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  1. #1
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    Building a recumbent bike

    I have been looking around on the net for bike parts and have found that they are very expensive. I have found this forum and have read around some and have found that most people that post on this forum don't have much regard for the bikes that walmart sells. I can understand that being that most of you are serious riders with a lot of skill and are very knowledgeable about your sport.

    That being said I value the opinion of those who have posted and hold the walmart bikes as low quality.

    My question is this. I am obese and have alot of trouble trying to exercise I have numerous medical conditions that have contributed to my weight gain. I am also very tired of being this big. I am 375lbs and I do not want to go as high as 400lbs. I want to try and loose as much as I can and be able to live a normal life. My weight has become a burden that I can not live with anymore.

    I have tried walking but I have back problems and can't walk to far without having to stop because of severe pain in my back. Also my left leg goes complete numb.

    I know that this forum is not to bore everyone with their problems but I am just trying to give you an idea of where I am coming from.

    I am also among all these other things unemployed I work from job to job. Never knowing where my next dollar is going to come from. I think that this is partially due to my size as people don't want to hire large people for various reasons. So if I could do something about my appearance it would improve my quality of life in numerous ways.

    I have found though that I have a hard time riding a regular bike as the seat really breaks your but lol

    I have been looking into building a recumbent bike or maybe a trike but bike parts on the Internet is prohibitably expensive for me. I don't need the lightest and the fastest. I just need something that works.

    I guess the question I am trying to pose is where can I find cheap but functional bike parts? With the affordability of the bikes that you find at walmart. I mean if they can sell a mountain bike for 50 to 75 bucks where can you find the wheels that they use for these cheap bikes it would have to be less than the whole bike costs. Or brakes etc. etc. All I can find is the high dollar high performance stuff.

    I have the nessasary skills to build a bike from scratch as I have a lot of experiance with metal fab. I was also even thinking about putting a motor on this bike that I am trying to build just for the added security of being able to get back home easily if I get in trouble at least until I get in good enough shape not to need it as a safety net.

    Again I apologize for my lengthy explanation of my situation. I am doing my best and am determined to change my situation in life. Any help any of you could give me on parts or even design would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    Kevin

  2. #2
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    tour easy plans

    first off,welcome! I read your post with great interest because it sounds like something I might have posted myself. I had a lengthy reply but it was lost to cyberspace forever due to chubby fingers!

    the plans above are easy to read,understand,and build. several have done it. I myself am almost done with mine. it can be done VERY cheaply. mine will total less then $100. look to goodwill or salvation army store for donars.

    you should be able to find donar frames easily enough but the parts might be worn out. consider the cheap wal-mart bikes to get the parts. most of the problems assosiated with these bike are the assembly. the cheaper parts work,but not as smoothly,nor will they last as long .but they do work and would be a cheap way to get these parts. it seems you can tell the differance between good and cheap, it also would seem you can do the work yourself.

    advice from a fat guy? dont skimp out on the rear wheel. the wheels on the cheap bikes wont last long under a big fella like us. I got a good deal on a wheel for a tandem mtn bike at a local shop and have had zero problems in over 700 miles. before i was breaking spokes and constantly having to true the wheel. never really have problems with the front wheel,but most of the abuse is on the rear anyway.

    Its great to hear you have decided to turn your life around. I found it very hard to do by myself and joined weight watchers. something about stepping on that scale every week keeps you honest,and since everyone else there has a weight problem,no one judges you unfairly. If you havent considered it,it is money well spent,even when you are unemployed.(as I currently am as well) hint...the first meeting is always free. there are normally several differant meeting times and places in any givin area. take advantage of the free visits and you could attend several weeks without paying. I havent been in a while but it did work for me and I suggest it to anyone I meet.

    comment from my wife...if you are single its a good place to meet single fat chicks! no offense intended,but we try to keep a light humor to our problem!


    bikepartsusa.com had lots of inexpensive parts. aebike.com also has some cheaper parts. ant shop that uses QBP for a supplier can get the cheaper stuff,they just dont generally stock it.

    well good luck and ask lots of questions here. someone will most likely answer them if they can
    "When a man lies, he murders some part of the world"

    God Bless Chris LeDoux. R.I.P. 1948-2005

  3. #3
    sch
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    Many bents have started out as diamond frame (regular) bikes taken apart and welded back into a recumbent frame. Cheapest source of bikes would be yard sales, police auctions, thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army etc) where bikes can be had for $10-30. Unless you are very skilled, aluminum frames would probably not be a good idea as they tend to be of material not conducive to saw/torch apart and reweld. A google on human powered vehicles, bike frame building and similar terms should unearth a bunch of web sites for DIY builders. There are a lot of them out there. Steve

  4. #4
    Senior Member izgod's Avatar
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    Kevin--

    GOOD FOR YOU!!

    I know nothing about building bikes, but just wanted to offer you a pat on the back.

    Good luck with your weight loss!

    John

  5. #5
    Lex Heath wy0mn's Avatar
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    Congrats, & good luck!
    I wish you'd meet my brother & explain to HIM that he's a walking coronary.
    He is 5'6" and 450 lbs!
    I've never suffered the fate of the husky sizes, so my advice may be weighed on a separate scale, but...
    don't forget water sports. Not just swimming, but kayaking or canoeing is fabulous. If you find you've exceeded your strength or stamina, simply float along...
    I do feel that biking is the better of the terrestrial sports.
    I buy slightly damaged bikes at WalMart, at greatly reduced prices. Pick & choose the best parts.
    Lex
    No lotus land ever cast its spell upon a mans heart, more than Wyoming had enchanted mine. ~Owen Wister~ The Virginian

  6. #6
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    Kevin,

    Where do you live? There is a great place in Chicago to get used bikes for next to nothing. They will help you fix it and they have repair classes.

    A little known source of parts is your local recycling center. They look at bikes as raw materials and not as components. From what I am told $5 or $10 for an entire bike is not uncommon.
    Lightning Phantom

  7. #7
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    You might look into the "No-Weld" recumbent idea as well. I built one of these recently using nothing but cast-off parts, and have a total of about 60 bucks invested. See the "impressions so far" thread.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikewer
    You might look into the "No-Weld" recumbent idea as well. I built one of these recently using nothing but cast-off parts, and have a total of about 60 bucks invested. See the "impressions so far" thread.
    No-Weld plans and ideas are excellent. Get the CD rom if you order. It is a couple of bucks more but nice.
    Lightning Phantom

  9. #9
    Hauja
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddtears
    I have been looking around on the net for bike parts and have found that they are very expensive. I have found this forum and have read around some and have found that most people that post on this forum don't have much regard for the bikes that walmart sells. I can understand that being that most of you are serious riders with a lot of skill and are very knowledgeable about your sport.

    That being said I value the opinion of those who have posted and hold the walmart bikes as low quality.

    My question is this. I am obese and have alot of trouble trying to exercise I have numerous medical conditions that have contributed to my weight gain. I am also very tired of being this big. I am 375lbs and I do not want to go as high as 400lbs. I want to try and loose as much as I can and be able to live a normal life. My weight has become a burden that I can not live with anymore.

    I have tried walking but I have back problems and can't walk to far without having to stop because of severe pain in my back. Also my left leg goes complete numb.

    I know that this forum is not to bore everyone with their problems but I am just trying to give you an idea of where I am coming from.

    I am also among all these other things unemployed I work from job to job. Never knowing where my next dollar is going to come from. I think that this is partially due to my size as people don't want to hire large people for various reasons. So if I could do something about my appearance it would improve my quality of life in numerous ways.

    I have found though that I have a hard time riding a regular bike as the seat really breaks your but lol

    I have been looking into building a recumbent bike or maybe a trike but bike parts on the Internet is prohibitably expensive for me. I don't need the lightest and the fastest. I just need something that works.

    I guess the question I am trying to pose is where can I find cheap but functional bike parts? With the affordability of the bikes that you find at walmart. I mean if they can sell a mountain bike for 50 to 75 bucks where can you find the wheels that they use for these cheap bikes it would have to be less than the whole bike costs. Or brakes etc. etc. All I can find is the high dollar high performance stuff.

    I have the nessasary skills to build a bike from scratch as I have a lot of experiance with metal fab. I was also even thinking about putting a motor on this bike that I am trying to build just for the added security of being able to get back home easily if I get in trouble at least until I get in good enough shape not to need it as a safety net.

    Again I apologize for my lengthy explanation of my situation. I am doing my best and am determined to change my situation in life. Any help any of you could give me on parts or even design would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    Kevin
    Check the gaerlan custom cycles site there are links to articles and plans for building your own recumbent.

  10. #10
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    My God I never dreamed I would have gotten such a positive responce. Thank you all for the encouragement. I really needed it. Strange huh how a complete stranger can be more compassionate than your own family. I appreciate all of your help and will try what has been suggested. You all have given me a few ideas. for those of you who have asked I am from a small town called Bunkie Louisiana. I have to run right now but I will be back and be in touch thanks again

    Kevin

  11. #11
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Madtears, I've refrained from jumping in so far, but maybe I should. If you're pretty good with brazing and cutting, you can take almost any 26" or 27" steel framed upright and make a nice highracer. No formal plans needed, just make sure you keep things square and true as you're building. Here is my attempt. I have about $60 into this plus the cost of the brazing fuel, but it could as easily have been less if I'd chosen my donor bikes differently or I had less discriminating tastes.
    http://www.biketcba.org/TRICORR/proj.../junkbike.html
    The result is fairly rideable. The seat is one of the harder parts to make. I cheated and used a pre-built one that I had lying around spare, but you could make one out of formed plywood and coated with fiberglass that would also do the job.

    Good luck with the weight loss. Just to share a success story with you, one of they guys I ride with used to be 450 lbs. When the doc told him to lose weight or die, he took up biking. He has been at 230 for many years now, which at 6'4" isn't bad; and he's a heck of a cyclist. It won't be easy, but you can do it too. The first step is to get that bike built and get riding! Don't forget to post pics!

  12. #12
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    It is a bit tougher in a small town but I bet there is a big town nearby.
    It is more passion than compassion. Your problem just happens to involve things that I am passionate about. Health and cycling. Not to say that I am dispassionate. Your impassioned plea struck a chord.
    Lightning Phantom

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
    Madtears, I've refrained from jumping in so far, but maybe I should. If you're pretty good with brazing and cutting, you can take almost any 26" or 27" steel framed upright and make a nice highracer. No formal plans needed, just make sure you keep things square and true as you're building. Here is my attempt. I have about $60 into this plus the cost of the brazing fuel, but it could as easily have been less if I'd chosen my donor bikes differently or I had less discriminating tastes.
    http://www.biketcba.org/TRICORR/proj.../junkbike.html
    The result is fairly rideable. The seat is one of the harder parts to make. I cheated and used a pre-built one that I had lying around spare, but you could make one out of formed plywood and coated with fiberglass that would also do the job.

    Good luck with the weight loss. Just to share a success story with you, one of they guys I ride with used to be 450 lbs. When the doc told him to lose weight or die, he took up biking. He has been at 230 for many years now, which at 6'4" isn't bad; and he's a heck of a cyclist. It won't be easy, but you can do it too. The first step is to get that bike built and get riding! Don't forget to post pics!

    Thanks for the webpage. I have alot of experiance with brazing I took welding in highschool and I graduated a welding course at trade school. I am also a tin smith thanks to the USAF

  14. #14
    Doomsled funbun's Avatar
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    You may want to consider build a bike out of carbon fiber becuase that allows you to use simple wood working tools.

    Also, try http://www.recycledrecumbent.com/

    He can build you a Tour Easy Frame for cheap.
    Check it out:

    Blog The Travelogue

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