i picked up a bike-e at the flea market today for pretty cheap. being an alt bike escapee (when no ones watching i break out and wander the rest of the forum), while i was looking at it and working out what needs fixing, i also started wondering how i could mod it, like cut the rear wheel framework and make it fit a larger wheel and maybe chage/modify the fork for at least a 20" wheel. has anyone ever experimented with one like that?
but while i was searching old threads i see they're no longer made, and there was a bit of lamentation over it. could it become, or maybe has it already become some kind of collectors type thing? it's not in the best shape so not much problem there as far as it being some pristine example, but it is compleat and i think it could be ridden easily enough once some repairs are made. mostly neglect, chain rusted, cables, ect.
i don't do any bike flipping so i'm not really looking for a sale value. at best i imagine using it to knock a few bucks off a trade for a better recumbent in the future if i really like riding it (i think i will. i ride semi recumbents mostly anyway). i just want more an opinion on weather i should just fix it and ride it as is, or if i can have my way with it with little or no regret. thanks.
Installing a larger rear wheel would put the seat up pretty high; and I seem to remember it was already up there in the 25" range. I've heard of people putting a 406 wheel in front. Not sure what that would do to handling; but at least that would only involve a fork change rather than requiring you to chop the frame.
Rans Enduro Sport, Hase Kettweisel Tandem, Merin Bear Valley beater bike
I never understood the fixation on keeping a cheap, crummy old bike in cheap, crummy but original condition. To me that's negative utility. You build up an unrealistic concept of what "some collector" might be willing to pay for it. You never find that collector who will buy the bike and, in the meantime, it takes up room in your garage.
If it was my bike I'd mod it or chop it or whatever it took to make it match my vision. Even if I fail and eventually throw it away I will have learned something new through the process. I think of it as tuition in the school of bike tinkering. I understand the original Gold Rush was the result of chopping a Schwinn Twin frame so sometimes the tinkering pays off. I say, have at it.
BikeE's in good condition typically sell for around $300.
Also there was a recall on the seats near the end. As I recall the seat-back would crack and break near its base. If you plan on keeping it, it might be worth the time to look around online and find out if you have the replacement seat or not.
well, at this point, it's been sucked down into the junk in my garage. i got it working and wasn't that inpressed with it. it felt too twitchy to me. i may try a handlebar change in the future, and the rear tire was bulging and disentegrating as i rode it (found that out later) so i'll have to give it another chance sometime.
i do like how light it is, much lighter than anything i've built. so i'm going to leave it alone for now. i think if i ever come across the rear frame section by it's self for cheap, i may play with it and swap it over if i like how it comes out.
Litespeed Ti Mtb, BikeE Recumbent, Cannondale H600 Hybrid,
I have a 1st generation BikeE. Parts have been upgraded, racks have been modified to fit and panniers added. The stress of the chain on the right chainstay caused it to develop hairline crack. I managed to get this welded and a reinforcement plate welded. It is now stronger than ever.
As for the seat weld breaking, it affects only those with the high seat. The earlier version that uses a seat back that is lower than your shoulder do not have this problem.
I agree with your observations on the steering. I have an old BikeE AT which was my first recumbent, bought used about 12 years ago. It was my only recumbent for just 3 months but it convinced me that I wanted to continue to ride one, just not that particular model. They seem to show up frequently on our local Craigslist, sometimes with ridiculous asking prices. Mine had been broken for a long time after the rear hub failed. I found an affordable ($25) used replacement hub recently and resurrected the bike. The steering is horrible compared to the other 2-wheeled recumbents I own - an old Linear LWB and a SWB Haluzak Horizon. The bike is infinitely adjustable for people with different X-seams so it is great for someone to try out recumbents. I didn't think it was particularly lightweight for such a small frame bike. My steel frame Zak is much lighter.
Parts for your bike are available from My Bicycleman in Alfred, NY. They are not cheap however. When my hub broke I had decided that it wasn't worth spending anything substantial on the bike.