Most likely you're visiting to check out Finer Recliner CURVE neck rests, side mount handlebar bag kits, embroidery, tail lights and other recumbent accessories.

I make neck rests mainly but not exclusively for recumbent trikes. Each is 2" thick memory foam fill on a gently curved PVC base. The covers are breathable and water-resistant. Embroidery options are nearly limitless and allow you to truly personalize this part of your trike.

If you're interested in more information about Finer Recliner accessories, pictures, prices and how to order, you can reach me at stevesussman@earthlink.net.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This one's really exciting.  Sure the jury's still out because this won't be shipped until tomorrow, but still this is the neck rest I'm most proud of so far.  A few months ago someone who'd bought one of my standard neck rests asked if I could make him a special one.  Because of arthritis in his neck he needs a rest that stabilizes his neck side-to-side as well as fore and aft.  Once I had the measurements from his chiropractor the real challenge was finding something to use as a curved base.  That 8" PVC high pressure coupling I showed in an earlier post turned out to be the perfect dimension and it's rigid enough not to flex.

The inside diameter of the base is 8", and it's lined with 2" latex.  The support brackets have 5 mounting adjustments so it can be tilted up and down, and then secured.  Zubin did a great job of tailoring a cover for this uniquely shaped neck rest.  We are both really proud of our product and hope it exceeds our patient customer's expectations.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Last post of the day.  It seems like this has become a clothing store lately.  It's true I'm really excited about the gear and logos, and I'm hoping people will like it enough so we can add more choices when we come across something interesting.  But this began as a neck rest blog, or at least a trike parts blog, and there's a bunch of interesting stuff happening with these as well. 

Tomorrow the new curved neck rest prototype goes off to Kirk.  I mounted it on Msafiri this morning intending to go for a ride and try it before mailing it off.  The sun was out and it was in the 50's...until I was ready to leave.  Then the temperature dropped and it rained the rest of the day.  So I'm sending the neck rest to Kirk completely untried.  Frankly I have no idea how this will turn out.  Will he like it?  Will it be better or worse...a toss-up?  I guess I'll see.  I think I may make another one for me to try as well.  After all, I'm still riding with the first prototype on Msafiri.  I ought to at least try one made with latex.

Last week, totally by surprise, I got an email, a gift, from Pat Franz, the owner of TerraCycle.  He packed it so full of helpful suggestions and resources I felt like a kid turned loose in a candy store.  His kindness epitomizes my experience with recumbent folks.   My very first experience with incredibly generous and knowledgeable recumbent people was more than 20 years ago.  I'd bought Gardner Martin's how-to book on how to build an Easy Racer and before long I had a bunch of first-timer questions that had me totally stuck.  So I called him.  I wasn't buying an Easy Racer.  Maybe he'd made a buck or two from the sale of the book I'd bought.  And yet he stayed on the phone with me until he was sure I had all my questions answered.  He even answered questions I wasn't smart enough to have asked.  I built that bike, named it the Load Warrior, and rode it first from Minneapolis to Seattle, the next summer from Minneapolis to Maine via Ottawa, and a couple of years later spent a month on it touring New Zealand.  I doubt I could have finished it without his help, and I've never forgotten his kindness. 

I had the same experience with Pat last week.  I've never met him, either in person or through the web, and his friendly email was totally out of the blue.  I know him just by the quality of what he makes.  Our Screamer has one of his stems and under-seat racks.  And Msafiri has a Terracycle idler. 

His taking the time to share some of his manufacturing knowledge and experience so perhaps I might move out of the production dark ages couldn't have come at a more perfect time for me.  No wonder TerraCycle makes such high quality goods.  Consider the source.  Thanks, Pat.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

More nice "Finer recliner" wickable gear to ride in, or to wear just about anytime.  I found these two shirts doing some research for a special request.  Both the Polo and the Henley have "The finer recliner" embroidered logos, your choice of the tadpole or delta trike color-matched to your trike, and your name or nickname embroidered on the sleeve.  They both look great. 

The price for the Polo is $38 with the logo of your choice.  Add $3 if you'd like your name or nickname added.  The Henley is $36, also with the logo of your choice.  Add $3 for your name or nickname.

Now if I can just find a nice pair of riding knickers.
Gear for us non-lycra bikers.
In October, Penni and I spent two weeks in Germany and Prague visiting my son, daughter-in-law and new granddaughter.  Every day we saw hundreds of people on bicycles going to and from work, running errands and some just getting exercise.  Everyone person we saw was in street clothes.  We didn’t see anyone in lycra, and it got me thinking. 
Oh I like the jerseys with the brilliant colors and designs, but I feel kind of foolish dressing up like a peacock to run errands with my bike.  And frankly, being pretty snug, they reveal a bit more about my upper body shape than I’m interested in sharing.  And I’m always on the lookout for a t-shirt or jersey that lets me share my excitement for recumbents.  I’m guessing I may not be the only one. 
So this was our thinking when we were picking gear to offer to folks coming to TOT next June – choose a comfortable wickable short or long sleeve jersey to ride in, a good quality t-shirt to wear for fun, a nice cap to cover hat hair (or hat scalp in my case), and gear in womens’ as well as mens’ styles and colors. 
Since not everyone will be coming to TOT we decided to offer similar gear for everyone else, but with some really neat differences.  The gear’s called “The finer recliner.”  Andie has designed some great logos…with a velo on the way.  If folks like this gear we'll try to add to the selection over time.

Just like the TOT gear, the logos are embroidered, not screened, by Cara at embroidery central command.  And here’s what’s especially neat. 
  • No minimum order.   
  • Your choice of tadpole or delta logo.
  • The tees, jerseys and caps all come in a rainbow of colors.  
  • Your name or nickname embroidered on the sleeve or back of your cap. 
  • You can match the trike logo with the color of your trike.

    Here are the color choices, and the prices are at the bottom.  If you'd like to order something just email your choices to me at stevesussman@earthlink.net.  Don't forget to include:
    Your size, 
    Color choice (and a 2nd just in case), 
    Whether you want the delta or tadpole logo,
    The color of your trike, 
    And your name or nickname if you want that embroidered.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A great day.  The sun's out, it has warmed up a bit, and on the island it's the first day in a while I didn't think about the moss growing under my arms...and people are out walking, and smiling!
Finally, almost all the back ordered neck rests got boxed, stamped and sent on their way, most to towns all over the US but also one to Ottawa and one to Singapore.  While I haven't yet started shopping for a sandy beach on a tropical island, this small venture has really turned out to be fun.  It's been a a great way to meet people all around the country and the world on line, and its been especially nice getting to work on the island with friends who own their own small businesses.
The large wrap-around rest for Dr Dave is just getting its cover finished and then it'll be off as well.  This one's been an especially interesting challenge because if it works, it should be a neck stabilizer as well as a rest.  Its taken much longer than I'd originally planned, and I'm really hoping he'll be pleased.

The new vertical curved prototype has had the latex pad installed and it's at Zubin's for a cover.  I honestly don't know whether it'll be as good as, better than or just different from the horizontally curved ones I'm making now.  Kirk Jones (Kirk511) in his benevolence has graciously agreed to serve as prototype tester, trying it on his new 700.  So I'm shipping it off to him as soon as the cover's done and will see what he says.  If he likes I'm thinking it'll be great to be able to offer folks a choice.  I just think it looks neat.

Along with the TOT shirts and caps we're also got some other gear for the non-lycra bika crowd like Pen and me.  They're called, "The finer recliner."  They're the same style T-shirts, long and short sleeve wickable riding jerseys and caps as the TOT stuff, and like the TOT items they're all embroidered.

 I love the logos that Andie has done.  What's especially nice about them is that there's no minimum order, the tees, jerseys and caps all come in a rainbow of colors, there's NO minimum order, you can put your name or nickname on the sleeve and you can order the trike logo to match the color of your trike


The prices for this gear are the same as for the TOT...no extra charge for coloring the trikes.  I'll post colors and prices. 
Have a great weekend.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I've been dreaming of a warm shop, a tig welder and a CNC machine.  Well my birthday's coming up in the next two weeks, and after all, SOMEONE wins the Lotto Mega.  It's still not warm enough in the 'neck rest factory' to work without seeing my breath.  But the temperature was up in the balmy high 20's so I spent most of the day working to get these orders filled.  The brackets and bases for 14 are all finished, and 4 more have fill glued on.

I'll take them over to Zubin the sewer (sounds like Omar the tent maker) tomorrow to make sure they all fit the "standard" size, which is sometimes a problem when every bracket is hand-made.  Then she can cut the fabric for each neck rest and I can take them over to the embroiderer to get monogrammed while I paint the brackets and glue on the latex.  Then back for sewing and final assembly.  It's just been too cold to paint or glue and at the same time I fear I'm testing people's patience.  But the forecast is for the temp to rise so I'm hopeful we're only days away from getting these finished.

Speaking of the embroiderer, here's Cara on the bridge at embroidery command central.  Notice how her watch dog strikes the praying hamster position in a salute to recumbent riders.

Cara, Andie and I have been working on getting the TOT gear chosen and the art work done so we can get it posted.  Andie's the Photoshop master and she's been working on the TOT graphics while getting ready for her own art show and running her studio gallery.  

So here's the TOT stuff that'll be available.  What's really special about this gear is that it's embroidered, NOT silk screened.  And everyone can customize their TOT gear by having their names or screen names embroidered on the back of their hats, and on the sleeves of any shirts they choose.  

The mens' and womens' cotton t-shirts are first, and they'll be great for dinners and just hanging out.  For riding, the long and short sleeve poly wickable shirts for men and women are at the bottom.  The caps come in mens' and womens' styles.  

T-shirts are heavy-weight 6.1 ounce cotton with shoulder to shoulder taping and a double needle hem.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm thinking it's even colder inside the shop than it is outside.  The thermometer said 18 but I'm so bundled up for the most part I feel fine.  I got about 15 pairs of brackets finished and ready to mount on the bases.  Gluing the latex is gonna be a challenge.  Ms. Penni won't let me glue in the house - she says one person hallucinating at a time is enough, so this definitely puts a kink in my production schedule.  I'm hoping the freeze breaks in the next day or two and I can finish the orders in time for the holidays.

Jim (jimali) made a first neck rest prototype to mount on the original Catrike neck rest horizontal tube.  It's similar in design to the POC mount.  Jim started with my base and latex, then took the original Cat design one brilliant step further by using rigid PVC pipe and a PVC elbow instead of the aluminum.  To mount the neck rest to the tube we used two stainless U bolts.  It seems to work fine, but it wasn't adjustable enough for the tight tolerances on his 700.  And my guess is that with the U bolts it didn't look finished enough for Jim's beautiful mango machine.  So he passed it along to Robin (dragonfly) who further refined the design and mounted it on her Speed.  

As you can see, Robin's a master with spray paint so the whole apparatus looks totally prime time...except for the old sock cover. I have to get this back and finish it right with a nice cover and an embroidered dragonfly!  Even though they seem to work well I'm not a fan of the U bolts.  I think we can mount the neck rest on the tube with simpler, lighter and more elegant hardware.  When it'd done I think this will make a neat kit for folks wanting to mount one of my neck rests on an older Catrike tower or a POC tower.  And if anyone bought a Villager, Pocket or Trail without a neck rest, this would be a great and inexpensive solution. 

I'm sorry the pictures of the TOT gear are delayed.  The cutting and pasting (of the pictures not the gear) is taking a bit longer than we planned, but we're still hoping to get them posted here and on BROL before the end of the weekend.

Here's something that DID get finished today...a prototype for a different neck rest design, ready to be fitted with latex and a cover.  It'll still fit the stock Catrike towers and is just about the same dimensions as the current neck rest.  But it's a very different shape.  I love the original, and I'm curious to see how this one feels.  

Monday, December 7, 2009

It was a short day in the shop. After a couple of hours of using a heat gun to keep my hands warm I decided to pack it in. The good news is that all the brackets are done and read for paint, but I figured that 18 degrees isn't really great paint weather. And it certainly won't work for gluing latex to the bases, although the cold keeps down the glue fumes so at least I can work without halucinating...if that's a gift.

Another piece of exciting news is that the TOT logo is done and set up on Cara's computer-driven monster embroidery machine. I think it looks great. Hopefully the rest of the folks going to TOT this year will agree. We've picked out some great tee shirts and caps, and also some especially nice wickable shirts for both men and ladies. Penni picked the ladies' shirt, and of course she has impeccable taste in clothes (if not in men.)

Hopefully tomorrow I can post pictures and prices for all the gear. What's especially nice is that everything anyone orders can be customized with his or her name, avatar or handle.

Well that's it for today. I'm heading for the woodstove.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Life in the neck rest factory.  Okay, I admit it.  I cover the Catrike factory.  Actually I covet insulation and indoor heating.  And the thought of tropical weather makes me giddy.  My shop's a roomy metal building.  Unfortunately it's uninsulated and unheated, and the floor's concrete.  Today the temperature peaked at 30 and went downhill from there.  But now that Noah, Jana and Maya have gone it's time to get back to work and fill orders.
So dressed like the Michelin man in camo, out I went.
It turned out to be a really productive day. I got 15 pairs of brackets made and about 20 bases. Each bracket and base are fabricated by hand, one at a time. Each new batch of brackets has been slightly different from the ones before as I try to make them simpler and quicker to manufacture without sacrificing strength. Next I'll bend the two tabs, paint the brackets, mount them on the bases, cut and glue the latex to the bases and then off to the sewer and embroiderer. I’ll have a few extra neck rests after all orders are filled so if anyone’s thinking about one this is a good time to order.
In addition to the regular neck rests I’ve been working on one for someone with arthritis who needs support side-to-side as well as a rear rest for his neck. It’s made from 8” diameter PVC, mounts on the existing Catrike tower, and is the same height as the current regular neck rests. Next steps are to paint and mount the brackets, cut and glue the 2" latex liner to the full inside diameter of the base. And finally it’ll be off to have a cover made. I sure hope it does the job.

Making this special rest has gotten me interested in trying a similar curve for a regular neck rest. It will be the same height as the current neck rests and about 6” wide, and I'll line it with 2" latex. I’m excited to see how compares to the current rests. I think it'll look neat, and might make a great mount for mini-speakers.