Building Your Own Recumbent
Oct 22, · When it comes to building a recumbent bike or trike, there are a few different routes you can take. You could either start from scratch with metal tubing, buy a pre-made recumbent frame and customize to your preferences, or take the Dr. Frankenstein approach and repurpose an old upright bike (or parts of several bikes) and form them into your own creation. Try, play and learn 10 of 10 Recumbent Bicycle building manual 3. Spray painting the bicycle. 4. Fitting out of the bicycle. You can of course let phase 1, drag along and get your materials during the project. I always prefer to have all major components available when I am making the frame. You.
The idea here is to remove most of the rear triangle of the donor bike while leaving the bottom bracket shell attached to the front down tube. Before you cut, measure the distance of the bottom bracket to the ground when the bike is upright and the tires are inflated and save this measurement. You will need it when you weld the new frame together. It is important for getting the front wheel at the proper angle.
Use your hacksaw to remove the seat stays from the seat tube while keeping as much seat stay material as you can. Cut the chain stays as close as you can to the bottom bracket shell. Cut the seat tube from the bottom bracket shell leaving enough attached to the bottom bracket shell for the front derailler to mount plus about 2".
Grind the remaining seat stay material from the bottom bracket shell - make it look nice. Don't worry if you end up with big holes in the bottom bracket shell from the chain stays. Just try to keep all the metal straight so you will be able to re-thread the bottom bracket back in later.
Make sure that the rear wheel is on and pushed in as far as it will go in the dropouts. You will use the wheel to tell you how far to bend the seat stays. Bend the seat stays down with the rear wheel and brakes still on. Don't bend it so far that the brake bracket will rub on the wheel or that the brake pads can't be adjusted to hit the rim. It would be nice to cut some sort of form for this step so that everything is bent evenly.
I didn't do that. Instead, I used small pieces of 2x4 lumber to set where I wanted the bend and tweaked it by hand - kind of an ad-hoc form I guess. It worked well enough, but if you look real close, the seat stays don't have exactly the same arc. Next time I'd make a form out of plywood to bend them over. I tried to have the top of the seat stays be parallel to the ground when the recently cut chain stays are around 6" off the ground. The metal I had was a little taller than the square tubing and I didn't bother to cut it down.
Clamp this assembly upright about 6" parallel from the floor. Weld to the chain stays with the wheel installed and touching the ground. Try not to get sparks from the welder on the tire or use and old tire you don't care about. Some damp drop cloth material would work. The 6" measurement is pretty flexible, so do what seems to look right to you. Make sure that you grind the cut ends of the chain stays so they are flat on the bracket you fabricated and that this is a good strong weld.
Also sight down the frame and main tube assembly to make sure the frame is straight. It is long enough that you should be able to eyeball it. If not, center up your 1" conduit along the main tube assembly and through the rear triangle after measuring and clamping up the proper height and removing the rear wheel and measure the rear dropouts to be equidistant from the conduit Now we need to attach a new seat tube. The seat tube will support the seat back, so it needs to be angled correctly.
My research and experience shows 30 degrees to be pretty comfortable. Your offcut piece of seat tube will probably be too short, so we will use 1" conduit. Measure up a piece that will allow for an angled cut at the bottom where the seat tube attaches to the main tube.
Grind the tube to fit and weld. Try to keep everything centered up and straight. The rear part of the frame is complete. Sit your hind-end on this thing backed up against the seat tube after it cools and stretch out your legs. Clamp a 2x4 or two to the seat tube to simulate your seat and padding depth. Stretch your legs out flat-footed and have someone mark the main tube at that point with a sharpie. Now either measure the distance from where your foot hits the pedal to the back of the bottom bracket see photomeasure back and then trace the bottom bracket shell on the main tube or fuss the pedal to the line you just marked and then trace the bottom bracket shell this way.
The idea is to locate the bottom bracket in relation to where the pedal needs to be in order to fit your body. I didn't design this with an adjustable seat, so it needs to be right. This is a pretty how do i pay taxes independent contractor cut, so take your time, measure it up right and grind it to fit snugly and straight.
This is one of two tricky welds. A jig would help tremendously here, but for a one-off bike, I personally wouldn't make one I want to make bikes, not jigs. The proper angle is determined by the bottom bracket measurement you made at the beginning before you cut the bike apart.
If you have feet larger than size 10, you might want to add " or your heels may scuff the ground when you pedal. You could measure your shoes and make sure you have a good 1" clearance. This is very dependent on the donor bike and can be adjusted later but do it now - it's easier and less work.
Now, weld it up. Spot weld on one side and sight down the frame and make positive that everything is straight and that there are no twists. I was able to keep things straight easily, but I think I just got lucky.
If it's off, you should be able to bend it and tweak it a little. If not, grind the weld away, re-adjust, and try again. With a long bike like this, it's pretty easy to eyeball when things are off. Once everything looks good, carefully finish your welds. Don't weld it too hot and the bottom bracket should be removed from the shell already. Be careful not how to place international call get slag in the shell threads.
Cut and grind the top tube from the donor bike. Cut a piece of 1" electrical conduit to fit from where the top tube was, across the old seat tube now the front derailler tubeand then to the main tube. Grind a birdsmouth so it will fit the steering tube and the proper angle to fit the main tube. Grind a birdsmouth in the front derailler tube and weld in place - make sure it is straight and centered or it will look goofy and cause you to crash when you're staring at your goofy-ass support tube while careening down a hill.
Really watch the heat with your welder - this metal is thin. You have the basic frame completed. We now need to build the remote steering, the seat, and assemble! Fabricate a tab to weld to the front fork. You can get an idea of scale from the photo. Grind it to fit whatever fork you are using and round off and smooth the other end. Here is where, with a little ingenuity, you could eliminate the need for a second donor bike. If you feel like fabricating a simple steering assembly, go for it and please post photos.
I had a steering tube already cut out and ground from another project and decided to use it to save time. I will assume that you are using a donor steering tube. This is one of those parts that will need to be adjusted to your body and preferences. I sat on the bike with the assembled steering tube with handlebars attached and held my arms in a comfy position. You will likely need someone to help you with this. Once you figure out where you want the steering tube, measure and cut a length of 1" conduit, grind to fit the steering tube and main tube, and weld to the main tube.
I have had this tube face both forward and back. I prefer forward, but whatever seems to work how long does it take earth to make one rotation should be fine. Weld the steering tube at approximately the same angle as the front steering tube. Get it as close as you can; it will help with the feel when you are turning to have everything at the same angle. Cut the forks from your second donor bike and weld on a tab the same size as the front tab.
It's easier to match everything up if the the forks are built similarly. The distance from the center point of the steering pivot to the pivot of the tie rod should be equal. Mount the other tie rod end here. Re-install the bottom bracket, cranks, and pedals if they aren't already there. Install your remote handle bars and fiddle with them so you don't hit your knees when you pedal. This will take some trial and error.
I used rod from a bed box spring and cut threads on each end. The rod will not be strong enough in compression and will bend especially with spring steel from a bed - boingy!
I ended up cutting and gluing some wood around it for support. With a little adjustment, you should be able to steer now! The seat bottom is 12" long and tapers from 12" in the front to 10" in the back.
The seat back is 18" tall and tapers from 10" to 8". Adjust these sizes to fit your body. Round off the edges. I used cd-roms to trace a circle and borrowed a jigsaw, but a coping saw would work. Use your wood rasp to remove any sharp edges and smooth out your how to relieve tension in your neck.
Introduction: Build a Long-wheelbase Low Racer Recumbent Bicycle
Recumbent bicycles are the unsung heroes of the cycling world. Not only are they far more comfortable than road bikes, and easier on your back, wrists, and caboose, but they are also faster - much faster. Not allowed in typical cycling races because of their aerodynamic advantage, recumbents have been cast by the wayside. Long overshadowed by their upright counterparts, recumbents are gaining in popularity, as more and more people are becoming aware of their vast advantages.
From a two-wheeled recumbent bicycle to a three-wheeled recumbent tricycle, recumbents are made for ultimate comfort. For an about-town commuter, trikes allow you to get around, get a workout, and carry your load without having to balance. Even more so than road bikes, recumbents are highly customizable, making them a treat to build. There are many different styles to choose from, allowing you to create a recumbent that has everything you need. Are you looking for a comfortable, efficient way to commute around town?
Are you looking for a high speed bike to take on long rides? At Lightfoot Cycles , we love seeing the various unique recumbent bicycles and tricycles that people have created. Put your skills and creativity to the test, and get a recumbent that is custom tailored just for you. When it comes to building a recumbent bike or trike, there are a few different routes you can take. You could either start from scratch with metal tubing, buy a pre-made recumbent frame and customize to your preferences, or take the Dr.
Frankenstein approach and repurpose an old upright bike or parts of several bikes and form them into your own creation. Each method has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, and each one carries its own price tag. Obviously, starting out from scratch will allow you to have the most custom ride possible, but it will also take the most time and know-how.
Recycling old frames is the most cost-efficient and can give you an awesome, refurbished look, but it also requires a lot of patience and configuration.
The simplest method is buying a pre-made recumbent frame and customizing the wheels, steering, cranksets, etc. For whichever method you choose, we have laid out some tips to help you get started. This is the method for you true artists and engineers out there. This option requires the most time, money, and skill, but it also is perhaps the most rewarding method. There are many great plans out there to help you get started. The guide estimates 40 hours total spent working on the project.
Horowitz has put together detailed instructions on how to do just that. When it comes to materials, there are a few different options. Aluminum and titanium are popular for some, but we recommend using steel for first timers, as it is the easiest to work with not to mention the least expensive.
You can usually find the steel tubing you need at a local hardware store, or online. You can also find a lot of great plans and designs online. Atomic Zombie has a ton of detailed plans and tutorials available for both bikes and trikes. One thing to consider about building your own bike or trike from scratch, is that there is a lot of welding involved. Or, if you prefer to use tig welding and happen to have access to a tig welder , this YouTube video is a good guide on how to set up your welder, and this YouTube video shows you how to use the welder.
A good list of needed. If welding really isn't your thing, good news! You do have a couple of other options. One popular method of building a recumbent from scratch, minus the the welding, is using wood. Not only is wood easier to work with, but it also gives a ton of opportunities for custom design. Depending on the type of wood you use, and where you gather it, this may also be a less expensive option than using steel.
You can find a tutorial on building a wood recumbent here. Another option would be to use carbon fiber composite. Like wood, carbon fiber CF allows you to get creative with design. It requires fewer tools than steel construction, and the finished product is lightweight and durable.
This YouTube video gives a good overview of what is involved in building a CF recumbent. With the DIY craze in full swing, recycling old objects and turning them into something new has never been more trendy. Look at thrift stores, garage sales, Craigslist, pawn shops, even dumpsters, for an old bike to give new life to. An old 10 speed can go for practically nothing. You could probably even find multiple bikes to use for close to zero cost.
If welding is more than you are willing to take on right now, it is also possible to build a non-traditional recumbent bike without welding, as this guy did. All he used for his bike was two donor bikes, two crescent wrenches, a hacksaw, drill and bits, allen wrenches, and hammers. This method may also take a few tries to get just right. When piecing together parts from other bikes like your very own two- or three -wheeled monster of Frankenstein, there is a little more creativity and ingenuity involved.
The payoff is well worth it, though. Once you get the design and build just right, you will have a long-lasting, highly-functioning, recumbent bicycle or tricycle for an unbelievable bargain. If the other two methods seem like more time and skill than you have to put into your project, you could always buy a frame pre-made, and use that as your starting point.
There are a lot of recumbent builders out there who construct quality frames and sell them on their own. Try looking on Craigslist or at local bike shops. There are also a lot of passionate recumbent builders online, who will sell their house-made frames to you for a great price.
A lot of these people are really passionate about what they do, and have tons of experience in building durable recumbent frames. One such enthusiast is A. Keep in mind that most frames sold are just the frames. The fork is often not included. So, when you buy a frame kit, pay attention to what exactly you are getting. All of the other parts can usually be collected relatively inexpensively, and then you can get to work putting together a recumbent bike or trike to fit your preferences.
When it comes to recumbent design, there are a few different routes you can take, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
It all comes down to personal preference. Deciding what style you will build, though, is vital to your entire construction process. The main considerations before gathering tools and materials, are your wheelbase style and steering style. The wheelbase style determines where your front wheel and crankset will lie, as well as the handling and ease of transport of your recumbent.
There are really three different wheelbase styles you can choose from:. These bikes have a lot more to offer than storage capabilities, though. They are also the easiest style for most people to maneuver, and they are lightweight and fast. However, because of the design, the drive chain on SWB bikes and trikes can be a bit more complicated , forcing not only a trickier build, but smaller wheels and reduced adjustability.
It also means that they require more maintenance. Long wheelbase bikes and trikes have the crankset in between the two wheels, like an upright bike, with the front wheel way out in front, and a more upright seat. They offer some of the smoothest, most stable rides, and are easier for beginners. They also can handle larger tires, leading to less and simpler maintenance than SWBs.
While great for long tours, these may not be the best for the everyday in-traffic commute. If you are totally new to recumbent bikes not just building them , then you may want to opt for a compact long wheelbase bike. In this set-up, the crankset is placed right behind the front wheel.
With high seats, they offer more visibility in traffic, as well as more opportunities for carrying groceries and other cargo. This makes them perfect for commuting around town. This is entirely a matter of preference. For those new to recumbent riding, ASS is often preferred, simply because it is more similar to traditional upright bikes. The steering component is mounted in front, usually in line with the shoulders.
It also makes it easier to walk your bike and mount accessories and safety features such as mirrors absolutely vital on recumbents due to the inconvenience and sometimes impossibility of head-turning while riding.
Many more experienced riders prefer USS, though, finding it more comfortable and convenient. On bikes and trikes with USS, the steering component is underneath the seat, and you steer using handles resting at the side of your seat. A tadpole recumbent trike is one in which there are two wheels in front, and one wheel in back. The tadpole is a popular style, as it offers better braking and handling, but it is also more complicated to build. A delta recumbent trike is one that has a single front tire and two rear tires.
Delta trikes are much easier to design and build, but they provide less stability than their tadpole counterpart. Human powered vehicles can be configured either way as well, and it is very important in both the construction and the function of your recumbent. For a long time, RWD was the only type of drive seen on bicycles.
Lately, however, FWD has been popping up more and more, especially in the world of recumbents. It is still the most common way to configure a chain on a bicycle, and makes configuring suspension much easier. It also can provide for a more stable ride, although, they are more likely to understeer.
FWD is when the front wheel is the one propelling you forward. This has become really popular on recumbent bikes lately, because it means that there is a much shorter chain. Because of the configuration, the bike has a tendency to lose traction going up hills, with the weight of the rider all resting on the back wheel.