I figure I'll start 2012 with a notice, an admission and an executive decision (albeit a somewhat painful one.)
The notice: I’ll be gone until January 10…I’m going south to play with my kids and grandkids for 6 days, and to see if I can warm up my feet from standing on the concrete floor of my unheated shop and dry out the moss growing on my body. So for the next 7 days the factory’s closed.
The admission: Getting away from this enterprise's simple beginnings has been fraught with tough lessons and not much fun. Making the TerraTrike adapter bracket has been way more a stress test than a design project. The first version bracket was a perfect fit for Rovers but not for other models.
The second version (at least judging from Dave McConnell’s Tour) works fine on all TerraTrike models. To make it a bit more compact I down-sized the bracket slightly from Dave’s type 2 version and made the first batch of the new type 2's.
Just before taking the new brackets to be powdercoated I heard from Mark Peele who was testing out the type 1 version. He had some troubling news. The short 3” piece of thin wall tube on the bracket actually tore from the torque of the neck rest and “T” tower on the mtb stem. The weld held just fine, but the thin wall tubing first deformed and then tore.
The tubing used on the type 2 version has a thicker wall, but only marginally. And I have more than a dozen of these new brackets sitting here, although not yet powder coated. So earlier today I went over to John’s. We attached one of the new brackets to a steel plate, mounted the mtb stem and used a 1” piece of steel tube in the stem as a lever. We torqued the bracket until it broke. Well it’s definitely stronger than the type 1 version, in part because of the different design. But before making another batch of brackets I’ll try torque testing them with some tubing of different wall thicknesses - about twice as thick as on the current type 2 brackets. And that leads me to the executive decision…
The decision: Even though I realize this slows down delivery on TerraTrike kit orders even further- I think I’m setting a Guiness anti-speed record, I’m not sending out kits with brackets if I’m unsure of their strength. Clearly this doesn't do much for my reputation, but trading quality for speed just doesn't make sense. What a way to begin the new year.
That said, I do have about a dozen of the original type 2 adapter brackets sitting here. They may in fact be plenty strong enough, but honestly I don’t really know. If anyone would like to be a tester I’ll gladly give away the brackets for free. They aren’t powder coated, but they have all the hardware needed.
The new TerraTrike kit, which includes the CURVE neck rest, “T” tube, mtb stem and adapter bracket, will be $110. If you’d like a kit with one of the original type 2 brackets you can have it for $85, the same price of the Catrike and ICE kits which don’t require the adapter bracket. If you want one of the $85 specials and for some reason the bracket doesn't hold up I’ll replace that bracket with one of the new ones for just $25…free shipping.
If no one wants the type 2’s then I’ll simply pile them next to other near-great ideas in the shop’s museum.
Might as well end on a glimmer of good news: Here are the two latest embroidered covers. The flaming blue trike cover is looking for a home. If you’re interested let me know.