you intend to load the vehicle with your weight and physically measure the distance from the ground to your axle and double it (you have to account for tire flex), you're fine simply using the "size" the wheel is called.

    The diameter of a 20 inch rim isn't actually 20 inches, it's less. When a "standard" tire is mounted, it'll be about 20 inches. (The same is true for 26, 29, 700c, etc wheels.)  There's going to be some variation due to the exact dimensions of the tire used and how much pressure you put in it, but it should end up within an inch anyway. (Unless you're running huge balloon tires at high pressures.) GI is a relative comparison tool, not an precise measurement.

    - PaulNM

  • edited April 2017
      Idaho Mountain Lizard eh? Hmm... prolly too late to change the name. :P

      A lil steep for me at the moment. But before we go into that what's the degree angle of the post. I don't need another post here that I can't use. Mark Powers made one but it's designed for roady gear, I want to use Shimano Biopace from a '91 Rockhopper MTB so need one that is at 60° if that's what James R. recommended; he's got the newer Powers post.

    ¬ ITL
  • Thanks Paul.  That's pretty straight forward.  I'd need to borrow someone's 24" wheel to get the actual measurement.

    Idaho, I'll have to find my 3D file to figure out the angle or track down a protractor.  I copied the angle that Utah Trikes had on theirs but I don't remember what it was.  I think it was supposed to work with MTB gear because that was the kind of stuff they were bolting on at the time.  I'm hoping to mount my Shimano Deore FD-M590 this weekend, which is a MTB derailleur, but even MTB derailleurs come in different angles and the box in my hand says 66-69 degrees.  I neglected to check he angle before I ordered the derailleurs.  I'll figure it out this weekend and post the angle here.   
  • JamesR, How do we do private messages on this forum?  We can figure out something like Paypal but you'll need my email address.

    I'm looking for the original 3D file so I can figure out the angle.  I have a feeling I bought the wrong derailleur for my own trike post!   My wife wants me to get off the computer now though so it might have to wait till morning.
  • I found my file WooHoo!

    The angle is set to 69 degrees, so it sounds like a fail for IdahoTrailLizard.  Sorry about that.  But it's a win for me as I have the right derailleurs. I can breathe a sigh of relief and go attend "Her Who Frowneth".
  • Very interesting.... I wonder who and when started updating the calculator variables. Sheldon died ages ago, and I know the calculator was still dated when I first got into cycling late 2012.  The SA hub is also in there, along with other stuff that wasn't introduced until after his death. 

    I'm pretty sure they weren't there 2 years ago when I was doing my Rover conversion, but I could be wrong about that.

    - PaulNM
  • edited April 2017
      A shot in the dark, but found someone that was trying to setup an AutoCAD for design purposes and part of their post was "Shimano stipulates that it's current road front mechs require a
    chainstay angle of 61-66 degrees whilst it's mountain bike mechs require
    a 66-69 degree angle." That post was in 2015

    Jrobiso2 was the guru behind the post angles. No idea what he ended up setting the 2nd post angle at.

    ¬ ITL
  • edited April 2017
    The new Power post is at 66 deg. Perfect for road or mtb components. Plus the bolt holes are designed so that the post now mounts far enough back to match as if the tube was welded to the frame around the BB, just like a Rambler
  • I think Sheldon's wife updates his site from time to time, but I know that Harris Cyclery maintains it and keeps it updated in his honor and for the sake of their shop.

    I had a biopace clone on a Peregrine MTB I bought in the late 80's.  I wore out the large ring in the late 90's.   Sheldon was the only person in the world who had a ring from that same copycat company.  All the other shops I contacted had never heard of it.  Sheldon sold it to me for about $15.  I'm kind of surprised that the real biopace needs such a low angle as I'm pretty sure my Peregrine MTB had the normal 66-69 MTB setup.  I would think that Jrobiso's 66 is  going to give you more flexibility than the 69 on the bike post I had manufactured, but again, I was just copying the angle from Utah and I always intended to use MTB components as my vain imagination led me to think the gargantuan weight and configuration of the Rover lends itself to the typically beefier MTB components.  All of this proves that I'm no engineer.

  •   But it's the waiting for Mark Powers to get it made and whatnot. He lost his mother and I know from personal experience that can take a long time. And the original post is sitting here lierally collecting dust.

    ¬ ITL
  • Thanks jamesr.  I just figured out how to send private messages on here, but I'll set up an account on bentrider later. 

    Also, let me box up a pair of "MoonTimber" trike posts and get the shipping price figured out at the post office.  I'm guessing you'd want the lowest cost shipping?  Is USPS OK or do you prefer UPS?  I'm pretty flexible.

    I'm hoping to mount everything on my Rover this weekend and plan to do some step by step photos of my process.  That way everyone can look at the photos and tell me how I did it wrong!

  • Cool, so Harriet Fell is Sheldon Brown's wife:


  • I had all the gear, I was just debating over sending everything back to the store and buying a trike that had everything set up already.  With your comments, I decided to plunge ahead with it. It was three  years in the making, but I finally put everything together.

    I corrected the alignment (that was a lot trickier to measure than I thought it would be).  I also adjusted my a few other things on my trike that were incorrect.  I unboxed the crankset, the shifter, and the derailleur and installed everything.  I realized that I made a mistake in my purchase (too late).  The OEM cranks were 170MM, the ones I bought were 175.  With that big fat 26" wheel in the back that increases the odds of heels catching the ground.  I might have to track down a 24 inch wheel for my wife to accommodate that. 

    It's supposed to rain tomorrow, but  I'm going to try and give it the maiden voyage before the sky falls and after celebrating Easter with the kids. 

    The whole process took about six hours.  I'm hoping that I can do my wife's trike in four hours now that I've learned a bit.  Here are two photos of the finished product.


  • edited April 2017
      Working two jobs and very little time to read every day.

      @Jrobiso2 Is @Moontimber's version the same as the new Mark Powers post? If not, what is the difference past the height, cause the extra height might be a good thing. Wonder which post version has the thicker materials as well, cause if am not mistaken Jrobiso2 had an issue with the thin wall on his post.

    Edit: Measuring the angle of the Rockhopper's down-tube, from the top bar, with a protractor is near 65° but less than 70° doing it manually. Top bar should be hypothetically horizontal.
      '91 Rockhopper is the MTB I was going to scavenge parts from and add to the '16 Rover.

    ¬ ITL
  • I think functionally they are the same
  • In hindsight, I would have made my post the same height as the Utah Trike's version. It's only an inch of difference, but it would have allowed me to get another trike post out of the tube that it was cut from.  The more posts you can make from one tube, the lower the cost.  One inch shorter would still have allowed me to attach all my accessories.  I saw a post on a Rambler at the store, and I'm pretty sure mine is three to four inches longer.  I can't compare mine to Mark Power's because I've never seen his.  If his works, that's what really counts. 

    If there is sufficient curiosity, I can look for my calipers and measure the thickness.  I still have about six feet of the original aluminum tubing in my garage somewhere. 

    I took the bike out for a spin this morning.  Got ten minutes from home and the rain turned me around.  I figured out a few things though. 

    A) The steering IS twitchy > 18MPH with direct steering.  A Tour II is still in my future if I can ever afford a used one.
    B) Fixing the alignment DID help with the weirdness.  Coming down the bridge at about 22mph was manageable.
    C) A tight turn at 18MPH on a flat surface is pretty tough.  The lower center of gravity on a Tour or a Zoomer would probably be worthwhile for someone like me who likes to take corners at high speed. 
    D) The triple crank up front was WELL WORTH THE EFFORT!  I was topping out way too easily without it, now I can't get up to full pace.  In addition, while I was able to climb up the bridge and other hills with just 8 speeds, the MTB granny gear makes it effortless even with a 26" rear. 

    These gears match my mountain bike exactly.   The Rover is heavier and doesn't allow for the same kind of leverage, but I'm very happy with this set up.  I have a feeling that I will spend most of my time using the middle ring which is the same 32T that I had previously, but having the 44T for long flat stretches and downhill runs will give me a lot more range.  Indirectly, having the 22T small gear will also extend my range, because I won't have to work as hard going up hills, which means I won't get worn out so easily.

    I use clipless pedals with cycling shoes. I thought for sure the extra length on the cranks was going to have my heels dragging, but I didn't touch pavement once on this trip so I think I'm OK. My wife on the other hand uses toe clips, so I'm still worried she will bottom out. I'm going to see if I can track down a halfway decent 24 rear wheel for her, especially since I'm pretty sure the 44T with a 26 wheel is going to be too much for her.
  • One of the other fellas said to use Kenda Flames on the front wheels as that raises the front end up some.

    The past I have is for rode gear, not MTB. At the time none of us knew this. Jonathan said he grabbed the post to pull the Rover when loading and the tube bent.
    Later he got with Mark Powers and a different part was created. Guess he likes the newer version. As usual, with the way things go, I'm sitting here waiting and wondering if/when an adequate post will make it my way.

    Will try and read up on this thread when I get home to see what is what. :D

    ¬ ITL
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