steering control rod issue and frame folding

Joined
Nov 13, 2017
Messages
17
Location
east coast USA
I have been struggling with my streetfox build for over 1 year. Mainly welding issues as I can not do the welding myself and finding someone to weld for me has been near impossible. I will be traveling quite far to get the welding completed so I am hoping to finally be in the home stretch!!
I am also still having trouble with the steering control rod. My 3/8in ball joints are threaded and they do not fit in the ends of the 1/2in tube.
I don't know if this is true everywhere, but in the US, there is a staggering amount of tube sizes, outer diameters, inner diameters and wall thicknesses. So my mind thinks that if the outside diameter of the tube that I have is 1/2 ", then the inside must be smaller and depending on the wall size of the metal, I may not get my ball joints to fit in the tube. The only tubes that I have seen on the web that have a 1/2 inside diameter are 3/4 on the outside. Can anyone recommend the correct tube to fit the ball joints? Maybe the outside, inside and wall thickness dimensions?
Has anyone found a folding mechanism that can be welded to the main boom so the trike and be folded? Would make it so much easier to transport the finished bike!!
Thank you all!!
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
1,887
Location
Nottinghamshire England
First off look up the difference between tube and pipe.

These two words are not interchangeable when you are ordering stuff !

I assume you are wanting to weld a nut onto/into the end of the tube to screw the rod into ? or are you trying to do it another way ?

You need to find a wall thickness strong enough for your application ?

I see Brad recommends 1/2" tube with 1/16th wall ? 2 x 1/16th = 1/8th and 1/2" - 1/8th is 3/8th ?

Ebay if there is no where close ? although you can pay almost as much in shipping as the metal costs due to it's weight ?

Folding is definitely not for a begineer and someone NOT doing there own welding as it involves lots of trial and error , even the engineers on this forum who have tried it have had problems.
if you get the fold mechanism to work the mechanics cables/chains/chain tubes etc do not like repeated folding.

Also if you fold you can end up with an unstable lump that is hard to handle and you just swap length for width and run into other problems ?

All the above to be taken with a pinch of salt as I have NEVER built a tadpole trike...

i am sure someone more useful will be along shortly 😁
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2012
Messages
671
Location
Sussex UK
I have been struggling with my streetfox build for over 1 year. Mainly welding issues as I can not do the welding myself and finding someone to weld for me has been near impossible. I will be traveling quite far to get the welding completed so I am hoping to finally be in the home stretch!!
I am also still having trouble with the steering control rod. My 3/8in ball joints are threaded and they do not fit in the ends of the 1/2in tube.
I don't know if this is true everywhere, but in the US, there is a staggering amount of tube sizes, outer diameters, inner diameters and wall thicknesses. So my mind thinks that if the outside diameter of the tube that I have is 1/2 ", then the inside must be smaller and depending on the wall size of the metal, I may not get my ball joints to fit in the tube. The only tubes that I have seen on the web that have a 1/2 inside diameter are 3/4 on the outside. Can anyone recommend the correct tube to fit the ball joints? Maybe the outside, inside and wall thickness dimensions?
Has anyone found a folding mechanism that can be welded to the main boom so the trike and be folded? Would make it so much easier to transport the finished bike!!
Thank you all!!
You mention your ball joints ar 1/2" I assume male rod ends, IMHO that is total overkill, 5/16"is plenty strong enough for steering linkages with 1/2" X16g wall.

With regard to folding the easiest option to getting a hinge is to buy a used folding bike and cut the hinge off, unless you have access to a CAD program to design the folding frame your into trial and error, lots of trial and error.also remember the hinge is just that it does not add any strength to the frame.then you have where to position it and at what angle to clear everything, no easy task.

As Stormbird said cables and chains dont like folding if the runs are not good,it takes some thinking about even before you cut metal.
It can make transport easier but against that is the setup time, I prefer to transport unfolded where possible.
I should end now or it could be pages long on folders and hinges
good luck with your build
John
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
136
Location
Axedale, Victoria, Australia
Website
axerail.coffeecup.com
Trikes are harder to handle than bikes as far as transportation is concerned. Having wrestled with bikes on rear of car racks and two or three trikes in a trailer and considering the perceived advantages/disadvantages of folding, I decided to forget about the folding. I am now going with a simple rack for a 6x4 standard box trailer. Cosists of a required number of crosswise square tubes to sit under the front wheels (1) and rear wheels (1). Two trikes can sit side by side facing the front and a third one can face the rear. Three trikes can be carried as, being above the sides of the trailer, they can be placed as wide as regulations allow. Yes, you need a trailer but you can then use any car to tow it - including those that would not hold three folded trikes.
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2012
Messages
671
Location
Sussex UK
I think it a wise choice, I dont think I will build another folder despite its attractions, too much hassle
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
1,887
Location
Nottinghamshire England
I'll second that :-



This is a small trailer 4ft x 3ft has a wooden frame bolted to top that carries 2 x Hase Kettwiesels the trailers they towed loaded with caming gear were put into the trailer first then the frame dropped on and secured with 4 bolts and wing nuts so easily removed.

Still same width as car and a small 1ft overhang front and rear.
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
Messages
17
Location
east coast USA
Thank you all for your replies and advice!! I am ordering some small bits for my dremel to take out a fraction of the metal inside the tube to get the ball bearing to fit.....it is the tube specified in the directions
As far as folding the bike, your advice is well taken. I did not realize how difficult it is to get the fold correct and I don't need to make things more difficult!! It will not fit in the car as it is now and my car is not capable of towing any trailer ....back to the drawing board.
I started this build because I had built myself a long wheelbase recumbent that I hardly ever rode due to transporting issues....I had a different car right after it was built but have since gotten another car......thought the tadpole would be smaller , which it is, but not small enough!!!!
Thanks again for taking the time to reply and for your help and advice!! Very much appreciated!!
'
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
1,887
Location
Nottinghamshire England
Thank you all for your replies and advice!! I am ordering some small bits for my dremel to take out a fraction of the metal inside the tube to get the ball bearing to fit.....it is the tube specified in the directions
Look inside your tube ? it may be that it has a weld seam on the inside where it was rolled and welded ERW IIRC.



thought the tadpole would be smaller , which it is, but not small enough!!!!
Of course a StreetFox build to the plans can fold ?
If the shock absorber is unbolted at one end the rear can fold under , however all you do is swap length for height ?
What no one has said is that folders become an almost unmovable lump when no longer sat on three wheels and can be rolled ?
It may take 2 or 3 people to get a folded trike into the back of a car ?
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
Messages
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east coast USA
Thank you stormbird !! will look in the tube and hope the new dremel bits help!!
I won't be looking into getting my bike to fold...good advice taken!!
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
Messages
17
Location
east coast USA
Update on project....took my frame out of state to a good friends shop and welded everything together!!! Found some bits for my dremel to ream out the ends of the tube for ball joints to fit in...decided against the folding frame and the bike does fit in my little hatchback...I put the rear wheel on the passenger seat (with the back laid back) and the front two wheel fit nicely in the back!! I do remove the seat and the handlebars. I modified a cargo carrier to carry the bike on the back of my motor home. Next hurdle is figuring how to replace the shifter cables as the ones the shifters came with are too short...then route all cables and I think there is a real ride in my future!! I am so excited!!
 
Joined
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great news.

You may need to start with a tandem shifter cable for the rear to get the length required ?
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
Messages
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east coast USA
Thanks for your reply Stormbird and your suggestion about the tandem shifter cable...my excitement was quickly replaced with despair when I got everything together and the chain keeps falling off of the front sprockets!! Until I figure out what is causing this issue, no ride in the immediate future!! I am bruised, burned and cut up from trying to get this bike together...I never had these problems with my long wheelbase recumbent build....Discouragement has set in :(
 
Joined
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Messages
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How many rings on the front do you have ? does it come off of all them ?

Do you have front derailleur ?

Are there chain pulleys in both power and return side of the chain ?

Can you post pictures ?

Just block up the back end and turn the pedals - least it is coming off the chain end ..

DannyC's problem was at the rear wheel ! not so easy to see.
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2017
Messages
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Location
east coast USA
Three rings in the front....I did have a front derailleur but I removed it to see if that helped..it didnt....I only tried the middle ring as I hadnt set up all of the cables and derailleurs, chain pulleys (2) as per directions in same type and locations as directions but added 2 chain tubes just behind the front chain ring to protect my leg from the chains ( both power and return) maybe I need to anchor them somehow as they seem to slide around and get hung up ....I measured from the largest ring to the frame and there seems to be 1/4 in difference betwwen the front and back of the ring....maybe the bottom bracket is not welded evenly?? or the adjustment plates for the bottom bracket are not welded on evenly??? the pedals look crooked....
not thrilled with the adjustment design of the the pedals and bottom bracket...may have to explore a permanent solution, if I can salvage the bottom bracket that I have
have not been able to post any pics
headed out of town..was supposed to take the bike with me :(
Thank you very much for your help!!
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
1,887
Location
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maybe I need to anchor them somehow as they seem to slide around and get hung up ....
Yes they need anchoring otherwise they will migrate in the direction the chain moves and try to pass over the chain rings or through the rear derailleur.

I measured from the largest ring to the frame and there seems to be 1/4 in difference betwwen the front and back of the ring....maybe the bottom bracket is not welded evenly?? or the adjustment plates for the bottom bracket are not welded on evenly??? the pedals look crooked....
Yep that will do it , it is only 3/8" between the teeth on the front rings and you are moving the chain 2/3 rds of that distance.

Keep at it you are very close....
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
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Location
Axedale, Victoria, Australia
Website
axerail.coffeecup.com
Chain problems can cause considerable pain in the bike seat. Unless something specifically is pulling it off, like a derailleur as it is supposed to, a chain comes off when it is easier to slip off than it is to stay on - without stating the obvious. Sometimes it does not take much at all.

Chains are made with a degree of sideways flex and, and if applied where not required, will cause the chain to come off. Worn chains and/or chainrings/sprockets and/or other things out of alignment are usually the cause. So are suddenly broken spokes that spear into derailleurs but that's another story.
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2018
Messages
1
Location
Mesa AZ
I have been struggling with my streetfox build for over 1 year. Mainly welding issues as I can not do the welding myself and finding someone to weld for me has been near impossible. I will be traveling quite far to get the welding completed so I am hoping to finally be in the home stretch!!
I am also still having trouble with the steering control rod. My 3/8in ball joints are threaded and they do not fit in the ends of the 1/2in tube.
I don't know if this is true everywhere, but in the US, there is a staggering amount of tube sizes, outer diameters, inner diameters and wall thicknesses. So my mind thinks that if the outside diameter of the tube that I have is 1/2 ", then the inside must be smaller and depending on the wall size of the metal, I may not get my ball joints to fit in the tube. The only tubes that I have seen on the web that have a 1/2 inside diameter are 3/4 on the outside. Can anyone recommend the correct tube to fit the ball joints? Maybe the outside, inside and wall thickness dimensions?
Has anyone found a folding mechanism that can be welded to the main boom so the trike and be folded? Would make it so much easier to transport the finished bike!!
Thank you all!!
The half inch from Home Depot works fine. Used it on my streetfox.
 
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