Recumbent or Trike?

Discussion in 'Motorized Recumbents' started by Big Red, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    This is my first three wheeler. I call her TRI BABY. I'm old and lazy so I took the easy way out. I married an old gocart frame to a goped platform. Installed ped's to make it a legal motorized bicycle and have been riding all over town for almost two years. The cops think I'm crazy but they wont give me a ticket. My question is, Recumbent or Trike? (or both?)
    Big Red.

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    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011

  2. popeye

    popeye Member

    i like that it! looks ghetto/rat style i suppose its a recumbent tadpole trike, is it not? just out of interest; what'll she do mister? and ahem, what do you weigh? [sorry a bit personal i know just trying to get an idea of engine performance]
  3. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member



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  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Recumbent tadpole trike, definitely. I like it, but in the interests of stability in cornering, it needs some work. In the absence of independent suspension on the front end, it IS going to want to roll. There are some things you can do with fixed suspension, geometry-wise, to improve handling a bit, however.

    I'd love to see more pics, from various angles, especially of the front end.
  5. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member

    Recumbent or Trike

    Hey S.S.
    Yer right about some things I could do, but it's not really a big problem. When I FINALLY get a welder I might widen' out the front end, but for now I just take it easy on the turns. I just wanted a ride that didn't look like every other one in town. AND I just kinda "fell" into the parts I needed for it. I like knowing that it's a "one of a kind" bike and when asked WHERE DID YOU BUY IT? I just chuckle and say, BUY IT, you can't buy a bike like this boy, Ya gotta get me to build one for ya. I REALLY DO have a good time with my bikes.
    Anyway, heres some more pic's,And Thanks for looking.
    Big Red.

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  6. nwohater

    nwohater New Member

    Yep that's original. :)

    Wider front end won't help, all your weight is too far back. If the seat was more forward of the rear and the front tires were where your body mass sits and your feet stuck out the front, then you could whip around corners much better but that would be a totally different design.

    I'm talking like a typical tadpole trike. They are made that way because it puts the center of mass closer to being over the two front tires.

    Yours isn't a tadpole trike because you have no pedals, it's a reverse trike. I'm amazed the law leaves you alone, because most places without pedals you are no longer on a bicycle, and subject to... Trouble. I guess you get away with it because of the goped part since they never had pedals.

    Here is a very appropriate and slightly funny video for you though, the closest thing I've seen to what you have. But to show that even if your weight were over the front tires more, you can still go over on it at speed if you go too fast or turn too sharp, but it's a little more stable than you have there:

    The more your weight is over the front tires the better it will corner.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  7. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Look again, nwo, at the first pic in that last post by BR. It is in fact a recumbent tadpole trike, with pedals and chain ring/chain clearly visible. In the third pic you can see his chain run coming out from under the seat to a truly amazingly small drive sprocket. I'd hat to pedal that thing anywhere.

    BR, when I said the front end geometry needed improvement, I meant implementing Ackerman steering principles to reduce wheel scrub and get your front wheels onto the proper angle of pivot - which is different for each wheel, depending on the turn. Widening it might help a tiny bit, but as nothing compared to using correct geometry.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  8. nwohater

    nwohater New Member

    Oh yea the pic was zoomed out when I opened it by default, I didn't see that.
    Well that makes it a motor assisted recumbent bicycle then.
  9. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member


    Yeah nwo, I know making it wider would'nt help a lot, but it would a little. I don't really WANT to corner at 40mph. I'm OLD and slow.
    Thats also why I've been putting off slapping on the 49cc, Faster means faster in the turns also. You know I'll push it to the max just like anyone would.
    And as far as the small peddle sprocket goes, WHO PEDDLES? The only time I use them is to get off when starting uphill. (I am 230lbs.)
    The NomadOmatic is very freaking cool. It's just not old school looking and I'm the OLD SCHOOL dude. I'd just rather have a set of bars in front of me. But it also took me a long time to get a computer and cell phone so perhaps one day I'll come around.
    Big Red.
  10. nwohater

    nwohater New Member

    I get it.

    But yours I would call more modern mad max end of the world looking, this I would call old school mad max...

    Delta trikes seem true old school to me. It's the go ped part that really kills any old school claim flat out. I'm over 40 so go peds seem modern.
    I still don't have a cell phone, though I did for a little while several years ago. Dont need the bill or the brain radiated. I swear I could just feel the heat coming off them like microwaving my noggin. Maybe it's just a bit of paranoia, I'm kind of a tie dye shirt wearing personality though I've never worn a shirt like that, if you know what I'm getting at... ;)
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011
  11. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Nice links!

    I'm with you, nwo - 55 myself, and I just got a tie-dyed shirt given to me last week - I like it!

    Go-peds as manufactured mass market rigs are new, but my Dad and I built a stand up kick scooter into a "Go-Ped" when I was about six years old - I wore braces and couldn't ride a bicycle. Had a heck of a time convincing my Mom to let me ride it, and then after I crashed it trying to corner too fast one day I had a much worse time convincing her to let me rebuild it with Dad's help, and ride it again.

    It was friction drive - an old Briggs engine with a caster wheel mounted on the shaft turning against the rear wheel, and a twist throttle off an old Cushman trailmaster. I had a lot of good times with that little beast, and if Mom knew some of the places I took it and situations I got into with it she'd have gone ballistic.
  12. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member


    VERY nice trike nwo. It's still old school mixed with new tech stuff. Very cool. The only thing I would change is to put some "Fatties" on the back.
    Great job, Great build.
    Big Red.

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  13. nwohater

    nwohater New Member

    I didn't mean to give the impression that was mine, I'm still in the planning and saving the money for one stages myself. I like both old and new styles and am all over the map trying to decide what I want to do.

    I saw this design:

    In this thread recently:

    Those really do it for me too, and I could hack up a cheap copy, might hack up my chinese 150cc scooter for that.

    I've been thinking about building something with a shell ever since I saw this 50cc land speed record holder:

    Can you imagine 50cc's going 143mph? scary!
    Of course that thing has more power than my stock 250cc cruiser but that's neither here nor there.

    I'm into both small motorcycles and bicycles, so the different projects all interest me but before I hack something up and spend what little money I have I want to make sure I've seen it all and made the right decisions.

    Simplesimon you were a poineer with a million dollar idea, shoulda got a patent on the first goped. :) I think I've seen some of those kick scooters dating back to the 50's but not with motors that far back. briggs powered go cart/rototiller type engine that had to be a few horsepower, it's amazing you aren't still in braces after that.

    On the subject of old school I'm in the process of turning my 250cc cruiser into something that looks like the one on the left here, which also isn't mine:
    (unemployed and got plenty of time on my hands but little money atm)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2011
  14. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    I've often been told I should have patented that idea over the years, but what does a 6 yr old kid know about patents? The engine came off an old style gas edger - one of those things that spun a 6 inch mild steel blade and was used to edge lawns. My Dad was a pack rat - his "junk pile" was truly amazing - he built bikes for all six of us kids, go karts, the first three wheeled ATV I ever saw (in 1966) for my oldest brother from Cushman parts, mostly.

    Heck, he built an open frame high wing monoplane powered by .80 cu glow plug engine with rudimentary RC controls. The wing was made from corrugated sheet metal hammered to shape, the frame was aluminum tubing from an old TV antenna. It flew well, if slowly and nose up, under power. The bottom chord of the airfoil was open, and control was had by a single double acting linear actuator that pulled the appropriate thin cable to warp the wingtip down on either side, and another for the rudder. Absolutely basic two channel controller with dial rheostats from an HO slot car race set - no throttle, the engine ran at WOT till it ran out of fuel.

    It was definitely Dad who inspired my life-long tinkering addiction.
  15. IbedaYank

    IbedaYank Member

  16. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member


    Yeah bro, I know they arent much as far as pedals go, but they make it street legal. They came off a 12" little girls bike so their no good for anything except a little help getting off the line. Thats all I could find that would fit. It tops out at about 22 or 23mph but it sure is a kick to ride.
    Big Red.
  17. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member


    Well guy's, I finally did it. I ordered one of the cheapo 49cc engines for my little three wheeler. I went from 33cc to 49cc and so far I'm impressed. Of course it has a pull start and electric start, I'm to old to pull on that thing on a cold "hard start" morning.
    I just finished it this morning and didn't get a chance to clock it's top speed yet. I'll do that in the next day or two and let you know how it turns out. I don't have a reliable speedo on it so I'll have to get a friend to follow in a car and hope he don't run me over. Not ALL of my friends are what you would call smart:dunce:, So wish me luck:sweatdrop:.
    Big Red.
    PS. I would include a pic. but it looks the same, Just a newer,prettier engine.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  18. IbedaYank

    IbedaYank Member

    big red another scooter motor?
    or a ht
  19. Daeouse

    Daeouse Member

    You could always widen the front wheel-base. . . may help with that tipping problem. Or find a way to angle the wheels inward like those wheelchairs, then it'd be harder to tip methinks. ;)
  20. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member


    Sorry Bro. Nothing special, Just a sleaze-bay cheapo scooter motor. It needs some tuning already, but I think an expansion chamber and a slightly hotter plug should do the trick. Let it breath better and fire a little better. I'm gonna try one of the the chamber's I have to see if it fit's as soon as I get some time. For some reason everybody's breaking their bikes this week, so I've got customer repair's to do first. Busy, Busy.
    Big Red.