Making the Trikelodon
By JerseyJim, AtomicZombie builders forum
This project began as a result of a gift. The New York City Five Boro Bike Tour is an annual event in which the streets of New York City are closed to car traffic and bicycles take over the city.
Cyclists travel through all five boros of NYC starting from the southern tip of Manhattan and looping through Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and ending in Staten Island.
The number of riders is limited so tickets are highly sought after.
When my friend obtained tickets for both of us, it sparked an idea. Instead of riding on separate bikes, why not ride on a tandem?
The Viking Recumbent Tandem Trike was one of the AtomicZombie plans I'd already purchased so it seemed like a natural fit. I just had to finish it in time for the tour.
In the course of building the project, I altered a few details from the plans. That's the beauty of these plans. You can use them as a starting point for your own ideas and/or incorporate the ideas
from other builders.
I started with altering the front wheel mounts. Taking inspiration from sports wheelchairs I fabricated quick release mounts for the front wheels.
The quick release pins were purchased from an industrial surplus vendor at a fraction of the cost of wheelchair axles. Being able to remove the wheels in a couple of seconds is great for storage,
puncture repair and allows the wheels to be swapped to another trike.
The heart of the drive train is a Nuvinci N171 continuously variable transmission. This is the original version of the Nuvinci, and while the gearing range is smaller and the hub is heavier than the
latest offering, it has a higher allowable torque rating which makes it ideal for use in tandem or motor assist applications. Rather than build a wheel with the hub, I decided to use it as a
mid-drive. It takes the place of the freewheel and derailleur setup specified in the plans. I altered the frame to fit the hub just behind the front seat while maintaining the frame's structural
Using the Nuvinci also gave me an opportunity to create an independent pedaling system. By coupling two freewheels on the hub the captain and stoker can pedal and rest as they wish.
The captain controls the gear selection and both riders push the same gear. Since the cranks aren't coupled to each other and the Nuvinci hub also operates as the crossover axle, standard crank
sets are used.
All of this results in the final drive on the left hand side of the trike and another unique solution. I found a moped rear wheel with a left side sprocket and a right side drum brake. Again, I found
this part really cheap. It also happens to be an alloy mag wheel so it is extremely strong. There's no danger of this wheel folding under the stress of two riders. I also learned that a 16"
motorcycle/moped rim is the same diameter as a 20" BMX wheel.
So, by using a 16" moped rim I didn't have to alter the geometry of the frame. I did have to alter the width of the rear forks to accommodate the fat motorcycle tire I chose to use. The 3.75" wide
tire provides plenty of air volume to cushion the ride and is very durable. It also looks really cool.
The custom seats are the finishing touch. Inspired by a Canadian builder of a Warrior Trike, I fabricated the seats out of 0.060" aluminum sheet. The sheet was surplus sign making material.
One 24"x48" sheet gave me both seats. The seats are removable so that I can continue to experiment with the seats and convert the rear of the trike to a carry cargo.
As it turned out, four months of building on nights and weekends was not enough time to complete the trike for the NYC Five Boro Bike Tour. I completed the trike a month later and dubbed it
"Trikelodon". The maiden voyage of Trikelodon was on Bike NYC's Twin Lights Ride. It performed well on the 30 mile route and attracted a lot of positive comments.
Trikelodon will be able to fulfill its destiny. I was able to get tickets to this year's NYC Five Boro Bike Tour so Trikelodon will finally travel the route for which it was built.
This has been a rewarding project and a testament to the quality of the AZ bike plans.
More photos and details of Trikelodon and other projects can be found on my blog at Comfy Bike
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Bike Builders Tip
Flap disc grit
"Flap disc are like sand paper and wear out fairly fast. I will start out with a 40 grit and work my way up to 80 depending on how much I want to clean up.
I use flap disc over grinding wheels as I seem to have better control of the grinding. For final sanding I will use the 120 grit befor moving to palm sanding when I go to sand for paint prep.
Brad uses a grinder for most of his work from the videos. But he seems to have a steadier hand than I do. I'm just glad there is an alternative.
Otherwise, my grinding would constantly be making base metal too thin." ~ darnthedog, member of AZ bike building community
Read more about this tip @ the AtomicZombie bike builders forum.