My MB velomobile idea

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by solorbob, May 20, 2009.

  1. solorbob

    solorbob New Member

    I had an all day meeting today, so I took some time to tune out and make a laundry list of things I want in my MB. My goal for my MB is to be an all weather rider. I live 3-4 miles from work which is not bad, but my jeep gets about 10 mpg with the big tires, brush guard, yadda yadda yadda..

    I'm looking to buy/build a trike, and turn it into a velomobile. I'm liking the looks of the delta trikes vs the tad poles. I only need 12-15 mph out of this thing which I don't think is unreasonable. I want to mainly motor to work, so I don't get too stinky. I can hit it hard on the way home with nothing really to worry about.

    Must haves:
    • ability to haul my big butt around, 300 lb dude
    • 4 cycle - looks like 49cc -- Want to stay legal you know :)
    • Weather protection
    • LED lights (brake, turn, head)
    • rechargeable bat. system
    • Spedo
    • parking brake - or something to keep it in place while parked.
    • Some type of flag pole and cool flag to get attention so I don't get ran over. I'm thinking like a pirate flag, or maybe a fake fox tail

    Like to haves:
    • $1500 budget
    • heater
    • wiper (manual)
    • removable windows and air vents
    • ipod doc and built in speakers
    • Awesome flamed hot rod paint job
    • leather seat and cool interior
    • convertible top/ option

    Anyone have pictures of such nirvana that exists today, or anything close to it. I'm looking for folks to shoot holes in my idea, give me suggestions, and what not.


  2. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Not knowing what your tools/mechanicing experience are, it's difficult to say whether the above is achievable. On your wish list budget you'd be hard pressed to buy just the basic delta trike and motorize it, let alone the rest.

    If you can weld and wrench, it gets more doable, but your budget is still pretty low.

    I'd suggest that, if you are able, you consider building your own semi-recumbent delta trike (assuming you decide a delta really is the way to go), with it designed around two primary concerns - drive train and strength. A combination drive drain, bringing together both power and pedalling capacities in one final drive segment, is quite possible. How you actually implement that is up to you obviously, but those choices will dictate many of your secondary choices. Skinning a velomobile, allowing for adequate air flow in the cabin, etcetera are all concerns which entail trade-offs with your primary goals.

    Your desired speed range is very doable. Removable side window panels are as well, although making a removable front windscreen/faring is more problematic. Load capacity is not excessively high, either, but you have to remember that the bike and its component system are a part of that load. Considering your stated weight, you'd be best advised to aim at a velomoblie loaded weight capacity @500 lbs. Better to err high than low.

    Refine your goals, then prioritize them. Set up a tiered heirarchy of desired systems - obviously, the basic bike is tier one, for a velomobile the skinning requirements pretty much have to be tier two, electrical system components/capacities perhaps tier three, and so on.

    Once you have refined that set of goals/priorities, then you can begin looking first for either a production trike that meets them, or start design work for one that will.

    Good luck.
  3. solorbob

    solorbob New Member

    Thanks Simon. I'd consider myself a garage hacker. About 18 months ago, I finished building myself an 18' state approved BBQ concession trailer. I'm looking at some delta trike plans from I will be making the trike, unless I find one as a good deal. I have extra steel left from the trailer build that would be perfect for the build.

    I might have to look, but the velm body may shoot the budget out of the water alone, but I'm not quite there yet.

    My attack plan was the same idea that you suggested.
  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Good choice. AtomicZombie has some truly kick butt plans available for very reasonable prices. Their cargo recumbent delta designed with motorization in mind might be well-suited to your needs.
  5. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    In my J&B catalog, there is an extra page of recumbent add-ons. Like that rectangular thing where two Bents are tied together to make a 4 wheeled/2 seated dealio.

    Windshields are $100, and they have canopies !! At your speed, a canopy would work.

    Have you ever seen a motorized Rhodes car? The 4 wheeled, pedaled ad you see in the back of magazines?
  6. solorbob

    solorbob New Member

    Simon: I actually have plans for the tadpole trike and the delta wolf trike. I have the book bike, scooter, and chopper projects for the evil genius authored by Brad at

    The delta looks like a much more simple build, and I can see some good places to mount the velm shell.

    Bama: I've not seen a motorized rhondes car, but I think when you add that 4th wheel laws and things start a-changing. I'm pretty sure the coppers would be giving me a hard time. On that same note, my son has a pedal go-cart. I've been tempted to motor that thing, and give it a go, but I've talked myself out of the idea for that very reason. Plus, I know I could build one that would be better anyhow.
  7. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    I have a guy coming over with a 4 wheeled Rhoadescar on the back of his pickup truck, he said over the phone something about a $3.500 motorizing option.

    I won't know anything until I see the axle, a Staton chain drive with Honda 50 cc is in the back of my mind.

    But, quick request if anybody has seen/heard of such a MB.contraption.
  8. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    Early Bonneville racers used surplus wing tanks as a body for their machines. You shoud be able to do someting similar with a recumbent trike.
  9. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Well, he wrote a check and left the Rhoadescar in my carport.

    It's a variation (on the cheapest side of the scale) to this one. He went and picked it up for $2,500, and the seats are just plastic outboard types, no basket.

    I tried to call Dave at Staton, he must be out for holidays. The axle looks standard, so preliminarily I'm ordering a 50cc Honda with the slowest/torqueist sprockets, as 15 mph looks safest.

    Joe (the customer) may have $800-850 in it by the time I switch out all his inner tubes, get accessories, some welding and drilling. That includes the Staton kit and labor.

    *I'll probably turn this into a new thread, either in Trikes or Recumbents, since I will be taking pictures for Dave's "instruction manual" benefit.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  10. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Bump, how about moving this to Trikes also?


  11. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

  12. Flapdoodle

    Flapdoodle Member

    Building a velo has been on my mind for some time. Perhaps a shell could be crafted using a technique similar to the boats offered by this fellow:

    My biggest concern is cross winds and summer heat living here in the desert Southwest.
  13. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Hi FD,

    It's low to the ground, stable and more straightriding than a trike.

    I just ordered 4- 20" punctureproofs, so that will add 14-18 pounds to the rubberhittingrhoade part.

    When finished, I won't deliver it until it can do 20 miles in this foothill terrain without problems.

    Anyway, I'm going to diary it in this thread....
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009