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  1. #1
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Catrike steering shake

    I have asked about this recurring (never really been gone) issue with my wife's CT Road.

    When I ride it, there are no issues. I have taken it to the Depot up off the Comet which is the local retailer and service center for a check out. The guy that checked and rode it also didn't have the issue. His comment was that he hadn't ridden one that drive so good....so...

    To refresh. On flat land at slow speed she has no problem unless she hits a bump, which will result in a quick oscillating vibration on the front, back and forth. Any time she gets the bike going downhill above around 15mph it does so and gets more pronounced the faster you go. Take one hand off the steering and it will do it as well.

    I have checked the hubs, brakes, both headsets seem to be fine. I have adjusted the toe from about 1/4" toed out, to neutral, to 1/4" toed in and various settings inbetween on best guess. I don't have the "tool", just eyeballing with a yard stick jig I made. I took off the wheel reflectors thinking that was the issue and it did seem to help but it showed itself again when we went to the mountains last week. Basically unridable like this and seriously unsafe.

    I am at a loss here. The shop that knows them sees nothing wrong. I have asked and tried many of not all of the relevant solutions. What am I missing?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Since it seems to work fine when you or the shop mechanic ride it I'd suspect a weight balance issue. I'd try ballasting alternating the front and rear of the trike to see what happens. My suspicion is she needs more load on the front wheels.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  3. #3
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    So: when you rode it, it was OK. When the mechanic rode it, it was OK. When your wife rode it, the steering shakes.

    How is she holding the grips? A death grip could be creating feedback in the steering. I know it's tough to say "just relax" when you're flying down a mountain, but that could be part of the solution.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Send an email to Catrike with a description of your problem. It seems as though you have done everything an owner should, including taking it to a professional. Nobody knows the problems and solutions better than the people who build them. You can find a link to them at Catrike Recumbent Trikes. They have always been quick to respond when I had a question.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Trikin''s Avatar
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    I experianced wheel wobble after the 1st ride on my new Catrike Expedition. Bought my Expe from UtahTrikes in 2012 fully assembled. I contacted them to see if there was a solution. They suggested checking the toe-in adj. I took it in to a recumbent dealer and found the toe out about a 1/4in., really nothing significant. However I checked the torq on the headsets and found them quite loose, I reset them to factory values and I haven't experianced any wobble since. Try this, I hope it works for you as this situation can be very unnerving.

  6. #6
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Emailed CT a few days ago, I say that. I messaged them on FB because the email link on site is dead. No reply as of yet.

    Have checked those items Trikin.


    It gets no more relaxed than letting go of the steering altogether....short lived so you don't crash and die.
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  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Is the steering toe in adjustable thru tie rods? like on cars?

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Yes, the toe-in is set by adjusting the tie rods. I doubt if Catrike has disabled their email address as some of us don't use Facebook because of privacy concerns and that would leave no way to contact them.

    Their email address is info@catrike.com That is the way I contacted them every time I needed help.

  9. #9
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    I contacted CT and they were honestly less helpful than you all have been. The reply was something along the lines of look at page 'x' to set toe and if that doesn't work, take it to a dealer.....both of which have already been done.

    I need to find a better dealer that has some manner of "jig" or something they can check the frame and everything for being straight. I can't see anything, but suspect something is amiss in the geometry of that bike.
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  10. #10
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    I had a similar shimmy on my Actionbent T1 trike set to the correct toe-in. I cured the problem for the last 1000miles by leaving a greased o-ring around the fork steerers, just under the headset cap. It conveys just enough "stiction" to cure the shimmy, but not affect the turning moment required noticeably. Try it! You can get various o-ring sizes - mine was just right to wrap around the steerer.

  11. #11
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply. I have noted that even after tensioning down the head sets that this bike turns with much less effort than mine. I attributed it to boom length and load differences.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I don't know much about trikes, but I know that some of them have bushings instead of bearing-type headsets, and that bushings can get worn. Does yours have bushings or bearings?

  13. #13
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    I have been through this thing top to bottom with several different mechanics and am no closer to a resolution. I contacted CT again and they sent me a checklist of things to look at. Went over them with the mech and everything checks the way it's supposed to. I asked the rep at CT if there was a way to ship in the frame and check for damage, but I suppose not being the original owner makes them less than willing to take that on, even at my cost.

    I have ordered a new set of tires, going to change the tubes, headset bushings, and front wheel bearings. If this don't fix it I suppose it's a parts bike or something. Since beginning to work extensively on it, I have been able to duplicate the issue while riding myself. It is not grip or pedal related. I thought I had found a dragging brake but that wasn't the issue either.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Catrikes are aluminum, so fatigue-related cracks are a possibility, too. Check all the welds, especially the Heat-Affected Zones just outside the weld, most likely on the side of the tube that experiences tension (underside of welds to rear stays, upper weld going to the boom, etc.

    I'll add that alligatoring of the paint in an area is a danger sign - that would be a sign that the frame is bending in that spot, which always leads to failure in aluminum.

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