Category Archives: homemade tadpole trikes
I came across a blog about the design and construction of electric powered tadpole trikes. It is named tadpoletrikeman. The owner of the blog has built a homemade electric assist powered tadpole trike he calls Speed Trike. Here is a photo of it.
Although he made the frame he has used a TerraTrike seat and front wheels on it so if you don’t look carefully one may think at first glance it is a TerraTrike.
At this point in time he only has this one trike featured. Hopefully other material will be offered on the blog in the future.
As you can see in these pictures he has done a very nice job building the trike. It looks great.
As you can see he used a bolt for the front axles. That is the same thing I did when I built my tadpole trike. It is quite common and works quite well. Just be sure it is strong enough (hardened grade 5 or 8 and 5/8 inch diameter if my memory serves me right).
Underseat indirect steering was employed.
The rear view mirror is mounted on the steering head.
I encourage you to check out this blog. And by all means …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I recently came across some images of a custom made trike and upon taking a closer look at it discovered it was made by a man who calls his trike fabricating business “Trikewars”. His name is Warren and he is located in the Philippines just north of the capital city of Manila.
I am not going to try to post much here as he has a Facebook page you can visit with lots of photos of the trikes showing all thru the construction process. You might find that, in and of itself, interesting. I certainly did.
As a weldor/fabricator myself I can appreciate what is involved to produce something like this, especially when he has a very limited shop setup as far as tools, machinery and equipment. Even the work area is quite small. That in itself makes the job challenging.
From what I understand factory manufactured trikes are fairly rare in the Philippines and very expensive to buy … about twice the cost of what they are here in the United States. That being the case, it is good to know that there exists at least one person in the nation who is custom building tadpole trikes which are much more affordable. That being said, understand that the Philippines is a country where most of it’s citizenry is quite poor so even at a greatly reduced cost over factory manufactured trikes these custom made trikes are still quite expensive for most Filipinos and most would never be able to afford one. I have heard that the economy has been improving and for several of the peoples in the Philippines life has improved and some of the people have had more disposable income. I am glad to see that these trikes are being offered and I wish him well. Hopefully more and more tadpole trikes will “make the scene” there in the Philippines. And may they all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Here is Warren’s contact information and maps showing his location:
Trikewars custom made trike & bike
369 Cadena de amor st. brgy. Saluysoy
1329 Meycauayan, Bulacan
+63 915 279 7130
You can find this map on his Facebook “About”page.
I don’t know anything about how much money people might have or whether or not they are singing, but I know it is possible to travel along side by side on a tadpole trike. I have shown pictures of such trikes in the past on this blog. Recently I saw another such trike on Facebook which prompted me to write this article now. These trikes are a bit unusual as the tandem trikes are more commonly the same as tandem bikes … with one rider sitting behind the other.
I was going to post a picture of the side by side tandem here, but when I went back to Facebook looking for it it seems to have disappeared. I don’t know what is going on. Anyway, they really do exist although they are all custom built. No company known for making tadpole trikes yet offers them as far as I know. The closest thing to it is Utah Trikes. Here is one they made. It is a quadricycle however.
One thing for sure … you want to make sure that whoever you are riding with is someone you really get along good with and you better hope they bathed recently. 🙂
Another homemade side by side tandem tadpole trike …
Here is one under construction found on Atomic Zombie …
Obviously it would be easy to make these into a quad instead of a trike … and this too has been done.
And here is one with 6 seats …
Who knows what we will see next? One thing about it … although these might seem intriguing they would be very limited in practicality as they are too wide for riding many places, particularly on bike trails. The turning radius would probably also be a determining factor as to where they could be ridden. But hey, even if you don’t have a barrel of money you can travel along singing a song side by side. Sorry I couldn’t show you the picture of the tadpole trike I spoke of. It must have been deleted as I looked long and hard for it to no avail.
Here are a few somewhat unique videos showing some homemade side by side tandem tadpole trikes as this family travels along on them.
And here is a video showing the assembly of the adult trike.
Here are the two boys riding along on their side by side tandem trike.
Here is a short video showing some of the detail of the kids’ trike.
And if you enjoy watching these videos HERE is a link to all the other YouTube videos by this person.
When I read this I couldn’t believe it. I mean $45? Come on! I had about $600 in costs when I built my first tadpole trike. How could someone possibly build one that cheap? What do you say we take a look-see? They say a picture is worth a thousand words … so get your wallet out … I can use the money. 🙂 Besides, I don’t know much about this trike to write much about it. A man and his grandson built it for the grandson. They worked together on it so it made for a nice project for them to share together on. And, of course, the grandson has a feeling of accomplishment to go along with the fun of riding it.
Using bicycle forks like this is not something new. For those who follow tadpole trikes and pictures commonly seen online you may be familiar with Fortrike from Brasil. I plan on posting an article about this brand in the near future. They use the front bicycle forks like this on their trikes.
View complete photo gallery HERE.
The trike has 24 inch front tires and a 26 inch rear tire. The seat consists of 2 pieces of plywood, some anti-fatigue foam mats cut to shape, and a basketball jersey.
$45 … would you believe?
I ran across this recently and found it intriguing. It is a DIY Pedal Generator for Electric Bike or Trike. What a neat concept … pedaling to produce your own electricity to operate the motor to propel your trike.
Here is the YouTube description: A pedal generator for a chainless bike or human power – electric serial hybrid. Easy to build DIY project presented by Thomas Senkel. Free Plans for aluminum parts included.
I will be the first to admit I don’t fully understand it all, but it looks really neat.
A Keyde front hub motor is used as a generator. It is nominal rated with 160 rpm @ 36 V and 250 W. You dont need any electronics, just a 3 phase bridge rectifier. The lithium ion battery is 12s (44 V) and 2x 25 Ah. The motor power is up to 5 kW. Top speed more than 80 km/h (50 mph),
Range 60 km (37 miles).
One would obviously have to know what they are doing and have the necessary machinery and equipment to tackle this DIY project. Ya gotta admit this looks impressive.
This also allows you to go pretty fast compared to a regular conventional human powered trike.
Another great aspect of this is that it allows you to eliminate the long chain run typical on a tadpole trike.
Here are a couple of videos of his e-bike showing what this design and build is capable of.
Like I said … pretty impressive! Regardless of whether or not you are a strictly human powered triker or motorized …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
I stumbled across this website and thought it would be good to share here on this blog. What kid wouldn’t enjoy riding this? …
It is an Atomic Zombie home build project they describe thusly:
“This easy to build mini tadpole trike is a nice weekend project that does not require any machined parts or wheel building, just a pair of kid’s bikes and a few extra bits and pieces from your scrap pile. The Kid’s Tadpole Trike has two front wheels, but uses the standard front forks and head tubes so you do not have to worry about axle strength or custom brake parts. You can build this little trike using any size wheels you like, although I am not sure it would be well suited for an adult, so wheels of 20 inches in diameter or less would be most appropriate.”
Hey, this might make a nice father-son project working together to create their masterpiece. Please be aware that there is some welding involved. You will need two identical bicycles and a third bike which can be different.
Atomic Zombie has laid it all out for those who would want to tackle this project. HERE is a link to their webpage for this.
Although I intend to include quite a few photos here from their website anyone who wants to build one of these trikes most definitely should go to their website as I can’t possibly duplicate it here nor would I want to. I am simply posting these pictures as a means of illustrating how one of these Atomic Zombie DIY trikes can be accomplished. In other words the pictures will help one to see the process … what is involved … to “get ‘ur done”. So without further ado here are a bunch of pictures.
Now you have seen several of the steps in how this trike is built. If you have the ability and the tools and equipment to accomplish it I would say … GO FOR IT! You will make one very happy child. Of course, if you have more than one young child you better count on making one for each or there will probably be “trouble in River City”. Hey, it would be easier than refereeing constantly. And you can’t blame the kids. I mean, who wouldn’t engage in an all out war over who gets to ride this? 🙂
Hey, with the whole family set up with a trike you can all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I have entitled this “Gotta Do Your Homework”. Many of us didn’t like doing homework when we were in school. We might have even cheated in various ways to get out of it. Sometimes we might even have gotten away with it. But I am here to tell you that when it comes to building a tadpole trike you intend to ride (or provide for someone else to ride) human life is at stake. In short, you had better know what you are doing and do it right. Probably the most important aspect of this the steering geometry. It is complex and has to be correct. If not the trike won’t ride and handle correctly or be safe to ride. It is a most serious matter.
I have written a few articles on this blog in the past about the construction of homemade tadpole trikes and listed various resources there in those articles. I thought I would revisit the subject now and attempt to put all the stuff together here so it would make it easier for anyone looking for help in this.
Here is one I found helpful back when I was researching how to build a tadpole trike: http://www.hellbentcycles.com/trike_projects/Recumbent%20Trike%20Design%20Primer.pdf
And here is another …
Here is another one I used: http://www.ihpva.org/Projects/PracticalInnovations/index.html
Recumbent Resources blog: https://texasrecumbents.wordpress.com/recumbent-plans/
Lastly, here is the search results page for my blog on all articles related to homemade: trikes: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/category/homemade-tadpole-trikes/
Being a retired weldor/fabricator who has made one recumbent bike and one recumbent tadpole trike of my own I am always interested in the homemade (DIY) offerings. Here is a nice looking trike featured in this video.
And here is an earlier video before the trike was finished …
As you can see in the link below they call it a 3 wheel BIKE car but that is ridiculous as it is obviously a TRIKE and not a bike. I don’t know why people do that … I mean “bi” means two and “tri” means 3. Can’t they count? 🙂
Ya sure don’t see this everyday (or even at night) …
It is pretty amazing some of the HPV people have come up with. With the rider sitting with his weight distributed just right over the rear axle it is easy to pop and ride a wheelie. Notice the small size wheel trailing behind which keeps the quad from going up up up while doing a wheelie. You know what they say … “Kids and Their Toys!” 🙂 Want one, don’t ya? Me too! Just so it is quiet as I wouldn’t want to disturb the neighbors. Meanwhile I am just going to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
I recently came across a website called Recycled Recumbents while looking up information to help someone on Facebook who is looking for parts to complete the build of his homemade tadpole trike. Recycled Recumbents makes bikes, sells bikes, sells parts, makes recumbent seats, sells recumbent seats, provides details instructions to DIYers on making seats (frame and fabric), provides plans for bikes, and offers his help via email.
So if you are in need of any of the above mentioned things or like me, you are just interested in such, I recommend Recycled Recumbents to you. You will also find a link to it on my TADPOLE BLOGS page.
An 18 year old Malaysian boy decided to fabricate a tadpole trike. His story and the trike is featured in this YouTube video.
Here is the video description:
This video shows my journey how I begin my recumbent trike project. It’s starting from a school project, then I continue it as my personal project. Through the years, it has undergone many changes.
And here is the video:
I admire his determination to accomplish this undertaking. I understand that he is limited in what is available to him as far as the matter of this trike being “no welding construction”. I do want to insert here that fabricating a trike which bolts or rivets together is not desirable as bolts and rivets work loose and they break. Such fastening of the various parts allow those parts to move about and trouble will eventually be experienced. Just having such movement results in loss of efficiency. Trikes really need to be welded together. I hope his trike is somehow an exception to this and gives him many years of great service. His accomplishment is to be commended. May we all …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
Just a little difference in horsepower here between Big Daddy (above) and Junior (below).
It’s not a tadpole trike, but it is a recumbent quad.
I doubt very much if you could pull wheelies or smoke tires with this, but I am pretty sure you would get a lot of attention. Isn’t this sharp? As long as the slingshot dragster is it would take up a lot of floor space storing it. And I don’t think it would handle sharp turns very well. Never the less, I think it would be a blast to take out on a local trail.
And there are similar 3 wheel vehicles (tadpole trikes) …
These are all rather unique, but for me I will stick with standard trikes. That way there will be no problem encountered making sharp turns, etc. I like to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
For anyone wanting to build their own tadpole trike Atomic Zombie has plans they sell to use to make the task smoother sailing. When I built my tadpole trike I did so entirely on my own. I designed my trike and all went well even though it was a learning experience and there were a couple of things I would do differently if I were to build another one. One thing about using plans is that you can know what you are going to end up with before you start and choose what you want from what is offered. As long as you follow the instructions it should all go well and you should not end up with wasted material, etc. which can happen if you aren’t following a set of plans with everything laid out for you including a materials list and cutting instructions.
Do It Yourself Plans … $18 for one set of plans … more than 36 plans available … occasionally they offer specials where you can buy a few sets of plans for a low price (example: 6 for about $30)
Here are some photo examples of what they offer:
the very popular Warrior
the Street Fox with rear suspension
the River electric motorized
and they also offer tandem trike plans
I was just going thru some old email and discovered several of my original tadpolerider blog articles among them. So I decided to do what I could to “repost” them here on this blog. They had images and videos embedded in them which I had no way of copying and pasting so unfortunately they are missing which means the articles are lacking much from what they originally were. Never the less, the text and links are available. Perhaps someday if I have the time and ambition I will try to do what I can to add images and videos … although I might not be able to find all of them again. Anyway, HERE is a link to the page I have reposted them on. This is not all of the articles from my original tadpolerider blog, but it is all that I found I still had emails concerning.
Some folks are interested in tandem bikes and trikes. Anybody who has looked into buying what few tadpole tandem trikes are manufactured will probably come away with a case of “price sticker shock” as they are very expensive.
The least expensive tandem tadpole trike available I know of is from Utah Trikes. They offer a tandem trike which they have created themselves by modifying an existing KMX Tornado tadpole tirke … http://www.utahtrikes.com/PROD-11617621.html The price starts at about $4000. It features an independent pedaling system.
Utah Trikes has a complete custom shop.
Probably the lowest cost tandem trikes factory manufactured comes from TerraTrike. They make both a tandem model (Tandem Pro) as well as a tandem kit option for their TerraTrike Rover trike … http://www.terratrike.com/tandem.php Their tandem trike sells for about $5000 ($5400 for the independant pedaling system).
One website states: “You have a choice of either a standard tandem drivetrain or an Independent Pedaling System, which allows either rider to coast while the other pedals. Unless you have a special need for an IPS we typically recommend getting a standard drivetrain, as it is much more efficient. Pedaling in sync is not nearly as difficult as new tandem riders imagine, especially on a trike.”
I don’t know as I would go along with that. I think having the ability to rest while your partner pedals is quite practical so long as there isn’t cheating going on. 🙂
The TerraTrike Rover tandem kit sells for about $2100 ($2400 for the independent pedaling system).
Trident sells their Chameleon for about $6000 … http://www.tridenttrikes.com/chameleon.htm It is an interesting concept … a regular single tadpole trike which makes into a tandem trike. Of course, you would have to have a place to store the add on section when not using it.
For the insane price of about $12,000 you could purchase a Greenspeed GTT tandem tadpole trike … http://www.greenspeed.com.au/gtt.html
One solution is to build your own. Atomic Zombie to the rescue … as they offer plans you can purchase to use in accomplishing this task.
They feature disc brakes on the front wheels and a rear caliper brake. Of course, you could modify the build plans and have a disc brake on the rear also. Personally that would be my choice along with a separate caliper brake on the rear for a parking brake only.
From their website …
“If you have been looking for a fun and comfortable way for you and your riding partner to get out and enjoy the open road, then our DIY tandem trike plan is just what you need. Atomic Zombie plans are designed so that anyone with basic skills and tools can follow along and finish the build, keeping costs to a minimum. For only a fraction of the cost of a factory produced trike, you can build your own high quality recumbent tandem tadpole trike.”
One set of plans costs about $18. If you have the ability and means you could save yourself a ton of money making your own. Again, HERE is a link to their website with plans for a tandem tadpole trike.
Keep in mind that tandem trikes are huge so there is no practical way to haul them on/in most vehicles shy of breaking the trikes down. And that opens up a can of worms as most tandem trikes are not made to be practical in breaking them down and putting them back together. I can only say to you what I have read others saying about the matter as I don’t have any personal experience with any tandem trikes. Making a regular tadpole trike fold up for transport is challenging enough and only recently have a few manufacturers come out with designs that are relatively quick and easy to fold and unfold. I would think trying to accomplish this same feat with a tandem trike would be most difficult and impractical.
Here is a unique build … set up for three people. It is a quad (4 wheeler) however and not a trike. Notice that the middle and back seat are positioned off center outward in as are the pedals. This quad appears to be a modified KMX tadpole trike customized by Utah Trikes.
There is one other option in design which would most definitely make for easier communication between the two people. However, this trike design has one obvious problem and concern … overall width. This is another custom modification by Utah Trikes. They used a TerraTrike Rambler tadpole trike.
If you have the need/desire for a tandem tadpole trike these are some options.
And by all means … start young …
I recently came across a few videos of a couple in Hungary riding a homemade tandem tadpole trike around there in Hungary. I watched them as the videos were pretty well done and I found them interesting. Seeing the countryside in Hungary was neat. The first video is just over 9 minutes long and the second one is over 30 minutes long. Here are two of the videos:
For those who want to build a tadpole trike it is imperative that they understand the science of the steering and ensure that they “get it right”. The “center point steering”, camber and caster settings, “Ackerman steering principle” and “toe in setting” all must be correct. Otherwise there will be “trouble in River City” and it could even lead to serious endangerment for the rider. At the very least handling will be greatly effected and tire wear will be a serious problem. When I first bought my Catrike Trail the dealer had the toe in off considerably and my brand new front tires wore out in only 30 miles of riding.
HERE is a webpage with a good explanation of toe in, toe out, camber and caster … what each is and what each does.
In the first video below this man says toe in should be 1/8 inch. That is too much for most trikes. 1/16 inch is preferable and is what is recommended by most trike manufacturers. Actually zero toe in maybe the ticket for some trikes including mine as with my weight on it I end up with about 1/16 inch toe in. There in lies another matter … it is best to set the toe in with the rider seated. This usually means a second person is needed as the mechanic to do the adjusting. It is not imperative that it is done this way, but it does work best. The more the rider weighs the more the toe in will change as the rider is seated on the trike. The closer you can get to zero toe in the better as long as the handling is ok. Never have toe out however as the handling will greatly suffer as a result.
Here are a couple of videos illustrating and explaining about these things.
As to actually measuring and setting the complex angles involved when I built my tadpole trike I simply used one of these (angle finder) …
As long as you use it properly and read it accurately it works fine for getting things right. My homemade trike rode and handled superbly so I must have got all the steering geometry correct.
The newer higher tech digital readout types would probably be better to use though …