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Custom trike kit design

Old 07-21-11, 06:59 PM
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medusa
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Custom trike kit design

I have a comfort bike I need to make into an upright trike. I am trying to find someone to make my specific axle but with that in mind I see adverts for 2 wd, free wheel. etc.
The Longfellow has 2 wd option and I'm wondering what is the different between the three and is there a preferable choice for a trike. It does have the option of electrical assist but that's on the front hub not the rear. I just need to decide what kind of brakes to have after this disc or caliper. I am considering fair and foul weather driving for this as this bike will be very utilitarian since I don't have a car anymore.
Also any idea on who can do my custom kit for me?? I'm not happy with those found online and the Longfellow is way too expensive and has no rack. thanks in advance.



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Old 07-22-11, 03:07 AM
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Regarding 2wd and freewheel:
When you have two wheels side by side, the outside wheel will travel a longer distance than the inner wheel when turning.
If you stick both wheels on a solid axle, one or both wheels will have to slide(or "scrub") a little everytime you turn.
Apart from the unavoidable wear, this makes steering heavier. Solid axles are rarely used on trikes, as it's not immediately compatible with regular bike parts.
Easiest way around this, if you want the paired wheels to drive, is to have only one driving and the other freewheeling.
This gets rid of the scrub, but steering will be different depending on direction of turn. With the drive wheel taking the outer(longer) path, it'll help steering. With the drive wheel taking the inner(shorter path), drive will fight the steering. This is often seen as good enough for trikes intended for sedate riding.
The elegant way around this is to create some sort of differential. This is a mechanical device which allows a dynamic distribution of drive between the paired wheels. Balanced steering and no scrub, but mechanically more complicated, heavier, and more expensive.
While there's nothing wrong with caliper brakes, discs have the potential to be far superior. Brake performance remains consistent in all weather, no wear on rims, and spare parts supply isn't much of an issue.

Custom work will always be expensive, no matter what. There may not be much point in asking the builder to incorporate the comfort bike into the design.
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Old 07-22-11, 04:58 AM
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+1 on the differential. You don't want to rock a trike without a differential for the rear wheels.

A way around this requirement is to have two weheels in the front and only one driving wheel in the back. I hate those kinds of trikes, but they exist.
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Old 07-22-11, 06:42 AM
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Sadly I have discovered s tep by step process that after buying the lowest step bike I could find, then adding electric support and now I find that I need balance assistance ( due to vertigo problems ) that I must make the best of a less than optimal situation...plus I know I can always switch back to 2 wheels if I ever get better from dizziness. I don't need a custom bike but just some familair with building the tricycle axles as well as the welding skills and workspace. As an apartment dweller I don't have that. I am willing to pay more than these cheaply made aluminum axles. I'm riding for utility not for speed plus I want to have the advantage of carrying cargo when needed. I envision a hybrid between the Longfellow design in utilizing added seat stay connections bars and making sure there are 2 strong level support bars for basket or cargo. I also would like to stay utilizing my 7 speed cassette and derailer if possible. 2 wheels in front is not an option for me.
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Old 07-22-11, 09:43 AM
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Why custom? Why not go to the people that specialize? This gives the option of keeping your existing bike and returning to it if your balance returns.
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Old 07-22-11, 10:06 AM
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There are trike drivetrains, with an internal gear hub, Sturmey Archer and Shimano make them..
a sprocket on the hub flange drives the wheel, crank drives the internal gear hub .

2 sections of chain , 2 adjusters .. shop for a whole rig , ?
an electric assist motor can replace the front wheel ,

sensors shut off the motor when the pedaling stops ..

brakes on a trike rear wheel set, are rare..

Come to think of it, ..
there are kits made in England to replace the front fork with a pair of wheels ,
steered by linkage , like in a car, So, differential drive problem is moot,

as you still are driving the single rear wheel...
there are motor kits to replace the rear wheel too..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-22-11 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 07-22-11, 10:17 AM
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What about used ones on CL? https://kansascity.craigslist.org/bik/2502523057.html I know this is not local to you but you may be able to find one local.
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Old 07-22-11, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Come to think of it, ..
there are kits made in England to replace the front fork with a pair of wheels ,
steered by linkage , like in a car, So, differential drive problem is moot,
I highly DON'T recommend that kind of solution (2 front wheels). Abysmal riding experience.

Just so we are clear, this is the solution fietsbob suggests, and it's awful:

Last edited by wroomwroomoops; 07-22-11 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 07-23-11, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by medusa View Post
.. I don't need a custom bike.
Most trikes are meant for sedate, casual riding at a modest pace - like the Schwinn Meridian. You're obviously not willing to settle for that.

Then there are the low slung tadpole trikes, made in such small numbers that they might as well be seen as custom bikes. You obvioulsy don't want that either.


Originally Posted by medusa View Post
.. I ..need .. some familair with building the tricycle axles as well as the welding skills and workspace...
Which in all likelihood is the same guy who can build a custom bike from scratch.

Not that bikes are all that complicated, but a generalist fabricator, no matter how skilled, would have to fiddle around a bit to get comfortable with bike parts - and that fiddling time is coming out of your pocket.

Originally Posted by medusa View Post
.. .. I envision a hybrid between the Longfellow design.
My google skills are letting me down, would you care to post a link?



Then there are the low slung tadpole trikes
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Old 07-23-11, 05:33 AM
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cutom trike axle kit

Let me reiterate I AM doing sedate cycling..not speed. I do not want to buy another bike as I've already sunk too much into the one I have. I need to augment what I have and simply add on a universal trike that is about 24-26 inches width, made of steel, has 2 level support bars for basket/cargo and can utilize the 7 speed cassette that I currently have. If possible I think that I'd like ( if I can get it ) the extra security of having two connector bars that go from axle to seat post ( like Longfellow ) . I don't want a tadpole as my spine cannot take that kind of weight nor could my legs take that much of a task. The motorized hub I have on my front wheel will not affect the rear axle. I don't know who "specilizes" in these things...thus my shout out for a custom builder..if they can build a bike I figure they can build the axle kit...perhaps I'm wrong. I've seen a couple of axles online minus the extra bars that looked ok but the width was too big ( 36 ")to bring in my apt. Attached are examples of the Longfellow bikes that have the extra connection bars.
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File Type: jpg
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Old 07-23-11, 10:30 AM
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OOOOPs

Originally Posted by medusa View Post
<snip>. Attached are examples of the Longfellow bikes that have the extra connection bars.

My apologies for the misnomer..the attached bike design is Longstaff...there's also the Higgins which is basically the same.
A good site to see some stylish trikes is https://www.flickr.com/groups/1063134@N22/.
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