Build a Reverse Steering Bike!




About: I'm an environmentally conscious experimenter who loves to bring people together, build things, and when possible...blow things up! See us on YouTube too!

Here's something that will really develop your neuro-plasticity! A bicycle whose front wheel turns right when you turn the handlebars left and visa versa.

Don't ask me why, because I don't have an answer. A friend wanted the bike and knew I could build it, so it fell to me to do so.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials


  • Hacksaw
  • File
  • Grinder
  • Oxy/Acetylene Torch or Mig welder
  • Bandsaw
  • Dremel moto-tool
  • Felt pen


  • ½" thick UHMW

  • Donor bicycle
  • Extra head tube, fork and handlebar gooseneck

Step 2: Make the Gears

Begin by making the gears that will do the work of changing the steering direction. We're going to make them from UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight) plastic. The easiest way I've found is to print the image of the gears, glue it onto the UHMW and cut it out on the bandsaw.

The hardest part is figuring out what the gears should look like and Mathias Wandel over at has stepped up with a fantastic solution. He makes a lot of great things from wood and if you haven't seen his YouTube channel, you're really missing some great stuff! The man is an inspiration!

Among his many great creations is an on-line gear template generator. I used the default settings and made both gears 20 teeth. If you have a laser cutter or CNC router, I think the downloadable version will even spit out G-code for a really precise cut. Here's the online gear generator.

Step 3: Make the Gear Mounts

The way this system works is by using two handlebar goosenecks to hold the gears in place. On one of them, cut the handlebar clamping tube off altogether and grind it smooth so it looks like a round tube with an angled nut at the bottom. Remove the bolt and cut the tube an inch or so from the top.

Next, slot the bottom tube with three equal slots. The depth of these slots should be the same as the thickness of your UHMW. This will leave three big teeth sticking up. Align these teeth to the top tube and mark the top tube with a felt pen. Use those marks as a guide and file corresponding landing points into the top tube. They don't have to be deep, but they do have to mesh perfectly. 1/16" is plenty, less if possible.

Remember those slots are as deep as the UHMW is thick. The depth of this receiving slot is how much the steel is going to dig into and compress the UHMW. You only want a little. The strength of the mesh comes from a precise fit of the cutouts in the gears, not the clamping action of the steel tubes.

Step 4: Slot the Gear

AFTER you are completely done with fitting the metal pieces together, center the bottom tube on one of the gears and lightly spray paint it to mark where the teeth will land. Grind this area out with a Dremel tool. Be patient. A sharp bit can go too far pretty quickly and we want the best fit we can get.

Repeat the process with the handlebar gooseneck. In the end, you should have two goosenecks with a gear mounted on each. You can mount the one without the handlebar on the bicycle fork and lock it into place for now.

Step 5: Prep Your Donor Fork and Head Tube

Cut the fork from the bottom of the stem taking care to leave the bottom bearing race in place (on the extra fork, not the one we're leaving on the bike).

Cut the head tube from the extra frame and install the stem, bearings and handlebar (with gear). Tighten it all up as if you were installing it for use.

Slowly and in several steps, trim the extra head tube to fit it to the bike frame. First trim it so the gears don't touch, then little by little grind more away to make a nice tight fit of the two head tubes together with a tight mesh of the gears. When you're satisfied with the fit, take it all apart and weld or braze the extra head tube onto the frame.

Step 6: Paint It and Put It Together

To keep it from rusting, throw a coat of paint on it.

Clean and lube the bearings and assemble it. If you did it right, you'll have a bicycle that will be a huge challenge to learn to ride!

Here's the YouTube video of my first attempt.

Step 7: UPDATE!

The UHMW gears didn't hold up very well, so we ended up re-making them from aluminum and that is covered in this video.

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    13 Discussions


    Question 1 year ago on Step 6

    Hi, I'm trying to recreate this and I was just wondering how you adhered the slotted pipes and the gears together? The problem that I'm running into is that the slots fit with the gear but the pipe can easily be taken out. I tried a plastic-to-metal epoxy and that was not strong enough

    2 answers

    Answer 1 year ago

    Did you actually read the instructable? It looks pretty complete to me and covers this quite clearly.


    3 years ago

    This is a really great try! I believe that with some effort one can master riding this bike and then earn money on betting its rideability :-). Your next project should be a bike with rear steering wheel :-).

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    At the California State fair they have one. You pay 5$ to ride and if you navigate a straight line (18" wide) for 25 feet, you get $100. You only get to win once though.


    3 years ago

    This puts a twist on the saying "Just like riding a bike". I am building motorized bike trailers. Motorize your bike and call the Jacka** crew... Nice job.

    Athul Krishna

    3 years ago

    I think we could ride this by flipping our hands.Left hand on right-handle and vice versa.

    1 reply
    MarshAthul Krishna

    Reply 3 years ago

    That was what I did the first time I saw one of these at the fair. What seems to work better for me is looking at the wheel and trying to keep the handlebar out of my field of view.


    3 years ago

    What would be neat is if you could set your bike to reverse-steer when you park it. When some thug tries to steal it you can laugh when he veers out into traffic and gets run over.


    3 years ago

    your friend won't need a bike lock anymore


    3 years ago

    Destin from Smarter Every day and his son lerned (the kid lerned faster) how to ride that type of bike. After trying to ride a normal bike again he failed for a long time and people around him didn't believe, but suddenly he did it, proving that you can't unlearn how to ride a bike.

    Just4Fun Media

    3 years ago

    That is an awesome instructable! I saw in on smarter everyday too. It was crazy how he unlearned how to ride a normal bike!

    Have a great day! :-)


    3 years ago

    I love it! I think that I saw this on Smarter Every Day once upon a time. I love things that completely mess with your brain!