Suggestion for heavy duty recumbent tadpole trike wheels?

Discussion in 'Motorized Trikes' started by silent, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. silent

    silent New Member

    Hello gang - I've spent a lot of time reading the posts here and I'm just in awe of the resourcefulness of a lot of you. Awesome looking projects!

    I'm a heavy guy, 6' 2" 328lbs and would like to get the weight down. I work at a lumber yard so I'm not just all flab. LOL! Anyway, I've got the plans from atomic zombie for a making a recumbent trike and would like to have a heavy duty spindle set up where I can use 20" spoked wheels with the heavy 10ga spokes and spindles with bearings. I know my old Terratrike I sold years ago had just a greased bushing on the front wheels but I want to use something with bearings. I've looking all over online and just can't seem to find what I'm looking for. I did find an interesting trike called the Nomad-o-matic on youtube and that guy put an engine on his trike and uses some fatter looking tires. I saw some of those Schwinn chopper rear wheels on some website with all the spokes in them and I gotta say that I liked the look of the heavier tire although I know the rolling resistance no doubt increases.

    I really am looking for a heavy duty hub/spoke/rim/tire setup that won't dish out in mild turns and uses bearings like on a 5/8" shaft.

    Is this doable?

    Thanks for your help. I honestly researched this for hours and couldn't find anything that answered my questions.


  2. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    here's what I used on my Tadpole.

    They are for pony carts. They run on 5/8" spindles & the spokes are HUGE!!! I'm guessing 9 ga.

    Brad, at Atomic Zombie does NOT recommend This type of wheel. He says they WILL fail.
    My wheels:

    Brad recommends 20" bmx wheels, 48 spokes, with 14mm axles (good) or 20mm axles. (better)

    Have a look at what Lee (fleebell) does on his trikes..... his design allows for use of wheels with regular axles.

    here's his website:
  3. silent

    silent New Member

    Thanks for the links Dave. I liked the look of those horse cart wheels but I wonder why they are not recommended due to failure? Cheaply made perhaps?

    Also, I've seen the homebuilt trikes that use an entire bmx fork over the wheel, but my concern is that the the bearings are still quite small and in turns, you're loading the wheel differently with a lateral loading that you normally don't have on a bicycle. On a bike, you're leaning in the turn so most of the force is always straight down on both sides of the axle. I'm looking for a heavy duty hub with strong sealed bearings (or greaseable is okay too) and heavy spokes so that I don't have to worry about the wheel collapsing in a turn. I don't plan on cornering full speed, but I don't want to be in traffic and worry about wiping out and then getting run over. I plan to build a trike that I can commute to work on and the heavier I build it, the longer it'll last and the less fixing and repairing it'll need.

    Do you know why those horse cart wheels are not recommended?

  4. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

  5. silent

    silent New Member

    The more I look at pony cart wheels, the more I like them. If there is a pressed-in part, I have a welder and can tack any pieces in place. If there is a problem with bearings being pressed in that fall into the middle, I can make a bushing on a lathe to put in between. The more I look at them, the more I'm seeing wheels that don't appear to be any more prone to failure than what would be normal even on a standard bicycle wheel. I've looked at moped rims too, and it's hard to see what they use for shafts and bearings on the inside. If there is a pressed in race, often times a person can bore out the center of the hub, press-in roller bearings, put a bushing in between the two, and then lock the bearings tight to each other via the spindle using a nut on one end to put pressure on the center of the bearing, through to the head of the bolt. It holds everything captive, and puts absolutely no side-load on the bearing at all.

    I'll keep looking - I think for everyday commuting use, a high-pressure moped tire would really be awesome - low rolling resistance and heavy duty. I just gotta find some moped rims and have a good look at them to see if they'd work.

  6. silent

    silent New Member

    I found this wheel on ebay and it looks like I could concievably mount a brake drum or disc on it. If the center flange is pressed in, I can tack it in place and it'll work a long time. I just wish there was a one-stop solution that didn't cost an arm and a leg, but I suppose that's part of the challenge to building these from scratch.


    Attached Files:

  7. occchopperfl

    occchopperfl Member

    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011
  8. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Silent, the pony cart wheels are truly stout, and the two I had had roller bearing 5/8" hubs. There is a peculiarity of their construction that I can see some bike builders being unhappy with.

    To wit: the spokes are NOT typical hook end threaded spokes, they are bent so that what looks like two spokes is actually one with a short stretch against the hub and the two ends at the rim. You cannot change the spokes.

    I have a 700 mm french built wheel with truly bizarre spokes that are flange mounted rather than hook end at the hub. Very strange wheel.