2020 Rally and Demo Day
Time to crank up the ballyhoo machine again and remind everyone about the upcoming 2020 Heart of Texas Recumbent Rally, taking place in Keller (Fort Worth) on March 21-22. Registration is available online at https://www.bikereg.com/2020hot or by calling the shop.
The event is a little different this year. It is smaller (65 people max), shorter (1.5 days) and costs less ($25). Significantly, I’m mixing it with our 2020 Demo Day, so along with our other Rally events that day, Rally guests will get to play VIP recumbent expert for the crowd attending that event. For more information, see our website: https://www.wemakecyclingeasy.com/2020-rally/
Please, come to my party! Expect to see (read: We hope to see) a pre-production electric-assisted Catrike and some new TerraTrike models that won’t be available until summer. Bacchetta will have something interesting, but we can’t say what it is until they formally announce it. Easy Load Ramp systems will be there too. Who else? We’ll see.
Meet the Maverick
The TerraTrike Maverick, that is.
Of course I think of Samuel Augustus Maverick, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, twice elected mayor of San Antonio, and notable non-conformist in ranching circles. Maverick was known for not branding any of his cattle, and an unbranded head of cattle in anyone’s herd came to be known as “a maverick,” as would anyone with an independent way of thinking. Never mind that gambler from the television show. Now, it means a tricycle!
Significantly, the Maverick is replacing the iconic TerraTrike Rover, which redefined TerraTrike’s product line and took the company to the next level back in 2010. The Maverick is essentially a lower-budget Rambler, and anyone familiar with the Rambler will recognize its form in the Maverick.
Like the Rambler, the Maverick is lighter than the Rover, but it doesn’t disassemble like the Rover does. It won’t convert into a tandem like the Rover, and for that reason the Rover will stick around as a tandem that can shrink down to a single. Like the Rambler, the Maverick uses “vertical drop outs,” meaning the rear wheel slides downward to come out of the frame. This makes wheel removal much easier when a rear fender is installed. It also makes boom adjustment less precise since the rear wheel cannot be slid backward in the frame to tension the chain. It would be easy to add a spring-loaded chain tensioner, though one is not included.
I bring this up because having sold through most of our Rovers, we’re now starting to bring Mavericks in, and we’ve had a hard time keeping them in stock. TerraTrike is supplying them at three spec. levels, much like they did with the Rover. The “i3” model does not refer to Bob Marley’s backup singers, but the model with an internally-geared three-speed hub. That isn’t a large enough range of gears for most people, but it works for some limited applications. The “i8” model will use the good quality Shimano Nexus-8 internally-geared 8-speed hub, which we’ve been a proponent of in the past. The “x8” model will sport an 8-speed rear derailer.
We had such great success selling the Rover equipped with the NuVinci N330 shifting system that we will make an effort to keep that system available on the Maverick. This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve played the maverick ourselves, having first introduced the Nexus-8 hub on the Rover after disapproving of the kinda klunky Sturmey-Archer 8-speed hub used on early Rovers. After a second major retailer introduced a Nexus Rover, TerraTrike finally got on board and produced them, before moving to the NuVinci N330, which proved to be a great match. We have Keller shop manager Micah Simmons to thank for recognizing the strengths of the N330, and Easy Street ended up being the largest buyer of that model among all of TerraTrike’s dealers.
Battery care tips from Bosch
Bosch, who makes all the washing machines and cordless drills, has jumped into the e-bike market. They are a major player in Europe, and are competing heavily with Japan’s Shimano Corp. selling a line of well-made, well-supported e-bike motors. TerraTrike currently uses Bosch motors on the Rambler EVO, and in their Boost Kit, which will retrofit any TerraTrike currently in production, excepting the Sportster and Tandem Pro. Catrike will be using Bosch motors on their E-Cats.
Anyway, I got a newsletter from Bosch about battery care, and it taught me a few things, so I wanted to share it. This covers lithium-ion batteries, which are the standard nowadays on any decent assist system; Shimano, Bosch, Bionx, Bafang, Golden Motor, E-bike Kit, or any of that zoo of brands coming out of China. Here is a reprint:
Do you have customers who plan to store their Bosch-equipped bikes during the winter months? Let them know that the ideal battery state-of-charge for long-term storage (i.e. over three months) is between 30%-60%, and the ideal storage condition for their battery is a cool, dry location that’s between 32°F-68°F. Note: a little warmer is better than below freezing, so when in doubt bring your battery inside; just not by the furnace.
Is it cold where you ride and do you and your customers prefer to use their Bosch-equipped eBikes through the winter? Excellent! Just keep in mind that you may need to adapt your charging habits to cold weather. If it can get below freezing where you store your bike, bring your battery inside to charge at room temperature.
The performance of your Lithium-ion Bosch battery can be temporarily affected by the cold. If you’re experiencing significantly decreased range during your cold-weather rides, consider storing your battery at room temperate prior to your ride and using an insulating, neoprene battery cover.
As we often say, think of your battery as something like a living thing. Your bike can be treated like a piece of machinery, but the battery isn’t quite like that.
We don’t have battery covers in stock since it never gets that cold around here, but if you are interested in them let us know, as we can get them from Bosch’s US distributor. They have models to fit either Bosch or Shimano systems.
Alfine-11 and Nexus-8 hubs need an occasional oil change
Now a technical matter.
Speaking of Shimano-built internally geared hubs on TerraTrikes, we also like to put the Alfine 11-speed hub on our Rover Tandems. This is another Easy Street exclusive. The Nexus-8 is great, but it doesn’t have a wide enough range for the tandem application of the Rover, so we started building our tandems with the Alfine-11.
Shimano states that Nexus and Alfine hubs should come in for an oil bath every year. We find this excessive, though we appreciate their support for our bottom line. But having seen a worn-out, not-lubricated Alfine-11 in the hands of another technician, I think it is time to step up and remind people of this occasional service need. If you are putting the miles on your Nexus or Alfine hub, do yourself right and drop off your wheel with us. This is a fairly easy, $40 service job (a little more if we need to remove and reinstall the wheel), which will keep those pricey parts running more happily. Keep it in mind.
Besides getting TerraTrike’s dealer of the year (I think I mentioned that in the last ESR News), we were #3 in purchases from both TerraTrike and #4 from Catrike. I could say “#3 in sales” but the rankings are based on how much they sold me, not how much trikey joy I actually spread to the people of the Earth. Fortunately, since I’ve got such a horror of holding too much inventory, what I bought is pretty much what I sold. I know this isn’t the case for all of my fellow dealers.
If you find me a little blasé about these honors you are right. At the end of the day I’ve got my li’l bank account, a list of jobs to get done, and the memories of the people I’ve dealt with whom I hope got the best service I can give. All else is fleeting. I’m sure there is a haiku in that somewhere.
That’s all I can think of.
Your old pal
Mike Librik, Easy Street Recumbents