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DIY Recumbent Tricycle

Updated April 17, 2017

Recumbent trikes are one vehicle of choice for those who enjoy cycling but want the extra stability of a third wheel. If you're handy with tools, you can make your own recumbent tricycle out of recycled bike parts. Careful construction technique is necessary to ensure your tricycle is stable.

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  1. Disassemble the bike frames into their component parts. Keep parts separated and identifiable for easy reassembly later as you build them into the frame of the tricycle.

  2. Weld together the two rear suspension assemblies of the bike frames with a length of tubing to provide support for the two back wheels of the tricycle. Reassemble the rear suspension parts fully, reattaching all bearings and bolts.

  3. Take apart one bike frame and reassemble the tubing into an elongated zigzag shape, with one long piece of horizontal tubing connected to a short verticle piece, connected to another long piece extending downward at a 20-degree angle. Weld the new frame together.

  4. Mount a derailleur and brakes to one front wheel. Connect the bottom part of the front frame to the front wheel. Attach the tubing on the front wheel to the uppermost joint of the tricycle frame at a 45-degree angle, where the top of the vertical piece meets the second horizontal piece, and weld the parts together.

  5. Attach the pedals for the trike to the end of the tubing at the front of the tricycle frame. Check the length to ensure you will be able to pedal comfortable. Adjust if necessary by cutting down the tubing and rewelding it together.

  6. Attach the rear wheels to the trike. Center the rear assembly onto the back end of the tubing, and weld it in place.

  7. Build a simple seat and back out of plywood to dimensions that are comfortable for your size and the angle you want to recline at. Cover the plywood with a layer of soft foam, and use expoxy to glue the foam in place. Cut out and stretch a layer of spandex fabric over the foam filling to cover the trike seat. Attach at the back with epoxy and heavy-duty staples.

  8. Tip

    To keep your trike frame stable during assembly, construct a wooden jig to hold the frame parts level and in place as you attach the parts together.

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Things You'll Need

  • Two adult road bikes, 20-inch frames
  • Wrench
  • Saw
  • Grinder
  • Welder
  • Plywood
  • Foam
  • Epoxy
  • Black spandex fabric
  • Heavy-duty stapler

About the Author

Michelle Labbe has been writing online and for print since 2004. Her work has appeared in the online journals Reflection's Edge and Cabinet des Fées as well as in Harvard Book Store's anthology, "Michrochondria." She is pursuing a Master of Arts in publishing and writing at Emerson College.

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