Chuck's No Weld Recumbent Bike

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I've gotten into bikes pretty heavily as of late and recently I was inspired to build a recumbent bike. When I started researching I found several people had done it without welding. I thought what a great idea, a no weld bike. (A zero dollar no weld bike)

I soon found out, to do it this way you end up with a front wheel drive front wheel steer configuration. Less than ideal but if this were ideal I would have a functioning welder so that point really is moot. I built this in an afternoon with the sole intention of having a funky bike to ride so I apologize for the lack of build photos. I wasn't going to do an instructable but Luke over at makezine.com asked me to, so this is a brief rundown of what it took to build my recumbent.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Materials: I had two donor bikes, one "Y" frame with and another one with a good chainset that I didn't mind hacking up. I also used a wheel from a BMX bike for the rear to improve the center of gravity. The seat was one of the biggest challenges. I used plywood and the back of an old office chair. Not the most comfortable set up but this is Mark I after all.

Tools

- 2 Cresent Wrenches
- Angle grinder with a cut off wheel (or hacksaw)
- Drill and Bits
- Allen Wrenches
- Hammers (lots of hammers)

Step 2: Chop Shop

So, Chop Shop time. I grabbed the trusty angle grinder with the 4" cutoff wheel attached and amputated parts of a sad old Glacier Point mountain bike. It was painless I assure you, a shower of sparks and it was over. The result a rear triangle, seatpost, gearset and rear wheel ready to be coupled to the "Y" frame bike.

The only prep I did to the "Y" frame bike was to gut the bottom bracket and exchange the fork for the one from the mountain bike.

Step 3: Marriage

This marriage like many others involved hammers and a substantial amount of force to join the two.

Here I spread, ground, bent, tweaked and beat the fork so that it would fit over the rear triangle of the donor bike.

Once I set the angle and successfully tightened things down I attached the seat post to some pieces of an old Schwinn saddle to anchor it to the neck of the other bike. (Picture 2) This works two fold; it allows the front to rotate freely and it uses the seat post which lets me adjust the distance from the pedals to the seat. (Sneaky huh?)

Step 4: Sit Down Lean Back and Try Not to Tip Over.

Seatery was next. Two "Home Plate" shaped pieces of scrap OSB got screwed together on either side of the frame's top tubes. The tricky part pictured here makes me feel like McGuyver. I took and old office chair back and another seat post clamp and a flutter of Cresent wrenches later I had a seat back.

Step 5: Laid Back

Then it was a little tweaking on brakes and the gear shift and BOOM. I was ready to ride, but was the bike? After several dozen failed attempts up and down my street I got the hang of it. I found a gear low enough that it let me start out with out tipping over yet tall enough to get a scary head of steam without spinning my legs off.

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    24 Discussions

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    sprocketscientist

    5 years ago on Step 3

    I love how you used the seat clamp and saddle rails to clamp onto the stem. Super smart.

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    dbird1

    7 years ago on Introduction

    WOW. I never dreamed this could be so simple. I'm gonna find the lowest Y frame I can get my hands on.

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    curley1

    9 years ago on Step 3

    To spread the fork you could use the scissors jack from your car, Depending on the jack, you might be able to clamp either or both sides of the fork to the top and bottom of the jack to prevent slippage.

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    fidgety2

    9 years ago on Introduction

    hello I have recently built one of these bikes to your specifications and am having a very hard time figuring out how to turn correctly while riding it if someone could give me a few pointers it would be most appreciated thankyou fidgety2

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    adcarson

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Good simple read, chuck. I like the related 'modifications' for comfort, but your structural scheme is fine! You are being posted over on www.bentrideronline.com in the message board just now, take a look. And, come show us your second project in the 'homebuilders' section! ADC (www.recycledrecumbent.com

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    sennomo

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! Very simple, and you got a good reclining angle.

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    germeten

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Q: Doesn't turning effect the position of the feet while cranking? Otherwise it's a great and simple conversion!

    2 replies
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    Moose707

    10 years ago on Introduction

    yeah cool one i like your ideas.. hmm i might have to make an electric version of this :) thatd be fun/scary

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    PKM

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Dang it, why didn't you post this before I ignored a rusty but serviceable bike at the garage sale down the road? Next time I see a bike in a hedge while I'm out riding I'm definitely going to salvage it. If all a project like this needs is a hacksaw and a couple of clamps I might give it a spin... Here's a scary thought... leave the pedals on the frame donor linked up to the back wheel, then sit someone on the handlebars and have them pedal the front wheel... rear-piloted articulated tandem?

    5 replies
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    omnibotNotbob

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Or .. use those pedals to get up to speed before using the ones in front?

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    PKMomnibot

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I completely didn't even think of that. Then you could leave the bottom drivetrain in a low gear (or have a single fixed "granny gear"), then use the top one for cruising. Another alternative, of course, is convert the bottom drivetrain to electric for an easy parallel hybrid. This design has great flexibility, it seems...

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    cas6767PKM

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    get a midget and have him pedal unicycle style. Not a bad instructable but I think having a little person as a hood-ornament/power source would raise this to legendary status.