Build Your Own Recumbent Bike
What the heck is a recumbent bike? That is still a common question, but just about everyone begins to understand when you describe that the pedals are out in front and you sit on a big seat. A seat that does not try to find it's way up your anatomy! You know what I mean.
After 11 years of riding and over 15,000 miles of enjoyment and exercise, I can confidently claim this is one of the best choices I have ever made. From building the bike, to building fairings, to racing, to making 100 mile rides, the result has been enormous and satisfying.
So here is just a little to pique your interest in what may be your greatest adventure in life. You may never build your own, but don't miss the opportunity to ride one at least once, and preferably more than once. If you do, then the likelihood is great that you will be the next one telling your friends, with a smile all the while, "get bent!"
This photo shows one of the two frames in it's original condition. To the left you can see part of the homebuilt recumbent loaned to me by a friend to use as a model. The only thing I had to go by was his bike and a diagram of a road bike frame and where to make the cuts to later add tubing for the recumbent frame.
You can see the partial assembly before welding of the new frame. The white, painted part is the old road bike frame, and the other colors are the additions. Even though galvanized conduit is not recommended, I sanded the tubing to remove the surface covering that is apparently noxious when welding. There were zero problems with foul smelling fumes.
Adapting the frame for the crank
This is perhaps the most critical part of the adapting, which is the new angle for the crank. Since the crank moves forward on a recumbent, the cuts are precise to allow for ground clearance and also pedal clearance for the front wheel when pedaling.
Here is a link, https://sites.google.com/site/recycledrecumbents/ez-clone-drawings to some more detailed photos that will help even more in understanding how and where to cut the road bike frame.
These are some of the best photos I have seen with very good detail and instructions to make your recumbent frame. I only wish this had been available 11 years ago when I made mine!
Finished and primered frame
This is the finished product for my bike. You may notice that the angles on my frame compared to other frames you will see are not as great, making my frame somewhat smaller and closer to the ground.
I have had the experience of hitting the ground from the height of a road bike, and from the height of a recumbent bike. If I have to hit the ground at all, the closer the better! The balance, once you become accustomed to it, is so much better that spills are drastically reduced.
I named this bike the "ScamBent", because it will take you for a ride. Think about it and the name will make sense...or not.
I was fortunate that my friend sold me an old seat he purchased, so I didn't have to go through the effort of making my own. This was a good thing because I could never get the tubes bent right to my satisfaction to build a seat frame. It was truly an exercise in frustration and still is!
So I stick to what seems to be my best talent and that is building and making fairings for my recumbent, which I will cover in another Hub.
Ready to ride!
All ready to ride and just looking for an excuse! The Coroplast fairings have taken me endless hours to make, but have provided me with enjoyment and experiences well worth the effort. This is just the first of about 26 fairings, from this one all the way to a fully enclosed racing fairing used to ride in an HPV competition.
Watch for future Hubs about building your own recumbent fairings. Also about HPV's, or Human Powered Vehicles. Here's a little teaser.