James Revillini

Say 'no' to styrofoam.

Month: August 2010

JATO 3.3 at Mulch Mountains

Sharry and I found the best place to run the JATO – amidst mountain of mulch, right near the DMV in Winsted! Mulch is great for many reasons. First, it’s got plenty of little bumps and humps to make driving fun and challenging. If you wipe out, it’s not as abrasive on the car as pavement or stone or even dirt. Speaking of dirt, it also doesn’t get into every little nook in the car and saturate your air filter – a major plus. Cleaning was easy today.

I have a few pics to post from after the bashing and a cleanup., but unfortunately, I can’t post the videos yet because they were shot with an iPhone in a vertical orientation, and rotating them doesn’t seem to be working.

I do have a video from a few days ago right after I added the hop-up parts that I can add right away.

Vimeo is smart enough to rotate iPhone movies that were shot vertically.  Sorry for the weird orientation.  We’ll shoot it wide next time.

JATO 3.3 Ready to Rock

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of picking up a like-new Traxxas JATO 3.3. My JATO had somehow gotten rusted over the winter in my barn. Lesson learned. However, the aluminum hop-up parts I’d bought were still almost mint. They needed a buffing and I cleverly thought to throw a couple coats of clear enamel on them after they were shining again.

The results are really pleasing.

Most of the kudos go to Javier who kept it up so well and painted a nice custom body for it. The only change I made were the aluminum bumper, aluminum wheelie bar, a fuel line bumper on the heat-sink for the inevitable rollover, clear-coat enamel on the underside for a tiny bit of protection against dirt and scraping.

Head-butt a tree

Go ahead and give it a shot.  You will not win.  Not even if you take a running start up to the thing.  Not even if you take a running start up to the tree on a downhill.  Not even if you take a running start up to the tree on a downhill and you’re going at least 10mph on your bike, run into a log that flips you over the handlebars and you do a ninja somersault before impact – you will still not beat the tree unless it is super tiny.

Here was my “plan.”

The tree right about center up ahead of the log is the target.

1) Ride down a hill and crash into a log so you begin the flipping action.

Click to see distance.

2) After flying over handle bars, throw shoulder down into the ground to begin the ninja somersault across the 10 foot space between log and tree.

note: stuff will fall off you

3) After you head-butt the tree (hopefully you did wear a helmet – I did), you will probably need to hunt around for pieces that flew off you or the bike.

who put this stupid log here?

4) Take a moment to look back on how you might have handled that log better, but acknowledge you still won’t beat the tree.

Terratrike Cruiser brake line improvement

Today, I found a kink in my left brake line which was probably the result of the brake line getting caught in the spokes and wrenched. It was making the brake stick, so I got a replacement cable and sheilding from the LBS. After installing, I was testing the steering and I realized that there was a small improvement that could be made to prevent the brake line from ever getting stuck in the spokes again.

Loosely fasten the brake cable to the steering rod so it can shift as needed.

One zip-tie later, and I was in-business. The issue is, I think, a flaw in the design of the Terratrike Cruiser. Luckily the workaround doesn’t bust your budget.

DIY Luggage Rack for Terratrike Cruiser Recumbent Tricycle

You’ve been tearing your hair out because you have an old license plate and you just don’t know what to do with it.

You also have a Terratrike Cruiser (or something similar) with no luggage rack. What can you do?

Terratrike Cruiser DIY Luggage Rack - View from right-rearThe answer is simple: build a luggage rack. In minutes, you can build a luggage rack for your trike that is sturdy, shock absorbent, and requires little to no handy-man skill. I am not a handy-man, just a man. Let’s get to it.

Materials Required

  • License Plate*
  • 2′ Bungee Cord (rope could work but bungee is better)
  • 4 Zip Ties (even very small ones will work)
  • Electrical Tape (optional)

* Anything flat and approximately license-plate sized will work, as long as you can drill holes in it.

This installation assumes that you are doing a right-side installation (your right if you’re sitting on the trike).

Step 1 (Optional) – Put a strip of electrical tape around the edges of the license plate.  You’re going to be attaching this plate alongside one of the rear frame beams, so this should help to minimize scratching and potential clanking when the luggage rack is empty.

Step 2 – Secure the top edge of the plate to the right rear beam using 2 zip ties.  Make sure you go under the chain and any derailleur cables or you won’t be able to go and/or shift. You should probably leave the zip ties slightly loose because this allows the plate to pivot to fold up when not in use!

Step 3 – Attach remaining two zip ties to remaining holes along the lower edge of the license plate. These provide an easy way to hook on the bungee cord.

Step 4 – Hook the back-most zip-tie loop to one end of the bungee.  String the bungee cord through the upper right corner back of the seat, then down to hook to the other bungee cord.

Pictures would probably help at this point.

No Luggage? No Problem.

When you have no luggage, you can unhook the front-most loop from the bungee, pull the bungee (this will cause the plate to flip up vertical), and then hook the bungee to the left upper-corner of the seat so it stays.  This will prevent clanking and you’ll feel cool that it can do this.

Extra Luggage? No Problem.

If you want to carry more than this rack can support, you know what?  You can do the same thing on the other side of the trike!  I know – it’s amazing … but it’s true!


This luggage rack is cat food friendly.

This setup will allow you to carry 15.4lbs of cat food! The proof is in the picture.

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