Sun EZ Sport CX (24 speed) w/RS 35cc

Discussion in 'Motorized Recumbents' started by bamabikeguy, Dec 24, 2008.

  1. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    I picked up my first ever Bent last Friday, when Justin rang it up, bike/faring/accessories and sales tax, he said "one one, one two, one three", a really spooky number to write on a check. That's him, in pic#1.

    The weather hasn't cooperated, I had the engine mounted on Saturday, but didn't get around to putting in the first tank of gas till late yesterday afternoon.

    Everybody warned me that the balancing part would take a little getting used to, and the steering would feel different. But nobody told me that when peddling, it used a whole new set of muscles on the thighs.

    On the first 10 miles, I positively never assisted the engine, was downshifting the gears to see how I could get some foot power into the equation, but never caught up with the Robin/Subaru. So, to compensate, I went on a different route coming back, with 3 pretty steep grades, downshifted, and pedaled like a crazy person.

    It took the hills fine, and I was noticing that "different" feel in the pedaling.

    Now its a few hours later, and I'm sure feeling I overdid it. Hopefully the weather will cooperate today and I can get 30-50 miles on the break-in, do some seat adjusting to make sure I'm doing it right.

    I'm going to test mileage, using one of those 50 cc cattle hypodermics syringes, to get exact measurements, without, then with the wind faring.

    Hope one of you math wizards will help me out with the math.

    My J&B catalog said the Sun Sport came with 14 gauge spokes as standard equipment, but this one had 16's, so I'm running with another bikes rear wheel until I get mine replaced, after the Christmas rush. Justin got in the wrong item on a basket that fits on the back of the seat, so that's another add-on for the new year.

    And I ordered the 105" throttle cable, maybe should have asked for the 92". Julia at GEBE sent me a replacement throttle clip with the invoice, thinking I might shorten it. But I have it running along the bottom, some more miles and getting one of those saddlebags somebody pointed to at Tractor Supply will delay that decision.

    In picture #4, I used a wider piece of aluminum for the front strap, thinking ahead to the saddlebag placement.

    Too early to give a verdict...but I do think a newbie should start with a regular bike, not begin the adventure on a bent until he or she gets all the other MBuilding experiences.

    A bent tricycle might be a whole different matter, because the balance/steering issues would cancel each other out.

    Attached Files:

  2. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Lesson 1 on "faring" installation: When bothering to read instructions, go ahead a find your reading glasses.

    Just got back from a 10 miler, but isn't the thing supposed to raise higher than chin level??

    I thought maybe the two top brackets maybe are supposed to go up on the bar with the grips, but then when I eventually found the instructions, I've got them somewhat correct.

    Bottom bar has to be reversed, where the rubber cap is UP instead of down....but I don't see how that is going to get the shield "eye level".

    Anybody have a close up picture of the top of the windshield?

    And if this is the case, chin level is the max, how do you light a smoke at 30 mph??
  3. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    good looking bike!!'re gonna end up with thighs like Suzanne Summers!!! :smilielol5:

    So 'chin level' doesn't channel the wind over your head?
    did you try "slouching" while you lit your smoke? haha you get more comfortable on this bent..... you'll find a nice posture.
    does your backrest adjust so you could lean back a little farther?
  4. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    I find that if I set my fairing above chin level, I'm always kind of stretching to look over it (straining to see the next obstacle on the road).
  5. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Lesson #2: if you're going to grab an old wheel, on a bike that's been sitting in the back of the shop since 2005, since before I started doing all that puncture proofing, check for dry rot.

    First flat tire since June 2006 ! No tools, no cell phone, nobody at home. So I got a little walking in today...

    But the flat was AFTER I filled up at the standard station, a little over 8 miles=.08 cents in $1.77 mid-grade...that's better than the .18 cents it used to cost when a gallon was bumping $4.

    I stopped at the hardware store too, get a few washers, 2 of them rubber, strengthen up the braces on the back.

    I did figure out why they are efficient, that you push your back into the matter, kind of like those row boaters. If only I could get the odometer to work, I would be able to verify I was going pretty fast up the steepest grade around these parts. Piece of cake.

    I can't wait till summer, when June bugs start bouncing off like ping pong balls. When one of those flying beetles smacks you in the noggin, that has always been my "wake up" moment.

    Well, back to the shop, butcher another bike looking for a puncture-proof tube....
  6. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member


    yeah...w/o that backrest, you'd have nothing!!

    heh...swallowed a june bug once, while riding my motorcycle...had to, it was either swallow it or :puke2:
    & I don't know how well that would have worked out for me at 70 mph!!
    I did learn to keep my mouth shut after that...haha
  7. vegaspaddy

    vegaspaddy Member

    welcome to the world of bents bama your rear posture and back are going to love you forever

    NEED I SAY MORE !!!!!!!

    The more the merrier
  8. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Here's "Rucio", (Sancho Panza's donkey, stablemate to Rocinante), and I figured out the windshield puzzles...with a bit of Allen's wrench fooling around I have it about as far up as possible.

    I have a whole new sequence nowadays, step by step, on the frame mounting, new jigs for the spoke ring mounting, a few new tips/tricks, and when I get caught up on a long list of post-holiday chores, I'll get them on this thread.

    But now its "to the fences", my neighbor called about having 100 goats in his yard, the rains have washed out my "creek blocking-fence", have to get the wading boots out and see if I can recover about 50 feet of heavy logging chain, and start back from scratch.

    I got the goats back, but my llama was missing for 3 days, didn't know HOW I was going to get him back, but he wandered up in my yard yesterday afternoon, piece of cake.

    Attached Files:

  9. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    The guy in pic 1 is Jack, with the stretch cruiser that hit 52 mph. It's equipped with a GEBE setup and a 40cc pocket rocket engine.

    Pic 2 is his garage, packed full of bikes, including the first one which I sold him in 2005. Once he caught the MB.bug, folks in his area started bringing bikes and bike carcasses to his house to tinker with, so there are probably 8 projects going on at any one time. He came by this week to measure the recumbent, he's planning on welding up a modified version of it, with more of a step-thru framing between the seat and handlebars.

    It has been very beneficial to have customers like Jack catch the bug, he's a retired plant engineer who can visualize then build just about anything. When either of us discover a trick, tip or a new jig, we share it.

    I'm going to gather all those jigs and small tools, take pictures, and share them in this thread, even though the bike is a bent, they could be applied to any frame-mounted build.

    Jack and I buy enough 1 1/2" wide steel to cut and pre-drill, with a 5/16" hole, 20 "blanks". (fyi, the steel and aluminum is available at Tractor Supply Co. and Lowes.) 5/16" carriage bolts are what I use, attaching the engine mount to the blank.

    Then, because the (2) 5mm holes, to mount the blank on each model seem to differ, I keep a sample to use the next time I come across that model. He does that also, between us we have 10 of these drilling jigs.

    Here's the problem when a new model shows up, and the solution.

    On the recumbent....NONE of the jigs fit those two 5mm holes. (pic 3)

    There are more scientific ways to do it, but for folks just wanting to build ONE frame mount, here is a quick/flawless tip.

    Cut a piece of cardboard the size of the blank. We cut our blanks 2 3/8" long. Then clamp it in position, careful to be above the marks where the axle nuts will tighten.

    A 20-penny nail fits pretty good into a 5mm hole (mine has 2 layers of electric tape for a perfect fit), which I use to punch the guide marks, then I drill the pilot holes.

    Once the pilot holes are drilled through the nail marks, a 13/64" bit bores the best size to fit the (2) 5mm bolts. (pic 4 & 5)

    So, to recap, 2 drill bits (5/16" and 13/64"), a 20 penny nail, and a cardboard jig are an easy way to get the three holes, 2 at the bottom, 1 in the top, into that blank.

    Attached Files:

  10. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Frame mounting continued....

    Once I've dry fitted the 2 blanks, I paint them, (I try never to mix up right and left, but they are near identical).

    Time to cut the ends off the axle mount, I cut off 2 1/4". (pic 1)

    To insure that I never get it out of alignment once the 2 holes are drilled for the carriage bolts, I draw a directional arrow. (pic 2). Right after I mark it, I loop the belt over the mount, and tape it, clamp it or zip tie it to the top of the mount, so I never forget that step.

    On to measuring/drilling the hole for the 2 carriage bolts. I have a 3/8" threaded rod ($2 at Tractor Supply) and 4 wing nuts to serve as my axle substitute. I tighten it in the slots, with a very small gap at the top of the slot if I have to do a minor "up adjustment" on my belt tension. That gap is "just a sliver", it doesn't take much to get belt tension correct.

    357 mm, the distance between the axle and the bottom of the mount, has proven to work, and cutting a piece of wood exactly 357mm, then using 2 C-clamps to hold the mount/blank together for drilling, is the easiest way I've found to do it.

    So, now the painted blanks are on the frame, notice I have some masking tape at the bottom of the mount to reduce scratching, and once they are clamped, I can bore out the 5/16" hole.

    Pic 5, belt looped over it, I bolt the mount to the blank. Everything checks out? I put fingernail polish on all the threads. Fingernail polish and nylock nuts have never let me down.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  11. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    A few notes about the front strap.....

    I knew ahead of time I was going to look for a saddlebag setup, so instead of using the strap from GEBE, I cut a 2" wide strap out of aluminum, drilled 5/16" holes, including an extra hole to zip tie my INSURANCE policy shock absorber. (pic 1)

    Take my word for it, that little tip works if you hit a pothole and the front strap comes loose. I've driven troublefree for days not even knowing it was loose, just because of those zip ties....

    The 35cc Robin Subaru, because of the oil pan, has to sit vertical, pretty much straight up, from the axle.

    The 33cc Tanaka's can be leaned back farther from the seat, like it does on Rocinante.

    Pic 3 is a pair of his and hers Schwinns I built in November, note the Tanaka is tilted back.

    If you are going to do that, the easiest thing is order 2 straps from GEBE, because they are so beefed up nowadays, bolt them together and whoola, there's your extra few inches of clearance.

    Back to the Rucio build, (pic 4)....

    As I noted, I'm using an old wheel (btw, the tube that went flat was NOT a punctureproof, it was a $6 slimer, that has been remedied) I skipped all those spoke ring/rear wheel steps.

    Even so, I knew I was going to use 4 axle washers, 2 on each side, and when I put the engine on, then looped the belt on the wheel and got that all lined up, adjusted my brake ran flawless from the get go.

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  12. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Simplified, step by step nowadays, here is the order in which I do my installs:

    Throw away the $1 inner tubes, hang the 16 gauge rear wheel for my fence art (it's now nearly a quarter mile of rear wheels).

    1. Snap on the spokering, THEN ziptie the spokes, put on the sprocket. STOP work on the wheel*.

    2. *I have a dummy wheel/spokering that I slip in the slots, to see if any frame crimping is necessary. IF you wait on putting on the tire/tube, you can use your wheel, (step 1).

    3. Fit on the steel blanks, paint them, do the 357mm mounting, dry fit the engine with belt on and front strap attached.

    4. Put your wheel back in the slots, I always start with 2 washers on each side. Loop the belt around it, checking where it sits in the small drive gear.

    You are looking for two more things, besides the drive gear- that the spoke ring definitely clears the frame, AND that the chain does NOT touch one of the 5mm bolt heads on the blank.

    You can also spin that rear wheel, check belt tension, make sure you have it centered within margin of error (not too much bounce on the tension lever).

    By waiting to put on the tire/tube, you figure out washer spacing on the axle, you can also make preliminary brake shoe adjustments.

    5. Once you are satisfied, wheel/belt tension/ can even crank the engine if you like. IF the bike is suspended in the air, its so easy to look at the brakes, see if major washer adjustments on the brakes are necessary.

    6. Put the rubber gasket over the spoke ends, either use 4 layers of electrical tape or that special tape they sell at bike shops to cushion those spoke ends. That rubber gasket will pierce and flatten your tire one day, but plan ahead, cushion them, and that won't happen.

    7. IF the spoke ring is centered, add a drop of super-glue to each notch.

    8. Put in the punctureproof tube and tire liner.

    9. I never attach the kill switch for the first few days, just zip tie it to the front strap, out of the way, use the choke to kill the engine. The kill switch needs a little beefing up too, and Rucio still isn't connected up, I'll take pix of those modifications later this week. (Basically it is a bit of electrical tape and a drop of hot wax.)

    Often I break-in the 2 cycles on one of my bikes, doing those miles of throttle variations, then move them to the customers bike, already having a few tankfuls of fuel run through them. It makes no sense for me to mess with the kill switch until the customers bike is ready to roll. By breaking in the 2 cycles myself, I pretty well know the customer will gain increased speed and mileage performances.

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    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  13. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Yesterday the weather finally cooperated, afternoon in the mid 60's, winds 10-20 mph, so I got about a 7 hour chance to show it to friends, maybe an 80 mile run out of Rucio. (I've been limited to 15 mile loops around the house, enough to change the oil twice during the break-in.)

    Hey recumbent riders
    , if any of you have done long rides on a bent, please let me know HOW, because after 75 miles, I got that dreaded tingly right elbow.

    It's a fun ride, I'm sure I'll get better adjusted when Spring arrives, but having the arms extended all day yesterday makes me wonder if I'll have to limit Rucio to local round trips, and continue to use Rocinante on the overnighters.

    For sure, Rocinante's wide handlebars, even when the basket is loaded, seems to have more stable steering, like when trucks whizz by, as opposed to the recumbents "closer together" grip.

    Pic 1 is where we left off, Pic 2 is adding the wings for the saddlebags, Pic 3 is adding the bags and a front fender.

    I found the saddlebags at a horse saddlery $25, nylon with plastic lining inside. I sprayed them heavy with silicone waterproofing, liberally used long zip ties to secure it to the wings and bikeframe.

    Then on the back of the seat, I attached a third carrybag I picked up long ago at Goodwill for $1, it has the label "Enfamil", so it must be a black diaper bag. It sure is handy, 5 separate compartments and velco flap.

    Part of yesterdays ride was to pick up 3 punctureproofs and pennants for the trike build I'm doing next, Pic 4 is where I let Josh, my bike guy, take Rucio for a spin. HE WANTS ONE, especially likes how quiet the R/S 35 is!! Pic 5 was just a random spot, about 30 miles from the house.

    Looking at Pic 5, you can see the long distance limitations.

    Without a basket means I need to build a trailer, and Jack & I have a single wheel design in mind. My new pup tent will fit behind the seat, atop the wings, but still I would be minus my backpack. A trailer would answer all my problems, for sure

    That "elbow tingle"? I'm going to buy an elbow brace next time in town, see if THAT is the answer.

    But the second problem for long distance is the foam seat, which would absorb the occasional wet weather. I have to design some sort of plastic cover for the seat.

    I'm going to do another experiment with the faring, there must be a way to get that thing higher.

    And I'm going to practice loading up the thing, with tent/tools, see what I can dangle inside the frame, get some sort of system in mind.

    There is a 4 day funkified-bluegrass festival that I go to each Memorial Day, and I plan on riding Rucio there, basically because I'm staying in one spot & won't need the trailer.

    Don't get me wrong, the ride is FUN, the 4 stroke sips gas, hills are a breeze.....

    But I don't think it is the best choice for a newbie, best to experience regular cruiser or mountain bikes, then do a recumbent once you've got some experiences, can do some comparisons.

    I might move the Tanaka over to the bent, see how THAT works, being able to slip a wire over the throttle and run wide open.


    Side note: I gave Jack my old 2005 J & B catalog, he found something in there that isn't in the new one. It was at the bike shop yesterday, waiting to be picked up.

    It's a $45 seat back, fits on the seat post, sits behind the saddle, about 12"-15" tall. WISH I TOOK A PICTURE OF IT, I would have bought it on the spot if it wasn't special ordered.

    When Jack tests it out, I'll give a review.

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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
  14. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    here's a couple cargo ideas for ya. :idea:

    there's a lot of room under the seat, that won't interfere with pedaling or the chain.

    bags.jpg b bags.jpg bmo bags.jpg

    You definitely need your 'cruise control', so you can alternate which arm you use to steer. That alone, should help your elbow. Try one of those icyHot elbow patches....Shaq likes 'em!!
  15. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    Not all Bents are set up so you have to have your arms straight out like that, particularly those with under seat steering. But I would say those require a bit more "getting used to".
    I hope an elbow brace will work for you.
  16. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    You've given me an idea (I'm as notorious a recycler as you)....I bought one of those 10 X 10 awning/party tents for $99, a storm bent part of the foldup frame, and I stapled the tarp up as a wind break on part of the shop.

    Which leaves the most important part, the BLUE (to match the paint) zip up rectangular carrying case, gathering dust on a shelf. I'll bet it will fit perfect, under the seat and tied along the tube.

    It's all a matter of getting things stowed away for camping, some items are used daily, some are just emergency items, never used.

    I've been keeping Pringles cans, thinking I could weatherproof them, paint them blue, to keep up with those rarely used emergency things, like spare tubes, canned air and extra flashlight/camera batteries.

    You guys get a hat tip for that fancy steering...I think there may be a way to toggle bolt some handlebar extensions on the ends, gain maybe a foot more space between my hands, which would add to the sense of front wheel stability.

    The wider the handlebars, the better the feel out in the wide open, for me anyway. In town, doing slower speeds and more stop signs, it doesn't seem to be a big deal.
  17. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    How about replacing your handlebars with some old-school style apehangers?
    the come in a variety of sizes. 35" wide X 18" tall.... you can find them taller, shorter...your local bike shop guy can probably locate some for you.
  18. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Well, when it got light enough I ran out to see if that zip up carry-bag would work, and of course it was longer than I remembered when I put it on the shelf.

    Still, I think some cutting and sewing might make it do-able, at least turn it into some kind of zip up tubular/sausagy dealio that I could tie in that dead space above the pedals.

    I mentioned how those saddlebags were plastic lined, what they really are called are "horn" bags that dangle over the saddlehorn/shoulder.

    I found that squarish-plastic jar at a store, empty of beef jerky, and I cut off the top. It holds 2 mouthwash bottles full of spare gas, prevents spillage. With those two mouthwash bottles, I should have at least a 150 mile riding radius.

    As you can tell in Pic 3, vegetable oil bottles also make for good spare gas containers, but the mouthwash bottles are the easiest to pour out of, a lot better than soda bottles.

    Attached Files:

  19. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Well, we're getting there....

    Pic 1 is "throw away the instructions" on the faring installation.

    To raise the top edge a few inches, I was able to move the two brackets up to the top of the handlebars.

    Throw away those plastic bolts/wingnuts that come with the kit too. Get metal ones a 1/2" longer, and do a bit of wrestling, whoola.

    (Pic 2 is a reminder of the result using the original instructions, about 2-3 inches too low for maximum effectiveness).

    I mentioned somewhere how I painted two Pringles cans, in pic 3 I used the two bracket holders on the back of the seat. Coating them in acrylic didn't stop paint chipping, so I wrapped a few layers of heavy clear packing tape around them.

    I haven't figured out what I'd carry in them on a long interstate trek, but probably "emergency"/rarely used items in one, tent gear (flashlights/insect repellent etc.) in the other.

    When I moved the Pringles cans to the back of the seat, that cleared up the two bottle carriers on the handlebars, 1 is for water, and in the other I took a Parmesan cheese bottle, the one with the flip up lid, to carry some $3 reading glasses, pens, & business cards to hand out to interested folks.

    If I ever get into the cell-phone fad, that cheese bottle could hold the unit.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  20. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    I'm seriously thinking about putting the 4 stroke on a Thousand miler in April, does anybody have a serious road trip thread with this engine??

    I'd like to hear how the oil held up, what changing the belt gear would do, what is a reasonable goal per day, mileage wise.

    So, I have the 2 blue matched pringle cans, and today I emptied a one pound tin of coffee creamer, with could be ties in frame, up above the front sprocket.

    Then, as I was studying below the seat, noted a plastic coffee can, 2 in fact, could be lashed under the seat....hold all the sockx, sandals, and private bitz.

    ProbleM ? My can's are red, and I've never bought blue coffee in my life. Plus the red top on the creamer clashes with the paintjob and the parmesan bottle's green top.

    I won't need lights, Rucio is a Christmas tree, a rolling crash of the pallette.

    I'm was thinking of painting the engine cover blue, but what the he**, mellow yellow is just another bulb.