Author Topic: An almost free Tadpole Trike  (Read 13763 times)

Posthumane

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An almost free Tadpole Trike
« on: September 05, 2012, 11:38:07 AM »
I'm posting here mostly to pat myself on the back, I think, but also to let people know about some alternatives to traditional bicycles. My GF has a problem with bicycling: she never learned to ride as a child, and only a little in college, so she doesn't quite grok the bio-mechanics of bicycling and balancing. She doesn't mind pedaling and had lots of fun with me when I borrowed a tandem bike from a friend, but she doesn't have any confidence in her own balancing ability and is always afraid of falling. This leads to her getting frustrated and exhausted on even short bike rides.

I had looked into several solutions such as tandem bikes and recumbent trikes, both of which I like, but they are quire expensive to buy since they are a low volume item compared to regular bicycles. I happened to come across a great deal recently though, as a friend of mine came across a free Triton trike and passed it on to me. As you can see here: http://tritontrike.com/ the triton trike is kind of a mobility trike, but because it was a direct drive, rear wheel steering delta trike it was not particularly fast or stable.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and we have this:

What I did was buy a 20" wheel with 6 speed cassette (okay, i probably could have gotten this used), two lengths of chain, skateboard wheels, and a few feet of 1.5" rectangular hollow section metal tubing. I also took the bottom bracket, crankset, and derailleurs off of another mountain bike that I got for free (was being thrown out in the alley by my house). I welded the bottom bracket to an extension that fits inside the original frame and bolts in to, welded a piece of tubing for a new seat mount near the single (now rear) wheel, made some brackets for the new rear wheel (with 6 speed cassette) from some 1/8" steel plate, and linked two lengths of chain together to drive it. The chain has to ride on an idler pulley made out of a skateboard wheel so it doesn't rub on the seat bottom.

Anyway, now it's a usable trike, capable of doing about 25 km/h instead of about 6 km/h like before. The steering is a bit sensitive since it doesn't have any caster/trail and that's something else I want to work on, but other than that I feel comfortable riding it pretty much anywhere I would bicycle (on road only, no mountain trails). My GF and I have been riding it around town and she's been really enjoying it, instead of worrying about balance. I've been following behind her on another home-made recumbent bike, this one based on the site recycledrecumbent.com

Anyone else out there make custom bikes/trikes?
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 11:47:16 AM by Posthumane »

tooqk4u22

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Re: An almost free Tadpole Trike
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 02:00:47 PM »
Pretty neat.  You may want to put one of those orange flagpoles on it so cars can see you.

cambridgecyclist

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Re: An almost free Tadpole Trike
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 09:54:54 AM »
Nice project!! I've been looking at plans from atomiczombie, too, for recumbants.

Posthumane

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Re: An almost free Tadpole Trike
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 10:15:39 AM »
I had been considering buying plans from atomiczombie for a long time, but haven't yet. They seem to be a great resource though, and offer a lot of free info on their site. I may build a few of their designs next year, but I don't think I want to start any more bike projects for the time being as I've tied up most of my time with building a car (Locost). I think recumbent bikes are great though, so much more comfortable than a traditional upright, and if made properly they can be faster too. One day I want to build a full out enclosed velomobile.

Jamesqf

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Re: An almost free Tadpole Trike
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 01:01:13 PM »
I like it - both the trike and the Locost - but I have to question the "almost free" part.  Yes, it's almost free, IF you have already invested in shop space, metal working & welding equipment, and in acquiring the skills needed.  Otherwise...?

Posthumane

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Re: An almost free Tadpole Trike
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 01:50:46 PM »
Yes, that's very true James, but I suppose that could be applied to most DIY projects. The marginal cost of this was very low *for me* because I already have a garage, welder, a bunch of old bikes and parts from various places, etc. It wouldn't be that low if you had to invest in those things from scratch. But the tool cost should be amortized over all of your projects where you use them.

If you are building a DIY bookshelf the same issue exists - you need to already have a saw, hammer, screwdriver, etc. If you need to buy those tools to build a single bookshelf then it might be cheaper to just buy a shelf.