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Old 06-15-14, 04:46 AM   #1
punkncat
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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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Old 06-15-14, 05:53 AM   #2
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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.
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Old 06-15-14, 09:54 AM   #3
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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.
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Old 06-15-14, 01:08 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 06-17-14, 09:05 AM   #5
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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.
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Old 06-18-14, 06:17 AM   #6
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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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Old 06-19-14, 05:46 PM   #7
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Is the steering toe in adjustable thru tie rods? like on cars?
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Old 06-21-14, 08:59 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 06-22-14, 10:36 AM   #9
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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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Old 06-27-14, 11:27 PM   #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.
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Old 06-28-14, 05:12 PM   #11
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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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Old 06-28-14, 05:41 PM   #12
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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?
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Old 08-12-14, 04:17 PM   #13
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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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Old 08-13-14, 07:26 PM   #14
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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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Old 09-13-14, 10:05 AM   #15
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So, after changing the internals on the headsets and re-tightening again we come to find that the star nut (or w/e it is called) keeps coming loose. We discussed that if it keeps happening that I would need to either have someone weld a "bung" above the star, or to try and find another kind of nut. The part that is in there keeps pulling off to one side a little (higher on one edge) and is causing the wobble w/o acting like it's loose by feel.
I cannot recall what he called it, but described it much like a three part quill nut. That the more you tightened, the tighter it got by design. He says it wasn't anything he was able to find any longer and that if I could find quality ones to order him some too. IDK, never heard of it and have no idea what he is talking about.
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Old 09-13-14, 07:48 PM   #16
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A picture would help a lot in understanding your problem

I'm surprised and disappointed that Catrike has been so unresponsive. It is the first time I can recall someone being blown off by them. It would help a lot if you can post a picture of the part you are having trouble with. Your verbal description just doesn't give us much to work with. I have a Catrike 700 with similar steering design and I don't have a clue.

I would also suggest you go to 'BentRider Online and post your problem in the Technical Discussion section Technical Discussion - BentRider Online Forums It will catch the attention of a lot more Catrike owners than who post here. You will have to register in order to post but it is free. Unfortunately you need to have a few posts there before you can add a picture.
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Old 09-13-14, 08:18 PM   #17
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If the star nut is a little loose, it can be 'formed' by bending the blades out a little bit. To get at it, you'll probably have to push it out the bottom -- or if you can't do that, just push it down further and put another one in above it. I had a problem with the star nut on my NoCom, so I epoxied it in place. I'll need a chisel to move the darned thing now...
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Old 09-13-14, 10:39 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
So, after changing the internals on the headsets and re-tightening again we come to find that the star nut (or w/e it is called) keeps coming loose. We discussed that if it keeps happening that I would need to either have someone weld a "bung" above the star, or to try and find another kind of nut. The part that is in there keeps pulling off to one side a little (higher on one edge) and is causing the wobble w/o acting like it's loose by feel.
I cannot recall what he called it, but described it much like a three part quill nut. That the more you tightened, the tighter it got by design. He says it wasn't anything he was able to find any longer and that if I could find quality ones to order him some too. IDK, never heard of it and have no idea what he is talking about.
This is a star nut:

Universal Cycles -- PS Starnut



I suspect the item you are looking for is a compression plug:
Universal Cycles -- Problem Solvers Compression Plug

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Old 09-15-14, 08:52 AM   #19
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Have you tried different air pressure setting in the tires front and rear? Might be worth a try.
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Old 09-21-14, 11:11 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
I'm surprised and disappointed that Catrike has been so unresponsive. It is the first time I can recall someone being blown off by them. It would help a lot if you can post a picture of the part you are having trouble with. Your verbal description just doesn't give us much to work with. I have a Catrike 700 with similar steering design and I don't have a clue.

I would also suggest you go to 'BentRider Online and post your problem in the Technical Discussion section Technical Discussion - BentRider Online Forums It will catch the attention of a lot more Catrike owners than who post here. You will have to register in order to post but it is free. Unfortunately you need to have a few posts there before you can add a picture.

I have gotten much more help here than anywhere. In that, I am very thankful. This problem was a bear to pin down and took not only a couple of shops but some pure luck to figure what the issue actually was (and may still be). So far, since the last guy realized that the headsets were loose again in one ride he stumbled upon the star nut going crooked issue I described. IDK what he did, but so far they have stayed properly tensioned and the wife put her first 15 mile week in.

I cannot fault Catrike for not touching this. I am not the original owner and they really have no stake in giving me any manner of factory coverage or support. They did suggest the local dealer/service shop, which is about all one could ask considering. I don't see this as a fault in design or anything, it was just a weird issue that didn't present in a way that was easy to identify and correct.
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Old 09-21-14, 03:19 PM   #21
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I'm glad to hear it was finally solved.
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Old 10-14-14, 08:29 AM   #22
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Just as an update....I finally got all these issues straightened out with the wife's bike and we have been riding for the past month several times a week. I think we have logged something like 100 miles at the local park without any issue with hers. These are incredibly fun machines and it's rare that we go out and are not met with equal enthusiasm from spectators.
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