Triker Glen (Custom Delta)

Glen Aldridge, a cool triker (literally, especially during Canada’s deep freeze winters) has had a few trikes, the first of which was a TerraTrike, the second a Trident, the third a custom built delta design, which has morphed into his fourth trike, a reincarnation of the third. Built at home between blizzards, the sun poked out long enough for him to take and send us a few preliminary photos. If you recall, Glen was a member of the 2011 Coast to Cactus Tricycle Expedition. Below are the first photos near completion, along with some text from Glen, followed by some video footage:

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SAMSUNG

We finally started getting some Spring weather here and I have been tweaking Delta Version 2. Although it may look similar to Version 1 there are some considerable differences. Significantly, I didn’t make nearly as many mistakes as the first build. It’s lucky I don’t know what I am doing as I wouldn’t be so open to trying new ideas.

Despite the best advice & intentions of others telling me, “that won’t work,” or “you can’t do that,” for the most part the trike is a huge improvement over the first build. I still have a few wrinkles to sort out though. A key difference between this & Delta 1 is the size & weight. On D1 I used industrial strength square aluminum tubing & it rode like a truck! Rock Hard! You could feel each & every imperfection in the road. It also steered like a truck – very heavy steering & the rim brakes were not up to the job at all. On D2 I used a lighter weight aluminum & it has made a huge difference in the ride. It is also about 4 inches shorter than D1. I suspect the frame is flexing as the ride feels suspended now which may be a problem down the road if the frame is flexing too much.

I also used Sturmey Archer Drum Brakes on the back wheels which sceptics kept telling me, “that won’t work, it’ll be dangerous,” or, “it will flip you in the corners.” While I haven’t had it up to any break neck speeds yet, the brakes are wonderful. Extremely smooth & progressive braking & I would never go back to P.I.T.A. disc brakes again. (Crossing my fingers on the next mountain descent.)

One problem that still persists is the Pedal Steer – with each turn of the pedals the front wants to turn away from the pedal stroke. I am hoping the application of steering strut dampers will help this. I was also able to get my Shimano Nexus 8 speed IGH to work with the front dérailleur to give me a total of 24 speeds. I was expecting to only get the middle & 48 tooth chain ring. Unfortunately, the chain tensioner sticks out too far & is subject to heel strikes. I think I will do away with the front dérailleur, shifter & chain tensioner as I am a big believer in keeping things simple and the Nexus 8 speed is a fine reliable unit on it’s own & I really don’t need to go 30 or 40 mph.

I may go for a hard shell seat as I think some of the pedal steer is due to moving my bum when I pedal. A hard shell seat might offer more stability. Seat of the pants testing would put the total weight around 37 pounds, as it feels considerably lighter than my Trident Stowaway 11 I had in 2011. Next chance I get I will get it on a scale.

Center of gravity is nice & low along with the package shelf on the back. Majority of the weight is over the front wheel where you need it on a front wheel drive, so much so that I had to redesign my trike stand to not twist itself while the trike was up on the stand.

Feel free to comment, ask questions, tell me I’m an idiot for sinking so much money in to this etc. All is welcome, Glen

Glen's Delta 02 Glen's Delta 03 Glen's Delta 04 Glen's Delta 05 Glen's Delta 06

Here are some recent photos of the trike ready to ride.  Finally got some decent weather here so I thought you might like some photos of the trike. Here are the specs –
Overall length – 67 inches
Track width – 31 inches
Wheel base – 45 inches
Ground clearance – 4 inches
Cargo rack – 21.5 x 19.5 inches
Bottom of seat height – 12 inches (Can be lowered to 10.5)
Weight (via bathroom scale) – 44lbs.

Glen Delta final 01 Glen Delta final 02 Glen Delta final 03 Glen Delta final 04 Glen Delta final 05

Video of Glen on his custom delta trike:

Here is Glen on his Trident Stowaway tadpole trike he used to own:

Glen is the man in yellow.

Glen’s former tadpole trike, a Trident Stowaway:

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10 Responses to Triker Glen (Custom Delta)

  1. Paul Needham says:

    Glen

    Nice to see trike number 2 taking shape , my Python build is here :-

    http://forum.atomiczombie.com/showthread.php/8210-Building-a-python-trike

    I took inspiration from your first build and advice from the python forum as to rear brakes , basically put 2 on the front wheel and forget the rear wheels !

    Unfortunately due to some poor design decisions on my part it has ended up to heavy and has a few problems around the pivot area for handle bar placement and lack of turning circle.

    Already I am itching to start a Mk 2 ‘ better trike ‘ !!!

    I currently have hard shell seat fitted [ just plywood ] however there is to little padding and want to fit a mesh seat I have just acquired , whilst there is some pedal steer it is not major and I blame it on not having cleated pedals fitted yet as it is still in shake down mode and has not yet been ridden more than a mile !

    Keep the pictures coming and all the best Paul

    ps I ONLY ride Delta a trike currently a Kett but am hoping to replace it with either this python or a twisting chain FWD

  2. daytriker says:

    Hi Paul, Just my opinion but I disagree with the brake only on a single front wheel. I believe this is what gets Delta’s into trouble in corners. Braking while turning will mean your back end is free to pivot around your steering point. Having 2 points of braking contact will always be better than a single wheel regardless of it being Delta or Tadpole./Glen

  3. paul needham says:

    Glen

    Well never having ridden a Python style trike I sought advice , however I am sure there are pro’s and con’s for both depending on the load being carried and the wheel base .

    The Kett only has rear brakes and can lock a rear wheel however it has never had any bad consequences for me , being longer the front wheel is to lightly loaded to have a brake and although the weight does move forward during braking as you say 2 wheels braked should be better than 1 !

    Like you I am a fan of hub brakes and have a couple not being used at present , also in my copy it is getting very crowded up front especially with every thing happening between your legs !

    Keep the pictures and ride reports coming , these spur others on to follow in your footsteps :-)

    Mine has just done a 2 mile ride with limited gears , 1 brake and a modicum of luck I suspect.

    all for now Paul

  4. paul needham says:

    Glen

    Well I am able to do some flight testing :-

    http://forum.atomiczombie.com/showthread.php/8210-Building-a-python-trike?p=87653#post87653

    Posts #86 , #89 & #91 seems every ride is an adventure.

    I am curious about your pedal steer comments , my understanding of the steering damper is that they are added only to stop the front flopping when you get off it some trikes can get pedal strike without it [ mine do not pivot that far ]

    Even with toe clips and not cleated pedals/shoes I find I can steer with my feet if I want and would describe pedal steer most of the time as just a little weaving ?

    I have noticed it is worse when I have run out of gears and so I can no longer pedal fast enough to increase my speed anymore , where as when I am working hard to get it up a hill it is hardly noticeable [ the reverse of what my intuition tells me should happen ?]

    All the best Paul

  5. Hi Paul, Well D2 or is that D3? is a huge improvement over D1 but I see several areas that could still be improved. I like this style of Delta, I really do. I find it aesthetically pleasing to look at as well as a functional design. What I don’t like is the pedal steer which wastes a lot of energy. Surprisingly, the roll out while coasting is almost as good as an Ice Sprint with a 250lb. guy on board. We did a side by side test to check it out. My Pedal Steer problem seems to stem from torqueing to climb as it gets worse with even small hills. This is most likely due to the light weight aluminum I used. Here’s where the engineers & experience comes to play. How to keep something light but strong. I’ll be happy to relay any help I can with your build but bear in mind I am not an expert at anything – simply willing to put my best efforts into play. /Glen

  6. Paul Needham says:

    Glen

    I am planning V2 hopefully to be built over this winter , as you say these delta’s look sort of neat and aggressive it also surprises me that when I am not sat on mine it does not look as though an adult can fit it !

    Do you think your pedal steer is related to steering pivot angle ? mine is adjustable however I have not found any reason to try different angles.

    Whilst mine is a joy to ride most of the time it is a white knuckle ride at speed when you have almost no resistance to pedalling , I have narrowed it down to the fact you can steer my trike just by flexing your buttocks ! [ I assume this changes the length of your legs ? ] So as you approach the point where there is no resistance from the pedals any longer you begin to move more and more in the seat this is seen as steering input by the trike.

    I have now done approx 700 miles on mine and apart from needing a mesh seat and a platform similar to yours for carrying luggage and camping gear it is no more a compromise than the Kett delta I had before it , and to be honest has gone more places than I dare take the Kett.

    keep triking Paul

  7. Paul Needham says:

    Glen

    I had not seen your videos before tonight ?

    The first one at about 0.13 seconds looks like your rear wheels are flexing and not remaining vertical ?

    Could this be the source of your pedal steer ?

    It is also visible on the other video ?

    regards Paul

  8. Hi Paul, I do have frame flex on the latest build but it doesn’t seem to affect the steering excessively. What I did to compensate was to make the seat much more rigid which had a huge improvement in the handling. I am convinced a Hard Shell seat would make it even better. As the frame is twisting on it’s length I don’t think the rear wheels have any significant input to the steering. Of course it could also be a combination of small movements over the entire trike assembly affecting the steering but really it is now handling quite well. I have had it over rough pot holed roads, up to reasonable speeds, lots of corners at speed & the only real headache is the boom flex when torqueing in a too high gear. I also discovered my alignment for the front chain ring was out about 1/4 inch horizontally & 1/8 inch vertically which causes excessive strain on the boom when mashing. The only way I can see to fix this is to re-weld the boom into a better alignment. As for the steering angle, from reading Esko’s notes he seems to feel that it is essential the steering is set at 53 degrees from horizontal. This would seem to prove true as my first build was set at 59 degrees & didn’t handle nearly as well. The rear wheels are set at 5 degrees off vertical as per Esko’s design. If you set your wheels at 90 degrees your cornering stresses are horizontal to your spokes. If you camber the wheels then your cornering stresses are along the length of the spokes. You will find your tires have better adhesion & cornering plus there is also the centrifical advantage of ‘pushing’ you out of a turn. Watch this page for an update coming in the next week, Glen

  9. Arthur Kneisel says:

    I had a Kettweisel delta that pedal steered quite a bit. I hope your length between seat and rear axle reduces the harsh bottoming when going over mild dips. I sold my Kett due to bending the rear axle in dips (I weigh about 170). Good luck with the build.

  10. daytriker says:

    Hi Arthur, I have actually retired the D3 (Delta) in favour of a well sorted Trident Transport 20. While the D3 was a fun project to build it won’t serve my long term goal of taking people out on day or weekend trike trips. So I now have a lot of components available to other builders at reasonable prices if you know anyone looking for a project.

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