Office Chair Bike




Introduction: Office Chair Bike

Long time bicyclist, bike commuter, bike tourer, recent bike builder/experimenter. I'm an energy ...

A recumbent bike with a very comfy seat.
It's a 35 pound leather executive office chair connected to a 16" (little girl's) Princess bike re-welded into a recumbent (recliner bike) and using a piece of another donor bike frame.
I built it in honor of "Bike to Work Day".

If you like fun/unusual home built bikes... check out my hobby site

Step 1: Design Your Bike Using a CAD System (Cardboard Aided Design)

Make a cardboard cutout of your lower leg (with foot and pedal), thigh, torso, and straight arm (to a distance 2" back from your wrist). Use it to look for good riding position and clearances for knees to bars, heels to wheels etc. Use the CAD system to layout the riding position, cranks, wheels etc with attention for locating your hands, shoulder, seatback angle, butt, knees and feet. Also look for ways to arrange a straight chain line (at least for the tight side) by raising the Bottom Bracket (BB)(main crank bearing).
For detailed instruction on designing a sweet handling recumbent visit

Step 2: Cut and Miter the Bike Tubes for Joints

Use a hole saw (toothed cylindrical drill bit) to simultaneously cut and miter the donor bike's former downtube to become a boom tube out to the Donor bike's BB. Carefully eyeball the angle but always wear eye protection when eyeballing.

Step 3: Clamp or Strap Tubes Together for Welding

During and after filing the donor tube's mitered end, the joint is assembled and checked for correct angle, centeredness (meditation could help here) and plumbness (allignment by eyeball). When it all looks straightish, it is clamped or straped together to be tack welded.

Tack welds are small to avoid melting too much of the nylon strap.

Step 4: Weld It Together

I use a little 110 volt MIG* welder. It is the red box. The weld is finished in this picture.

*MIG = Metal, Inert Gas sheilded welding. however I use a cheaper flux cored feed wire instead of gas sheilding. It helps keep my weld quality low so I won't obsess as much.

Step 5: Reinforce the Seatpost

It looks so much more business-like after painting over the "Little Princess" motif.
I added internal steel tubing reinforcement to strengthen the seat post since I weigh more than most little princesses and the office chair lets me put lots of leverage (bending moment) on the seat post.

I split the office chair's own seat post and inserted the bike's reinfored post into the chair's seat post. I welded the split back together.

Step 6: Install Chain Roller

After assembling enough chain in the length needed, hold a jockey wheel from a derailuer up to the frame with the chain on the jokey to see where you can position the jockey to take up slack and lift the chain over the front wheel. Mark that spot and drill a hole for a hardened bolt that will act as an axel for the jockey wheel to spin on. Assemble and lubricate jockey wheel and bolt passing through hole in frame boom. Use a large washer or a n orange juice can lid to guide chain and prevent it from falling off jockey wheel. I added an instructable all about using a chain tool to make long chain :

Step 7: Reposition the Chair

I had to reposition the chair lower and further forward so my toes could reach the ground.
The plywood board has holes for mounting to the chair and to the chair post platform.
The old brake cable wire in front is holding the front of the chair down and to keep it from rotating around the seat post since there is a lot of twisting leverage from the wide butt in the wide chair.

Step 8: Riding the Office Chair (AKA Loose Nut Behind the Handle Bars)

Here it is on its maiden voyage. I still need to lower the seat further so my feet can securely reach the ground given the chair's long seat pan extending forward under rider's knees and holding them up.

That little tail sticking out in back is a side view of a 3 foot long 1x10 wooden board between the chair and chair mounting bracket on the seat post. It allowed the chair to be offset from the post about 5 inches forward leaving a back shelf for storage. disclaimer: None of my 15 home built bikes (to date) are made from 100% wood. Wood is not my religion. Wood is a conveneint and entertaining construction material for some parts of my bikes. Your Apple computer may not be made of 100% apples either. Open it up if you don't believe me.

Step 9: Where Do We Get the Supplies?

"Sustainable shopping" is my new hobby.
Dumpster Dipping (no diving allowed, you could hurt yourself) is the way to go.
Sometimes I feel like "Dumpstermiah Johnson" while I'm "trolling the suburban trap-line". That's where I found the 35 pound leather executive chair, and the Princess bike, donor bike and paint and extra bike chains joined together to reach everything.



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    51 Discussions

    Cardboard Aided Design = CAD hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahoooohaaohoohohahahahahahahahoooohahahhhhaaaamwhhahahahahahahahahahhaaghahahahhaahhahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahaha,COUGHHHHHhahahahahhahahahahhahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahbwhahahahahhahhahahahahhahahahhahahhahahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahhlmfaolmfaohahahahahahahhahahahhahahahrotfolhahahahhahaarotfolrotflalmaohahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahhahahahhahhhhhhaaaahhhhahhhahahahah>>>CHOKE CHOKE CHOKE CHOKE DIED DIED DIED

    (This is what happens when you LMFAO)

    Well Done none the less

    Hi, I stole some of your ideas, from this site and your own, and made this bike from a bit of Origan I found, some plywood and a junk yard 20" kids bike. Great work keep it up. You inspired me to re-use and recycle.The seat is foam padded and uphulstered with yellow vinyl. I also adde a lightning bolt and a scull sincce the foto.

    3 replies

    Pretty cool looking ride you have there! I'm glad you got inspired to build one.
    Can you post an instructable on your build? I wonder if the headset would benefit from another block of wood under the frame beam to help distribute the torque of braking or bumping a curb etc. Maybe it's supported in another way we can't see.

    Thanks. You are right about the weak headset connection. Its the bit that worries my the most(structually).

    I drilled the hole a bit oversize and filled it up with Epoxy resin. But I can see about 10mm movment on the front wheel axle if I brake hard. Today I got a big tube of 2part epoxy putty and built it up above and below. seems to help. I will keep an eye on it and if that fail I will weld a piece of plate on underneath and screw it to my beam.

    I am halfway with the next one. Its a bent plywood one like the one seen here on this site. Instructable soon!

    I am exceptionally jealous of your coolitude. Stuff like this only comes in my dreams. You can make it a reality. I can't. That's cool. I would probably buy that if I wasn't so poor.

    7 replies

    Thanks for the encouragement. I also used to think I couldn't do it. I had a long gap of 20 years between seeing a similar home built bike and building my own. I started with very simple wood bikes that required no welding. I will post one in a few weeks but you can see them now at I discovered you could drill one hole for the cranks and bearings and one for the headset and just put the fork and cranks right through an old post. Nail on a couple pieces of plywood to hold the rear wheel and you have a bike.

    How much engineering experience do you have? I just turned 18. I'm going to college next year to study engineering. I've done robotics for the past two years but I never really worked with machinery and I am not always a hands-on guy. I'm a bit of a late bloomer, but I think that some day I'll be able to make one :) Currently I've got this old Panasonic Villager III bike I'd like to repair and take with me to college.

    The hands-on stuff is only intimidating until you start. Then you see its actually pretty straight forward. You are probably ahead of where I was at 18 so you are going to have a fun future. I earned a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Cal Poly, SLO and a PE license in mechanical. The engineering class to remember will be statics. No numerical calculations occured while making this or any of my other 15 bikes to date. Pencils are used but only to mark where to drill, or cut. I bet if you took the parts off that Panasonic frame and built a different frame from plywood and short piece of 4x4 you would meet a lot of fun and interesting folks at college. I'm reminded of a Robert Frost poem about taking the bike less common, and that has made all the difference.

    You don't hafta be an engineer to enjoy making stuff. I'm a biologist and my engineer boyfriend (biomedical engineer, they mostly do electronic stuff) says I probably have more mechanical aptitude than him _ Bikes are great, they should be on the list of the 100 best inventions ever.

    I agree on both points. To enjoy making things, all you need is some curiosity and courage. Curiosity to ask "what would it be like if I modified a ... and applied it to a...? Courage to be ready to invest materials and effort (and maybe ego) into the experiment with the possibility of having it not work the first time. I'd even put bikes in the top 20 inventions.

    I would have to disagree, they are the best. I like this design though it could use a smaller seat but its good.

    The most important thing anyone can learn is to embrace failure. Half the stuff I build doesn't work at all or not very well, but even so it's fun, and the stuff that does work, doubly so! Many times I'll build something knowing full well that it won't work; I'm doing it so that I can learn what the pitfalls are, what areas need special attention, etc, so that my next attempt will work better.

    You claim that your fashion sense is bad believe me mine is 3 times worse it involves a long sleeve green shirt and fuzzy number 18 soccer pants

    How did you mounted the chain? The instructable lacks in explaining this. I'm not a fan of horizontal bikes l but you still deserve a + for the Carboard Aided Design and pointing out the ecological issue.

    3 replies

    my drafting teacher must not know the real meaning of CAD cause for some odd reason he refers to it as computer aided drafting, wonder where he came up with that incorrect acronym

    He's probably thinking of the cademia program cad for short. And by what do you mean acronym.

    Have you ever fallen down? How bad is it when you fall down?(it looks to me that your hit the ground either from the side(a tipover) Or you fall forwards(Hit something))