Bicycle Reflector Adaptor Bushing

Reflector on bushing
Reflector on bushing

After replacing the seat strut screws, I found a Round Tuit lying there on the workbench, right next to the rear reflectors I’ve been meaning to install for a truly embarrassing period.

Recumbents don’t have the usual assortment of standard-sized tubing in the usual road-bike places, making common items like reflectors difficult to attach. The ideal spot on our bikes is at the base of the VHF/UHF antennas, right next to the white blinky LEDs, but, alas, that’s 20 mm in diameter and the reflector clamp barely shrinks down to a bit under 28.

Turns out that a chunk of 1.5 inch PVC pipe has a 4 mm wall thickness, so wrapping a layer of that around the antenna base will do the trick. I whacked off a length of pipe, faced off both ends in the lathe, and put a shallow recess around the middle of the ring to capture the reflector clamp.

By another rare coincidence, 1.5 inch PVC pipe has an ID of exactly 40 mm… so cutting the ring exactly along a diameter produces the right length. The catch is that the pipe isn’t flexible at all, but brandishing a heat gun in a threatening manner solves that problem.

Reshaped bushing on mandrel
Reshaped bushing on mandrel

A random hunk of 3/4-inch aluminum rod is about 19 mm in diameter, so I chucked that in the lathe and shaped the saggy strip around it… wearing thick leather gloves.

It springs out to 20 mm with no problem, slides right on, and grips reasonably well. I may add a strip of tapeless sticky (think double-sided tape without the tape: just the adhesive!) under the bushing if it wants to walk away.

I made two of ’em, of course, and put a reflector on Mary’s bike while I was at it. Our young lady’s bike already has a reflector, although I should upgrade that bushing as well… it’s a layer of self-vulcanizing rubber tape that works perfectly, so this may take a while.

I suppose I should buy a length of gray or black PVC pipe, but that’s in the nature of fine tuning.