I've got a bunch of nieces and nephews who outgrew, destroyed and or let fall into disrepair a small pile of bicycles over the years. Seeing this pile as a wealth of opportunity to try out my 'hand me down' mig welder. I collected up the parts and started to imagine various projects. Amongst the parts was a broken plastic kitchen chair that got me thinking about making a recumbent bike.
I cherry picked the rest of the parts and settled on a 20 " five speed rear wheel, a 16" front wheel and fork, a matched set of brake levers, shifter levers and front crank from a 26" 10 speed, a pair of hand grips and a straight handle bar from a BMX. I also selected several of the bike frames as donor materials for my 'custom' frame.
Hacksaw and tape measure in hand I carve up the donor frames to provide the main tubes from the original seat post to the rear wheel mount. I removed the top bar and lowered it approximatly 4" and rewelded it in place. I also welded a simple 6"x1"x3/16" length of flat stock across the top bar to provide and adequate mounting point for my plastic kitchen seat which I bolted to the flat stock with a couple of small carriage bolts.
The front crank was maintained in its original frame using the down tube to extend it from the main frame's head. Enough of the ten speeds seat tube was maintained to provide a mounting point for the front derailure. This unit was welded and gussetted to the frame head. I installed the 16" fork and wheel into the frame head and used the matching goose neck. I welded a 14" extension onto the gooseneck and used an additional gooseneck to hold the handlebars to the extension.
I purchased several master links to create a chain long enough to cover the distance needed from the chains of three of the donor bikes. Routing the chain was a bit of a challenge. I snagged a forlorn skateboard and salvaged the three remaining wheels from it, I made and arbor from a 3/8" bolt and mounted the wheel in my drill press. The drill press served as a verticle lathe of sorts and I cut a groove in the urethane wheel with a flat file. I welded nuts to the bike frame at the apporpriate points to route the chain through the newly grooved chain guide wheels and bolted them to the frame. The rear derailure maintains chain tension.
I collected and mounted brake calipers on each wheel. I couldn't find enough salvagable cable so I dropped ten bucks on new cables and also bought a rattle can of spray paint to cover the collection of parts in a uniform color.
The bike is a blast to drive, my legs hang out over the front wheel and when you roll into a corner it's really a rush to see your legs swing way out in front of your turning point. I hope the instuctable was at least a little entertaining and maybe inspirational.
Have fun, build stuff. :)