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-   -   Handcycle traction improvement (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1253939)

FortMaceo 06-22-22 10:39 AM

Handcycle traction improvement
 
Greetings all. A little background on me to help explain my question. I'm paralyzed from the waist down for 31 years now. Using a wheelchair for that long has started taking its toll on my body, so I'm taking steps (no pun intended) to get in better shape and hopefully extend my time on this awesome planet. I've started lifting weights again after a 20 year layoff from it. I decided I needed to do something for cardio, too, and started looking into handcycles. After a lot of research, I found a used one and bought it. I've come to love it in the short time I've had it. I should have done this years ago! It's admittedly oriented toward cruising, not high performance. It's an Action brand, Top End model. As near as I can tell, the Top End brand started out as a model made by Action. For reference, this one is nearly identical to the current Top End Excelerator.


My only issue is that it spins out going up hills, and I just can't go up very steep hills because of this. I'd rather be limited on hills by my arms than by the front tire and to be able to climb steeper hills for more of a workout, but this limitation seems to be the nature of the design. It's driven by a single front wheel, and most of my 225 pound weight is on the pair of rear wheels. I've moved the seat forward as much as possible to help with this, but as I'm 6'4", I still sit pretty far back. It has a brand-new set of Kenda Kwest tires put on it by the previous owner. Tires are 26"x1.5"/40-559. 26"x2.0"s would fit with plenty of clearance. I'm considering going to one that size on the front for the slight width (and hopefully traction) increase. The Kenda Kwests are fairly slick, which should be better on the dry road, but don't seem very grippy. It also has a very rounded profile, so only a small, rounded patch actually contacts the road. I've aired it down to 40 PSI which seems to help a little. I don't anticipate any speeds above about 20 mph (downhill!), and average speeds closer to 7-8 mph, so high-speed turning or braking traction isn't a huge concern.


So my questions are around what to do to increase my uphill pulling traction on this single driven front wheel. Am I thinking correctly to go to a wider front tire and to run a lower pressure? Do you have any specific tire brand/model recommendations to maximize on-road driven traction? Are there any tire brands/models that have a flatter profile that would increase the contact patch? And, of course, I'm open to any other suggestions you more-experienced folks have for improving my uphill traction. I'm not looking to turn this cruiser into a high-performance handcycle, would just like to be able to tackle slightly steeper hills than I can currently. Thank you in advance for any recommendations you can provide.

helloitstyler 07-01-22 01:40 PM

Hello,

I handcycle with a Stricker Lipo. You have the right ideas.
1. Change the amount of pressure of your tire to increase resistance. Good for hills, bad for flats.

2. Change your center of gravity more forward to put more weight on your front tire, again increasing resistance. Sounds like you've done as much as you can so far. Another option is adding another axle further back.

3. Add weights to the front axle. Bad for amount of power required uphill, but you will be able to climb steeper hills (gearing/strength becoming your new limit instead of traction).

4. Reduce total weight of your rig. Since your handcycle probably cannot be changed....that means you :)

5. Get a power assisted unit. Very expensive, but honestly, I get a better cardio workout when I use the electric assist instead of all muscle.

FortMaceo 07-01-22 02:18 PM


Originally Posted by helloitstyler (Post 22560729)
Hello,

I handcycle with a Stricker Lipo. You have the right ideas.
1. Change the amount of pressure of your tire to increase resistance. Good for hills, bad for flats.

2. Change your center of gravity more forward to put more weight on your front tire, again increasing resistance. Sounds like you've done as much as you can so far. Another option is adding another axle further back.

3. Add weights to the front axle. Bad for amount of power required uphill, but you will be able to climb steeper hills (gearing/strength becoming your new limit instead of traction).

4. Reduce total weight of your rig. Since your handcycle probably cannot be changed....that means you :)

5. Get a power assisted unit. Very expensive, but honestly, I get a better cardio workout when I use the electric assist instead of all muscle.

Thank you for the suggestions. It's always good to hear from someone with more experience, and in the world of handcycling, everyone has more experience than me. I'm working on everything you suggested (and the whole idea of the handcycle is to help me lose some weight :) ) except for the e-unit. Like you mentioned, it's expensive. If I continue to really like this, I'll definitely consider that. Thank you again!


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