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FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

 

About the Roller

1. Why is the Roller constructed of Aluminium Alloy?

2. Why are there no curved tubes on the Roller?

3. Why does the Roller use rod end bearings for the kingpins?

4. What is the purpose of the flanged joint in the main chassis?

5. Are disc brakes available on the Roller?

6. What is the recommended maximum weight of rider?

7. Why does it take six weeks to produce a Roller?

8. Why is there only one model of Roller?

9. Considering the very complete specification and undoubted quality of the Roller, the price seems comparatively low – have you cut any corners?

 

About recumbent trikes in general

1. Do you feel safe down there?

2. Is it fast?

3. Traditional tricycles have two wheels at the back, what advantages are there with two wheels at the front?

4. Is it comfortable?

 

 

About the Roller

1. Why is the Roller constructed of Aluminium Alloy?

There are several reasons why the Roller is built of aluminium alloy:

 (a) It doesn't rust - this is a very important advantage over steel.  When you have paid a considerable sum of money for a machine designed to be used outside, on the road, in all weathers and conditions, it seems unreasonable for the most expensive part, the chassis, to be prone to rusting.  

(b) It is possible to construct light and stiff structures.  Stiffness with minimum weight is important in a trike  - you don't want to waste energy flexing the chassis with each push on the pedals nor carry unnecessary weight up the hills. 

(c) The Roller chassis is built with an alloy known as 6082-T6. It is the European equivalent of the better known 6061 used in the USA and is widely used in many structural applications, aircraft fittings, cameras, marine and electrical  hardware, hydraulic pistons, etc.  It has a high strength-to-weight ratio, is very corrosion resistant and welds together with predictability when using the correct methods - AC output TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding.  After welding the structure is re-tempered by a precision solution heat treatment process.  Each chassis is processed in the same manner as parts used in the aircraft industry.  A certificate of conformance is issued for each batch processed.

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2. Why are there no curved tubes on the Roller?

Curved tubes for the seat frame and handlebars were considered in the design stage but it was concluded that because of the particular grade, temper and thickness of alloy used, stronger and lighter structures could be made by cutting and welding.  Formed, or bent, tubes often need to have increased wall thickness to compensate for the stretching and thinning of the material on the outside of the bend. 

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3. Why does the Roller use rod end bearings for the kingpins?

Phosphor-bronze spherical rod end bearings are an excellent solution to the kingpin requirement.  They are very robust, high-precision bearings designed to operate over a wide range of angles.  When used in pairs, they are ideal for handling the many changing forces experienced by a trike's steering assembly.  They are widely used in many engineering situations and are readily available from any local bearing supplier.  After tens of thousands of miles of very hard testing there is no perceptible wear in any of the prototype or demonstrator trikes' kingpin bearings.

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4.  What is the purpose of the flanged joint in the main chassis?

When the original design work was undertaken it was considered important to be able to break down the chassis into several parts for ease of shipping and for economic repair in the event of any crash damage.  The bolted flange offers strength, integrity and correct alignment.  With only a 10mm spanner and a 5mm Allen key the Roller can be broken down into two main sections in a just a few minutes.  It can then be easily loaded into the back of the averaged-sized car with folding rear seats.  Re-assembly is almost as quick, without the need for any adjustments.

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5.  Are disc brakes available on the Roller?

There are no plans to offer disc brakes on the Roller.

Hydraulically-operated disc brakes have become standard equipment on competitive mountain bikes where the likely combination of mud and damaged wheels make the usual rim brakes less effective.  Today, with the advent of cheaper cable-operated systems, even inexpensive bikes are fitted with discs.  However, people buying these bikes are often surprised at the need for quite frequent adjustments to maintain efficiency and to prevent annoying rubbing, and the relatively high cost of replacement pads.   

Drum brakes, on the other hand, have a long history and are well known for their all-weather reliability, efficiency and longevity.  They are extremely simple to adjust, require very little maintenance and will stop the Roller almost 'on a sixpence'.  Short cables and well-designed, adjustable levers ensure that a rider can easily set up the braking to suit their preferred feedback, or modulation, of the system.  The most effective braking is achieved when the wheels are very close to stopping without actually being locked.  Locked, skidding wheels are wheels out of control. 

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6.  What is the recommended maximum weight of rider?

During the initial testing of the trike and many times since, Rollers have been grossly overloaded without any ill-effects.  However, every structure has its breaking point and therefore a limit has to be put on the permitted load to ensure a large safety factor and to give a meaningful guarantee.

From experience, figures of 115 Kg (approx. 250 lbs or 18 stone) on the rider's weight and 35 Kg (approx. 75 lbs) on the amount of luggage, are considered realistic upper limits for this type of machine. 

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7. Why does it take six weeks to produce a Roller?

The Roller's aluminium chassis consists of 74 separate measured, cut and prepared tubes, 42 water-jet cut profiles, 3 bought-out parts (the bottom bracket shell and two brake mounts) and 14 turned components - 133 items in all.  These parts are all skillfully welded together in jigs to form the chassis, seat, steering and rack assemblies.  The assemblies are then packed and sent to a West Midlands specialist heat treatment company where the materials are returned to their original molecular state prior to the welding process.  On their return, they are repacked and sent to a powder coating firm to receive an etch coat, a colour coat and a clear lacquer.  Some parts (the ones that are adjustable and slide) are anodised.  The whole process, including several transport trips, depends very largely on the schedules and availability at the heat treatment, powder coating and anodising firms  - who are, naturally, all set up to handle high volume orders - and we are certainly not a high volume customer. Therefore, the complete cycle usually takes at least five weeks.   Experience has taught us that unforeseen problems can arise and therefore we like to have a weeks' contingency to fall back on.

Meanwhile, the seat cover, also consisting of many parts, is measured, cut out and sewn together with great care to provide a strong, superior, comfortable seat.  The wheels are built, other small parts are made, all the other cycle and engineering parts are assembled, and then, eventually, the whole trike is built, adjusted and tested over a period of three days - the best part.  It's no wonder that the Roller can only be available to the discerning few.

It would be nice to be quicker but good things just can't be rushed.

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8. Why is there only one model of Roller?

As mentioned in the ‘Description’ page, when the design of the Roller began we studied all the most popular trikes available at the time.   We listed and carefully analysed all the variations on the trike theme (which are mainly concerned with wheel sizes and track width and seat type, height and angle) and came to the conclusion that the best attributes and many of our own ideas could be incorporated into one machine without any major compromises.  So far, we haven't seen the need to introduce another model because we can't identify any significant changes to the Roller which would justify a new design.  We're certainly not complacent and the ability to remain focussed on the one product enables us to evaluate and incorporate minor evolutionary improvements if and when they become obvious. 

This approach has several advantages for owners - for example, the machine they bought a year or so ago will not be superseded by a new or cheaper model, improvements are simple and can be usually retrofitted, after-sales service can be optimised, second-hand values are maintained, etc.  Rollers seem to become almost a part of the family and owners say they have no intention of ever selling their machines for the sake of another.  That's why they are built to last!

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9. Considering the very complete specification and undoubted quality of the Roller, the price seems comparatively low – have you cut any corners?

Absolutely not.  However, there are several reasons why we can offer the Roller at a good price and yet still maintain a high level of specification and build quality. 

Redmount hpv is a small family firm with low overheads. We spend very little on advertising, do not attend cycle shows, make only one model and conduct almost all of our sales either through recommendation or by means of this web site.   Perhaps most importantly, we deal directly with all our customers and therefore we don't pay for the rather expensive services of dealers or agents.  We are able to pass these savings on to our customers.

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About recumbent trikes in general

1. Do you feel safe down there?

Yes.  Drivers tend to treat recumbent trikes quite differently to bicycles.  This may be because they are not used to seeing trikes on the road and therefore give them more consideration.  Also the trike's greater road presence means vehicles have to make a positive overtaking manoeuvre and cannot just squeeze past as they often do when overtaking a bicycle.

It only takes a short ride to become acclimatised to the new position.  From experience, recumbent trike riders feel much safer on their machines than on a normal bicycle.  Because of the inherent stability, a rider quickly becomes much more relaxed about the state of the road surface ahead, the effects of being passed by large vehicles and the ever present concern of being pushed or blown over and falling off, head first.  In fact, a recumbent trike must surely be the safest cycle on the road.

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2. Is it fast?

It all depends.  Many factors influence your speed, the most important being the need to overcome drag caused by travelling through air.  On an 'upright' bicycle, at about 12mph and over, on a windless day, approximately 70% of your effort is spent simply pushing your way through the air.  Because the recumbent position creates less windage and therefore less energy is wasted, the rider can travel further or faster for the same effort.  

The general perception is that the recumbent trike rider may be a little slower at climbing hills (and don't forget you can go as slow as you like because you can't fall off) but you can easily make up the average speed again by being able to safely and confidently descend hills faster than most bicyclists.  One owner reports steady speeds of over 50 mph.

Naturally, fitness also plays its part!  

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3. Traditional tricycles have two wheels at the back, what advantages are there with two wheels at the front?

Several, in particular stability.  

Delta trikes (those with two wheels at the back) are prone to tipping over when cornering at speed, especially when braking at the same time.  To help prevent this, the rider must lean over hard into the corner making pedalling and steering difficult.  

Tadpole trikes (those with two wheels at the front) don't suffer from this problem as the centre of gravity tends to stay within the imaginary triangle formed by the wheels; the rider does not have to lean as much to safely turn the same corner at the same speed. With practice, controlled braking whilst negotiating a corner on a tadpole trike can actually assist the rider to travel even faster than normal.  This is particularly useful when conditions are slippery, or when travelling fast downhill.

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4. Is it comfortable?

Many people (usually non-cyclists) ask this and, of course, the answer is always a truthful 'yes'.  If that is followed up with the somewhat facetious observation that 'They wouldn't sell many cars if they only had saddles to sit on'  most get the point and nod sagely in agreement.  

Why not recline (recumb?) and pedal in comfort?  There's no need to balance - how much energy do we use in just balancing - and so the whole experience is one of relaxation with some gentle, or more vigorous, exercise whenever you wish.  You can stop and enjoy the scenery as you please, doze off under a shady tree, chat to interested people - all in the comfort of your own mobile reclined seat.  It is quite possible to spend a whole day on (in) the trike, travel, say, 100 miles and still be eager to do the same again the following day - and the next.  The aches and pains often associated with the 'upright' bicycle become memories of the past.  A recumbent trike is the ultimate long-distance touring machine.

Once you've tried triking you'll wonder why you waited so long.

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Last updated: 23 March 2006

 

Home  Description  Specifications & Prices  Pictures  About us  FAQs  News, Links, etc.  Owners' comments  Summary  Appendix