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My son bought himself a KMX recumbent trike that looked quite a lot of fun so I (being too tight to fork out for a new machine) decided to have a go at making a two wheeled version. Having collected enough bits of scrap together I started working on a design. Naturally, a little experimenting was called for. I researched on line for different designs and ideas and decided the main thing I wanted was to be as close to the ground as possible – to give a better feel for speed and so it’s not too far to fall.
The trouble with the recumbent bike is the fact your feet are towards the front and therefore presents a dilemma for the power-train. To power the rear wheel as in a conventional push bike, the chain has to be very long and has to negotiate several pulleys. The alternative is to power the front wheel but this presents the problem of the chain twisting when turning the steering.
A third option would be to pivot the frame and pedal and steer with the feet.
The third option was the one to go for. The front frame was made from some 25mm steel box section formed to encompass the wheel and chain gear with the pedals up front.
The finished article proved to be a bit of a monster and was like learning to ride a bike all over again. Whilst it was possible to master pedalling and steering with the feet it was very difficult to make quick corrective movements to catch the balance. With practice I’m sure this would be overcome but it felt like all would be OK until you had to take evasive action.
I didn’t fancy risking ending up under the wheels of a bus so I chopped the front off and rebuilt the frame in a more traditional manner. The steering now at the front with the twisting chain was much easier to master and attracted some attention on the ride through the lights event along Blackpool’s promenade.
Although this bike worked quite well, the weight of the steel frame was a bit too much to be practical so the next time I was in need of a bit of steel, the bike got the chop.