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Willow’s TerraTrike Rover updates …

Stevie Willow Trikes

Brother Steve (ICE Qnt) and Sister Willow (TerraTrike Rover) in 2011

NOVEMBER 26, 2015: Willow has upgraded her Rover recently. Here is the latest scoop! After a few years of riding this one-speed tricycle, Willow realized that she wanted to reach higher speeds now and then – with the former one-speed setup from the factory, Willow would “spin out” as her speed increased, meaning that she could not pedal any faster to achieve a higher speed. Solution? Install a SRAM three-speed internally geared automatic rear  hub, which senses the trike’s speed and adjusts the gearing automatically with no conscious effort from the rider. Now, if Willow pedals faster, the SRAM IGH will shift itself into the next higher gear, allowing her to pick up speed. If she comes to a hill, the SRAM hub will downshift all by itself. Cool!

The SRAM hub was purchased from Hostel Shoppe. Head mechanic Scott Christopherson installed it in a 20″ wheel, and shipped it out west for Willow. The new wheel easily slid into the place where the original equipment wheel was, with no need to even adjust the chain. The job was relatively quick for a mechanically inclined person, but not one to be tackled by many neophyte riders.

Willow’s Rover was also upgraded with three Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. The stock tires from TerraTrike were still serviceable, and had never had a flat (Willow rides only in a subdivision with perfect Home & Garden style roads, with smooth pavement and no bad spiky things in the road). She gave them to another trike rider in her subdivision as spares.

For the entire story on Willow’s Rover, click HERE.

Over the years since first acquiring this TerraTrike Rover, the seat has slowly slid forward on the frame, due to a design shortcoming in the adjustable mechanism that allows for more than one rider to use the trike. When this occurs over time, the rear pannier rack, which is by design attached to the seat’s two rear support struts, angles downward in front more and more. It reached the point where the trike actually could not be ridden comfortably anymore. Keep in mind, that in 2011, brother Steve made sure the seat cam mechanism, which holds the seat in place fore and aft, was as tight as possible, just to make sure this did not happen. Well, it happens anyway, and after about three years, it was really quite a problem for Willow. The back of her head was hitting the pannier rack when brother Steve returned to remedy the situation, and the seat was all the way forward against the front cross member support bars, so her legs were cramped up while pedaling.

I readjusted the seat and pannier rack interface to proper angles, and then used vice grips to give a bit more bite to the cam mechanism. But wait … there’s more! Just to seal the deal, and finally overcome this design issue, I used a hose clamp over a piece of inner tube rubber (idea suggested by my pedaling partner Matt Jensen), and cranked it down plenty tight, right in front of the seat sliding tube, so that there is no possible way for the weight of a rider pushing down on the seat for a few years to cause the seat to slide forward ever again. The future should be solid as a rock now!

I hope this has been redesigned by TerraTrike since the design’s first introduction to the market, as folks who are not mechanically savvy or able would not know how to fix their seating angle (Willow had no clue what to do, plus, she has hand issues that make physical adjustment by her impossible, thus this problem waited all this time until my next visit to get fixed). This is marketed as a trike for the masses, and while it is readily fixed by me and others who have some mechanical ability, many people who are not capable of assessing and fixing the situation are just left hanging with a compromised trike. Willow lives at least 10 miles from a bicycle shop, does not have a vehicle to take her trike there for repair, and essentially is on her own, so a well designed tricycle is important in her situation.

Willow Rover Hose Clamp

Viewed from the front of the trike looking rearward, a piece of inner tube rubber keeps a super tight hose clamp securely in place. Against the back of the hose clamp rests the seat assembly, which can no longer slide forward over the years. Yes, it looks rather hokey, but since the original factory design came up short, a jury-rigged solution was necessary. Since this photo was taken, I have added a second hose clamp snug up against the first, because I want to make extra sure this time that Willow’s seat will not slide forward.

Willow Rover Hose Clamp (1)Willow Rover Hose Clamp (2)

Willow should not have this annoying problem ever again! In this photo, you can see how far forward the seat slid, right up against the angular cross-frame supports, a distance of nearly 8 inches! I am surprised she could even pedal it, as she has really long legs.

Another design manifestation Willow finds annoying is how the trike’s direct steering, when turned to lock while turning sharply in tight surroundings, essentially falls into the position, and requires a concentrated effort to return to a forward facing position for riding straight after the turn. Other Rover riders have noted this issue, and even a couple of Catrike riders have complained that the steering wants to remain stuck in the turning position. This seems like it may be an inherent manifestation of direct steering. I have ridden Willow’s Rover several times testing this, and sure enough, the wheels most definitely stay cocked all the way right or left, unless the rider forcefully returns the wheels straight. Here is a photo showing the wheels in the locked right position:

Willow Rover Steering IssueThey would remain in this position without concerted effort to straighten them. A trike with indirect steering, by contrast, will essentially right itself without effort from the rider.

For the entire story on Willow’s Rover, click HERE.


2 responses

  1. Steve Newbauer

    I have never been impressed with the Rover or Rambler when it comes to design and quality. It is a nightmare just to remove a front wheel to change a tire on the rim. I could not hardly believe TT would design such a vehicle requiring the disc brake to be removed in order to remove the wheel. That is really dumb. A Torx head driver is required to remove the screws in the brake disc so it is necessary to carry one along. Of course, working with small parts while broke down alongside the road/trail means that it is all too easy to loose such small parts in the process. They can easily end up over to the side in grass or weeds, etc. where they can’t be found. I have had it happen.

    December 7, 2015 at 6:33 am

  2. Art

    I used the hose clamp solution for my Rans V-Rex. Although on that one the seat would slide to the rear so I had to stretch to even reach the pedals. It worked like a charm for at least 5000 miles.It seems that minimal design gets copied, so we riders need to complain so that the next generation of cyclists don’t need to solve the same problem.

    December 11, 2015 at 8:42 pm