News and Events

Keep up to date with the latest news and events of Modular Bikes.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Zzipper Fairing Part 3

Inside of bike trainer leg with crush bar

Shortening bike trainer wheels with pipe cutter with

this result. The trainer now suits the 20" bike wheel and means I get a realistic idea of the view over the fairing.  Struts supporting the bottom of the fairing are modified light steel tent pole tubes.
Glueing fibreglass rods into fairing support brackets. These rods help distribute stress into the parts which are home 3d printed.

Mounting bracket and...

fairing support.
A bucket from Bunnings and some handlebar ends from the shed.  Bits of the bucket are now the front of the fairing and the handlebar ends ...

fitted on the handlebars with white nylon bolts to hold the fairing top.
Using a holesaw set to make....

this small piece which covers a hole in the new, longer fairing. Without further modifying the fairing, I can mount a light to this wooden piece.

This set of fairing mounts didn't work as it placed the fairing support right near the pedals, causing interference.
End result after a quick test ride.  Still quite a few things to fix but I'm quite happy.
Another view, plan to go for a longer ride tomorrow.
Hi, this post is mostly pictorial again.  The fairing I received from OzHpv mates  5 or 6 weeks ago is now on a bike and ready for an 80k or so test ride tomorrow. The bike trainer I was using to test the fairing was for 700c bikes, and I cut it down to better sit a 20" and so I could get a realistic idea of my view of the road when testing.  The fairing mounting has been totally home made and the fairing has been extended using parts of a bucket.  Very happy with the results sofar. For a long time I have been aware that my front wheel drive bikes are an aerodynamic mess at the front, and this fairing should fix some of that.


Steve Nurse

Update, July 7: I took the trike for a ride of about 60k today (Mordialloc and back via beach road), with no real problems.  I had to stop a few times to do up screws which attach the fairing but that was to be expected as I hadn't bothered with nyloc nuts, spring washers etc.  I'm fairly out of condition and didn't stop to eat, drink or wee till I got back within a few k of home so was tired, thirsty and hungry when I got in.  Happy with the bikes speed and I overtook a few of the slower Beach road roadies. Didn't take many photos, and the ones I did take were undramatic and out of focus. Here is the best of them!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Gone Electric

Picking up trike from Rev-Bikes
Near my Mum and Dad's place, I visited them on the way home from picking up the trike. Original front wheel is in the back storage area.
Diagram showing the electric bits.

Handlebars, left to right: brake lever with sensor, throttle, bell, display, pedelec control, brake lever with sensor, gear changer (obscured)
On the road: Midwinter and 12 degrees C so fire danger is low! Anyway, this is assist level 2,

and this is assist level 1, the minimum amount.
Shopping trip.....

in Anglesea.
Airies Inlet

Airies Inlet


After about 30 years making my own bikes run purely by human power, I have lashed out and had one of my trikes converted to electric motor assist.  The cost was about $1800, which I am justifying by considering this as being savings from decades of servicing my own cycles. Recently I have been writing an article about electric bikes for a conference and the time just felt right I guess.

Anyway, I asked around a bit and Nell from Wecycle works at Rev Ebikes, and Dale S from the Be-Spon ride group recommended them as well so after a discussion over the phone I dropped my trike at Rev the next day. Rev E-bikes are right next to Nunawading station, so it was easy to get there with my trike.

And 2 days later it was ready to pick up.  I rode it home from Nunawading and was impressed.  Basically you just set an assist level from 1 to 5 and the motor and controller combine to provide you with a corresponding level of assistance.  From riding on it a few times, level 1 gives you about 50w, 2 gives 100w, 3 150w etc.  I never really felt the need for more than level 3 of assistance, and used the motor  mostly up hills. Pedalling is usually required for electric assistance , so when the sensor on the bottom bracket knows you are pedalling and a power level is set at 1 - 5 the motor goes. The brake levers give a signal to the motor too, and when brakes are applied the motor cuts out.

The kit fits in well with my black bike steerer, and at first glance it might be hard to see the electric bits on the trike.  It fits in well with the bike's handling as well.  The basic drive design is very simple but it means you can't pedal while steering. But now you can electric motor!  Anyway, will report more a bit later.  Thanks to Rev-Becca, Chris and Chris for installing the kit.

Although this post mostly describes the electric kit, some readers might be new to this style of trike so here is a bit of recent background:

The trike was being modified to take a Zzipper fairing. To make the trike electric, I swapped the Zzipper trike out for another one, so the trike shown in this older post is now the electric trike.  But as well as removing any fairing paraphenalia, I swapped out the seat for  a new seat / tailbox combination. This post describes making the box, while this one describes finishing it off with some corflute panels and a corflute lid.


Steve Nurse

Corflute panels

Panel laid out with clip holders corflute cutouts. Panel was traced from the routed parts.
Using a soldering iron to spot-weld and drill corflute.  This makes small bridges that fold back clips can lock on to. See pics 7 and 8 for results.

After spot welding and drilling, cable ties are added to the bridges to secure them in place.

Lid Hinges Top

Lid Hinges below.  I put in a reinforcing plate.

Lid Hinge
Lid and corflute panels on a trike.

Inside the tailbox, showing the bridges and fold back clips
Lid retainer, these are hair ties or hair elastics from Lyncraft.
Recent donation to Wecycle, a Peugeot Mixte and

a fairly anonymous clunker I worked on.
Corflute tailbox in action.


This post continues on from the recent one about Spacetank where I made a tailbox.  The kit for the box includes plywood panels but while they are very robust, they are a bit heavy.  Never fear!  The panels are held in place by fold back clips and can be replaced by whatever you like.  So the photos show making corflute tailbox sidepanels and a corflute tailbox lid.

Like the Spacetank post, this is reasonably thorough, and out of this build I will be able to document how to make them.  I've included a couple of bikes that are making there way through Wecycle.  I volunteer there Saturday mornings and its a fun way to fix bikes and hang out with nice people.


Steve Nurse

Saturday, June 15, 2019

A few days in the Spacetank

Tailbox plan starts as dxf file.
On the bike route to Spacetank.  I think this is more sculpture than garden maintenance equipment.

Parked outside a nice house in Coburg. The trike leaning against the fence has a version of the tailbox I am building at Spacetank.

Starting work on the tailbox, gluing lower frame ......


Painting the inside.

Glueing and....

prepping the side plate reinforcements.

Screwing them into place

Finished sideplate corners.

Sean tried the trike at lunchtime.

Assembling lower spacer.

Holding parts in place.

Ducks at Coburg Lake.

Another rider on the bikepath.

Base held in place.....

by clamps and string.

Tailbox is built up around some central pieces.

Clamping and glueing seat in plate.

Adding m6 T-nuts which become the seat clamps.

An early test ride taking no-longer-wanted dvds to the opshop

Hi  A few weeks ago, I completed design of a tailbox for my leaning trikes.  I've built plenty of these before and honestly have enough already but wanted to make something with a refined, complete design that other people could build, and document it along the way.  My short term plan for the bike design is to put a plan to build it on the internet by September 12, and exhibit it in Fringe Furniture which begins at about the same time.  The trike uses 3d printed and cast parts as well as the tailbox, and its possible parts like the bearing housings could be 3d printed, so the design can be played with a bit.

Anyway, I decided to do the bulk of the build at Spacetank Studio. They are not far from where we live and a CNC routing business Sean and Horn is attached to them. As well, I'd met a few Spacetank artists like Rain Gidley and Dani Storm at last years fringe festival, and they seemed like a reasonable bunch to hang out with.

The Studio space was $90 per day which I thought reasonable and as well there was a safety and training fee.  I used the bandsaw and benchspace at Spacetank, plus the closeness of the workshop to Sean and Horn. At home my shed is tiny and I appreciate the room at Spacetank.

Here's an approximate diary.

Day 1: Picked up 2 sheets of 4mm birch ply from Plyco, then drove it over to Sean and Horn and left it there. Birch is a bit cheaper than Hoop Pine Marine Ply which is a bit more waterproof than birch.  But I varnish the birch thoroughly anyway, the birch ply looks ok.

Day 2: Rode over to Spacetank. Sean and Horn let you pick the parts off the routing table and that saves a bit of money. So I did that with my parts which had already been cut, then went and spoke to Holger upstairs about arrangements for the next few days.

Day 3: Rode over to Spacetank. Raining but its bike tracks almost all the way there so I didn't have to stress with traffic. There was a good safety briefing first off. Started off cutting out parts on the bandsaw, then waterproofing parts that would later be inside the box.  Glued some parts together. Met Rain, Dani and a few others which was good.

Day 4: Drove over to Coburg again and started by dipping some parts which needed bending in a tank, then set up a couple of box pieces on an aluminium trike frame to build the rest of the box around. I took a few photos but not enough and with too much stuff in the background to consider the photos to be good enough.  (For a photo of the tank I used see the top photo here, no photos of it this time around) The base and seat top in particular are bent a lot, and they need to be string tied, cable tied or clamped to the centre frame pieces before gluing into place.  I got most of this done by the end of the day and drove home happy with the car laden with seats and the tank.

Overall I'm happy with the way things worked out.  There were 2 days or so of finishing the boxes off including the sidepanels and painting.  I've been riding a trike with one of the new tailboxes fitted, and its comfortable enough even without cushioning. The  4mm side panels are very rubust, and the clips holding them on work well.

This post continues on here, describing some corflute panels which suit this tailbox.

I'll enter a trike in Fringe Furniture 33 along with another design and will work on the entries over the next week.


Steve Nurse