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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 07-08-12, 01:27 PM   #1
Ira B
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Recumbent From Scratch

Got a nice heap of components.
Used to run a bike shop and have built many bikes up.
Have a decent workshop with welding gear, drill press, air tools (cutters, grinders ect.) small metal lathe.
Also have a nice sized heap of steel stock of assorted dimensions.

Hey! I should build a recumbent bike from scratch!

Ride a lot but never owned a bent before. I have ridden a few for short distances and seem to like the low handle bar set up best.
Will use it for my 14 mile commute with lots of hills in all weather.
Looking for a compact design.
Of all the designs I have seen there is one that leaps out at me as a good basic outline for my needs if I mod it for low mount handlbars.
Any thoughts, tips, warnings ect.. would be most appreciated.
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Old 07-08-12, 07:50 PM   #2
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Ira, you may want to check out the homebuilders' forum on BROL:

http://www.bentrideronline.com/messa...splay.php?f=12
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Old 07-08-12, 08:21 PM   #3
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Thanks Gerry!
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Old 07-08-12, 10:22 PM   #4
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You don't have to totally build from scratch. I'd suggest you salvage the rear triangle from a junker road or full-suspension mountain bike and start there. That red recumbent in the picture looks heavy.
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Old 07-08-12, 10:29 PM   #5
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You don't have to totally build from scratch. I'd suggest you salvage the rear triangle from a junker road or full-suspension mountain bike and start there. That red recumbent in the picture looks heavy.

I have a couple of old Stumpjumper frames I plan to salvage the fork, drop outs, bottom brackets head tube from. Probably at least the lower part of the rear triangle as well.
With you on the red bike looking heavy but I like the general layout. I see a lot of opportunities to shave pounds there.
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Old 07-08-12, 10:36 PM   #6
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Atomic Zombie is where you want to go: http://www.atomiczombie.com/

FWIW: a couple recumbent manufacturers sell framesets and frame kits.

Under-Seat Steering is a little out of style. Take a look at the old Vision short wheelbase/under-seat steering bikes, and you'll get an idea of that you can use from your pile o' parts, and what you'll have to create.

Here I am, waving off Todd on his old Vision R45:
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Old 07-08-12, 10:54 PM   #7
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Atomic Zombie is where you want to go: http://www.atomiczombie.com/

FWIW: a couple recumbent manufacturers sell framesets and frame kits.

Under-Seat Steering is a little out of style. Take a look at the old Vision short wheelbase/under-seat steering bikes, and you'll get an idea of that you can use from your pile o' parts, and what you'll have to create.

Here I am, waving off Todd on his old Vision R45:
The red bike in post #1 is an Atomic Zombie design. It is close, but not quite, what I have in mind.
I like the look of the overall geometry but also see some points of concern.
The bike seems to be made of standard rectangular section steel stock. Very heavy.
The seat is not supported by any kind of stays. I'm a sturdy dude of about 200lbs and would like some sort of adjustable stays supporting the seat back.
The handle bars look like something out of a Dr. Suess book. I am open to upper position handle bars but think I can do better than those. The lower position bars look cleaner and potentially lighter. Got to ponder that a bit.
The cable runs look amaturish as heck.

Been meditating on a pile of frames and round stock. Hope to have a general lay out gelling in my head soon.
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Old 07-09-12, 07:41 PM   #8
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The red bike in post #1 is an Atomic Zombie design. It is close, but not quite, what I have in mind.
I like the look of the overall geometry but also see some points of concern.
The bike seems to be made of standard rectangular section steel stock. Very heavy.
The seat is not supported by any kind of stays. I'm a sturdy dude of about 200lbs and would like some sort of adjustable stays supporting the seat back.
The handle bars look like something out of a Dr. Suess book. I am open to upper position handle bars but think I can do better than those. The lower position bars look cleaner and potentially lighter. Got to ponder that a bit.
The cable runs look amaturish as heck.

Been meditating on a pile of frames and round stock. Hope to have a general lay out gelling in my head soon.
The Atomic Zombie stuff is very basic, designed for people with a welder, a bunch of tubing, time, and not much money. There are plenty of places to get better-quality recumbent-specific components. In particular, take a look at Terracycle products: http://www.t-cycle.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc
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Old 07-09-12, 08:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
The Atomic Zombie stuff is very basic, designed for people with a welder, a bunch of tubing, time, and not much money. There are plenty of places to get better-quality recumbent-specific components. In particular, take a look at Terracycle products: http://www.t-cycle.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc
Thanks for the link.
I have several decent bikes already and this is kind of a lark so I am trying to keep it low buck. If this first effort shows promise I may go whole hog on a second one.
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Old 07-10-12, 07:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ira B View Post
The red bike in post #1 is an Atomic Zombie design. It is close, but not quite, what I have in mind.
I like the look of the overall geometry but also see some points of concern.
The bike seems to be made of standard rectangular section steel stock. Very heavy.
The seat is not supported by any kind of stays. I'm a sturdy dude of about 200lbs and would like some sort of adjustable stays supporting the seat back.
The handle bars look like something out of a Dr. Suess book. I am open to upper position handle bars but think I can do better than those. The lower position bars look cleaner and potentially lighter. Got to ponder that a bit.
The cable runs look amaturish as heck.

Been meditating on a pile of frames and round stock. Hope to have a general lay out gelling in my head soon.
If that's the kind of thing that you like to do, I think that you'll have a blast figuring out all of the details. I build up my first recumbent from a frameset and had a gas figuring out the cable runs. It took me at least 3 or 4 tries to get the handlebars where I like them. I have above seat steering so leg interference and line-of-sight issues surprised me. Like Jeff said, there are a lot of little bits and bobs available commercially that solve various issues, but some of those little gadgets can get pricy.
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Old 07-10-12, 12:40 PM   #11
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If that's the kind of thing that you like to do, I think that you'll have a blast figuring out all of the details. I build up my first recumbent from a frameset and had a gas figuring out the cable runs. It took me at least 3 or 4 tries to get the handlebars where I like them. I have above seat steering so leg interference and line-of-sight issues surprised me. Like Jeff said, there are a lot of little bits and bobs available commercially that solve various issues, but some of those little gadgets can get pricy.
I know from previous scratch build and design projects (RC aircraft mainly) that it is always more of a process to get things just right. I like to keep it low budget until I have the details sorted out and then do a total quality build.
Started a little tack welding yesterday . Maybe I'll have something worth posting a pic or two of in a week or so.
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Old 07-10-12, 01:22 PM   #12
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i've made three bents now, hi low and mbb, all turned out great !
BROL is a great resource, i also scour lots of pics, but pretty much make it up as i go along.
have a look at my pics and videos in the links below !

happy building, and keep us updated eh !!!
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Old 07-10-12, 02:00 PM   #13
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i've made three bents now, hi low and mbb, all turned out great !
BROL is a great resource, i also scour lots of pics, but pretty much make it up as i go along.
have a look at my pics and videos in the links below !

happy building, and keep us updated eh !!!

Thanks for the links!

As a first ever project of this type I admit I am using a lot of TLAR engineering (That Looks About Right ) and eyeballing existing designs.
Spent a good two hours yesterday just sitting on a pile of metal stock and meditating.
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Old 07-11-12, 06:03 AM   #14
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When I was first researching recumbents, I liked the idea of making one, too. My problem was, (and still is,) I don't have the skills or tools. Good luck with yours!
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Old 07-11-12, 07:00 AM   #15
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When I was first researching recumbents, I liked the idea of making one, too. My problem was, (and still is,) I don't have the skills or tools. Good luck with yours!
Me too. That's why I started with a frameset rather than buying a complete bike. I have a son who is a machinest/electrician. If I was starting my career over again, that's what I would do.
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Old 07-11-12, 09:15 AM   #16
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Thanks for the well wishes and help everybody.
Kind of looking at this first effort as a prototype made with cheaper tubing that will probably get modified until it is just about right. When the layout is just right I'll spring for cro-mo tubes and get fancy with it.
For now it's just a matter of finding the time to keep progress rolling.
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Old 07-11-12, 10:16 PM   #17
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My friend and I are going to combine forces and resources to design and build a recumbent touring trike... drawing on ideas we have gotten from his Catrike and many other models we have seen and tested.

Should be a really enjoyable project... I will get to handle the hot end of things as we plan to build it on a lightweight chromoly frame as well as many of the design aspects of the bike.

The frame will be the easy part as the tubing is something I have and I work with a frame builder and have access to every tool one would ever want. The 11 speed IGH and dual dyno hubs up front will generate the most cost although I do get these at wholesale cost.

Looking at integrating a rear damper instead of a full on suspension to smooth out the ride a little more... this will be modelled much like the rear linkage on my Moulton.
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Old 07-12-12, 08:30 AM   #18
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My friend and I are going to combine forces and resources to design and build a recumbent touring trike... drawing on ideas we have gotten from his Catrike and many other models we have seen and tested.

Should be a really enjoyable project... I will get to handle the hot end of things as we plan to build it on a lightweight chromoly frame as well as many of the design aspects of the bike.

The frame will be the easy part as the tubing is something I have and I work with a frame builder and have access to every tool one would ever want. The 11 speed IGH and dual dyno hubs up front will generate the most cost although I do get these at wholesale cost.

Looking at integrating a rear damper instead of a full on suspension to smooth out the ride a little more... this will be modelled much like the rear linkage on my Moulton.

That sounds awesome!

This is my first serious look at a bent and I am totally going with the KISS approach to design philosophy. (Keep It Simple Stupid)
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Old 07-13-12, 02:41 PM   #19
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Here is a source for two DIY bikes. The SWB version looks a lot like the red bike you pictured above. You can buy either plans or a kit at this website:
http://www.bentechbikes.com/
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Old 07-13-12, 03:55 PM   #20
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I did a Bacchetta clone by using a 26 in mountain from fork back and put a 16 in kiddie fork on it and used a seat post to put adjustable peddles out front...works great for me, with a plastic kitchen chair for a seat. Granted I do not take long rides with this bike but it was my first prototype.
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Old 07-14-12, 12:19 PM   #21
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I did a Bacchetta clone by using a 26 in mountain from fork back and put a 16 in kiddie fork on it and used a seat post to put adjustable peddles out front...works great for me, with a plastic kitchen chair for a seat. Granted I do not take long rides with this bike but it was my first prototype.
Not hugely different from what I'm thinking but I intend to go tube in tube for the BB adjustment using exhaust pipe and probably go with a webbed in frame seat.
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