development log, part eight
in which the approach of autumn prompts simplification
last updated 12/12/00
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The story resumes now, with cost so far: $2910. Total time so far: 425 hours.
5 hours. Build sway bar and stiffeners for non-tilting commutes.
I have decided, with the help of my most recent minor crash, to keep things simple for commuting. Thus was born an addition to the old stabilizers: a sway bar/stiffener combination. By removing eight nuts and bolts, the stabilizers come off and the sway bar/stiffener too, and I'm back in leaning mode. But with these on, the bike is steady and, I trust, a little dsafer to operate in traffic.
The tilt lock, framed by the stabilizers. The removable diagonal rods have been around for a year. They hold the tilting parts square, as ever.
The sway bar and stiffeners. The rear-most horizontal member and its four forward-reaching components provide two dimensions of stiffness. They keep the bottoms of the wheels from closing in on each other, and they keep the two wheels moving up and down more or less together, just like any two wheels connected by sway bars. That back bar moces up and down with the swingarms.
The stiffeners, side view. I beefed up the swingarms, as I thought I might have to someday, and put ties on their ends to bolt the stiffener/sway bar unit on. It does add some unsprung mass, but not much next to those eight batteries!
Total cost so far: $2910. Total time so far: 430 hours.
August 21, 2000. Red Letter Day!
I commute. This is only the third time. I made it both ways on one charge, which is a first, and took some daring. It rode really quite well; the suspension feels tight and there's little rocking in turns. Holding the wheel over in turns, though, takes strength.
I also had an interesting and rewarding moment on the way home. The description which follows comes from an email I wrote to some of my brothers in the tilting three-wheeler community:
I commuted in the tilt-locked Maxion today, and had a cooooool moment where I was cookin' along at about 35 mph and heard a nasty chattering noise from my right drive motor. (I still don't know what it was, by the way... more on that another time.) I just reached out to the switch panel in front of me, and toggled the contactor for the right drive, removing power from it. I tried engaging it again at the next stop, gave me a grind again, so I switched it out again. I went all the way home on the left motor alone.
Sure, you're thinking it would have been better to not have used a motor I took out of a golf cart, or that if I had designed it better blah blah blah, but I'm just thinking: damn, that was coo-oo-ool. A flick of a switch!
It's not really safe, however cool. And despite the stiffeners, it's not doing the "side load" bearing too well. It's time for a new chapter... Maxion Log, Part Nine.
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