News and Events

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

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Switcheroo and upgrades.


Ouch! Uri Geller I told you not to think about my trike! (Actually the result of an accident 2 1/2 weeks ago.

Damaged trike

Bike with racing tailbox before....

tailbox swap

allowed me to collect a considerable amount of groceries. Everything on the list plus a big tub of olives.


A few weeks ago, I was involved in accident on my leaning trike, and that left me with cuts and grazes all down my left side, a damaged trike, and inability to ride for a few weeks. Now (thankfully) I'm just about recovered. 

So my trike with the load carrying tailbox won't go for now, so I have installed a load carrying tailbox on my bike, and will do a few more mods and swaps and upgrades over the next few days. For now it has been great to get out on the bike and do a decent amount of shopping, not in pain, and not sweating over luggage space. will report more later.

Tailbox Upgrade May 7. Today I started upgrading one of my all-timber tailboxes. This is the one that was on the leaning trike shown 2nd picture down. Here is the list of mods I will do.

1. Block off hole in base of tailbox. Things tend to get lost in the hole (keys, bike parts).

2. Keep side-panels on with screws. As described in this post, when I first designed the timber tailbox I wanted to have the timber side panels to be swappable for lighter corflute versions. But now I have specialist aero and load carrying tailboxes, and the timber box can just be made as strong and as good for load carrying as possible.

3. Put a bit of padding under the box lid so it doesn't rattle.

4. Seat padding. The 'box is ok without it but it makes things more comfortable and secure.

5. Leather belts as tailbox lids. This allows the lid to be raised a bit to hold more stuff.

6. Hole in tailbox lid for carrying milk crates. That's all I can think of for now!

1. This is blocking off the.....

bottom of the tailbox with a piece of timber so luggage doesn't get lost down there.

2. Found a few cockroaches who were passengers when

converting the sidepanel fastening from foldback clips to screws.

This should be stronger and more secure than...

the old version of fasteners shown here.

Update May 8: Here is today's progress.

Attached the lid with extendable straps. This helps when carrying loads like a few bike wheels. Also stick on velcro stops the lid from rattling. The lid at the bottom is a template I copied.

Box closed up. There are a few unvarnished patches on the outside, and that's where I sanded back the new screws which poke out a bit from the inside.

The sort of job the tailbox does. This is an early version of the tailbox I'm working on now. The lid is loosed a belt-notch to better accommodate the wheel.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Speedwell Rescue


As traded, this was the bike on april 9 with steel wheels and cranks.

New temporary home at Wecycle until....

it is sold or.......

given to someone who needs it.

Left over parts from the donor vehicle include this nice shifter.....

and brakes, brake levers, stem and derailleur.


Pics from my latest bike resto project. From Stu a few doors down, I had a large frame vintage racing bike with 27" wheels but frame damage around the headstem. And I put that aside and waited for a bike to come along that I could steal the bits for. 

That happened on April 9 when a dumped Speedwell Classique 10 bike came up on the local Good Karma network for free. This bike may be Australian made, its certainly from an Australian company.

I was able to swap over cranks and wheels from the damaged bike to make the bike viable. Brake levers and a seatpost came from the shed. Cranks are a particular improvement, they went from steel cotter pin to aluminium square taper in one go.

Today I rode the bike up to the Wecycle charity where it will be passed or sold on. Often I'd ride 2 bikes up to Wecycle and ride one back, but I'm still recovering from a bike accident and taking things easy, I caught the tram home. Still have a few nice bits and pieces from the vintage bike.

Regards  Steve Nurse


Steve Nurse

Friday, April 21, 2023

A Cruzbike


ex-seat support (not that great)

New custom seat nuts

Drilling seat nuts before final tapping

This Quest has Y-frame mountain bike DNA, this is the right back dropout which still has a part derailleur hanger thingy.

Seat is on the floor

Seat nuts before final drilling.

Fossicking in the shed found a 27mm seatpost and a bent bit of steel which will serve as back seat supports later.


Brought the Cruzbike home using one of my load bikes and with the help of our train network. It had an electric motor and controls so was too heavy to break up and carry on the load bike.


Las week, I posted about bringing a free Cruzbike home, and have since started work on restoring it to action.  It was in fairly ordinary condition and had an electric motor fitted, and I have set about restoring the bike. I texted my friend ebike Ben, and he came and picked up all the electric bike stuff (front wheel with motor, controller, throttle, display).

The top photo shows some of what was in place as a seat support, obviously complete crap!

Anyway, mounting the seat is about 80% of the work of getting the bike on the road and I'm about halfway through fixing that.  Will report more later.

PS Years ago I made several moving bottom bracket bikes a bit like this one, mostly from a Cruzbike kit I had. When I get around to it, I will add some more links, but here is one for starters.

Regards Steve Nurse

Update May 27, 2023

Sorted through my chainrings on the way to finding a 40 tooth biopace model.

Seat support: brazed but not painted

Some good progress over the last few days. I brazed the seat support together, and cleaned up the bike removing existing front derailleur, shifters, and 9 speed cassette. I have now replaced the cassette with an 7 speed, and have a 8 speed Sunrace CSM 680 11 - 42t cassette on order. 

 Soon I plan to install a single chainring, and my quick calc for the tooth count is

N = 52* (243 / 320) which is the number of teeth on my 20" single chainring recumbent times the ratio of wheel radii between my 20" and new 26" cruzbike. So about 40. And my shed fossicking revealed a 40t Biopace chainring, so I will use that for starters. 

Getting down all the chainrings has been good, I have been able to sort them and recycle old ones I don't need including steel cotter pin models.

Regards Steve

Later on: Later I was able to fit a chain and non-indexing shifter to the bike along with the biopace (its only slightly oval and not very exciting really) chainring. I went for a ride and "conquered" an entire block without putting my foot down.

This was quite an achievement as I came off my bike less than 2 weeks ago, still have all the scars to prove it and have just got down to 1 bandage after having about 5 at the start.  So no great ambitions for riding just yet, but I will slowly tweak things so it rides better. I have ordered a disc brake back wheel for example so it has 2 functioning brakes!

Will report more later.

Update May 10

2 new parts have come in for the bike, that is a back wheel from Whites Bikes, and a 11 - 42t Sunrace 8 speed CSM680 cluster. As well I picked up a brake disk and an asymmetric chainring from a bike shed where I volunteer. For the moment the chainring and cluster are parked on the kitchen table as I deal with the (slightly!) more important issue of having adequate brakes on the bike. At the moment the disk rubs on the brake calliper so some sort of back wheel rejig is needed.   

Bike shed mission for extra parts. See also this post .

Need to sort this out, meanwhile

Some other parts are.....

parked and being

incorporated into temporary sculpture on the kitchen table. (Mary did this one and started the whole silly sculpture thing)

Update May 13

Yesterday I managed to sort out the back wheel using a nut of the right thread found in the shed, and a washer. I thinned out the right hand side lock nut and added a washer to the left hand side and then hey presto, no more disc rubbing and I was able to keep the axle protrusion the same on each side.  Then a bit of tuning, repositioning brakes etc, and the bike looked good to go.

So today I actually tested it, riding mostly on paths but occasionally on road. I almost made it up one challenging uphill gravelly section (I can't manage the "Deep Rock Hill" on my Fred Bikes because there's not much weight on the front wheel) but couldn't get into the lowest gear so failed. A mission for another day. Overall the bike is very comfortable and nice to ride, but my only luggage storage is in zipped up pockets, and that limits ride potential.

Meanwhile, the sculpture embellishments are continuing on the kitchen table. Eventually I will use the new sunrace cluster (on a bike, who'da thunk it!) and have to bong it all down but will probably replace it with something equally ridiculous.

Bits from the shed yielded a narrow wheel nut, seen on its axle in the foreground. The container at the back is a sample electric motor cowl from my time at CMG / Regal .

New parts ready to add to wheel axle.

New parts on wheel axle.

In the wild, part of a

3 or 4k off road circuit used to

test the bike. Autotimer not smart enough to focus properly.

Meanwhile the sculpture embellishment continues.

Update May 14

Today I tuned the gearing so I was able to get into the lowest gear and went for a test ride on the same circuit as yesterday. It was hard work, but I was able to conquer the Deep Rock hill this time. The cruzbike has a bit more weight on the front wheel than my Fred bikes.  Still a nice bike to ride and it was nice to get out in some late Autumn, late afternoon sunshine.

Update May 19

As I posted on facebook today, "Went out for a ride yesterday, it was about a 10k flat ride on bike paths, and a fun ride. I could overtake most regular bike riders but some of them then felt the need to overtake me back again, which they did. But on my homemade bike with aero tailbox on the same stretch its mostly no contest, I overtake and never see them again. Weight distribution is different too, I can "endo" the Cruzbike but not my homemade bikes. regards steve"

So really the restoration process of the bike is over and now I want to do some modifications and improvements but will save that for a new post.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Ossie Nicholson Ride


Job is

Done, Brevet card and Garmin at the finish. About 17.9 kph average.

Arthurs Seat photography crew.

Top of Arthurs seat. Who is that guy in the photo? Looks tall and fit, possibly because I had some encouragement from the photography crew - "we saw you riding up..... well done"

Rest Stop near  Rosebud on return leg.

Lifesaver! The Rosebud bikeshop where I bought a new one of .....

these things (derailleur pulley) after the bike saw fit to jettison one soon after Mount Eliza.


I am now 2 days back from The Ossie Nicholson ride and have a chance to do the blog. I rode it last year and rode to the start, and this year I decided to drive to the start and had the goal of reducing my time by an hour. The fact I drove to the start instead of riding there was certainly a help this year!

Anyway I started off the ride by chatting to Frank who is in his early 70's and is closing in on 75,000ks of Audax riding. He has a steel frame Cecil Walker bike that is about 20 years old and has been updated to include brake lever shifters and an external bearing bottom bracket. I am going to call this future-retroism.

This contrasts with my own designs which use old parts (mainly non indexing shifters and 8 speed cassettes) on new recumbent frames and of course is retro-futurism, a term used and jokingly animated by Nina Paley . Anyway, both retrofuturistic and futureretroistic designs had a great start in the tailwind all the way to Frankston where I kept up with Frank or vice versa with tailwind speeds of about 25 to 30 kph. My plan was to ride all the way to Dromana and have lunch and a rest there before tackling the big hill of Arthurs seat.

Alas the plan was not to be, and about 2ks out of Mount Martha, my bike dropped a derailleur pulley, and I couldn't find it to put it back on. I worked out the bike would run on just the derailleur pulley bolt, and (after this coming loose a few times) if I screwed it in all the way it wouldn't even spontaneously loosen and fall apart again.

Anyway, in Dromana I asked a guy for the nearest bikeshop and he pointed forward and said Rosebud so I rode onto there where (yay) I was able to replace the pulley. I had missed climbing Arthurs seat because of the mechanical issue, so kept going to Portsea at good pace,where I had lunch in an upmarket cafe. (no downmarket cafes in Portsea!) On the way back I climbed Arthurs Seat quite slowly which was not in the plan.

Somewhere along the way (near Mt Martha) I managed to lose my phone during a rest break, and realised I may have done so about 10k further on, between Mornington and Frankston.  From there my riding got better, I just wanted to get back and work out how to find or replace the phone, and battled on all the way to Portsea. The new rainjacket was great, maybe not for keeping rain out but for keeping me seen in headlights. 

I was cold and hungry when I got in, and had to drive home in the rain before contacting anyone to let them know I'd got in. But overall 7pm not a bad finish time given the problems!

Next day I drove down to Dromana to look for the phone, and found the bus stop where I thought I'd left it but not the phone. Never mind, a pleasant drive listening to radio national! Later in the afternoon I replaced the phone.

Many thanks to ride organiser Dieter!