Barracuda Landing Gear

Landing gear for the Barracuda Streamliner

By Warren Beauchamp

1999 - Folding Landing Gear          2001 - Telescoping Landing Gear

When I originally put the full fairing on the Barracuda, I thought that I would be able to start and stop by just putting my hand down. This proved to be a little harder than I had anticipated, and at the Northbrook and Kenosha races I ended up doing some spectacular race finishes sliding on my side when I bounced off of my hand onto my other side. At this point in time I decided that it was time to make the landing gear. I had seen many types of landing gear. Some used two wheels, some used one, most didn't work very well, some of them failed at inopportune moments. The one I had seen that worked well was on John Simon's Moby. It was a single wheel approach, where the bike was leaned over to one side slightly when at rest. 

I raced the 'Cuda using a folding landing gear system to start and stop between 1999 and 2001. It worked well, but as it folded up and down, it required a large gash in the fairing to raise and lower, and did not completely retract into the fairing. After breaking the brake cable I had used to raise and lower the landing gear a couple times, Don Barry took pity on me and gave me some aircraft cable. It fit in the brake housing fine, and I had no more cable breakage problems.

When I modified the 'Cuda to use a 700C rear wheel, I rethought the landing gear, and decided to use a telescoping design instead of the folding design I had used previously. 

10/3/1999 - Folding landing gear
I decided that the best way to raise and lower it was with a modified
derailleur lever and cable. The picture below shows what Bill Murphy and I came up with. It's not exactly what I had originally envisioned, but is much simpler, and very robust.

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The cable pulls the gear down, until it reaches a stop. The stop is placed just past the point where the wheel would naturally fold up, so that the pressure on the cable when starting/stopping is reduced. The top brace/pivot is attached to the chain stays with the ubiquitous tubing clamps, and pivot inside a concentric tube. The tube is placed at an angle so that it swings out and down simultaneously, and so that it is (fairly) close to the bike when folded. The picture below shows the clamp on the end of the tube, which holds the pivot in place, as well as serving as a stop.

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The picture below shows the gear in the raised position. I still need to move the spring mounting point to a higher position so that it pulls the gear up a little higher. I used a cheap inline-skate wheel to roll on. The length of the landing gear's leg is also adjustable. The spring and derailleur cables are held on by a hose clamp.

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The Landing gear is raised and lowered with a friction shifter. It provides just enough tension to hold the wheel in place when taxiing, taking off,  and landing. The black strap above the derailleur handle is a black Velcro strap that I wrap around the handle for insurance when doing extensive taxiing, and if the handle's screw is loose.

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The cable stop is mounted to one of  the clamps under the seat.

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After using the landing gear while racing for about 1/2 of the season this year without problems, my verdict is that it works! When starting out, I get it up to a couple MPH, give the steering a little jerk to right the bike, and raise the gear. When stopping, I lower the gear, then lean over to the left until I'm rolling on the wheel. At the 1999 NAC's I hit an aircraft tie down hole with the landing gear while taxiing back to the pits after a .decimach run. I fell over. Nothing was damaged, as the large hole had simply caused the gear to fold up. When using the bike in a non-faired mode, the landing gear does duty as a fancy remote control kickstand...

11/13/01 - Telescoping design

The telescoping design uses concentric square for the landing leg and it's sliders. The leg itself is 7/8" x .049 wall square tubing, and the sliders are 1" x .058" square wall tubing. The wheel is a cheapo inline skate wheel.

12/05/01 - Telescoping Construction
After I had finished the 'Cuda 700C conversion, it was time to add the new telescoping landing gear. I spent a lot of time figuring out how to make the landing gear removable, as the bike is only in the streamliner body for a small percentage of the time I use it, and I don't want to haul around the extra weight. I finally decided to have the two 1" sliders braised to the frame, and just have the  5/8" telescoping tube be removable. To accomplish this I have to make a couple minor deviations from the drawing above, in terms of where where the spring and landing gear cable attach.

In this picture you can see the 5/8" telescoping tube, which will soon have a wheel braised to it's lower end, and the lower of the two 1" sliders. 

Completed landing gear in the "up" position. A spring positioned under the landing gear slider pulls it up. Springs like this one, which is similar to the springs used on a screen door, are available from your local hardware store.
Landing gear in the "down" position. A 1/16" aircraft cable is used in a standard brake cable housing to pull the landing gear down and hold it in place. 

Also in the picture, the very cool Garrie Hill carbon fiber wheel cover. 

In this photo, the landing gear in the "up" position, from the other side of the bike. Shown here is the actuation cable, mounting sliders, and spring. 

You can click on this picture for a higher resolution image.


I have decided to simplify matters by using a ring to lower the landing gear. To lower the gear I will just grab the ring and pull it. It will be fastened in place by putting the ring on a hook. To raise the landing gear, the ring is just popped off the hook. As the gear is spring loaded, it will pop up and retract the ring/cable. The location of the hook will be adjustable to account for sloped velodromes, crowned roads, etc. 

This picture shows the ring on the end of the cable. Landing gear is in the "up" position.

This picture shows the ring after it has been pulled and placed on the hook. The landing gear is now in the "down" position. 

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