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, September 28, 2011

I must get at least one email a week about fitting a CURVE kit on a TerraTrike.  And it was probably almost a year ago that Jim and I made a couple of day trips up to Mike's Bikes in Sequim to take TerraTrike seat frame pictures and measurements.  

Getting this relatively simple bracket right has been quite an exercise.  The first prototype looked neat, but involved multiple individual pieces that had to be welded and holes to be tapped.  The quote to fabricate the bracket was $64...I thought it was a typo.  So I started over with prototype 2...no bending, no tapping holes, no seam welds.

Now that Dale at Angle Lake Cycles is a TerraTrike dealer life's a lot simpler.  He's just a short ferry ride away, and he stocks plenty of TerraTrike, Catrike, ICE and HP Velotechnikit trikes in addition to a goodly supply of Rans and Bacchetta 2-wheelers.  So it's no longer an expedition to try fitting my prototypes and new accessories.  

Yesterday I hopped on the ferry and headed down there to try out prototype bracket #2 on a Rover.  Three pieces of good news - the bracket's a very simple build, it works perfectly and version #3 (the final item) will be about 1/3 smaller.  I should be able to get the new one made and be sure it works within the next week.  

With some luck the TerraTrike kits can be available by mid to late October, just in time to bring the trikes indoors and use them as lounge chairs while watching tv.  

I realize that speed hasn't been my greatest strength, and not just with these brackets.  Back-ordered parts continue to be a nagging problem.  And the worst of it is that I never know when, for example, stems will be out of stock for a month.  

Since I'm mostly doing all this for fun I try to look at this micro-industrial complex as a great learning experience about manufacturing.  I have most of the same challenges I'd have if the business was 1000X larger...just with less to lose (or gain) financially.  Size aside, I hate having to explain delays to customers, and I don't want anyone to think I'm not grateful off the charts for their patience and understanding.  In some ways being small presents more challenges - one in particular is trying to find providers of certain services consider doing work for me as fill-in for them...something they'll get around to at some point when they have time between large jobs.  I understand their realities, but that doesn't help me.  Still, I'm pretty sure I'll figure all this out.

Recently a couple of folks asked whether the side mount kit would fit on the new Catrike Villager with the adjustable seat.  Well it fits just fine.  Dale has a great selection of Villagers in stock, and my toughest decision was choosing on which color Villager to try the kit.

Time to get some orders filled.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The sun's out and it's still warm but the season is clearly changing.  It's getting darker about an hour earlier than just a month ago, there's that scent of Autumn in the air, the alders in the pasture are beginning to lose leaves, and while there are still caches of plump blackberries to be found, the island is beginning to look kind of berry-picked-over.

I finally got around to mounting my new neck rest, and now that how I see how great it looks I'm not sure why I didn't do this a long time ago.  The nut on the embroidery  matches a burn scar on my arm that's a perfect image of a 1/4-20 nut...something I did to myself trying to make a jam nut with a pair of vice grips and my belt sander.  As the red hot nut landed on my forearm I remember thinking, "This is gonna be a great scar!"  Right.  A perfect metaphor that says a lot about me.

This is the first "L" tower using different size vertical and horizontal tubing.  By using 1.125" OD tubing for the vertical arm there's no longer a need for a shim.  Plus the extra 1/8" in diameter makes the tower even stronger.  Jim (jimali) was right...the mount is rock solid enough to lift the entire trike using the neck rest as a handle.  

Also, all the new "L" towers have the extra 1" stub on the short end so you can mount a pair of tail lights if you choose.  Being the tallest spot on the trike, mounting the lights on the tower should make you even more visible.

And speaking of tail light mounts, someone recently asked for a bracket like the one I have on my rear rack for mounting a pair of lights.  I made him one and he sent this picture.  If anyone else is interested let me know.  The bracket will fit any rack having a plate with two side-by-side mounting holes underneath the rack top.


Mom's 89th birthday present - her first-ever bike
On a totally different subject, my mom, who's about to turn 97, has been spending the summers here on Vashon with us for the past 5 or 6 years.  This has been her escape from Florida summer heat and a chance to hang out with her family (both my sisters also live on the island.)  Summers here have meant a lot of time spent outside in a comfortable chair reading, and enjoying the service around here which is pretty darned good.  She's been a local fixture as she takes her daily walks and often parks herself down at the mailbox, sitting in her walker and reading the mail.  Folks driving down the road often stop to say hi and to chat with her.  A few years ago I remodeled one wing of the house so she has her own room, bathroom and entrance, and while she's no great fan of the cold season this really has become home for her.  Well about a month ago she decided that this year she's not going back to Florida and will be staying here with us.  So a part of my life has now come full circle.  Blessedly mom's totally present, so even though the conversations can be awkward this has been an opportunity for some relationship re-negotiating.  Lucky for me Penni is incredibly welcoming and caring...and seems to have a wonderful relationship with "Syl."  So along with trying to help my mom work out closing up a life 3000 miles away, I've also been busy building ramps and extending steps.  Just inviting another person to live with us would be tumultuous enough...that person being my mother increases the tumult potential exponentially.

As for what's in the works, here's prototype #2 for a TerraTrike neck rest mount that will allow installing a CURVE kit on just about every TerraTrike model including Rovers and Ramblers.  I've had a lot of requests for neck rests from TerraTrike owners, but I've really dragged my feet on designing an adapter bracket.  For a long time I've thought it unfair to TT owners that because of the way TerraTrike makes its seats I'd need to add an adapter bracket to CURVE kits to fit their trikes...and as a result making their kits more expensive than the ones that fit Catrikes, ICE, Tridents, Bacchettas...  I've toyed with making an entirely different neck rest mount, one that didn't involve using a mtb stem or tower tubes, but that mount is so simple and solid I just kept going in circles.  Finally I decided that I wasn't the one who designed their seat frames so if CURVE kits are going to fit their double tubes then there was no avoiding an adapter bracket.  Now the challenge is to make it as simple, and therefore inexpensive, as I can.  I think we're close with this one.  I'll post pictures once I've tested it, probably at Angle Lake Cycles.

By the way, loads of neat new embroidery on the way - I'll post pictures next time.  The flaming trike image has gotten quite popular, with a number of folks requesting the trike frame embroidered in a color that matches their trikes.  Looks great!

Well, time to go play ball with Travis.