Broken Pedal Crank or Rear Axle – Why?
99% of broken pedal cranks and rear axles fall into one of two categories:
Cycling on Land or while Barely Floating
A broken pedal crank or rear axle may be a cumulative result of people trying to pedal the Aqua-Cycle™ while on land (on the shore or just barely floating) rather than when it is free-floating in the water, or when it is setting on something like a sandbar and the people attempt to pedal off of the sand bar.
Even if a rider pedals while being pushed into the water, irreversible and accumulating damage is done to the pedal crank, rear axle, frame and belt. Fatigue and reverse stress damage will accumulate in the parts until they finally break.
The Aqua-Cycle™ is not designed as a land vehicle. It is specifically a water vehicle and should be treated as such.
Bearing Blocks Maintenance
Another and more common cause of a broken pedal crank or rear axle is if the Aqua-Cycle™ bearing blocks have not been consistently replaced as recommended. Some rental locations can accumulate great amounts of wear in less than a month due to high volume of rentals. Other locations have far less Aqua-Cycle™ rentals and the recommended bearing replacement more closely matches a season period.
In the Assembly Instructions that came with the Aqua-Cycle™ and on the red CAUTION plate mounted on the Aqua-Cycle™, we define how often the bearing blocks should be replaced. If you are in doubt, replace all bearing blocks every 200 hours of use. How often that limit is reached is based upon your usage. Only you can determine how often the bearing blocks should be changed because it is based upon actual usage. If not replaced as necessary, fatigue and reverse stress damage will accumulate in the pedal crank, rear axle, frame and belt which will eventually cause the parts to break and require expensive replacement.
The bearing replacement kit is much less expensive than a replacing a pedal crank or rear axle, and less costly than the lost revenue from an out-of-service piece of rental equipment.
For example: if you only charge $15 per hour (the average is $40 per hour) 200 hours of rental at $15 is a whopping $3,000 income. Why skimp and damage the Aqua-Cycle™ parts by not replacing the bearing blocks as recommended to keep your the Aqua-Cycles™ in good working condition and profitable?
What Causes Pedal Crank and Rear Axles to Break?
The bearing blocks keep the pedal crank and rear axle in a straight line horizontally and vertically. If the bearing blocks are too worn, as little as a 1/32nd of an inch or more all around, the pedal crank and rear axle will bow ever so slightly toward each other with each rotation or when the Aqua-Cycle™ is pedaled. In addition, a vertical bow will happen at the same time. As the pedal crank and axle rotate in those bowed positions, reverse stress damage occurs and the metal begins to fatigue – just like when you twist a paperclip around and around until it breaks. The damage accumulates most where the gear plate is welded to the rod. Eventually enough damage accumulates to break the metal.
The longest bearing blocks should go without replacement, meaning when there is enough wear to permit a significant bow, is at or before 200 hours of use.
Replacing the bearing blocks later (such as at 250, 300, 400, etc. hours of use) will not “heal” the damage that has begun to accumulate. Eventually a damaged pedal crank and rear axle will break. If you replace the worn out bearing blocks at some extended point, its life will be extended a while longer, but never ‘healed”.
If you have any questions about how often bearing blocks should be replaced, whether all or just some could be replaced or about what the recommended bearing blocks replacement point is for your model Aqua-Cycle™, contact our office. We, along with you, want your Aqua-Cycles™ to have a very long and profitable lifetime.