Spoke Calculator

Grin Tech recently updated their, already quite excellent, Spoke Calculator.
Here is the introduction thread at Endless Sphere.


I especially like that it shows the wheel and calculates the spoke angle. I’ve used some other online spoke calculators, but it probably is the most usefull, I think.

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I use Veloplugs in almost all of my wheels now. While Veloplugs are certainly less cheap than rim tape, they’re reusable if you have to change a spoke and withstand higher tyre pressure than the rims themself.

Veloplugs yellow
Image: Velocity Wheels

Weight weenies will save around 15g per wheel (32 Veloplugs = 5g, rim tape about 20g per wheel). I actually don’t care about the weight saving, but really like the ease of use of these things and easier mounting of stubborn tyres.

Image: Veloplugs

Since Veloplugs come in two sizes (red = 8mm, yellow = 8.5-9.3mm) make sure to choose the right size for your rims.

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Things you can’t do with a recumbent trike… (2)

#1 is here

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Let’s have a moment of silence…

From How We Drive

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Tyres for E-Trikes

I’ve tried only a handful of different tyres in the last couple of years. For a fast e-trike my main focus is traction and braking power, not minimal rolling resistance.

Schwalbe Big Ben
Currently in use are Schwalbe Big Ben 2.15″ on 47mm wide rims. They have a beefier tread than Big Apples and great road grip even in rain. An other point the Big Ben offers over the Big Apple is a ECE-R75 certification (‘E-Bike 50 ready’), throughout Europe a mandatory legal requirement for tyres used on ebikes capable of a top speed up to 50km/h.

No flat in 3.000km at the front and >6.000km at the rear. I have yet to find a front tyre that equals the Big Ben in braking power no matter what condition (except ice).
2″ or wider tyres will not fit under ICE front fenders. You either have good braking or stay clean. :D
Its great traction makes the Big Ben my rear tyre of choice for a trike.
At the front they lasted only about 1.500km till the thread was gone. Frequent hard braking from higher speed takes its toll, but I didn’t mind much to buy a new set every 1 1/2 month to get that tremendous braking power on wet roads in Fall and Winter, though. The two Big Ben’s I ran at the rear had still half their thread left afer about 3.000km.

Schwalbe Land Cruiser
My standard winter tyre is the Schwalbe Land Cruiser for 24″ and 26″ rear wheels. Equally good traction on dry and wet roads as the Big Ben, but more grip on gravel, dirt and snow. They might not last as long as Marathons but have at least twice the grip. The Land Cruiser isn’t one of Schwalbe’s premium tyres and bears no ‘E-Bike 25 ready’ or ‘E-Bike 50 ready’ mark.

No flats in >5.000km exept a snake bite, when I hit a hidden curb stone buried under 8″ of snow.

Schwalbe Marathon

Marathon Greenguard last long and offer very good flat protection. I had a flat roughly every 3.500-4.500km on the front when the tread started to get thin, none at the rear, but in comparison Marathons feel rather slippery in the wet. Especially true when the middle of the thread is worn off. It got a ECE-R75 certification only for some tyre sizes.

Schwalbe Energizer Plus

Energizer Plus are very similar to Marathon Greengard, but provide better grip, especially on wet roads. It got ECE-R75 certification for fast ebikes as well. I’ve so far tested them only on my 47mm wide rims at the front. The ride tends to get a bit harsher on these very wide rims, but high-speed corner handling is really great.

I had one flat in 1.600km at the front when I ran over a hidden soda can that pinched the side wall of the tube. It didn’t perforate the side wall of the tyre, though.

Addition May 17, 2015:
I use the 20″ Energizer Plus on 27mm wide SUNringle Rhyno Lite rims for more than 900km now. A very comfortable combination at 2.8-3 bar (40-43 psi). Corner handling remains good.

Schwalbe Marathon Racer

My Sprint came shoed with a set of Marathon Racer in 40-406. I’ve actually not much good to say about them. They are light, grip is good but not exceptional. A tyre set at the front lasted no more than 2.000km. When I changed to Marathon Greenguard after my second set of Racers where worn out, I felt no speed penalty, but suffering more or less frequent flats stopped suddenly. Schwalbe rates the Marathon Racer ‘E-Bike 25 ready’ only.

Schwalbe Durano

I’ve got only very limited experience with the Durano. I bought a set of Duranos in 406-28 for the front to see if I get better traction on wet roads than Marathons or Energizer Plus without having to deal with supple Big Ben’s that don’t fit under the front fenders.
My very short test run in rain went rather well. They looked awfully skinny and small on the Sprint, though. Clownish small for use with fenders too. I’ve put them by the side for now.
Because for their good traction, Durano’s where my tyre of choice when I had to shoe the new 26″ front wheels. Corner handling with big front wheels is obviously on a whole different (lower) level. In the end the Marathons on my 24″ front wheels just felt way more robust for a trouble-free late night commute.

All images: Schwalbe

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DIY truing stand

I think I’ve mentioned that I did build several wheels sets for the Sprint in recent time.
A P&K Lie truing stand is slightly out of my reach and I hesitated spending money for a cheap truing stand when I could build one myself.

A length of 25 x 3 mm aluminium tube, a piece of 40 x 60 mm aluminium bracket, a M10 all-thread rod and an old dial indicator where at hand, the piece of water-resistant plywood, a piece of zink-plated steel plate, some washers and some M10 nuts came from the local hard ware shop. Ebay provided the cheap magnet stand for the dial indicator.

DIY truing stand

The construction is fairly simple. A piece of 15 mm plywood as a base, two pieces of thread rod, two pieces of aluminium tube, two brackets to mount the wheels, three M10 drive-in nuts to screw the thread rods to the plywood base, four M10 nuts, four washers. The steel plate is glued to the plywood to provide a base for the magnet stand. I’ve drilled three holes in the plywood to mount the stands accordingly for 100 mm and 135 mm wide hubs.

Shame on me that I didn’t remember how much I’ve learned to hate these cheap Chinese magnet stands for dial indicators when working with grinding machines. Since you don’t true a bicycle wheel to 0.01 mm I thought I can get away with a cheap €25 magnet stand. It works ok, but next time I’ll get a better one anyway.

Hub motor test stand

It works quite well as a crude hub motor test stand too. Thats my new Bafang BPM2 btw. (and my cat)

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Begorett Velomobile

So far the Begorett velomobile only looks like a design study.
At 40 kg weight and 1.08 m overall width I’d say it’s slightly overweight and at least 15 cm too wide to fit through obstacles if you leave the road.

That critique out-of-the-way, I really like the idea of four wheels and 26″ wheel size in a velomobile. I’ve got a fair share of bad roads as well as multiple train tracks and flap bridges on my daily commute and thus experimented with 24″ and 26″ front wheels on my Sprint again.

Begorett Velo black 01 here is a 360° view

The Begorett velomobile is build (or better say might be build) on an aluminium tube space frame and the designers focus obviously lays heavily on cycling safety.

Begorett Velo space frame here is an other 360° view

All images: Begorett Velomobile

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