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Old 12-11-09, 10:29 PM   #1
Ghost147
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Knee pains, enduance, and a general newbie.

Hi all, I got a KMX Tornado this summer but haven't ridden it much untill recently. texas weather tends to be too hot for riding during the summer. anyways, i started riding with friends. they all ride upright mountain bikes so i feel kinda out of place on my trike. not too worried about being the odd one out though. they like to ride trails. the trails are pretty easy and most of them are wide enough for my trike if too narrow for another bike to pass me unless i squeeze over really hard. The problem here is that unless I keep it in first or 2nd gear i just do not have the power for it. even in first some of the hills bring me near a stop or force me to pedal a half stroke then back up and do another because my right leg is stronger than my left. I thought about adding 3 gears up front or putting a bigger tire on. it's got a 20" on the back now, but was told it would decrease my torque making hills even harder. any ideas on why this is happening or what to do about it? when we ride very far at all the area just above my knee caps starts to burn fiercly, and can get to the point i can no longer pedal if i keep going too long without a break. i'd say mabey a mile at a time before i need a break. mabey a mile and a half. I read to gear down and pedal faster, but like on the trails, i am geared down all the way and still pedaling hard and slow. also the uprights take off and leave me sitting unless i run in 7th gear (it's a 7 speed). and that is on concrete sidewalks in the park. Also I keep reading that the bike is a "bmx trike" inferring i should ride it roughly or it should be able to do rough things like dropping off a curb with no problem or taking large bumps easily..... this is not the case. i tried dropping off a curb once and other than the jolting pain up my back from such a hard hit, the bottom dragged and only my momentum carried me far enough to get my back tire over it. if it's supposed to be able to do these things, what am i doing wrong? Anyways enough of my rambling. ill let you expierenced riders give me whatever pointers and hints that might help me get better at this. btw i've never ridden a bicycle (inner ear problems left me with crappy balance) and only rode a delta trike a small bit. it was ancient and fell apart despite my attempts to fix it up. so the things that might seem like common sense and general knowledge would likley be new to me. Thanks.
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Old 12-12-09, 12:42 PM   #2
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I see multiple issues here.

First off, in Texas, it is either too hot, too cold, too rainy, or too windy to ride 99% of the time. So if you're going to do any riding, you just have to get out and do it anyway. Riding fast on roads will get you more wind-in-the-face than off-road riding, which helps in the summer.

That trike sounds like it is heavy, and geared too high for the rider and the conditions. Something needs to change. You may be able to drop the gearing down some. Check with the seller of the trike or a local bike shop to see about that. It won't make a vast difference, but will help some if you drop the gearing to maybe 3/4 of what it is now.

Consider riding on easier courses, and riding by yourself where you're not pressured to keep up with other people. if you're set on riding with those same people on those same courses, consider getting a regular mountain bike. I've not used an off-road trike, but there may be reasons they're not very popular.

If you ride more, and either adjust the gearing or the hills where you can spin on up them, that should take care of the knee problems. On a regular bike, when the going gets tough, you can stand on the pedals, which helps, and generally have lower gearing on the crank, which helps.

Here in the Dallas area, the "mountain bike" trails are basically flat, with an occasional whoop-di-do to keep people awake. It sounds like you might be down in the hill country or something. Anyway, look around some, see if you can't find a flatter course like we have around here. Or just ride on paved bike trails or roads.
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Old 12-13-09, 12:48 AM   #3
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Waco actually. the uprights leave me behind on any trail at all. off road or on road. down the sidewalk or on the dirt paths. my LBS won't touch my trike and won't even make suggestions on it. I took it to them for ideas for a larger rear wheel and they just said they didn't carry anything that would fit it. seems like a pretty standard wheel to me. the nearest recumbent shop is in austin. i also agree that the gearing isn't right but im kinda lost as to what to do. utah trikes offers a part where i can add 3 gears to the pedals. i don't know the terms for it but that would effectivly make the bike a 21 speed and the big gear should help quite a bit i'd think.
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Old 12-13-09, 09:35 AM   #4
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A triple crankset would give you a lower low and a higher high with lots of in-between gears. But, looking at images of your trike, I see no way to add a deraileur on the front. Does the part from Utah Trikes address that issue? If so, you would need a crankset including probably a bottom bracket, the adapter, a front deraileur, a shifter. And installation of all that.
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Old 12-13-09, 11:30 AM   #5
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From the web site and pix, you would have to have a custom boom built to mount a derailleur and triple
on the trike. Although the frame looks stout enough for some 'jumps' and acrobatics, realistically it is
a marginal proposition with a rigid seat and no suspension. DF bikes sans suspension assume you will
have your butt in the air when you launch and the legs absorb the shock. The trike will transmit 100%
of the shock to your torso. Also the seat stays look a bit flimsy for much 'jumping'. You could try
mounting a 30 or 28t chain wheel instead of the 40t supplied. Also the 28t large cassette cog is limiting,
a cassette swap to a 12-32 or 34t would help on those uphill slogs. Finally the 43#weight is going to make
you a slug in any ride with 28-30# DF bikes and the inability to stand really limits your torque for
short hills. It is pretty challenging to take any bent off road and I would think a non suspended trike
would be pretty uncomfortable after 15-20mi of jolts from rocks roots and drops of more than a few inches.

As to rear wheel, the size of the fork determines the max radius of the wheel, see how much clearance there
is from the tread to the bottom of the fork as to what options might be. Seat would likely need to have
longer stays fitted, hence pushing you more uprite with a larger wheel. Also you would have to see what
range of rims were available in the larger wheel sizes, ie whether ATB rims/tires are available. If you are
inventive an outboard wheel mount could be devised, a la Catrikes recent offer of a adapter for 700c
wheels on their trikes. This would be strictly custom however, DIY, and might over stress the frame.

Last edited by sch; 12-13-09 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 12-13-09, 02:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sch View Post
You could try mounting a 30 or 28t chain wheel instead of the 40t supplied.
Also the 28t large cassette cog is limiting, a cassette swap to a 12-32 or 34t
would help on those uphill slogs.
20" drive wheel gear inches:

40:28 is 27 gear inch
40:32 is 25 gear inch (change cassette)
28:28 is 19 gear inch (change chain ring)
28:32 is 17 gear inch (change both)

DIY under $20 mail order to change either chainring
or cassette. No reason LBS couldn't order and install it.
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Old 12-13-09, 05:20 PM   #7
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I take it you're riding on easy paved or hard-surfaced trails, and you can't make your feet go fast enough to keep up with the mountain bikes. If that's the case, you need higher gears. Maybe the best course of action would be to change the cassette to a 11-28. That would give you an extra gear or two for speed without sacrificing the lowest gear for hills. If that doesn't get you enough gears, consider a different bike, er, trike.
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Old 12-14-09, 12:52 PM   #8
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Wow thanks for all the great answers.

First I don't plan to jump the trike or act like a fool. If it can handle dropping off a curb now and then that's all I need.

Where would yall reccomend buying a new cassette at? If I'm thinking right it'll have to be a 7speed cassette and I'd like one with a larger low gear and mabey a lil lower top. I think I saw someone mention a 32-11? As opposed to the stock 28-13 I this I'm looking for the right one. Will this have much effect?

For the larger back tire, I'm thinking no bigger than 24". The fork looks to be able to handle one and no problem with the seat at the angle I Currently use.

I've read that changing tires can give me a better ride quality. That they act like suspension of a sort. I've heard the name big apples used for this but they don't have a very good tread for off road. I'd like something to offer a bit of that suspension while still giving me a good grip.

The trails I ride are nice packed dirt or gravel. Most spots are wide enough for a bike to pass my trike going the other way. It's short up and down hills where it's not flat. It's along the brazos river. I also ride along the paved/concrete runnng paths in the park. Again flat with short up and downs. Hope I'm being specific enough. Ive seen trikes better suited to what I do but they are well out of my price range. I only got the tornado cause it was on craigslist for 300.
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Old 12-14-09, 01:02 PM   #9
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REI has a SRAM PG-730 12-32 cassette here:
http://www.rei.com/product/737175?cm...:referralID=NA

That would give you about 1 gear lower and a half gear higher than your current cassette. You'll either need a cassette removal tool and a chain whip, or a shop that will agree to do it. A shop should be able to sell you the cassette, too; and while they'll probably charge more, installation is usually included in the price. Not too sure about your LBS, though; they seem pretty dead-set against touching recumbents.

You can try a 24" wheel; I just don't know if it'll fit.

Edit: If you put a bigger rear wheel on it, that will gear you up higher. The 12-32 would just about put your low gearing back where it started.
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Old 12-14-09, 07:02 PM   #10
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Well I can keep the 20" it was just an idea. Yeah my lbs got that look like recumbents were nasty poo and smelt real bad when I asked em about a bigger tire and wheel for it. I'll see if there is another shop around though. Mabey in kileen.
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