Monday, May 17, 2010

Recycled Recumbents

A little while after I started cycling last year I discovered Recumbent Bikes after spotting one on the MEC gear swap. For those who do not know what a Recumbent Bike is, it's basically a bike (or trike) but with a much more relaxed, laid back position. Check the wikipedia article on it for some more info and example pics. The recumbent that I saw was a Actionbent Jetstream.

So you see what I mean by laid back. These type of bikes captivated me for some reason, but I was most taken with the tadpole trikes. I would have visions of touring the world sat back with my head back taking in the scenery not worrying about balance. Just taking it all in. Actionbent actually sells a tadpole trike for a fairly low price of around $1200 USD. It's the T1. They come in suspensions and hard tail models.

I've drooled over it online many times. However it is a bit of a small market, and none of the shops in St. Johns carry any recumbents, so I can't even try one out. There maybe a bit of a novelty factor to it, but I do think I would like to buy one someday. As far as quality goes Actionbent is top notch from what I've read, but they are the cheap guys on the block. Most other companies start their lines at $2000 or so.

There are also many variations on the recumbent.
Short wheel base
Long wheel base
Over seat steering
Under seat steering
Tadpole trike (2 wheels in front)
Delta trike (2 wheels in rear)
Front wheel drive
etc etc etc...

Some examples of recumbent companies I've had a look at are
Actionbent (obviously)
and of course there are more but those are the three ones that I like the best (by looking online only).

Okay so I'm rambling again...
Basically to recap: Recumbents are pretty neat, they're really expensive, and I want one but can't afford one. (The Greenspeed GTO is absolutely heavenly looking...)
But onto the point, and the title. Recycled Recumbents.

Recycled Recumbents is a website I found made by A.D. Carson, and he has given me hope that before the summer is out I will be riding a long wheel based, recumbent bicycle. Why? Not only did he take 2 old steel road bike frames, some old components, and using the Tour Easy (a popular LWB recumbent) as a guide and built this:

But he also did it on an extremely tight budget, and has built up his website with all the instructions, plans, pictures, and info you need to do it yourself. And it's all absoultely free just to spread the love of home building and recumbent riding. What a great guy eh? He also makes these bikes now for other people. Still made from used bike frames and components, but a complete bike will only run you about $700! You can also just buy a frame from him and do the rest yourself. It is absolutely, 100% worth while going through his site in great detail, it is a wealth of information, as well as lots of cool pictures. He is also a really nice guy. I emailed him asking him for some more info on a couple of under seat steering setups he did, and he explained it all to me as well as sent me a dozen or so very detailed pics pertaining to my question. So go to his page, support him by buying your first recumbent frame for dirt cheap, knowing it is mostly recycled (except for the bottom rails) and build up your very own recumbent, or buy one of his complete Mach 2's! As a poor student I am unable to support him in this way, so I'm passing the buck onto all of you. I am however planning on building my very own Mach 2! I recently acquired an old Giant Kronos road bike frame from my LBS guy Harold for the price of washing a repair bike for him in the freezing cold rainy weather, and I also acquired a cheap old Venture steel road bike for $5. I have some old (very old) drive train parts I can use, but I think if the frame turns out good I will actually try and put a little money into it and give it some decent components.

Hopefully sometime within the next week or two I will start cutting, and maybe get my dad to come out and do some welding for me if he has an hour or two to spare. He is also pretty interested in this project, just from a build perspective but is pretty busy.

Well, that is all for now. My riding has been little to non existent due to the non stop rain we've been having. However, Newfoundland summer is just around the corner.

Hopefully I'll be riding one of these before winter comes back.

1 comment:

  1. I have built three of these. The first one had underseat steering and went 3600 miles before I switched to the second one with "normal" steering. 3100 miles gave me some more ideas for improvements and along came number three. I now have more than 11,000 miles on my home made recumbents.
    I prefer the over seat steering for a lot of reasons.
    I am collecting parts for number four. Each one is a little better. Ride and enjoy, but continue to collect parts. You will probably want to build one that's a little bit better.