Photos by MJ Klein
Today, Hui-chen and I went back to the TW-Bents warehouse facility to meet with Walter, the trike designer. I wanted to get a new chainring and have him check out the trike.
Walter also showed me some new products under development, and although I wasn’t permitted to take photographs of them, he said I could tell you about them. I’ll get to that at the end of our story for today.
Right away, the assembler began taking the crank apart to get the chainrings off.
I wanted to go with a smaller inner chainring to help with hill climbing. Recently, I rode up some hills that were quite steep and I wished I had a lower gear. The Artifice is built for speed mostly and the chainrings are 52, 42 and 32 tooth. I wanted a 26 tooth inner chainring.
This shot shows the relative size difference with the smaller (black) chainring.
While the assembler was working on the chainring changeout, I took a look around and noticed all these new trike frames waiting to be built!
There was also a mountain of shipping cartons that contained bare frames from the paint shop. They are really going to town on new trikes!
After the new chainring was installed, Walter (Left) and the assembler checked out my drive train and found that there was a problem with the shifting.
After a short time, they put my Artifice up on the assembly stand and went to work on it. These guys are perfectionists and the setup wasn’t quite right.
While they were working on it, I took this photograph, showing the new, smaller inner chainring. If you look between the inner and middle chainrings (where the chain is in this photo) you can see grease marks where the chain used to ride on the larger inner chainring. Now you can see how much smaller (and subsequently lower) this gear is.
Something wasn’t quite right. The drivetrain wasn’t shifting properly despite adjustments to the dérailleur.
Out comes the shifting cable.
Replacing the cable didn’t help.
Next, the dérailleur was changed out.
However, that didn’t solve the problem.
Walter discovered that there was too much play in the thumb shifters, so they changed out the shifter. After that, the system shifted perfectly.
After spending a considerable amount of time on my trike, getting it just right, they adjusted all the tywraps holding the cables to the frame, to make sure nothing was binding.
When they were all finished with my Artifice and it was running perfectly, Walter refused to let me pay for the work! Now that’s what I call Customer Service after the fact!
Walter took me into the prototype model area and showed me a beautiful aluminum framed 2-wheeled tandem recumbent! It looks fantastic! They are working on this model for the 2010 Taipei Cycle Show. I also saw a new folding 2-wheel recumbent with a long wheelbase. TW-Bents is constantly working on new models and Walter has some great designs that he is putting out. I’m looking forward to seeing them at the show next year!
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