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.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It’s sure cold in an un-insulated shop.  We probably had about 8-10” on the ground by the time the snow stopped.  All that snow on the shop roof did a great job keeping the cold in.  The thin metal walls did their part too, and after standing on the concrete floor making parts for a couple of hours my knees were so sore that anything falling on the floor will be staying there until June.  It’s not a good sign when I’m thinking of welding as a way to stay warm.  But while the weather definitely dialed down my enthusiasm for spending time in the shop there’s still be a lot going on.  

I did some overdue fine-tuning on my trike stand after finding some neat ball bearing rollers at Harbor Freight.  With one on the bottom of each leg the stand rolls and spins easily…it’s so much easier to use now.  I also removed the gimcracky assembly I built to hold the trike’s main tube and replaced it with a simple rubber-coated “Y” hook.  There’s definitely something to be said for simplicity.  

Msafiri is now resting comfortably in the refined stand while I finish fabricating the new front fender mounts.

As for neck rests, I managed to get enough made to fill all orders and (for a wonderful change) even have some actually available in stock.  I even finished extra “T” and “L” towers and side mount kit “L” arms…this definitely is a first.  We have a bunch of covers currently being embroidered…people have created some very neat images that I’ll post as soon as the covers are done.  Here are two I just shipped out the other day.

Speaking of shipping, yesterday when I was mailing orders I discovered the USPS rates had gone up.  So anyone receiving an order with the shipping charge changed…it’s just because the postal rates have been increased.  Sorry.  All things considered I think the postal service is still a great deal and I’m invested in keeping it alive.  It’s an interesting case study - whether a highly prized service or commodity in one era can successfully adapt to challenges of another.  Kodak couldn’t, but I’m hoping the postal service will.

The last bit of current news is about the TerraTrike kits.  Yesterday I mailed out the first kit orders after stewing about it all weekend.  Renie’s was in that batch.  It has been here too long, so it was great to put the cover on a neck rest and finally pack it to ship.

The reason for my shipping procrastination was all about the power in the number “3”...deciding whether to wait until the Type 3 brackets were welded and powdercoated before shipping the kits.  

You know about "3's"…third time’s a charm; three strikes and you’re out; three’s a crowd; three times lucky…which would it be?  

Trying to get these adapter brackets right has been a great lesson in the value of destruction testing.  I used a Rover when I did the Type 1 design and it fit just fine.  Based on the fit I made and powdercoated about a dozen of the Type 1 brackets before sending one to Mark Peele and another to Doug McConnell to test.  I learned two things – first the design dimensions were fine for a Rover but not for other TT models…not enough rear wheel clearance.  And second, the force of pressing against the neck rest created enough torque to essentially pull the tubing stub out of the adapter bracket.  It didn’t break the weld but it did peel the tube off. 

So I quickly changed the bracket design to move the tube to the bracket top.  Figuring I'd licked the problems of torque and seat clearance I made a dozen of the Type 2’s.  Before sending them to be powdercoated though we decided to sacrifice one to make sure it would stand up to the torque that leaning against the neck rest would generate.  

Using a long piece of steel pipe as a lever I torqued on the bracket until it broke.  Although it took quite a bit more force than the original bracket, it did eventually break.

Interestingly as we applied torque to the lever we noticed that the tubing stub on the bracket to which the mtb stem is attached began to deform from round to oval.  The deformation increased as we increased the force until, while the weld never broke, the thin wall tube literally tore.  I used a lot more force than anyone leaning against the neck rest would most likely generate.  However I decided there was a need for Type 3.  It's a bit more compact than Type 2 and with some production refinements.  But the biggest change is the tubing stub.  Rather than having a very thin wall, it’s now either .095 or .125 wall.  Since the tube is only 3” long it doesn't increase weight much, and it dramatically increases the bracket’s strength.  A dozen of the Type 3 brackets being powdercoated now and should be finished in about a week.    
So in the end, rather than delaying shipping even again, I mailed the first kits with the unpowdercoated Type 2 bracket, a letter of explanation, and a promise that the first Type 3 brackets will go to these folks.

Should I have waited and even further tested folks’ patience?  Maybe, but I’m hoping folks understand and that the power of “3” will be, “third time’s a charm.”

1 comment:

  1. Tom Flohr suggested I investigate these neck rests, and after reading torture test horror stories I may reconsider engineering one for my Stowaway 1. I'm daunted, however, by the size and complexity of these mounts. I've been making due without one because my rides so far have been pretty short. When I get brave, though, the trike's seating position will be a pain in the neck.