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.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Travis mulling over my dilemma
A test of trust.  I guess sooner or later this was bound to happen.  After all, am I really trusting if its never been tested?

In November I received an order for a CURVE neck rest for a Catrike Expedition, so I mailed one to the customer. Shortly thereafter he sent me an email saying it arrived without hardware.  Well of course it did...it uses the stock Catrike hardware.  No, he said, he needed the entire kit.  So I told him I'd send him a kit, and asked him to return the original neck rest to me.  When he received the kit I got another email saying it had no instructions.  No one had ever asked before, but I created some illustrated instructions and promptly emailed them off.

Now it's January 28.  As of today the original neck rest has never been returned, nor have I been paid for the kit.  I've sent a number of emails without receiving a reply.  And in spite of scouring the web I can't find a phone number for this guy.

So why would someone do this?  Trikes aren't exactly cheap, and they're a hobby, perhaps even a toy.  The neck rests aren't particularly expensive especially compared to the cost of an Expedition, so why would someone choose to skip out on an obligation?  Is he sick and in the hospital?  Has he died?  I may never know.

Years ago I had a motorcycle stolen...my beautiful custom 1966 Triumph Bonneville.  I'd spent the entire evening with this guy going over the bike, talking about the great review it had gotten in one of the cycle mags, taking him for a ride, even letting him take it for a test on his own.  So when he said, "Just let me take it for one more short ride...I really like it and for sure I'm gonna buy it," of course I let him.  When he didn't return I began to worry that he'd had an accident.  I ran a few blocks in the direction he'd gone fearing he'd put the bike down and was hurt.  Stupid me.  My wandering around looking for him gave him so much extra time that by the time I finally called the police he was probably 3 states away.

So fast forward about 40 years and I start this micro business making neck rests for trikes.  And despite my experience with the motorcycle (and a few others along the way), or perhaps because of it, I decide to run this business on trust.  No pre-paying.  Send me a check when you get the neck rest.  And so now my trust gets tested again.  Should I change my business and expect people to pay when they order?

I think not.  I'll probably ask for a physical address and a working phone number with each order, but now that my trust has been tested I've decided I'm not giving into the few.  No pre-payment required.

And on a totally unrelated subject (or maybe not), look what I saw on a cold, drizzly and grey day in downtown Seattle.  Hard not to smile.  Kinda reminds me of one of my favorite film clips.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Trident neck rest prototype is looking really promising.  Instead of the usual "L" tower it looks like this one will use a center-mounted "T" tower.  In the picture the tower's top crosspiece has yet to be welded on.  What remains to resolve is whether there's sufficient clearance between the extra adjustment tubing at the bottom of the stem and the trike's rear wheel or fender.  I may go with a longer throw stem if necessary.  I'm hoping this will be ready for sale by early March.

Other good news...I have some Catrike CURVEs in stock ready to ship.  They'll be perfect now if you're living somewhere warmer, or perhaps if you're snowed in you have your trike in the living room.  With a new neck rest watching TV while sitting in your Cat will be a luxurious new experience.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It was a great day to drive to Sequim.  Grey, drizzly, heavy overcast...Jim (jimali) and I headed for Mike's Bikes in Sequim to look at a TerraTrike.  In the past couple of weeks I've had inquiries about mounting my neck rests on ICE, Sun, Trident, TerraTrike and ActionBent trikes.  Having all these possibilities is a great way to begin the year.

We already know the kits fit on ICE trikes with mesh seats, and it looks like it'll fit on at least the Sun model I was asked about.  We have a Trident seat on its way from Tom Flohr to make sure we have a kit that will fit all Tridents including the new Spike.

The day trip to Sequim was to see whether there's an easy way to mount one of my neck rests on those trikes.  The good news is that they all use essentially the same seat, Rover included.  So one mounting mechanism will work for all.  The other good news is that Sequim is in a rain shadow on the Olympic Penninsula, so while it was rainy and grey everywhere else we got to spend a few hours in a pocket of scattered clouds and, yup, even some sun.  That alone was worth the trip.

Sequim's right on the Olympic Discovery Bike Trail, and Mike's is conveniently located about a block off the trail.  It's a really nice shop with a great selection of bikes, gear and accessories...and they rent bikes and helmets if you're just up for a day ride.  http://www.mikes-bikes.net/  Mike wasn't around but the mechanic couldn't have been more helpful.  He pretty much said, "There's the TerraTrike, enjoy yourselves."  He said that if we wanted to take the seat fabric off so we could see better that was fine with him, and he obligingly got a new Rover seat out of a not-yet-assembled Rover's box so we could see it was identical to the Cruiser.

Jim's good company and was a never-ending source of, "Well what about doing it this way..." suggestions.  In the end we came up with a possible solution good enough for a prototype.  The challenge is to find a good mounting location high-enough on the seat back to keep the lever forces of leaning against a neck rest to a minimum.  The seat-back brace tube is actually two side-by-side small diameter tubes so the mountain bike stem won't work.  Plus I think it's too far from the top of the seat and a rider's neck...too much moment arm force would be applied to the braces.  My original idea of using the open tops of the two vertical seat braces to attach a new horizontal brace to mount the stem won't work either.  The caps look like they're too difficult to remove, and there's a smaller diameter inner tube in each for mounting a flag.

If anyone's actually reading this I can just imagine how incomprehensible it must be.  I'll upload the photos I took and a drawing of the prototype later.

It turned out to be a perfect day - really nice drive in beautiful northwest country, great company, good conversation...and a fine dark beer with a friend before catching a ferry home to Ms. Penni, Travis and Gomez.

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's been a while

I just discovered a note from 12/27 from Walt Ebbert.  Walt, you said you wanted a neck rest for your 2009 Expedition.  I'd be glad to make you one.  The best thing to do is to send me an email at stevesussman@earthlink.net.
Hard to believe I haven't posted since before Thanksgiving, so I'll try to make this one special. 

But all things considered it makes sense.  It has been a constant parade of visitors and carrying on throughout the holiday season.  Plus the weather's been lousy so I've spent a fair amount of time splitting and stacking firewood, and finding excuses to stay out of the shop.

The big issue for me the past two months is to finally find out what the neck rests actually cost to make.  While I've never compared the two business models - my consulting practice and making the neck rests, I really began to doubt I was even breaking even...and that's with the assumption that my time doing all the fabricating was worth nothing.  The tug between wanting and fearing to know kept me pretty much paralyzed for the past two months.

But now it's done and in the process I made some surprising discoveries. The biggest is that the most expensive neck rest to make is the one I began with…the replacement for newer model Catrikes.  It really shouldn't have been a surprise...fabricating and powdercoating the brackets, plus the additional stainless hardware, is expensive.

In a nutshell, here's the deal...and just about all of it is good news:


  • The CURVE KIT ("L" tube, mtb stem, shim and CURVE neck rest) will remain $85.  
  •  The CURVE neck rest with the circular clamps for older style Catrikes remains $45.

WHAT HAS CHANGED:  The CURVE replacement for the stock Catrike rest that mounts on the vertical arms is now $55.  The reason for the increase is simple - fabricating and powdercoating the brackets, plus the additional stainless hardware, is expensive.

Like before, please figure a small shipping charge.

MORE GOOD NEWS (at least I think it is):   

  • The KIT also fits ICE trikes with the mesh seat, 
  • We've about to begin testing the KIT for Tridents...all of which use the same seat.
  • I've had inquiries for TerraTrikes and Actionbents so I'm starting design work on those as well.