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Old 06-29-07, 09:46 AM   #1
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Frontwheel drive

I put this together a couple of weeks before the Abita Springs bike fest in 2003 as a proof of concept bike. It's made from 7 or 8 junked out bikes. Frame is a 26" to get wheelbase and the rest is off various 20" bikes. Rides good but requires a definite learning period with the front wheel drive. Over the next year or so it morphed into quite a nice ridding bike and finally to a trike. The final version had a 39/52 chainring from a 27" Sears and Roebuck and the drive(front) wheel was from a 20" 6 speed 14/28 so it is geared pretty good. No welding involved. It was ridden by my 13 year old grandson and his friends so I know it was durable. One day I let one of the neighbor kids go and he brought most of it back in a trailer. I have a long bike project in progress now so I don't know when or if I will put it back together. I have some detail pictures if anyone is interested.
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Old 06-30-07, 06:59 AM   #2
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It's a very cool concept. Great minds think alike...here's another version of a front-drive recumbent: http://www.recumbent.com/bikemakers.html

Did the ride change any as the bike evolved into 20" wheels front and back?
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Old 06-30-07, 10:14 AM   #3
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I want one. Seriously, I think I'm going to go hack up some bikes.
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Old 06-30-07, 12:41 PM   #4
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Actually, my question is what made you change from two wheels to three?

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Old 07-01-07, 05:55 AM   #5
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Frontwheel drive

"Did the ride change any as the bike evolved into 20" wheels front and back?"


Yes it did it put the trail back to where it should be. The original bike with 26" wheels was a good rider and putting on the smaller front wheel thew it off so having equal size wheels put it back into balance. Since pedaling a front wheel drive affects the steering so much the trail being off was hardly noticeable. It also lowered the center off gravity. Another plus is it allowed my short legs to reach the ground. I could sit on the bike comfortably at a stand still.
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Old 07-01-07, 06:13 AM   #6
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"Actually, my question is what made you change from two wheels to three?"

Because I could. Because the drive train is in that compact front unit it could be changed back to a 2-wheeler in about 10 minutes. Changing it back to a three wheeler took about 30 minutes because of all the tweaking it took to get the rear wheels to go in the same direction. I had thought that I would electrify and make a cargo hauler out of the three wheeler . I have since found a much better front wheel drive idea I want to pursue for that end. It was great fun however just slightly unstable.

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Old 07-01-07, 06:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldfool
"Actually, my question is what made you change from two wheels to three?"

Because I could.
Always a great answer! A true tinkerer's answer, in fact.

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Old 07-01-07, 10:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldfool
... No welding involved. It was ridden by my 13 year old grandson and his friends so I know it was durable. One day I let one of the neighbor kids go and he brought most of it back in a trailer. I have a long bike project in progress now so I don't know when or if I will put it back together. I have some detail pictures if anyone is interested...
Definitely interested in detail shots and especially any construction pictures you'd care to share with us. Your design appears to have a few advantages over the much more common rear-drive types.

Also, I'm curious about how your design and build process works. Do you start by sketching the rough concept out, or grab a bunch of parts and build a mockup, or who?

Thanks for your answer to the wheel question. In your opinion, would increasing the positive caster angle lessen the effect the drive has on steering?
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Old 07-01-07, 06:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by FlatTop
Also, I'm curious about how your design and build process works. Do you start by sketching the rough concept out, or grab a bunch of parts and build a mockup, or who?
Thanks for your answer to the wheel question. In your opinion, would increasing the positive caster angle lessen the effect the drive has on steering?

You know until now I have never thought much about my design and build process until you ask. I guess I just let the bike build itself. I spend a bit of time thinking about it with a glass of red wine in my hand (sometimes a lot of time and a lot of red wine). The only job I've sketched was a porch I just built and that was only so I could compile a materials list. With bikes I just look at the material I have and imagine how it will fit then I measure a lot. When I start measuring I know I'm getting serious. Then I let the bike build itself. I guess I'll call it "Zen and the Art of Bicycle Building". Bicycle's take me to another place whether I'm maintaining, building or riding. It's all in the moment and it's easy. Writing about it is hard.

You are right about front wheel drive having some advantages over rear drive mainly the short simple drive train especially if you use a single speed coaster drive wheel. Drive and brakes all in one small simple package. I'm going to have to do one like that for my granddaughter. It's cheaper with less chain. There is less drag because of the elimination of guide mechanisms and extra chain tensioner.

I do not believe that changing the caster will lesson the effect of pedaling on steering. Wide handle bars help as it gives your arms some authority. Shorter crank lengths I believe will help as well. It will force the rider to use a lower gear instead of brute force. Your legs have an incredible amount of power especially when you are pushing against a backrest. I ended up having to use a torque wrench to tighten the stem bolt after I twisted one into. I was torquing to 40 ft lb but even that did not stop my frankengrandson from moving it.

Building notes:
You need a front fork that will accept a rear wheel. That probably means spreading one. I used a 26" bike with a slender tapered fork and spread it easily with a scissors jack. Disadvantage to this is it will twist under hard pedaling. Tubular forks do not want to spread when cold.
Use large clamp or large vise to do the rear.
Seat tube clamps and the clamps on the seat itself are very useful.
When cutting a bottom bracket be sure to leave enough seat tube to hold a front derailer.
Seat post make excellent adjustable sections for the bottom bracket.

I do not take credit for this design only for this bike. I originally saw one on the internet built by a gentleman in New Zealand but I have lost all references to that and several other sites with good ideas. MS Windows is the culprit. I use Linux now and maybe I can hang on to stuff.

Just test drove the latest project today just before the thunderstorms started. It's a 20" with a 51" wheelbase crank forward bike. It is a sweet ride. more about this later.

I tried to upload the pics that have the important details. Also included a pic of “the bike werks” where the sins take place.


Bikes are not art they are a collection of art
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Old 07-01-07, 07:39 PM   #10
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These plans have been available for a while now:

http://www.geocities.com/atombikes/bolt.html
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Old 07-02-07, 10:32 AM   #11
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Oldfool, those are excellent pictures, we can really see what's going on in that build. Your building notes are likewise very helpful, and I thank you for providing both.

About your planning and design process: We all have our own methods, and what works for you is the bottom line. You'll NEVER catch me arguing with success. It's a neat package you've built, and I'd like to see more backyard/garage workshop recumbents like this one. The raw materials are just about everywhere.

Your use of the adult-size frame with small wheels reminds me of one of my old projects: I got a stripped fullsize Raleigh frame, and the only parts I could find for the build were from a Raleigh kid's bike: bottom bracket, handlebars, 24" wheels with three-speed coaster hub. It turned out to be an excellent rider with those little wheels! The only problem to be solved was the need for an extra-long fork, which came from an old, rusty roadbike that was sized for a 6'+ tall rider.

Thanks for the inspiration.
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Old 07-07-07, 05:35 AM   #12
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My 3 wheeled version, 21 speed and the cg in the right place, low.
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Old 07-08-07, 06:47 AM   #13
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Nice trike

Nice trike. I really like it. I would like to see some pictures of how you treated the rear end. Also how did you attach the drive assembly.
I didn't go for the lower center of gravity because I don't like laying on my back to ride. It is the smart way but uncomfortable for me.
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Old 07-08-07, 08:29 AM   #14
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Already done. And no, it's not a Mexican bike company.
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Old 07-08-07, 09:07 AM   #15
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It just seems so much smarter to do it this way than the torturous chain routing and tensioning mechanism necessary on a rear wheel drive recumbent. You could get the entire powertrain, bottom bracket and front brake all in one compact chunk. Shifting cables seem to be nice, short, direct runs too.
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Old 07-08-07, 12:42 PM   #16
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Inspired by this thread. The main frame is a cheap mountain bike I bought a few years ago that is too small now that has been kicking around the shop. The front frame was a gaspipe frame with a cracked headtube that was getting in the way. Made it understeering with apehangars, another part lying around the shop. Removed spacers from a rear wheel, spun on a bmx cog and redished it. Beauty of this is that it fits right in the fork without spreading.
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Old 07-09-07, 06:22 PM   #17
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Wow. What's the seat from, an MG or something? It looks neat, but can you post a pic from another angle so that we'll get the full effect?
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Old 07-09-07, 06:30 PM   #18
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Looks like a boat seat.
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Old 07-09-07, 07:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Wow. What's the seat from, an MG or something? It looks neat, but can you post a pic from another angle so that we'll get the full effect?
Yeah, it is a boat seat. Had one lying around and since it has mounting bolts built in I used it. I'll get some more pictures tomorrow.
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Old 07-23-07, 06:47 AM   #20
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Nice trike. I really like it. I would like to see some pictures of how you treated the rear end. Also how did you attach the drive assembly.
I didn't go for the lower center of gravity because I don't like laying on my back to ride. It is the smart way but uncomfortable for me.
Sorry about the delay, changing ISP's and getting some new web space.
This is a link to more Photo's than you will desire , someone wanted enough shots to use as a build reference. http://gary-bonney.fotopic.net/c1331707.html
Ignore the wiring and cable ties, it is temporarily electrified due to health issues.
The trike is as fast as a commercial tadpole trike (without the motor ).
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Old 07-24-07, 05:58 AM   #21
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frontwheel drive

Thanks for the pictures. I plan to build a rear end like that. Don't worry about electrifying the bike. Anything that makes the bike more useful is worthwhile. I plan too electrify one of my bikes just so I can get out of this ghetto faster and ride where I want.
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Old 07-24-07, 06:13 AM   #22
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You can see some comments from other owners of this style bike here.
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Old 07-25-07, 04:26 PM   #23
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I have ridden a couple of bikes like this and I don't really think it's a practical design. They're fun to goof around on, but I don't think they're ideal for normal riding.
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Old 07-25-07, 05:17 PM   #24
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I have ridden a couple of bikes like this and I don't really think it's a practical design. They're fun to goof around on, but I don't think they're ideal for normal riding.
Did you read the posts in my blog about them? Every time I slam them, they show up on my google adsense.
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Old 07-25-07, 10:37 PM   #25
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Did you read the posts in my blog about them? Every time I slam them, they show up on my google adsense.
Yeah, but about half of them sound like shills to me. I'm sure they're fine once you get used to them, but I didn't like the feeling of the front wheel turning when I was mashing on the pedals.
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