400 pound man needs trike

IRF

Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
22
When I was young I was a bicycling fool. I was never skinny but in good physical shape. Now I'm almost 50, and physically not so great. 10 years ago a motorcycle wreck brought a lot of limitations to my activity and now today I'm 400 pounds and am being pounded by more physical issues because of my weight. Walking is not an option due to pain and a standard bike hurts beyond belief.

I financially can not buy a premade recumbent trike for my weight. So I'm set to build my own. But honestly don't know exactly what I need to be asking. I have been plowing through every source I can find and have some ideas but have enough sense to ask for wisdom from those who have experience.

A few concerns I have noted:
1 Size and material of the seat, I want to get back to really putting in some miles.
2 configuration, which style trike works best for a big boy. 400 pounds six foot tall. Frame strength, weight distribution to keep steady traction on flat or hills.
3 How will I get back out of it? Getting up from a reclined position isn't easy sometimes (feel like a turtle on its back sometimes)
4 Material for the frame, square steel, but how thick? I don't want to build a trike that weighs more than I do but don't want it collapsing either.
5 All that other stuff not even on my radar yet.

I appreciate any help, suggestions, resources, and wisdom you have. I know a lot of it becomes preference, but I'm willing to hear why you prefer certain things.

Thanks in advance.
 

Twinkle

Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 14, 2013
Messages
3,571
Location
Peacehaven nr Brighton, Sussex ,UK
There have been several trikes built for riders with a fuller figure , obviously the weight will increase with heavier materials , once the weight loss starts to happen then it might be the right time to build a lighter weight frame .
48spoke rims and 20mm axles and a 2.5mm wall frame tubes should help but will have a weight penalty.
A Delta style trike will be higher and easier to mount. I am sure you will get support on the forum .
Regards Emma
 
Joined
May 31, 2013
Messages
2,304
Location
South Benfleet, Essex, England, UK
If you have getting up/down issues you may be better off with a delta trike as Emma (Twinkle) says.
I struggle to get in/out of my Tadpole too!
Heavier gauge steel will sort you out re the additional load. I had one made of 2.5 mm thick steel tube and it was a beast of a trike.
The weight penalty is tiny compared to the "You" that you are moving on the trike, and as you slim down and become fitter you can consider building in a lighter gauge.
Best of Luck getting your project off the ground. Remember, pictures are what we all thrive on.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
2,094
Location
Nottinghamshire England
Well we need more answers ?

Do you understand a bike and it's parts ?
Do you understand the difference between a Delta and Tadpole trike ?
Can YOU weld ?
How hilly is it where you live ?

As suggested with a Delta , high seat , parking brake and handlebars as some of Brads design you should have the leverage to get out of the seat.

The first trike will not be ideal , however if it allows you to move and get a few miles in it's a start.

The best think next is to buy a 6 pack plan set ?

Suggest
Starting trikes ?
1] Load Runner
2] Delta Runner
3] Timber Wolf

When slimmer and well and truly hooked
Something lower
4] Delta Wolf
5] Aurora

Or something that might work if you have the skills ?
6] Gladiator
 

IRF

Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
22
How awesome a forum crew! Thank you for the replies.

Stormbird, in days gone by I did all my own repair and maintenance on my bikes. Those bikes took a beating either from carrying massive loads of newspapers or other ones who was getting 200 to 400 miles a week... and these was off the shelf or used bikes, none of which was built for the stress I put them through.
So I do understand bike parts for the most part. I've never owned a bike with disc brakes but I understand the principles. My welding skill isn't great but while not always pretty they hold (grinder skills help my welding skills lol). Yes I have researched enough to understand a delta vs tadpole.

My primary place to ride initially will be a park with a 7 mile loop, about 5 miles of that are gentle slopes or flat the other 2 are rolling hills and enough most bicycles I see walk them.

I actually was eyeing the Timberwolf plans but my concern with a delta is... years ago when we moved into our home the previous owners left behind a standard adult trike. My father in law wanted it so I made needed repairs. The problem for him and even me was it always pulled to the left because the rear drive. Now I don't remember how it was set up so I don't remember if it only powered one wheel but I think that might have been the case. If a delta is a solid axle, is there problems of it jumping around on turns like a positrac rear end on a car? How do you smooth that out?
 
Last edited:

IRF

Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
22
There have been several trikes built for riders with a fuller figure , obviously the weight will increase with heavier materials , once the weight loss starts to happen then it might be the right time to build a lighter weight frame .
48spoke rims and 20mm axles and a 2.5mm wall frame tubes should help but will have a weight penalty.
A Delta style trike will be higher and easier to mount. I am sure you will get support on the forum .
Regards Emma
Fuller figure, your so kind lol
 

IRF

Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
22
One of my long term bike maintenance and repair frustrations is lacing and truing wheels. I am determined to learn that skill set. It may well help I am a far more patient man today that I was 10 plus years ago. I will need a good teaching resource for that.
 

Twinkle

Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 14, 2013
Messages
3,571
Location
Peacehaven nr Brighton, Sussex ,UK
Delta trikes are swd unless you bite the bullet and get a differential unit and that will make it 2wd , There are LSD available for loose gravel as well if the pocket is deep enough
 

IRF

Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
22
Delta trikes are swd unless you bite the bullet and get a differential unit and that will make it 2wd , There are LSD available for loose gravel as well if the pocket is deep enough
LSD?

So here is a thought I had concerning a differential. The BMX trick riders will sometimes change from right hand drive gears to a left hand set. If a delta had the chain driven to a single sprocket or set centered on a shaft with two other identical sprockets lined up on the left annd one right to feed two short chains to wheels one with right hand drive, the other with left... would it in essence and crude way result in a differential effect? Did that even make sense?
 

Twinkle

Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 14, 2013
Messages
3,571
Location
Peacehaven nr Brighton, Sussex ,UK
Limited slip diff
Yes use a jack shaft and drive both wheels from it with 2 chains , fit the multiple free wheel to the jack shaft , this system has been used on pedal racing cars ( quads) crude but effective .
 
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
2,467
Location
Apple Valley, California, USA
Welcome from sunny California.🌞

If you go with Twinkles 48 spoke suggestion, then you might want to view some online video's, on how to lace up a 48 spoke wheel/rim..
Suggest this as your starting point. .......'48 spoke wheel building videos'.

Not all video's are created equal, check out the many you may find.
Some are just plain confusing, while others are much better.

Good luck with your project.
You have happened upon, a terrific site, for doing your project.
Ask many questions,.....but please include photos.
The advice you will get, may be better or more exacting, if we can see what you see.

P.S. Ditto on getting some of Brads plans.
That's how I started, and learned something new from each plan, about building these things,
Example: I bought the Sparky, and Silent Speedster, not to build, just to learn about how to do the electrical bits.
 
Last edited:
Reactions: IRF
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
2,094
Location
Nottinghamshire England
Good your knowledge means we can tailor our replies accordingly

Probably the best selling commercial Delta is the Hase Kettwiesel and for many years this was single wheel drive.

The only noticeable quirk was it had a habit of drifting away from the driven wheel , this just meant you had to have at least 1 hand on the steering at all times. [ I owned one for many years and toured in Holland towing a trailer with my camping gear [ so it was no toy ]]

The drift was annoying rather than dangerous.

Although Brads plans do show wheel lacing in some of his projects he also shows how to build a trike without , don't forget a standard BMX wheel will have a steel hub and can be directly welded to the axle Brad uses and then the build can proceed as per the plan ?

This books also has condensed plans in it for a couple trikes etc and gives a flavour of Brads building methods :-

Evil Genius Bike , scooter and chopper projects

You stand a chance of getting up the hills on a trike as you can ride at much less than walking speed as you don't fall over ! just gear it down speed is not needed yet !!
 
Reactions: IRF

IRF

Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
22
I've been pouring over the links and resources you all have provided. Not sure how quick I'll be able to start but I have my frame metal and just got 2 bikes with disc brakes given to me so.... soon very soon I hope
 

Radical Brad

Garage Hacker!
Staff member
Joined
Mar 13, 1999
Messages
5,746
Location
Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, Canada
Greets!

I agree that a durable delta would be your best start.
Aurora or LodeRunner are both bullet proof designs.

DeltaWolf and DeltaRunner are probably not the best choice for 300+ pounds, as they use 26 inch rims and smaller axles.
Of course, you may find yourself wanting a lighter and faster trike before you know it, so good luck on your journey!

Brad
 

IRF

Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
22
Thanks for chiming in Brad. I'm still looking at the deltawolf size and style but am looking at a heavier duty rear axle system and although I'm afraid I'm biting off more than I am ready for I am determined for 2wd with duel disc brakes.

I've been searching and studying the 2wd issue and found some good stuff in the archives but it is really hard to navigate at least from my phone. The 6 bolts single cassette and etc... seems so much simpler than my original idea. But? Not looking to beat a dead horse but if someone can point to detailed pictures of all the components and assembled would be very helpful
 

Twinkle

Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 14, 2013
Messages
3,571
Location
Peacehaven nr Brighton, Sussex ,UK
My rear end of the quad used a 20mm axle with a 20mm free hub on a live axle and a fixed hub . Or a jack shaft with dual freewheels would also work but both methods require some machining.

Regards Emma
 

IRF

Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
22
My rear end of the quad used a 20mm axle with a 20mm free hub on a live axle and a fixed hub . Or a jack shaft with dual freewheels would also work but both methods require some machining.

Regards Emma
Do you have any pictures of your set up you'd be willing to share? I've found some pictures but they all show from the same angle on the single 18t freewheel side.
 
Top