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Thread: Handcycle Wheel Upgrade

  1. #1

    Handcycle Wheel Upgrade

    I've had my Varna 2 handcycle for a few years now and found it pretty good on the roads round where I live apart from feeling very vulnerable to traffic. I found myself going more and more to forests and riding on gravel paths, which I enjoy much more.
    However this showed up the limitations of the 20" wheels on the Varna. Grip wasn't too much of an issue as BMX tyres can be had in almost any tread type, but I found the smaller wheels were affected by bumps and puddles causing a very bumpy ride. Also, I'm 6'2" so it kind of looked like I was riding about aon a kids bike
    The back wheels were attached with a 1/2" screw axle which allowed me to fit 24" off road wheels from my spare wheelchair, complete with Schwalbe Wild Thing tyres, and I immmediatly noticed an improvement at the rear of the trike.
    Doing a similar upgrade at the front was not going to be so simple but I took the plunge and cut the forks in half and cut some steel tubing to sleeve over the forks. This was done to fit between the existing cable guides and leave the correct length,

    I tacked the parts to gether and installed the wheel from a 24" mtb to make sure the fork ends lined up aqnd the wheel was centered.

    Then installed the front end to check that there wasn't going to be any clearance issues or undue flex when I got on it (I'm a big lad),

    This was all good apart from the fact that the existing brake was a drum unit that I could either
    a - lace into the new rim - expensive, or
    b - junk in favour of a different system
    I chose option b, and bought a set of V-Brake components to fit to the new forks.
    I had to make and weld on a set of mounts for the brake arms and then refit them to the underside of the forks as the chain was fouling them when they were attached to the upper side (pics to follow)
    Once I got them adjusted etc I finished up the welds and sprayed them with hammerite smooth and bolted it all back together...
    So it's gone from looking like this,

    to looking like this....

    I had no problem finding a willing helper to give it a test ride!!
    Still to do? Well the gearing is still standard mtb ratios as I've lost the bigger shimano mega-range 1st gear, but I've been told I can swap that over. At the minute the lowest gear would allow be to climb any hill I can still get grip on.
    I also need to extend the chain as I can't use 1st, 2nd or 3rd when on the largest crank side chain ring, but this not really an issue as similar ratios can be used on the 2nd ring and higher hub ratios. I'll get the chain extended soon enough.
    Finally, the parking brake had to be taken off to allow for the V-brakes so I nee to work out how to replace this. In the meantime I just jam somethingunder the back wheels to keep it still when I'm getting on and off.
    What do you think guys?
    Alcohol and Calculus don't mix. Never Ever drink and derive!.

  2. #2
    Great job Fenty! We often would tell Georgio at Varna, when we visited him, to make the wheels bigger. That was back in the day when he only made the Varna 1 and the 2 was just coming out. He's more of a sculpter with an incredible mind to combine bikes with art. His a/b cycles are incredible and still set records at the speed trials.

    Will be interesting to see your bike when it's done.

  3. #3
    The parking brake system on the one-off works well - a Velcro strap that simply fastens around the brake lever and hold it in an on position, however, I have ditched this for a bungee-cord loop. This does the same thing but is less fiddly, it simply holds the brake lever in an on position. It is not high tech but it is very effective.

  4. #4
    Adding a sleeve extension was a great idea, thanks for sharing it. I'm surprised your brakes don't have a button to push to hold them in the locked position. I don't know why mine do, I thought the company just took bicycle components and used them. But why would a bicycle need a parking brake like we do?
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian View Post
    The parking brake system on the one-off works well - a Velcro strap that simply fastens around the brake lever and hold it in an on position, however, I have ditched this for a bungee-cord loop. This does the same thing but is less fiddly, it simply holds the brake lever in an on position. It is not high tech but it is very effective.

    Jeez, why didn't I think of that!!! good tip. I was going to weld a different mount to add the second caliper to use as a parking brake. Talk about making work for myself!

    Cheers Adrian
    Alcohol and Calculus don't mix. Never Ever drink and derive!.

  6. #6
    A tester over the easter holiday....

    [IMG][/IMG]

    [IMG][/IMG]
    Should get the mobility scooter walruses complaining.... har haaaaarr....
    Last edited by fenty; 04-30-2014 at 10:01 AM.
    Alcohol and Calculus don't mix. Never Ever drink and derive!.

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