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.

Monday, May 28, 2012

If the new rack mods work and they carry the weight of the loaded panniers without adding a supporting arm then the mod is finished.


Since I brazed the new rack parts rather than bolting things together, ‘minor’ probably isn’t the best descriptor of this little project.  What I’ve learned from doing this is that the Ortliebs were pretty clearly designed for hard shell seats and so mounting them on a recumbent with a mesh seat pretty much requires widening the rear rack so it approximately equals the width of the seat back.  If I needed any more clues, the strap that joins the front of the two panniers and goes across the seat face is barely long enough…in fact I should probably add about 6 inches to it just to make sure the Velcro has enough length to get a good grip.

The rack seems pretty strong the way it is, but if need be I can a supporting arm that attaches to the outer edge of the rack top and connects at the bottom to lower rack/frame braze-on.  And if I attach it to the rack with a Cateye clamp then the arms will fold flat against the rack top when the entire assembly is removed.

The only real change I made from my original plan was to dump the idea of using Velcro to secure the rack top to the original rack.  There was no way I could get a solid mount with the Velcro that didn’t allow the new top to move somewhat.  So I used small stainless band clamps and covered the bands with heat-shrink so they wouldn’t chew up the powdercoating.  I also put some 1” pieces of clear tubing on the original rack at the spots where I installed the band clamps so the new and old rack parts wouldn’t rub against each other.

The bottom section of the new rack simply serves as a lock-down for the panniers and a way to keep them from swinging in toward the frame.  The front of that section bolts to the forward rack braze-ons, and the rear is held in place with two Velcro straps which seem to work fine.  Turns out that the space beneath the rack-top on both sides, between the panniers and the rack legs, might turn out to be convenient storage for long narrow stuff like tires, tubes and even tools. 

So now I’m just going to ride the GLO with the new panniers attached, gradually adding weight to make sure the rack top is strong enough.  

By the way, last Saturday Jim and I rode the Foothills Trail to Orting.  It was about 30 miles, and I rode the GLO for the first time with my neck rest attached.  The day's two highlights - the neck rest was absolutely perfect, and I lost my cell phone...for a change.

On to the next project.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I tend to put off tough stuff, and that's what I did about mounting the new Ortlieb panniers on the Greenspeed GLO.  

I was clearly avoiding facing my fear that I'd spent a lot of money for panniers I really like but wouldn't fit on the trike.  So for a couple of months the panniers remained in the shipping plastic bag in my office, and for another month they sat in my shop. When I finally sucked up my apprehension and tried mounting the bags I discovered they actually did fit...sort of. 

Of the two hangers on each pannier, one fit on the top rail of the trike rack and the other fit on the the rack's most forward angle support arm. This had the effect of tipping the pannier downward in the front.  With some coaxing I could even get the pannier's forward lock-down hooked on the trike's seat support tube. What didn't fit well was that the forward end of the pannier was too close to the ground for my liking and the strap that should go across the seat and connect both panniers wouldn't fit...the panniers were just in the wrong place.  A fit, but not a great fit. 

What a good fit meant: the panniers were about as far from each other as the seat is wide so the bags could move a bit further forward; there was a simple attachment point for the panniers' lower lock-down mechanism; and because the GLO is a dissassembler, any rack modifications needed to be able to lay flat to take little space. 

So what I fabricated is in two pieces. The upper larger rack top attaches to the existing rack with Velcro strips making for a secure mount with tool-less quick removal. The lower rail functions as a pannier lock-down and also keeps the pannier from swinging in against the trike frame. It attaches at the 2 front rack mounts and with Velcro strips to the rear of the rack. 

In keeping with Greenspeed tradition (and because I can brass braze and not TIG weld) the parts are made from steel tube. The steel tubing's strong, but I realize that one unknown is, since the wider top rack is unsupported on its outer edge, will it carry the weight of the panniers.  But it seems plenty strong enough, and a support should be a simple mod if it's needed. The wider top rack is a very nice bonus for carrying a tent, sleeping bag and mattress closer to the seat and making the load more compact. 

 So do the Ortliebs fit the GLO?  Most definitely...with just a minor mod. I think they'll also fit my Catrike Expedition but with a different design for a rack enhancement that will mount the bags similarly wider apart, but also lower than the top of rack.  That's next.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This'll be fast because Travis is waiting so patiently for someone (me) to come out to the pasture and play catch.

Here's the gear we're offering as mementos to folks coming to TOT the end of June.  Hopefully you'll like the logo and also see that we've tried to offer gear a bit out of the ordinary.  The cap is a runner's cap, meaning it's light-weight and vented...hopefully a nice break from the typical ball caps.  And the jersey is a neat poly wicking shirt that's available in sizes to 3XL.  To make this manageable both the cap and jersey are being offered in the color that looks best with the logo - white!

Folks wanting the caps and jerseys are being asked to order by the third week in June, and all orders will be delivered at TOT.  In the next day or two I'll publish prices.  I'll take orders by email.  While I may bring a few extra items in addition to what's ordered, there's no guarantee, so anyone wanting these neat mementos should be sure to order them before TOT to make sure they get what they want. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

For those of you who have the handlebar sidemount kits, here's something simple and useful to do with that bit of extra space on the bag tube.  

It's a convenient spot to store an extra beverage bottle. 

I'm curious if there's some interest.  If so I'll offer the Topeak bottle cage mount (the one in the pictures) and the Topeak bottle cage that can be both height and width-adjusted to even hold an insulated coffee container securely.  

Who said you can't take your latté with you?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

When I brought the GLO home from the Catrike Rally in Florida I toyed with the idea of swapping the stock Greenspeed neck rest for one of my CURVE kits.  But then decided there was no reason to mess with something that works fine.  After all, Penni's happy with the stock rest on her GT3, so perhaps missing an advertising opportunity would probably be a good personal growth experience.  And so that's where I left it...for a while.  

Well  I've always said I have the upper body of a 3' human.  In fact at some restaurants where the seats are low and the tables high the only silverware I need is a knife...to slide my food along the tabletop directly into my mouth.  And that was the problem with the stock Greenspeed neck rest.  Turns out that even though I lowered the stock neck rest tubes as far as they'd go, and then cut another 3/4" off the tubes, I couldn't get the neck rest low enough.  I’m sure it’s at least partly because of the tube shape of the Greenspeed neck rest.  

I made a shim so the mtb stem would fit the GLO's seat brace tube and I installed the kit.  The CURVE definitely looks non-Greenspeedish, but it sure feels great.  I doubt there are many others out there with bodies like mine - hobbits on stilts, so don't worry Ian (Sims) this is most likely a one-off.  

Remember those beautiful Ortlieb recumbent panniers I bought?  Well I fiddled around with them so they sort of fit on the GLO, but then I decided to do this right and make them fit the way they should.  I'm enlarging the narrow rear rack so the panniers can be even with the sides of the seat.  I'm welding up this new rack-top which will be fastened to the existing rack with Cateye clamps.  I'll probably have to add an additional tube to each side of the rack top so the panniers can be locked down securely - there's a slick lock-down fastener on the panniers.  If this works, and I'm pretty sure it will, I'll make another rack top for Msafiri (my Expedition.)  More pics to follow. 
Some quick news.  

I just shipped a new CURVE kit to the person who inspired the first CURVE.  He needed a neck rest that would not just provide front-to-back cushioning, but would also secure his neck side-to-side.  I searched for something I could use for a light but solid base, and eventually I discovered 8" high pressure water couplings.  I cut one in half into two cylinders, and then cut one of the cylinders in half again.  That became the first (and only) half-wrap CURVE.  After working on that one neck rest for a while I began to think it might be really comfortable for other folks as well...if it didn't wrap quite so far.  And so the CURVE was born.

The Axiom Trekk seat collar is a terrific find because it comes in a size (31.8) that will fit the vertical tube of a "T" tower.  It's a potentially great way to secure your rear rack right to the neck rest mount. You may be able to find it at your LBS, and I know it's available on Amazon.

I thought you might like to see some of the latest embroidery creations...but first a picture of our master embroiderers - Deana and Susie.
Don't forget Steven's  bling at the end.


And finally, here's Steven's CURVE kit.  He's definitely taken the idea of using his CURVE tower as a light mount to a whole new level.  Nice job Steven!
My customers’ ingenuity has taught me not to to say, “I think you’ve mounted that upside down.”  Sam taught me that flipping over the side-mount kit “L” tube means that it won’t interfere with Catrike’s Arkel side bags, and it also saves tubing and by shortening the arm, makes for a stronger mount.  And Dave’s mounting his CURVE with the clamp mounts on the bottom part of the PVC base gave him more space to customize his neck rest, and also save a bit of tower tubing.

The experience with A.D. Carson’s TerraTrike CURVE kit turned seeming failure into friendship, was a great collaboration, produced a positive but totally unexpected solution, and has left me with enormous respect for his seemingly endless patience.  

I probably went about this project all wrong from the very start – the first thing I did was to embroider his logo on a neck rest cover, and because it turned out so nice it made giving up on being able to mount a CURVE kit on his trike nigh unthinkable.  It really looks good (the cover, that is.)  If I hadn’t done the cover first, and I’d asked the right questions  and looked more closely at the pictures he sent me I’d have said at the start there was no way we could fit a kit on his trike.  

TerraTrikes are enough of a challenge for me in their stock form – two small diameter side-by-side seat frame tubes instead of the single tube other manufacturers use means I can’t mount a simple mtb stem without some sort of adapter bracket to attach the stem to the seat.  To make the challenge even greater AD has a 26” rear wheel kit on his trike and his seat seriously reclined…the effect is that there really is no room between his seat back and fender.  But there was that beautiful embroidered neck rest…  So for weeks we exchanged drawings, measurements, crazy “what if…” ideas, and additional “try this” parts.  It was like illustrating a shop manual. 

It definitely helped that he was  so mellow…of course I don’t know what he was really thinking.  In the end it became abundantly clear that based upon the way he has his trike set up, there really is no way to mount a CURVE kit to the seat back.  This includes the adapter bracket and an extender plate I was sure would work. 

But that doesn't mean we failed.  We modified one of A.D.'s original ideas...one I'd rejected originally, and wound up mounting the adapter and extender underneath his rack.  This isn't something I intend to do again, but that neck rest embroidery is so nice...

The view from our front door says Spring has finally arrived, which means while the rain might not let up for another month or so it's no longer so wearing because island life is returning to Kodachrome.

I know the exact day everything changed...it was April 15.  Travis and I were out in the pasture and for the first time this year I could actually see the soft green haze of the leaf buds in all the deciduous trees.  Since then it's been a rush of new colors and sweet scents.  I love Spring.

To take a break from the (hopefully) last of the drizzly grey Penni and I loaded up the Screamer and headed south to sunny tropical Portland.  With Travis boarded at his favorite play spot, a week's reservation at The White House, our favorite Portland B&B, and a stack of Portland area cycling maps, we figured on some wonderful riding in what's easily the northwest's most bicycle-friendly city.  The mattress store not far from our B&B has a sign in the window that says, "We deliver by bicycle."  Well day 1 was one beautiful sunny day so we spent it on some of the city’s great bike trails.  Nothing like some sun and heat to bring everyone out, and we didn’t want to miss a moment.   

Of course in true Northwest fashion it didn’t last.   The next two days were gray and rainy so we abandoned the Screamer.  We spent that first drizzly day wandering our favorite Portland sights including the amazingly tranquil Chinese Garden in the center of the city.  If you get to Portland this is definitely a time-out-of-time...a portal to a completely new space. 

The next day we headed off down the Willamette Valley to visit some wineries.  At each one we took turns being the designated driver…probably not what the law intended.

The last day we had in Portland started with a drizzle but soon moved on to a downpour.  But we brought rain gear after all, so why not ride.  So bundled up in rain gear that mostly keeps salt water from mixing with fresh, and we headed off east on city streets looking for a major bike trail that would take us north to the Columbia, then west along the river until we finally were to loop south then east back to the White House.  It was pouring, and it was cold.  Our first 'rest' stop was after just a few miles...we came across a man lying face down and bleeding on the sidewalk in the rain.  Penni, the true medical professional, leaped into action while handing me the phone to call 911.  Strange thing about events like these...nobody stopped to see if they could help until we did.  Then people came.  I guess no one wants to be the first.  The fire department and then the paramedics soon arrived to take over and we continued on our way...totally lost.  When the rain stopped and the sun finally appeared we stopped at a Starbucks for directions and something hot to drink.  No one really seemed to know where the bike trail was but they could all point to the location of the river so we headed off again, this time in bright sunshine.  And we found the trail!...just in time for a flat tire.  I got the rear wheel off, found the hole, patched the tube and we were off again in record time.  But now the weather looked ominous... were heading into gray-black clouds and it was clearly raining around the edges.  And the clouds were moving quickly in our direction.  And then all of a sudden, "tssssssssssssssssss..."  I figured my quick patch job had blown out, and I was getting really nervous about what looked like a major storm moving directly towards us.  I must have set a world speed record for getting the tube repaired.  And it wasn't the original patch that blew.  

With the wheel back on we headed off again as
first it began to drizzle, and it quickly changed to pea-sized hail.  That stuff really hurts. Penni was riding with her hands over her face - not a choice for me.  Eventually the hail turned to a downpour and we decided a warm shower and some wine sounded great.  It was. 

The next day was Saturday and we had to head home, but not before visiting the Burnside Market for a couple of hours and reveling in the warm sunshine.  I love Portland.