I rocked up there on Monday to discuss options for a custom build trike with the very helpful Mick Sims. I managed a brief test ride of a reasonably well fitted GTO. Alas, the Glyde was offsite having some bodywork done so I didn't even get a look at it. I did get a look at an SLR and I swear that a snake gets more ground clearance than that thing.
In terms of what I'm looking at for the future here is a quick list of some of the things we discussed:
1. The front fairing: It is possible to get bosses on the frame so that the Mueller Windwrap will be better secured on rough/bouncy surfaces and not trash my paintwork.
2. Dynamo hubs: Yes, plural. :) Michael Priest alerted me to a new product recently that allows a dynamo hub to power a universal charger for a phone/gps etc. Mick indicated that they could build the hubs to fit left or right but that the wiring to the device (which ideally would be mounted just under the fairing as a "dashboard") would be my responsibility. I'm now looking at ordering one of these things so I can test how it charges phones etc, and may also invest in my second ever mobile as part of the testing exercise.
I don't know if two hubs will be necessary but if it comes down to only being able to run one thing off a hub at any one point in time then it will become a lot more tempting. Especially since in the crunch the lights are going to win (is anyone at all surprised by my saying that? No? Somehow I was expecting that. :) ).
3. Rohloff hub: Come with a weight penalty and some friction penalty. However there is also equally spaced gears, reduced maintenance, the ability to change gears while stationary, and a wider range on its own than my current setup. One consequence of the reduced maintenance is that all the mechanisms are concealed so diagnosing a problem can be harder. We also discussed some other hubs, including the nuvinci but I wasn't all that enamoured.
4. Schlumph bottom bracket: Similar issues/advantages to the Rohloff. Also offers a hot-swappable option in that I could order two booms, one with a single chain ring and one with the Schlumph installed. Switchover should be reasonably simple with the theory being use the single ring for commuting and the Schlumph for heavy touring when I need the extra range.
5. Custom pannier racks: A rack wide enough to take the arkel panniers whilst also fitting the tailrider can be designed. Probably in chromoly as part of the frame and wouldn't interfere with the folding. It means that the rack would be the same colour as the rest of the frame.
6. Colour: Any colour you like. I'm still a big fan of red but the candy green that SLR was done up in was just beautiful.
7. Wheel Size: This is going to be a tougher call than I expected. The 16" trikes are narrower, lighter, easier to get started, and accelerate faster but pay for the performance with a bumpier ride. Something I've been noticing in Canberra recently where a lot of the bike paths are not exactly in prime condition anymore. The 20" trikes reverse this - wider, slower than the 16s etc but offer a smoother ride. At this stage I don't really know which way I should go, and I probably need more time on a recent 20" Greenspeed if I can find one.
8. Breaking it down: The 16s can be folded, both the 16s and the 20s have the coupled frame option. The coupling takes longer to do and reverse but allows a trike to be packed a lot smaller. There is apparently one couple out there who can break a 5-coupled tandem down to the point where it fits into two backpacks. Another drawback for the 20s is the larger wheels are harder to pack.
9. Tyre choices: 16s not so much (I think I'm aware of three options). 20s have plenty of tyre choices, including choices that make offroad work (such as rail trails and the limited gravel I was dealing with on the last NZ trip) a lot more attractive/comfortable.
Comments, questions, recommendations, anything else I should be thinking about?