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Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

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Old 09-30-07, 09:51 AM   #1
beelz
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Let's design a tandem recumbent trike that can change the world

I've been living in SE Asia for the last 7 years. Modern SE Asia has a big problem -- too many motorbikes. People buy motorbikes because they can't afford cars, and mass transit is hopelessly inadequate, and, as a result, the city streets are swarming with motorbikes and many people are injured or killed every day. The motorbike requires speed for stability, so people have to drive fast, and they take turns at high speed, barely missing pedestrians trying to cross the street. For pedestrians, a simple walk means dodging motorbikes zipping out from every direction, and many pedestrians get hit and injured. Needless to say, the big cities of SE Asia are also extremely polluted, both with exhaust emissions and motorbike noise.

Some people still ride bicycles, but the only bicycles available here are the old type wedgies. I've never seen a recumbent for sale here.

It would be much better, from safety, pollution and livability standpoints, if people were riding recumbent trikes.

Here are the issues I've identified. Many people would foresake the motorbike's speed and ride a bicycle if bicycles were comfortable, but, with the tiny wedgie seats, they aren't. Motorbike seats are more comfortable. Bicycles can carry a passenger on the little passenger pad in the back, but it's laborious for one person to pedal the weight of two people, and both driver and passenger seats are uncomfortable.

Motorbikes not only have more comfortable seats, they are very convenient. Small SE Asian people can carry their whole families on one. It's common to see 4, even 5 people (including babies) squeezed onto a single motorbike seat.

Motorbikes also are compact and easily parked. They are fine to ride by yourself, and fine to ride with a passenger.

To make a recumbent that could compete with the motorbike's advantages, we need to make them more versatile. First, the recumbent needs to be capable of taking at least one passenger, but also small enough that it's not unwieldy to drive it solo. You are not always riding with a friend, you are often riding alone, and there's nothing as weird looking and unwieldy as a solo driver driving a big long tandem bike with no passenger.

Most of the tandem recumbents that I've seen on the net are too big to drive solo easily, so are limited to recreational rides with a friend. But people here don't use their vehicles for recreation and exercise, they mainly use them to go to work, go shopping, go to school, go pick up their girlfriends and go out to a restaurant, cafe, or whatever.

Parking space is also in very short supply in SE Asian cities. Motorbikes are usually parked on sidewalks, and a big wide recumbent is going to be hard to park.

We need to design a more compact tandem recumbent, maybe with electric power assist, to have a chance to compete with the motorbike and put an end to the chaos, carnage and environmental catastrophe that the motorbike creates.

Toward that end, I have a few ideas and I hope that people will suggest others.

Scouring the web, I have seen some really good space-saving ideas, such as tandem recumbents (homemade models) where the driver and passenger sit back to back, both pedaling. This enables a more compact vehicle. And recumbent trikes that lean, enabling you to make the vehicle narrower without sacrificing stability.

Other thoughts: A recumbent tandem where the passenger pedals downward, while the driver's pedals are more horizontally oriented, also saves space.

If leg rotation takes up space, can not a passenger instead push some sort of foot pedals that will provide supplementary power by just moving the pedals up and down, and not doing a complete rotation?

One idea I had that I haven't seen anywhere: A recumbent tandem trike designed so that the passenger seat is above the driver's seat, rather than behind it. A double-decker tandem, in other words. That would have a smaller footprint, and also, if the driver was riding solo, the top seat could be adapted (with foldouts or by other means) to be a roof to protect from rain and sun (In SE Asia, it rains virtually every day, 7 months of the year) and/or used to carry cargo. Also, the vehicle would be high, which solves the problem of recumbents being too low to be seen by other drivers.

I have no idea if this is workable or not, I hope people here will tell me if it could work.

Another idea: can you design a trike so that the two rear wheels (or two front wheels if a tadpole) can be retracted close together for parking and transporting? I mean, somehow the axle (?) can be collapsed to bring the two wheels close together and drastically reduce the parking space required?

I hope with this thread to generate some ideas that can be used to take this superior concept, the Recumbent trike, from a tiny niche market to a viable mass market option that can replace the dreaded motorbike and all the problems it creates in urban areas (also replace the unhealthy wedgie). Recumbents would make the cities safer, more peaceful, cleaner, and happier. And, needless to say, all these ideas aimed at Asia are also applicable to transform the rest of the world, too.

I may be dreaming, but thought it was worth a post.
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Old 09-30-07, 11:40 AM   #2
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One idea I had that I haven't seen anywhere: A recumbent tandem trike designed so that the passenger seat is above the driver's seat, rather than behind it. A double-decker tandem, in other words. That would have a smaller footprint, and also, if the driver was riding solo, the top seat could be adapted (with foldouts or by other means) to be a roof to protect from rain and sun (In SE Asia, it rains virtually every day, 7 months of the year) and/or used to carry cargo. Also, the vehicle would be high, which solves the problem of recumbents being too low to be seen by other drivers.
One of the reasons you might not have seen one anywhere is that no one would want to sit on the bottom seat and get rained on by sweat from the person above.

There might also be an issue with the center of gravity. Such a trike would have to make very low turns to avoid tipping.
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Old 09-30-07, 11:06 PM   #3
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A lot of what you're thinking has been done... on a very small scale
There are folding recumbents... there are one rider up and one down... I have seen one with the rider above another.
These are all great ideas
But getting them on mass into the market is another thing.
The world has/is taking a long time to get beyound the DF bike...
A world where everyone rides a bike [of many types] would be great
But... I don't think I'll live long enough to see it happen.

I've been building a few recumbent and other strange bikes for a while now and it's fun and would be good if a few more people got into it.
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Old 10-01-07, 05:57 AM   #4
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I'm guessing that people in SE Asia are just like people in the US, and that the majority will always choose motorized transportation over self-propulsion if they can afford it.
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Old 10-01-07, 08:24 AM   #5
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Another idea: can you design a trike so that the two rear wheels (or two front wheels if a tadpole) can be retracted close together for parking and transporting? I mean, somehow the axle (?) can be collapsed to bring the two wheels close together and drastically reduce the parking space required?.
I have that JM folding trike, which may solve parking width trouble- if folds about 10" wide, but I have had alignment problems every time I fold it. Great idea- but not easy or practical for me so it is advertised on Craigslist.

I like the idea of a tandem enclosed velomobile but in Asia that may be a transportation disaster!

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Old 10-03-07, 08:24 AM   #6
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thanks greengrasshopper, i never thought about the sweat dripping down on the lower driver, but maybe there's a way to prevent that. High center of gravity, yes, could be a problem.
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Old 10-03-07, 08:32 AM   #7
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counterstrike, i never even thought about a velomobile. Actually, I am just now finding out about those on the net...i thought they were a name for a trademarked vehicle, but i see it's a generic term. Would have to be a tandem, though. The good thing about being in SE Asia, is you could get some bicycle or cyclo builder to build one for you, I"m sure for MUCH less than you'd pay in the west, just by showing them a picture. The biggest problem with driving a recumbent in SEA, is that people would stare at you constantly, more than they do in the west (they stare at us westerners all the time when we're just walking down the street). They'd also chase you to get a closer look. I think in a velomobile you could maybe hide from them a bit, they would still stare but since it's enclosed they maybe couldn't see your face and you wouldn't have to respond to them. (not that i don't want to respond and tell them that they should sell their motorbikes and build one of these, I do, but there are limits...you don't want to be on stage every time you drive to the market)
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Old 10-03-07, 09:30 AM   #8
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To make a recumbent that could compete with the motorbike's advantages, we need to make them more versatile. First, the recumbent needs to be capable of taking at least one passenger, but also small enough that it's not unwieldy to drive it solo. You are not always riding with a friend, you are often riding alone, and there's nothing as weird looking and unwieldy as a solo driver driving a big long tandem bike with no passenger.
I think that the bike should also be easily adaptable to carrying large loads when there is no passenger.
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Old 10-03-07, 08:20 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=beelz;5381371] Would have to be a tandem, though.

Something like the Greenspeed tandem or the TerraTrike tandem, to mention 2, could be bases. Alleweder only made one tandem: I think a photo of it is on www.velomobiling.net or velomobiling.com

The good thing about being in SE Asia, is you could get some bicycle or cyclo builder to build one for you. The biggest problem with driving a recumbent in SEA, is that people would stare at you constantly They'd also chase you to get a closer look. ..you don't want to be on stage every time you drive to the market)[/

I know THAT well Odd; no one wants my autograph

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Old 10-07-07, 08:44 AM   #10
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Maybe the answer has to be an electrically assisted recumbent trike or velomobile, but it HAS to be able to take a passenger to have a chance to replace the motorbike. So, when you have a passenger, you can use the electric assist, and the passenger doesn't have to pedal, enabling you to make the vehicle smaller. So how can you adapt it to take a passenger? All you need is some kind of pad...doesn't have to be an elaborate recumbent seat with a back.

The thing that concerns me about electric bikes is that they have proprietary batteries. What happens when the battery needs replacement and the company that made the bike is no longer in business?
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Old 10-29-07, 07:50 AM   #11
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Yes, I was just thinking that the passengers don't have to pedal. That would save a couple of feet of length. Most of the batteries in electric bikes may look proprietary but when you open them up they have generic cells in them which are pretty easily replaceable. If the whole pack goes out - including the case - you can put find another battery to replace it. It may not be so "pretty" but it will still function as well...but that is the beauty of designing your own. You can make it any way you want

I live in Tianjin China and am thinking about the same issues as you. The one issue I am worrying about is that there is so much junk on the roads here in some places - agricultural debris, rocks, stones, things that have fallen off vehicles, things that were thrown off other vehicles, etc. I need to consider making a tadpole with as high ground clearance as possible without ruining the whole 'bent effect.
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Old 10-29-07, 11:26 AM   #12
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Perhaps you should contact the fine folks at TW Bents and see what they have done or might be willing to do. They seem to work with outside designers.
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Old 10-29-07, 11:58 AM   #13
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Sounds a lot like something i've contemplated getting into framebuilding to design, which would be a tadpole with a utility tail xtracycle-esque type design. That would extend the wheelbase a bit, but not too hugely, and you'd be able to carry a passenger or whatever.
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Old 10-29-07, 06:41 PM   #14
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Speaking of cargo recumbents - here's a couple of sketches I made several years ago of some ideas for such things.

http://www.maj.com/gallery/almac/bike/loaderup.jpg
http://www.maj.com/gallery/almac/bike/shop_trolley.jpg
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Old 11-05-07, 09:43 PM   #15
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Motorbikes not only have more comfortable seats, they are very convenient. Small SE Asian people can carry their whole families on one. It's common to see 4, even 5 people (including babies) squeezed onto a single motorbike seat.

I may be dreaming, but thought it was worth a post.
I found the Greenspeed tandem to be pretty versatile.
Here's a shot of myself & the 4 kids. The two in the trailer could be replaced by cargo if needed.
Our top speed on the ride that day was 46 mph! The kids call that an E Ticket ride!
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Old 11-12-07, 08:57 AM   #16
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Yes, but what happens when you're riding it alone? Then it's just much too big and unwieldy. This is the problem. I want to kill off the motorbike, but to do that we need a vehicle that's convenient to drive solo, or with a passenger (or 3 passengers).
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Old 11-12-07, 01:45 PM   #17
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Maybe the answer has to be an electrically assisted recumbent trike or velomobile, but it HAS to be able to take a passenger to have a chance to replace the motorbike.
I "tested the waters" @ BROL classified to see if anyone was interested in my enclosed trike- not 1 person, then set up an auction (minumum $100.) and got one bid of $15. Sale cut off- value $0.00!

I decided yesterday to strip my TerraTrike and save the motor for the enclosed trike. Maybe then I could add a "Tag-A-Long" and have a tandem.

Trouble will be that the fully faired trike will no longer be a velomobile; but a "mini-car" instead. Licensing, red tape, rules. Another problem: who in their right mind wants a torn up TerraTrike? I can see it now - MERRY CHRISTMAS!! *klunk*<crash>ting ting!!

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Old 11-12-07, 02:31 PM   #18
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Hase already has come up with one of the best designs out there, the Kettwiesel which can become a single, tandem, triple, and in which you can install a front wheel motor. The only problem is that it is expensive in the U.S. To store it, just tip it vertically.
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Old 11-19-07, 08:11 AM   #19
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Hase already has come up with one of the best designs out there, the Kettwiesel which can become a single, tandem, triple, and in which you can install a front wheel motor. The only problem is that it is expensive in the U.S. To store it, just tip it vertically.
Spambait, I don't see from your link how the Kettwiesel adapts to seat one, two or three. Is there a webpage that explains this?
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Old 11-19-07, 10:18 PM   #20
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Spambait, I don't see from your link how the Kettwiesel adapts to seat one, two or three. Is there a webpage that explains this?
Can't find the Hase specific pics anymore, but the Anura links together as a tandem in a similar way, and is a bit cheaper to boot.


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Old 03-03-11, 01:56 AM   #21
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regarding storing the tandem recumbent

you could stand it up on its back end and tie it to a pole somewhere to store it verticaly rather than horizontaly

cheers

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Old 03-03-11, 02:09 AM   #22
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what a long link, solves the long chain, but handling may suffer

http://www.google.com.au/imgres?imgu...w=1166&bih=795
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Old 03-03-11, 02:30 AM   #23
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Check out...

Viking
Kyoto
Loadrunner Tandem (or single)
Dutchman

over at

http://www.atomiczombie.com/main.aspx?click=plans
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Old 03-07-11, 05:46 PM   #24
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The problem as i see it is in wanting to revolutionize without effort. There is a Chinese or Taiwanese company that makes a Greenspeed like tandem recumbent that breaks (more or less quickly) down to a single. Why wouldn't you want the passenger to pedal? It was said that four and five people can ride a motorcycle. Is there any competing with that? Maybe: a pedal rickshaw type vehicle could seat four. It won't be small when unladen that is an unreasonable design constraint IMO.

H
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Old 03-14-11, 09:53 AM   #25
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I have that JM folding trike, which may solve parking width trouble-
That is amusing! At that time; the JMX2 folding trike was brand new. It turned out to be an alignment disaster because of the folding, then a major steering part broke several times. Both made it useless, and that trike was gone in a few months- I practically gave it away on Craigslist and it still appears from a "new" owner who cannot fix it from time to time.

That velomobile in my avatar was 2 years old in 2007 (when the JM was new) As soon as I got rid of the JM I put a 36 volt hub motor in the velo. Reading back 4 years later is funny! The velo exceeded plans and just wore itself out. Last year I removed the body, repaired the trike, and put it right back to use. Going grear 4 years later. Maybe I will see this post in 4 years and tell readers what happened in the last 4 years!
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