My cyclist doesn’t pedal (well)?

Sometimes we get questions about bad (or not) pedalling of the cyclist. Usually these problems occur directly after the assembly of the cyclist. Once solved, its often solved definitely. Assembling the cyclist is not an easy job. The parts are very small and the technique of the rolling wheel requires a perfect connection of the components. If problems occur, these are often due to one of the following three causes.

My cyclist doesn’t pedal (well)?
1. Make sure the tights are correctly assembled. Pay attention: it’s hard to see, but both tights are different (mirrored). The tight should be assembled as shown in the left view. If it’s upside down (right view), the knee can’t bend enough in the upper position when pedalling.
My cyclist doesn’t pedal (well)?
2. The transparent wheel is a very small injection molded part. This mold has to open to get the product out. So the transparent wheel does have a barely visible seam on the surface. And sometimes there is a small film left on the seam after the produt is ejected out of the mold. This film can hinder the wheel from rolling. The film can be removed with a sharp cutter blade.
My cyclist doesn’t pedal (well)?
3. It’s possible the legs will bend back in the wrong direction when they can fully stretch. This occurs when the distance between the axis of the hip and the axis of the transparent wheel is too big. Sometimes it’s just a fraction of a millimeter… To reduce this distance, the wheel should be locked well (red arrow). If this doesn’t solve the problem, the front wheel can be bend a bit forward (orange arrow). Doing this, the axis of the transparant wheel will be closer to the axis of the hip when rolling on the surface. This will prevent the legs to be fully stretched.

How long can I make the track?

Actually, the track length is not limited. But for longer stretches, you have to use multiple motors to move the chain through the track. When using multiple motors, make sure the distances between the motors are more or less equal.

The most asked question on exhibitions is, what the maximum length of chain is that one motor can drive. There is no simple answer to this question. It depends on the friction of the chain in the track. Naturally; the less the friction, the longer the length… The friction depends on many parameters. The main factors are the number of curves; the variation in height; the covering material and the number of cyclists or car sliders used.

There is 2.25 meters (7.38 feet) track available in a starter set. The chain runs well with one motor on a not to curvy loop using 2 or 3 cyclists or car sliders. This length can even be extended to 2.50 meters (8.2 feet) when the loop is simple. And even a track length of 3 meters (10 feet) is possible, using a set of our new developed return loops. This return loop is specially designed to have very low friction in a 180° curve. This can be used in a so-called dog bone shaped loop: So two straights with a return loop at either end.

How long can I make the track?

What to use as covering material?

As covering material we recommend board paper, with a thickness of about 0.4 millimeters. 300-350 Grams sturdy board paper (used for photographic purposes) is about 0.4 millimetres thick and wear resistant, also at the down side. It’s a firm pressed material with a smooth surface. It can be well painted in the desired colours. After painting the surface we recommend to apply a layer of clearcoat and slightly sandpaper it. On our website you can also find 180 different street patterns to print on the board paper. Also apply a layer of clearcoat and slightly sandpaper it after printing the pattern.

Please note that we use pieces of transparent plastic in our dioramas. We’ve used the transparant plastic to show how the Magnorail system functions. In fact, plastic is not well suitable to use as covering material. Using for instance spotlights warms up the the surface and will bulge the plastic. Board paper is much more stable.

Ideally, the used board paper doesn’t have any seams in the track. We realise that it’s not always possible to avoid this. If using a seam, please make sure the connection is as smooth as possible. And make sure that connection on the bottom is smooth too. The magnets in the track will slide against the bottom, and it’s often hard to get access to this when the job is finished …

What to use as covering material?

Assembling the Magnorail cyclist (old model)

While the manual should be good enough, we felt we needed to make a short video on how to assemble the Magnorail bicycle. The video was taken in one go, although we cut out the parts where we had to crawl on the floor to recover a leg or another small part.

If you decide to build one of the bicycles yourself, we advise to paint it first and let it dry for a day. Only then you can be sure that half-wet paint will not obstruct the knees or other moving parts of the figure.

Here is the video:

We hope it takes away your fears to assemble one those bikers yourself.

Longer stretches without extra motors

Under normal conditions, the Magnorail track system requires a motor about every two and a half meters to overcome the overall friction.

When the trajectory is meandering quite a bit, this might not even be enough, especially with multiple vehicles on the street. In that case the motor can start to slip. The disadvantages are of course added cost and the room required for these motors. The motors should be accessible from underneath and that might cause planning issues!

A solution is to use return loops for the tightest curves. As the wheel spins the friction will be nullified almost entirely.

Magnorail chain lubrication?

People sometimes ask whether or not the Magnorail track needs lubrication. This is not necessary, and may even render the system unusable. The drive uses rubber tires to move the chain, and any sort of lubrication will make these tires way too slippery.

The cyclists make a squeaking sound…

If the bikes make a squeaking or grinding sound the first remedy is filing and sanding.

Smooth the butterfly-shaped plates under the wheels as much as possible, for instance with the aid of a nail file. Because the material is etched it may have quite sharp edges.

Please check that the plates are in line. If not, the cyclist might totter on the street surface.

If the cyclist makes a singing sound, the front fork vibrates. Carefully bending it slightly usually helps here.

Finally, it may be that the road is too rigid. Coating the surface with a very thin layer of talcum powder can help to stop the sound.

Help, the cyclist doesn’t paddle!

If the cyclist refuses to paddle, please investigate the following causes.

First, manually check if the transparent wheel rotates flawlessly. If so, there’s likely not enough friction between the wheel and the street surface. Carefully bending out the front fork resolves this problem.

Whenever the wheel has problems every half turn, it can be that you did not assemble the legs correctly. Please refer to the manual and check that you snapped together the upper legs the correct way around. If they are the wrong way around they don’t allow for a full turn of the wheel.

Also please check that there’s no remaining plastic on the inside of the legs.

If none of the above seems to help, it might be that the frame is not straight. Please check for this and if necessary, flatten it with pliers.