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First trike -- Rover -- Alignment issue

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First trike -- Rover -- Alignment issue

Old 09-28-21, 06:25 PM
  #1  
steine13
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First trike -- Rover -- Alignment issue

Learned Friends:
I'm not exactly new to BF, but I haven't a clue about recumbents. They have intrigued me for a long time, since I see them annually on the DALMAC bike tour here in Michigan.
So when I saw a barely ridden Terratrike Rover with issues being offered on nextdoor.com, I decided to take a look.

Long story short, I bought it for the asking price of $200.
It's from around 2011-14, with a Sturmey-Archer 8 spd hub.

The main problem was that the wheels were downright pigeon-toed, and the left brake was sticky... in fact, the rotor had been loosened so that the wheel would turn more freely. At any rate, the lady couldn't ride it properly and said she "hated it" and wanted it to be gone.

The issue appears to be a bent part in the steering -- I'd call it a steering knuckle, but I don't know the proper term for it. See for yourself:



Good news: The part is steel. More good news is that I was able to remove the brake rotor for now, align the wheels sort of OK, and cruise through the neighborhood. This thing is fun! There is some stiction in the steering, which is a problem for another day. But what do I do about the bent 'knuckle?' Is it worth trying to realign it by force? Are these available from Terratrike? They still make the Rover tandem, so any part for the solo bike should™ be readily available.

I would really appreciate your input.

cheers -mathias
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Old 09-29-21, 08:52 AM
  #2  
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Catrike refers to this part as a "spindle". I know because they replaced mine under warranty when the first set was recalled by the company soon after I received my 2013 Catrike 700. The ones on Catrike are aluminum. You can confirm the metal using a magnet. It should never have bent unless the trike was in a serious accident, Are you sure it is not the way it was made by Terratrike? Compare the left spindle to the right spindle., They should be mirror images. It would be very unlikely to have both sides bend.

It didn't get the best reviews when it first came out a decade ago TerraTrike Rover - Underwhelmed - BentRider Online Forums This from the editor of Bentrideronline says it all "This trike is not meant for the type of people that frequent this board. It's targeted at older recreational types who would never even consider something like a Trident because they couldn't get in an out of it."

All recumbent trikes need to have the toe-in set correctly for three reasons. One is the handling, the second is tire wear, and the third is for ease of pedaling. The first thing you may notice is tire wear. I changed the wheel bearings on a Greenspeed GTO trike years ago. I didn't bother to confirm that I hadn't upset the toe-in. My perfectly good set of Tioga Comp Pool tires began to show the tire cord in about 300 miles. Normal wear for that tire was between 3,000 and 4,000 miles between replacements. The toe-in on your trike is 1/16" (means closer in the front of the wheel than in the back) Here is one method by Kevin Atkins I hadn't seen before https://www.kevinatkins.org/terratri...ent/index.html My method was to take a wooden dowel about 3/8" in diameter, cut it slightly shorter than the distance between the wheels and install a wood screw in one end. That's a cheap tool for doing the measurement the way Terratrike suggests. You loosen the ends on the rod connecting both wheels and make the adjustment there. It works better if the trike is loaded with the same weight as the person who will ride it while doing the adjustment. Once you set it, you do not need to mess with it again. I last set mine 8 years ago and never had to make any adjustments.

https://tadpolerider.com/tag/tadpole...in-adjustment/ shows how to do it on Catrike but the video for the Rover is no longer available
https://reimadere.gotdns.ch/522536.html Source for Rover manual but it does not include toe-in information
It was TT's budget model so some of the components are pretty obscure brands (like the disc brakes). It is also heavy. If you like riding a recumbent trike you will likely be looking for a better model sometime in the future. If you got the chance to ride a really fine quality trike you would be astounded by the difference.

Last edited by VegasTriker; 09-29-21 at 02:02 PM. Reason: added correct terminology
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Old 09-29-21, 06:36 PM
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VegasTriker Thanks for the prompt and helpful response.
Yes, I knew going in this wasn't a high-end machine, and not something I'd buy in a store, but for the low price, it was worth it for the experience. I cruised around my neighborhood for 3 or 4 miles and really liked it. At the same time, I don't see myself braving traffic with it... the first step in my commute is to cross a 45 mph major road that sees 60k vehicles a day. It's bad enough on my regular bicycle.

>> You can confirm the metal using a magnet.
I did; it's steel.

>> It should never have bent unless the trike was in a serious accident,
I helped the owner carry it up narrow basement stairs; my guess is that she had done it by herself, lost her balance and put her whole weight -- ok, all 110 lbs -- on one wheel while the other was trapped against the stairs... the bike only fits through turned on its side. That'd bend it alright.

>> Are you sure it is not the way it was made by Terratrike? Compare the left spindle to the right spindle., They should be mirror images.
Yes they started out as mirrors, and now they ain't.
On the right side, the brake works perfectly; on the left side, the brake disk had to be loosened so as not to bind miserably.

At any rate, I called Terratrike, and (bad news) they only sell both "hub mounts" as a pair, but (good news) the pair is $149, which I find reasonable. They were helpful.

As it turns out, a good friend of mine was interested in the trike for his son, who has balance issues, so I just sold it to him for what I paid for it and passed along the information. He is an old hand at all things bicycle and will have it on the road within the week.

Thanks again!
cheers -mathias
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Old 10-01-21, 09:12 AM
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If it were me, I'd try bending the part back first. If the disc caliper can be made straight, then the steering can be adjusted for toe even if the part isn't perfect. Otherwise, you should be able to get a new part from Terratrike. Front alignment should be measured/adjusted with a rider on the seat. Otherwise, frame flex/sag may change the alignment.
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Old 10-01-21, 07:23 PM
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BlazingPedals Thank you for the advice. As I've passed the trike on to a friend, I've sent him your message.
New hub mounts are $150 for the pair and would be a good investment, but there's nothing to lose by trying to bend the part back to straight.
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