Thursday, December 31, 2009


Howzabout it folks ??!!! Are these babies freaky enough for ya ??!!!! This is an idea I had about 6 years ago,I had intended to build one but never really got serious about it 'til now. I saw a guy riding something similar,it used 2 short wheelbase 16" bikes. You sit on the seat of the rear frame while pedaling and steering the front frame.I liked the simplicity of it but there are some problems with the basic design.#1-Any time you build a bike with a recumbent or semi-recumbent seating position you HAVE TO have a solid back rest to push against. If you don't a good portion of your pedalin' power is wasted AND you will keep pushin' yer butt off the back of the seat !!!! NOT GOOD !!!!!!!! #2-If you DO have a backrest on this configuration,when you apply pressure to the pedals and the backrest ( when taking off or going up a hill) it causes the 2 frames to arch up in the middle and unloads the weight on the center (drive) wheel and causes it to spin !!!! AGAIN,NOT GOOD !!!!! #3- on a 16" frame w/ 16" wheels you have to use small cranks,4 1/2" or 5 1/2" at the most. Not very efficient,there's just not enough leverage there,PLUS you have to pedal like CRAZY ALL THE TIME to maintain any kind of speed. AGAIN,NOT GOOD !!!!! #4- When making tight radius turns the rear frame can actually fall over flat because the rear fork can pivot TOO far back.One more time !! NOT GOOD !!!! After working my poor little pea brain to it's limit,I came up with solutions for all 4 problems. I used a 20" frame on the front ( the tandem uses 2-20" frames ) .This allows you to put the seat on top of the fork of the rear frame so you have adequate leg extension AND your weight keeps the drive wheel planted solid to the pavement at all times. I used a 20" fork on the front frame along with a 20" wheel. This gives just enough clearance to use 6 1/2" cranks so you can get the thing MOVIN' a lot better !!!! To keep the rear frames fork from rotating too far,I added a bungey cord,it provides enough tension to keep things under control. I will be replacing the bungeys with the stronger,thicker black rubber cargo straps though,I think it will work better and not look so hokey.Okay so NOW you can put a backrest on the thing and it will IMPROVE the performance of the trike instead of causing problems. Oh yeah I also made some long handlebars so you don't have to lean forward so far to reach them. They look pretty wacky don't they ??!!!! They serve their purpose quite well though. The bars on the single seat cargo trike are inverted steel dropbars with a set of low rise MTB bars ( cut in half ) hammered on to the ends for extensions. They're bolted in place too so they can't pop off !! I used 3-speed roadster bars on the tandem with the same type of extensions. They work great and provide a very comfortable riding position. I LOVE these trikes !!!!! They are a lot of fun to build and ride,I will be building more of them in the future and selling them too. The ones you see here will be for sale after I finish them and paint them. I will also be experimenting with different sized wheels,multiple gear setups,and larger non-recumbent style tandems,so stay tuned and see what I come up with !!! ( The single seater is a 20"x16"x16",the Tandem is a 20"x16"x18" !!! It's also 2 wheel drive w/2 coaster brakes !!!!!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


In part G I will be showing you how to make a neato and very useful cargo platform. I have made similar platforms in the past but they only went from the front of the rear wheel towards the front of the bike,this one surrounds the entire bike. This is really simple to make but it might challenge your scrap hunting skills just a tad !!!! STEP ONE- You wiil need to find a handlebar stem that fits up into the seat tube of the bottom frame. I am using a short necked stem from a kiddie bike with a 22.2 stem. You may have to make a split tubing spacer if your seat tube is larger than 22.2. STEP TWO- Grab a rusty old rim from a 26" mountain bike wheel and cut it in half. These will be the front and the rear of your cargo platform hoop. This is one of those times where you can use damaged or crappy parts. RE-CYCLIN' ROCKS !!!!!!!!!! STEP THREE- Now take the rim halves and position them on the ground where YOU think they should go. Make a measurement between the front and rear halves and add 3" . This is the total length your side bars will be. STEP FOUR- Now you will have to scavenge up some scrap tubing to span that length. I used 3 hunks on each side put together telescope style. Some frame tubes,a couple display rack legs,just use whatever you can get your hands on as long as its not super thin wall wimpy stuff,GET THE PICTURE ??!!. STEP FIVE- Measure 1 1/2 " from each end of your side bars and flatten them down to that mark with a hammer. I use a mini sledge for this, a hackers friend to be sure !!! STEP SIX- Take your rim halves and using 2 pairs of channel lock pliers,bend the rim sides open until the flattened ends of the side bar tubes will fit flush against the inside surface of the rim. STEP SEVEN- Using a 1/4" drillbit, drill 2 holes in the end of each rim half AND the ends of both side bar as shown. Bolt them together. STEP EIGHT- Now lay the hoop on a concrete floor and using a mini sledge, hammer the rim edges back to their original shape. O-TAY, yer hoop is DONE !!!! STEP NINE-Now you need to find another piece of tubing that fits into the clamp part of your h-bar stem and 2 90 degree bends that fit inside OR outside of that tube. I used an old table leg with a 90 degree bend on one end and a 90 degree hunk of handle bar tubing. You're making the piece that connects the sides of the hoop with the h-bar stem in the center of the frame. STEP TEN-Assemble the center tubing pieces into the h-bar stem and hold the hoop in place to mark where your bolts will go. Remove the center piece ( w/the h-bar stem attached ),drill out the holes ( 2 on each side as shown ) and bolt it all together . YER DONE,for now that is !!! PART H we will be making " Bumper overriders for each end of the platform hoop,STAY TUNED !!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

SURF WOODY PROJECT UPDATE !!!!!! Let the RRRRUST begin !!!!!!

It's been raining quite a bit here in Portland,Oregon so I put Old Surfy outside for a shower !! I spray it down with vinegar every once in a while to jump start the "Rustomization" process. Things are startin' to get real ugly real fast !!!I love the look of the dirty white parts against the rusty metal. It makes it look ugly and dangerous,AND because of the vinegar, It STINKS TOO !!!! A FABULOUS combination for a FREAKBIKE !!!!!! I replaced the bungy cord on the "steering wheel center return device" with a black rubber version, a converted cable stop clamp,and some white electrical tape,pretty SNAZZY huh ??!!!! The keen circular chainguard is plastic and from a kiddie bike. I like to use these whenever possible for 2 reasons. #1- They look cool, #2- They are MUCH SAFER than any other type of chainguard for a tallbike,you DO NOT want to get your clothing or shoelaces caught in the chain on this type of bike!! On a regular bike you can just stop and free yourself,with a tallbike you don't have this option, YER GONNA CRASH !!!!! I also added a pair of my wheeldiscs to spice things up a bit,I like the severe contrast of the bright colors against the rust and white. Another thing I like about using white parts on a RUST bike is that the rust bleeds onto the white.It's disgustingly cool,I LOVE IT !!!!! YUCK-O-LICIOUS !!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


WHOA NELLIE !!!!!! THROW ON THEM BRAKES !!!!!!!! In this post I will be showing you how to mount brake levers on your steering wheel and how to put dual brakes on your rear wheel. I use the old style horse shoe shaped brakes because they are the easiest to adapt to odd applications such as this. STEP ONE- Get a pair of brake levers as shown,these are the type found on low buck 3-speeds and mountain bikes. Remove the h-bar clamps and flatten out the mounting brackets as shown. STEP TWO- With the tire of your steering wheel still in place,sit on the bike and determine where you want your levers to be. Mark the spot on the rim closest to the mounting brackets on the levers. Remove the tire and tube. STEP THREE- Get a length of 1/8"x 1" steel flat stock,cut two 5" pieces. Make a mark 2" from the end of each piece. Put them both in a vice and bend them 90 degrees. Holding the L-bracket up to the mark on the rim with the short side up,mark 2 spots where the bracket touches the inner face of the rim ( where the spoke holes are ). Using a 1/4" drillbit,drill out the 2 spots. Now hold the L-bracket in place on the rim and using the holes in the bracket as a guide,drill through the rim. Bolt the bracket down. STEP FOUR-Using the same drillbit,drill a hole through the bottom of the L-bracket where it touches the outer edge of the rim,AND drill through the rim.Now bolt the inner side of the brake lever bracket in place with the head of the bolt on the inside of the rim.Drill another hole through the L-bracket at the hole in the brake lever bracket and bolt it down. STEP FIVE- Mark the excess material on each end of the L-bracket and disassemble it. Cut off the excess and smooth off the edges,then re-assemble. I cut a couple of pieces of an old handlegrip and hot glued them onto the exsposed tops of the L-brackets so they wouldn"t damage the tire when inflated. Put the rim liner,tube,and tire back on and re-inflate. STEP SIX-Mount 1 of your brakes in the original location on the frame.Notice that BOTH brakes are mounted on the BOTTOM frame !! STEP SEVEN-For the other rear brake I used the remaing portion of the HUFFY kick stand bracket and drilled a 1/4" hole through it to mount to. You might have to get creative here if there is nothing there to work with. An oddball but SUREFIRE solution is to cut the tubular brake mount section from another frame and attach it with small automotive hose clamps !!!! This might seem kind of screwy,but I have done it many times and it always works !!!!! It's adjustable too !!! Just leave a couple of inches on each side if the brake mounting tube and put on those hose clamps !! Check the illustration. STEP EIGHT- Now you can install your cables, I usually drill holes in the frame where possible,and run them through there to keep everything a little cleaner. You'll have to decide for yourself just how you want to do this part.You will probably have to use the long TANDEM type brake cables for 1 or both of the brakes. It's a LONG WAYS from the steering wheel to that bottom brake !!! OKAY!! Now just do the usual adjusting and take it out on a test run !!!!! I have been having FUN riding my 3-speed version,hope you like how yours is coming along. PART-G will deal wth the beginnings of the cargo platform,this is where things start to get REALLY INTERESTING !!!!! Any questions,comments,criticisms ( positive or negative ),Please E-mail me at I'd love to hear what you have to say!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


This installment will cover the drivetrain AND building a wild new type of bike steering wheel. STEP ONE- Install your cranks,pedals,and chain. I am using 6 1'2" cheapo MTB cranks,a 32 tooth chainwheel, and an 18 tooth rear sprocket on a 3-speed hub. It may be necessary to grind away part of the top frames bottom bracket ( I had to do this on this one ),it depends on what type of chainwheel/sprocket combo you're using.STEP TWO-Cut a 1" long,1/8" slot in the front of each side of your upside down fork as shown. Now get a pair of dropdown bars and cut them in half. Using 2 frame seatpost clamps,loosely fit the bar halves into the fork as shown. STEP THREE-Get a 20" rim,tube,and tire and install the tire on the rim.Now,while sitting on the bike,hold the wheel up to the handlebar halves to get an idea of where it needs to be to be comfortable to you. If it needs to be farther forward,rotate the bars in toward eachother,if it needs to be further back,rotate the bars outward,GET IT ??!! Now find a piece of tubing that fits snug over the bar ends. Cut it to fit the length of the gap between the bars PLUS an inch on either end to slide onto. Now put that tube in place and recheck the fit of the wheel. Does it touch the rounded edges of the bars like mine does in the picture ? If so tighten down the 2 seatpost clamps and move on to step 4. If not keep adjusting until you get it right like you want it. You may have to make several center pieces of different lengths to really dial it in. I had to use a bent tube for mine to fit,just keep at it !!!!! STEP FOUR-Now remove the tire and tube from the rim. Holding the rim in place ( make sure the valve stem hole is towards the front ), using a 1/4" drillbit, drill a hole from inside the rim through the handlebar where the 2 touch,like the picture of mine shows. Now get 4 bolts,nuts,and lockwashers ( 1 or 1 1/4" long shaft ),and install 1 in that hole and tighten it down just enough to keep the rim in place. Repeat on the other side. then go back to the first side and repeat,get it ?? Just do one at a time on each side until you have all 4 in place like mine.Tighten them all down,cut off the excess bolt ends and file them smooth. STEP FIVE-Now you will need to make a front brace or braces to finish it up. I used an old package rack and a kiddie sized chainwheel on mine. Feel free to improvise here,just keep in mind that you don't want to use any thing that's really heavy. Most of the strength is in the part you already made,so go light on the materials and you should be okay !!! I usually use the rear stays and dropouts off a cheapo MTB for this but I wanted to try something different this time.I have also used pieces of old crutches too. These work great and are very light. Let your imagination run wild here but make sure everything is tightened down and solid before you take it out on a test ride !!!!!!! Okay you're done with this part and hopefully you have a wacky wheel that you're happy with. You may have noticed the bungy cord attached to the steering coupler and the frame.This is an improvised "steering wheel return to center device " !!!! My wheel is offset so far forward that it would flop to the side when I parked the bike with the kickstand !! The bungy set up keeps it from doing that AND it doesn't effect the steering while riding,I'm kind of proud of this little innovation !!! I think I'll replace the bungy with 1 or 2 rusty metal springs once I find the right ones. That would definitely fit with the RUSTOMIZED look I'm going for here !!! PART F will be dealing with BRAKES !!!! Now that she is capable of GOING,we need to figger out how to STOP 'er !!!!!!!!!!! Any questions,comments,criticisms ( positive or negative ) please E-mail me at I'd love to hear what you have to say !!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


It's BACKBONE TIME boys and girls !!!!! In this post I will be showing you how to make the backbone that ties the frames together at the rear. This is the same backbone that I use on all my bolt together tallbikes. STEP ONE- get an axle from an old 6 or 7 speed freewheel hub. You will also need 2 of the thin lock nuts that fit the threads of your axle AND 6 regular axle nuts as shown. Cut the axle in half and clean up the threads so you can easily put on the nuts. STEP TWO- Now take a look at your dropouts,if they are the kind that already has a hole in them,skip to step 3. If not ,then using a 3/8" drillbit,drill holes in the center of the dropout as shown. STEP THREE- Now put your axle half through the hole and thread one of the thin locknuts on the inside of the dropout. Next take an axle nut and put it on the OUTSIDE of the dropout and tighten it down. Next take another axle nut and thread it on backwards as shown. Tighten it up against the previous nut.Now put another axle nut on the end but don't tighten it down yet. STEP FOUR-Get a 26" MTB fork that has fork tips like the ones shown. This will be the bottom of the backbone. Now pull the fork blades apart until they are wide enough to fit on your dropout studs. Be sure that they are even on both sides relative to the center of the fork.Now put the fork on the studs BACKWARDS as shown. This is done so you will have enough clearance to remove the rear wheel. STEP FIVE- Find another fork that is the right length to fit between the bottom fork and the seat post clamp on the top frame.This will be the top of the backbone. Bend this fork inward so the gap between the fork tips is the same width as your seat post clamp. STEP SIX- Holding the upper fork to the side with the holes in the fork tips lined up with the seat post clamp holes,mark the handlebar stem tubes of both forks approximately 1/2 way down each one. Using a pipe cutter,cut the h-bar tubes at those marks (this is only an approximation, you may have to cut one of them again for a good fit). STEP SEVEN- Now get the center bolt and nuts from an old seat,and put the stud in place of your seat post bolt. Attach the upper fork with washers and nuts as shown. Now if it fits and lines up with the bottom fork,measure the distance between the fork crowns,add 1/8' and cut a piece of tubing to that length. The tubing should be just large enough to slide over the fork tubes. STEP EIGHT- Put the tubing in place and make sure everything fits well,the tubing is 1/8" longer because it will crush onto the forks when tightened down. STEP NINE- Get another axle, 2 more thin locknuts,2 washers,and 1 regular axle nut. Install the axle and hardware as shown in the drawing,with the 2 thin locknuts at the bottom. Tighten the top nut until the tubing crushes snugly in place. Cut off the excess axle and file it smooth. STEP TEN- Now tighten the nuts on the dropout studs and the seat post clamp at the top and your done !!! Okay the frame structure is finished !!! Oh yeah,if your using a banana seat mount the sissy bar on the studs NOT the rear wheel !!! You can use 2 extra axle nuts to tighten it down but DON'T cut off the stud excess just yet !!! Part E will be about making an extremely FUNKY new kind of steering wheel!!! Any questions,comments,criticisms ( positive or negative ) E-mail me at I'd love to hear what you have to say !!!!!!!!!!!