Well I must confess I am very glad I asked for your input, in reviewing some of the geometry in my simulation, I found a few errors. I spend most of the day going over it all again. It is very exacting and hard to get your head around at times. I haven't updated the design yet, but I can provide some specific details about the geometry to answer these questions.
George Durbridge wrote:
Yes, I have seen both Paul Sim's and Robert Horn's lean steer trikes -- Have you seen Bram Smit's http://www.fastfwd.nl/eng/tiltingtrike.php which has a similar tilting mechanism to mine, but without the self centering effect. It is actually based on a Spanish builder, Carlos Calleja http://www.moebius.es/ccalleja/ which in turn is based on Curtis Princes 1987 Patent. The cover page for which I have uploaded to my site http://jetrike.com/US4887829.pdf for those who are interested.I am still coming to grips with your design, which is extraordinarily interesting and has a lot of good points, but I have three queries already. Have you, btw, seen Paul Sims' and Bob Horn's leaning trike designs? If not, I will try to find links.
Yes after reading dirks remarks I had a similar concern. I plan to beef it up a bit. I may also add an elastomer to the design to dampen excessive moments -- according to Bicycle Science, these are the things that actually cause frame failures.First, if the rocker and swing arms need ends as strong as the 5mm plate lugs you specify, and on Dirk's comments they well may, is it really suitable to weld the lugs onto 1.5mm plate endcaps? It will be a difficult weld, and even with a good weld the lug will be prone to tear out of the endcap. Why not make the tube element of each arm 30mm longer at each end and let in a transverse tube to take the bolt, like your rear axle arrangement?
I have attached two screen captures of the geometry simulation. I assume that the CoG is @500mm above the ground and the seat hight is 240mm. The first image shows the trike when it is centered. I have added annotations and circled the two driven dimensions that reflect these values. In the second image, the trike is leaning 25 degrees and the CoG is almost unchanged, yet the seat height has raised 17.8mm.Second, is it possible to achieve both self-restoring geometry (i.e. the centre of gravity is raised by leaning) and enhanced cornering by leaning (i.e. the CoG is lowered by leaning) in one design? I appreciate that when the trike leans the rider rises relative to the frame, and the frame sinks relative to the ground, but at any one angle, surely one of those effects has to prevail, giving an overall reduction of CoG height (better cornering, but no restoring action) or an overall increase of CoG height (other way about).
So I guess it is possible, even though I wouldn't believe it either unless I saw it with my own eyes.
I have drawn the lines you describe into the geometry for reference. The CoG does move outwards but only marginally, and simply applying a bit of extra body lean will bring you back to true center. Yet at the same time leaning back just a bit the other way will cause the trike to move back to center. On the old Prototype A, it had the effect of allowing you to stop without taking your feet off the pedals, yet once you were riding, it was like a normal recumbent, you would lean into corners etc...Third, does the CoG move outward as the trike leans? That is, does the CoG move horizontally toward the outside of the corner, in addition to any vertical movement? In the photo of the earlier design, it looks as if it does, and any self-restoring lean mechanism I have come up with has the same effect. It is an effect I would try to avoid, as the limit on ground loops is the angle with the horizontal made by a line from the CoG to the contact patch of the outer wheel: the lower this angle the better, but the angle increases as the CoG moves horizontally outwards.
Whether the new design actually works as expected is anyone's guess, we will just have to wait and see.