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A new trike.

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th62

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I'm building another recumbent trike, my fifth.
I'm using the same components from a two wheeler I made that I can't ride due to balance issues. It will feature:

Ackerman and centrepoint steering
Adjustable toe in
Shimano Deore cycle parts
Tektro hydaulic disks
700c rear wheel
20" front wheels.
Wheelbase 115cm
Track 760mm
Seat height 240m
Bottom bracket height 400mm
Frame 30mm tube
Kingpin angle 15 degrees
Wheel angle 5 degrees
27 speed
9 speed cassete
3 speed chainring

To date I've built the frame, welded up the stub axles, added caliper mounts and ackerman angled steering levers, added a bottom bracket and front deraileur mount, turned up some Delrin chain idlers and fixed the rear derailleur mount and sorted the hubs and quick release levers. Today I welded up some seat bracketing and bent and twisted some 3mm ally sheeting for the seat and back. Pulled it down off the bench and sat in it to try, very impressed - very, very comfortable.

Rims should arrive late next week, soon as they get here I'll measure up for spokes and order them then stick the wheels together. Once done I can start on the steering and associated linkages, then go for a trial run, sort out any problems and paint.

Here some pictures, frame all welded up, stubs welded up, calipers mounted, front derailleur and BB installed.

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Tim9

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Checking your post out with anticipation since a recumbent trike is on my wish list. Still looking for ideas and plans... since this is one of many items on my ever increasing to do list
 

savarin

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Going to be a sweet ride. I wish I could still ride my bents but knees and a hip just wont take it any more.
I was in the middle of a tilting trike when I had to stop riding so never finished it.
All the drive and tilt mechanism is finished
Its still sitting all forlorn in my shed and I cant find anyone to pass it onto.
 

th62

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Shame you're not in New Orleans, you could have passed it op to TIM9! I stopped riding due to a bung hip, left it hanging up in the shed till I got sick of looking at it so I threw it away. Not long after I, got a new hip, now I've got to go through the pain of making another. I just hope I get to finish it before the big dog in the sky fetches me. I'm sure Toby, Dennis, Stub, Scruff and Dante, Chum,and Shinta (my 3 police dogs) are awaiting my arrival. They've been waiting a while now...
 

savarin

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Heres a couple of my bents and I really miss riding them
https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/a-couple-of-my-bicycle-builds.8521/
I assume you are using Peter Elands spreadsheet to work out your ackerman geometry?
I found that even 1 mm made a huge difference. The green trike above can go from lock to lock without tyre scrub but it took a lot of experimenting.
If you are considering cable steering check out my experiments on Atomic zombie for the results (link in the above post)
 

th62

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I also use mild steel, square tube because 4 trukes and three bikes have proven 30mm tube works well. I don't build to plans and certainly don't copy others, the enjoyment for me, is to design and build. Here's some pictures of previous builds. the red trike was MK2 and proved useful in testing different concepts, always being modified. The seat was a medieval torture machine. The black trike was MK3 and had hub steering, I used it every day for around 2-3 years. It worked ok up to around 40k, after that it got a little interesting, my first attempt at an ergonomic seat, it was reasonably comfortable.

The white two wheeler was also made up from discarded rubbish, but again had an unbelievably uncomfortable seat. The unfinished two wheeler had deore components, Tektro hydraulics and a shaped ally seat, the parts are now resident on my trike build. Very comfortable, when I wasn't lying on the ground bleeding from my head and it was quite fast. Picture was taken before I changed to 20" forks, added a caliper and wasn't painted. Now it collects rust behinfd my shed.

The grey/white trike was my last trike, I built it around 12 years ago and used it daily for 10 years. It was a great trike, extremely comfortable and very fast. The drive train eventually wore out and started slipping, but as my hips wore out around the same time I retired it. I made some bar end shifters for this one, far better than standards for ease of changing gears The dogs loved it, even if I wasn't riding it they loved sitting in their box seat.

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th62

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Rims turned up yesterday so I laced one last night. Calculations provided for 181/183mm spokes, I had a couple of 20" wheels with 185s so I tried them and they fit nicely. The rims I got off ebay for $67. They are caliper rims and look quite nice with anodised side walls. I'll lace the other one as soon as my hands recover, lacing wheels is very hand intensive. I've been busy making a filing machine the last few days so this is the first time I've worked on the trike for quite a few days..

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C-Bag

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Very nice, good job. I'm in awe of your work.

I love my ICE Adventure that I picked up locally off Craigslist. I was going to build one too and had the plans and material all together when the ICE came up. I was wanting to go recumbent because I was completely tired of numb hands and sore butt no matter the bars or padded seat.

The ICE was exactly what I was going to build with rear suspension. I use it to make deliveries to the post office several times a week. It's more or less saved my life as its kept me off BP meds. I also have a heavy duty BOB trailer when I have more orders than will fit on the rack. Here there is no flat ground so I'm always climbing or flying down a hill so it's not some long country trip but it's quite a workout. I was also able to pick up a TerraTrike for my wife. I can fit both of them in the back of my Nissan PU. We've done couple vacations with the trikes as its a great way to see an area.
 

th62

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I cut bent and twisted somw 3mm ally sheet yesterday for a seat back. shaping it to fit my back was a long process but it is supremely comfortable. Also in the middle of making couple of new stubs, the 5 degree ones I made are just too much, these ones will be 0 degrees.
Also found I made the boom to short by 50mm. The joys of designing and building.

I also trued up the wheels the other day, got to within 0.15mm off perfect. No need for that sort of accuracy on a cycle, first bump I hit will put it out, Just thought I'd see how close I could get it. The join is always the bit you can't do anything about.

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I offered to build a recumbent bike for the wife but she declined the offer, calls them 'nerd' bikes!

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C-Bag

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I offered to build a recumbent bike for the wife but she declined the offer, calls them 'nerd' bikes!
Is that a bad thing? :) what cracks me up is the ones who are totally entranced is little kids. It is a lot like a Big Wheel for grown ups. I always envied those kids on Big Wheels that looked like so much fun. My wife used to ride bike with me but she said I always had such a big grin on my face it made her want a trike too. I wish I would have had one of these when I was young, makes me feel like a kid again.
 

th62

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Just messing around with pen and paper trying different steering options and I came up with this idea: a couple of push pull levers each connected to the hub in front and the hubs connected via a tie rod. Apparently, I've re-invented the wheel - it's called 'tank steering'.

So, I have tank steering, meaning the levers just move for back and forward so they don't need to be set widely apart to miss the thighs as on underseat steering. The modified Ackerman theory I've employed ensures the inner wheel describes a lesser arc than the out wheel so no tyre scrub, the caster and camber lean the wheels into a turn and centrepoint geometry negates bump steer. Can't wait to ride this thing, just the design of the steering is getting m excited!

hopefully it'll perform as well as it should. Now, if I could just get those Chinese suppliers to deliver the tie rod ends I could move forward a little!

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th62

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Almost finished, added the fork stays, chain idler brackets today, gave it a bit of a grind and put it together to make sure everything fits and nothing fouls. Tomorrow I'll attach the front deraileur cable and give it a test ride. Don't have a good feeling about the push pull steering but, tomorrow will tell. Very, very comfortable. The MTB I canabalised for parts weighed in at 19 kgs, my goal was to get under that - fail, it is exactly the same 19kgs. Not too bad considering the MTB had an alloy frame I suppose. I have drawn up some more plans to save a kg or two - one day.

Test rode it today- brilliant. The lever steering is truly terrific but, I will add some more holes for adjustment. Amazing the difference quality cycle parts make: with Deore rear wheel, gear train, shifters and Tektro hydraulic brakes it is really nice to ride/drive - smooth and fast. If you're thinking about lever steering, do it! Now the hard part, cleaning it up. Unfortunately not being able to use my hands without three prong wrist braces I have trouble with the hand piece, can't bend or twist so the results are terrible. Almost all the welds have to be cleaned up, again difficult with these hands so might be a while before it's painted and on the road, can't wait. I have metalic silver which I intend using on to, the bottom may be black, haven't made a D yet.

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savarin

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Excellent build. Wish I was still riding.
 

eugene13

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I love projects like this.
 

th62

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Nearing the finish line. Undercoating done and tomorrow, hands being ok, I'll hit the spray gun: black for the levers, stubs and seat, metalic silver for the chassis. I picked up some thin (1/8"), grey, yoga mat from KMart the other day with a nice patern, should look nice on a black background.

Very hand intensive spray guns, I have to use wrist braces, use two hands and then lie down for a couple of days to recover. Not my favourite job anymore. I saw the pain specialist this morning and he's prescribed some stronger pain meds so hopefully they'll work better than the other rubbish.

The braces have three aluminium strips running the length of them, I wear them pretty well all the time now, can't do a thing without them. Only problem is I lose a lot of the movement required for painting and welding. Thank goodness for grinders and bog!

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th62

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These are the stubs, lot of work involved here lining up and so on as they aren't identical.

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th62

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Well, almost there, frame painted and I've almost finished assembling. I can't tell you how disappointed I am though. Unfortunately, due to hand problems welding was an issue, an issue I went someway to resolving by bogging over some of the welds and darkening the silver metalic paint to a charcoal metalic. Looks alright from a distance, but up close it turns my stomach. Anyway a picture of some bits that came out halfway decent. I'll be looking at retiring from such endeavours in the future, way beyond me now. Damn!

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th62

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Done, all together, just got to adjust the deraileurs. the front one doesn't want to play so I have that set on the middle gear. going to see if I can fix it or another exy bit. some pics

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th62

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Shiny seats look nice but going around corners are a little disconcerting so I stuck some 3mm yoga mat to the top pf the three panela, much better.

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Moper361

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Nice build there .Im curious if you have a good pace up down hill and you need to get on the brakes hard because some twit gets in your way ,Does the ar#%#se end stand up in the air .I have never ridden one so have no idea how they would react .I would not mind building one of these for my daughter
 

savarin

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With tadpole trikes there is only one hard and fast rule - dont put your feet down to slow the trike.
The cross tube strikes the back of your calves and drags your feet under.
I've never managed to tip one up but my mate who is a very light weight has.
No big deal it flops back down.
 

th62

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Slam on the front brakes as hard as you like it won't end over. No point in rear brakes on a Tadpole: as soon as you apply brakes all weight is transferred to the front. Tadpoles tend to have lots of gears, many low range because of hills. On a normal bike tou can stand on the pedal to assist going up hill, not an option on a recumbent so that's where gears come in. Generally speaking though, recumbents on a nice flat surface will outperform a bike - in top speed at least. A recumbent is not a lot different from a leg press machine you use in the gym, so you benefit greatly from the power in your thighs.

I have tipped one, ironically it was on the lowest one I ever built, from memory the seat height was somewhere around the 100mm mark, so anything is possible. Recumbents with two wheels at the front will always handle better in corners than recumbents with two at the rear, two at the rear are quite easy to tip.

Have you given thought to a two wheel recumbent? if built right they are seriously fast and handle well due to the low centre of gravity. They are also easier to cart in the back of your car, lighter and easier to build. The drive train may need some assistance in the form of a third set of gears if speed is the goal.
 

th62

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Part way through the new chassis and then the new wireless speedo arrived so took time off the chassis to make a mount for the speedo and mirror. Simple fix, just a 300m lemgth of 12mm aly tube shrunk into a square piece of acetal for the axle mount. The speedo and mirror are housed on a bracket made from a 25mm piece of round acetal. Rather than modify the mirror, which I can get anywhere, I drilled an 18mm hole in the acetal for the mirror mount and the 12 mm aly tube is shrunk onto the speedo bracket. Simple but looks neat.

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th62

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Another addition: I had a spare coolant hose, normally used on my lathe, in the workshop so i fixed it to the back of the seat and mounted a water bottle to the front deraileur post linking them together with a length of retic hose.

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th62

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I did a little work on the new chassis over the last few days, added mounts for a shocky, the mounts give me five settings and around 100mm of travel. The shocky weighs 400 grams but the fork stays that aren't required with the shockies save 400 grams so the chassis should be around 100 grams heavier, I can live with that.

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th62

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A little more work done on the new chassis: Completed the swinging arm and suspension as well as the squab and shaped the backrest.

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th62

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Made a bit of a boo boo with the suspension: didn't allow for my weight so had to make new mounts and order a shorter shocky. While waiting I spotted some cable guides in place, attached mounts for a rack, shaped a luggage rack, tacked the front deraileur mount on and attached the chain idlers. The new suspension now has nine settings in lieu of five, bit of a waste but it does look good. I'll attach a couple of chain idlers up front tomorrow and then it's just a matter of waiting for the shocky to arrive.

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th62

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Getting there: undercoated and waiting for the top coat. Metalic silver chassis, Black for seat, rack and steering bits. Alloy bits will be blasted and clear coated.

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