Terra Trike Cruiser ideas in progress.


New Member
Local time
7:23 AM
Feb 23, 2008
Baton Rouge, La
My basic idea for the trike is to help me on my long range outings. I like to go out every few days and to just go out and see things. My average ride is usually around 100 miles, at a leisurely pace. I also do a lot of local trips for anything I can do with only the cargo space of my rear rack, or a backpack.

I have not previously owned a recumbent, but I have had the chance to ride them in the past, and always found them extremely comfortable, especially on longer rides. I think that comfort plus an engine could open a few more fun options. The Mississippi river road isn't that far away from my house, and has always been a fun ride, especially on the banks, and the levee itself. It would be such a joy to be able to go out out , pedal far as I can, and when I grow tired, be able to kick on the motor, and have an easier ride back home.

The trike I am looking at is the Terra Trike Cruiser. It has the features and parts I like, and its perfect for my price range(including the options like fenders, panniers, and other odds and ends). I have not used this specific trike before, but I have looked at many reviews, and read all the information I can get my eyes on. I looked at some other trikes that fit the price range, like the KMX RT, and actionbent recumbents, and some more, but I guess I didn't feel too comfortable with them. That and some difficulties with frame designs far as I could work out into my plans. The only sure "problem" I have with the TT Cruiser is the rear wheel which is a 20'', instead of the 24 required for a Gebe "stock". I see that as a challenge I am ready to work on, and have many ideas to solve that.

I looked at every bicycle motor kit I could find on the internet, and came to the one that best fit my needs, the GEBE. When I start out my trip, I would like the ability to disconnect the motor from the tire to reduce my work. With the GEBE, I can un-attach the belt from the gear on the motor and hub, and swing the belt back and use a tie off to keep it out of the way. I want the reliability, life span, and ease of use of a 4 stroke over a 2 stroke. For my plans I need a smaller mount, no large gearboxes. The best motor is the EH035 for me. I would like the power, and the speed, but the mpg are a little lower than the 25cc one. The stock built on tank is not quite as large as I would like, so I plan on adding a large tank and most likely removing the original all together to make things more simple. I read about how other have done things in other threads. The trike will have both brakes attached to a dual controller on the right hand side, leaving the left bar for a throttle.

With the wheel for a GEBE by design needing to be 24-26 inches I have been putting thought into how to change what is needed to be done to work with that. I came to two options. Number one is to follow what another man did, and use an already constructed similar sized circular device, like a the lip of a bucket, and then crafted a way for the belt to get a better grip on it. I had some ideas on this, like taking a slightly smaller larger toothed belt, and wrapping it around something with a proper grove, and coating these teeth in some sort of sealant. The other option, is to create a series of hand built connections to attach the pre made GEBE ring to a 20 inch wheel. the ring is 17 inches in diameter, so on a 20 inch wheel, the farthest if attached from the ground it could possibly be is 3 inches. That kind of worries me. I don't think I would let anything roll under the bike anywhere near 3 inches tall, simply out of my own fear of by self being very close to it as well at speed, but you never know what could happen. My idea is to attached the gear ring to a 20'' 36 heavy gauge wheel set , is to weld L shaped, slightly curved to the rim, half inch wide steel cuttings. Keeping them evenly spaced of course. the harder part of doing it this way, is you would have to place the hub on before the first half of the L-bits is on. I think both the standard, and heavy duty GEBE rim is made of some sort of plastic, so melting and warping is a risk from welding. Perhaps small steel tubes, with screw inserts could be attached to the rim. Then the GEBE ring would could be put on these, washers would have a leading edge cover part of the Ring each, and then they are screwed down. Its even removable this way, but they have to be some seriously tightened screws, or otherwise sealed in place with some sort of glue in the screw hole.

I started on some graphing paper of the basic design changes, but I have no scanner, and the graph paper I use never scans very well anyway. So, I tried out some of my photoshop skills.I wanted to get an idea of how well the TT cruiser would fit the motor, mount bracketing, and the other things like a pannier, but I have no hard numbers on dimensions without a bike in front of me, but I do have the lengths of some parts on the bike, like frame sections and tire sizes.

The first one i did is very simply, a comparison of motor dimensions, to the rest of the frame. I did a copy of the seat, and its attachments, and took note of the bolts, and swing arms that move it. Using this, I cut it at the parts that can separate and move. I moved it forward on bolt point on the lower frame connection, and I changed the angle of the seat back and extended the rear supports to go with that. It gives about another inch of room forward(which if needed I think can be compensated for by the changeable forward boom), and the change in angle gives about 2-4 more inches where the motor top might otherwise connect with the side seat rail support on the back. It is a steel frame, which I feel a lot more comfortable drilling into/welding should it ever be needed. The motor would still be attached to the original bracket/gearing mount, but rotated to maintain the normal horizontal position. I read the manual on the motor, and while it can operate in odd angles, I thought it best for proper even internal oiling to leave it in that position. It would still attach to rear wheel axle, and the opposing attachment, would go into a drilled hole in the frame. I am not entirely sure of how the tension arm would operate in this position, but I have ideas for producing a small spring or shock operated arm to take up the needed slack, and to insure proper transfer to drive gear, if needed.

This second image is taken from the resource page for TT Cruisers, and was the only one I could find with a view looking down on the rear wheel, and it happens to have the seat removed, but does have a luggage rack in place. It was taken a little off axis, but I tried to compensate. The side bar is my comparison of knowing the rear weel is supposed to be 20 inches, because I couldn't make out any other parts I have true dimensions for. Cut that in half, and you have the motor width, and height of nearly 10 inches, 8 inches is the width looking down on it. the problems that occurred to me here, was that the right seat support bar maybe in the way of the engine. Should this become a problem, It could be removed, and the left bar strengthened, as well as the bottom mounts to prevent and swaying motion in the seat. An additional bar or two across the back of the seat could strengthen that as well. With the seat mounts, and the engine mounts hooking into the rear axle, I think space on it could be a problem. Panniers might not have room, so a bar from the seat back could be used. I am doubtful a pannier would work on the right side anyway.
Well that is all I have for now, Will update as I start to get things moving. Would love to hear others ideas, concerns, and comments.

Edit: changed to forum attachments from weblinks.
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Oversoul87, I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but if I'd seen this article before I started my tadpole project, I might have gone an entirely different route.
The adapter doesn't look too hard to fabricate, but if you wanted to do this, but you didn't want to fabricate the adapters, the guy will make and sell some (might be a bit spendy). If you want to get ahold of him, PM me, and I'll figure out how to make it work. By the way, http://www.utahtrikes.com/ is a good resource for trike stuff.
That is such a perfect little bit. I had thought about altering the rear wheel extension, but I wanted to try and avoid going to the measures you had used. Those are a little out of my skill line right now, and my confidence. I hadn't thought of something so simple, but sometimes the simplest plans are the best. "KISS" hah. Like that site, and I must now read all their blogs and articles now.
Just for the record, the site I linked to, shows a TerraTrike with extensions to mount a 700 rear wheel, making a GEBE kit easily mountable.