I Built a No-Weld Recumbent Trike
I prove the old adage "once you learn to ride a bike..." wrong. I used to ride, but no longer can nor want to. I want to get around, as my 65-year-old knees complain when I take a 2 mile walk. But that's my major exercise. But I want to ride.
I tried an upright trike (the kind that abound at Florida retirement areas, so I've heard) at a local used sports store. As I pedaled around, I could hear my right knee cap dislocating and relocating itself. I need a short crank (short pedal distance.)
Some Pictures (taken 11 June, 2010)
Video is below.
Overall project statistics
- Cost: less than $250 Canadian
- Took less than a month to build (I spent longer because I did lots of thinking and working stuff out). Started in April, 2010, rideable 5 June, 2010.)
- Needed Tools: Hacksaw, wrenches, electric drill, jigsaw, rotary tool (like a Dremel), bicycle multi tool (Crank Brothers Multi-17 Multi Tool, about $27 at Mountain Equipment Coop; Multi-17 has a reliable chain tool for breaking and re-connecting chains), bicycle crank tool (Filzer Crank Multi Wrench from Mountain Equipment $17).
- Optional Tools: Angle Grinder, Drill Press
- Experience with bikes: used to ride, no bike mechanics experience; on June 6, 2010, I changed my first bicycle tire (AFTER building the trike)
- Uses parts from three salvaged bicycles
- LOTS of thought and anxiety about how things will fit or work or fail
- Approximate Dimensions: WIDTH 94cm (37inches). LENGTH 211cm (83 inches). WEIGHT approx 40.3 kg (88.5 lbs)
- Gearing: 18 speeds
Follow my journey in building the trike, and get some ideas for your trike building.
Please be careful if you build or ride one of these things. Please see our disclaimer. You're on your own journey. Make it creative, keep it fun and safe.
Quick Links in This Trike-Building Venture
Next page, Ideas and Design.
Update August, 2012:
I've been riding the trike for about 3 seasons now. I've painted it, changed the seat (another lawn chair), am planning to make it lighter, and perhaps add an electric motor assist for some of the hills that my legs won't handle. (A bike-riding friend suggested that I build up my legs instead.)
I like the trike a lot!
Update: April 30, 2013
I bought a used commercial recumbent trike, and have given the one described in this article away (hopefully to a good home.) No motor added.