Category Archives: homemade tadpole trikes
Reaching back a ways here is a custom built pedal powered side by side quadcycle featured on a local TV station.
Unfortunately the video quality is not very good, but you can get the general idea of what this man made so many years ago. I have no idea if it was the first side by side quad ever made.
Here is the video description:
From the VHS video library of Steven K. Roberts comes this local news report of a mid 80s built side by side quadcycle. According to the piece this was designed and build by Norm Ogle with help from Peter Johnson.
If I were a younger man and not having the physical issues I have now in my elderly years I would be fabricating various tadpole trikes and quads. I made one tadpole trike back in 2007 and I was already challenged somewhat with vision problems then.
Lastly, my thanks to Gary Solomon of Laidback Bike Report for giving his permission to share this video from his YouTube channel.
I received an email from Hector Alberto who is from Australia and is a reader of this blog. He sent links to some YouTube videos of the tadpole trike and quad he has built. I am sharing them here for the world to see.
trike & quad ride on trails:
quad ride to park:
I wrote back to Hector asking him if he would send some pictures and share anything about his homemade trike and quad he cared to. Here is his reply:
The trike frame Is made of aluminium and lots of bolts.
For the steering system I’ve used the cheap 17mm ATV stub axle found on eBay and its respective end rod bolts (I was trying to understand how steering works in real).
I want to mention that with those pieces it was easy to make adjustments about angles related with the Ackerman law.
I used 20” BMX front plastic wheels. The original axle and bearings have been replaced by high rpm bearings to fit on the ATV stub axle.
The handlebars were attached using a 90 degree metal bracket between the stub axle and the handlebars. In general the trike use to work fine, but eventually the brake system mounted on the aluminium frame just fell apart.
Front sprocket 42t, freewheel 3 speeds
This picture shows the quad frame standing up when I was painting it.
I decided to go with a quad in order to help my wife bring our son along with her. The Quad measurements are 185cm long X 85cm wide. Yes, it is really a compact size when one takes into consideration that there are two people travelling on it. It has a COASTER BRAKE in the left rear wheel and the right rear wheel has an electric hub motor and a 160mm disc brake system. The quad is single speed. It has no front wheel brakes.
The trike conversion kits are so expensive in Australia, so I’ve been hunting for a used one. I got one old tricycle for Au$40. It came with one wheel traction (left one). Once I cut off the back part of the tricycle I went to a friend who welded it as I required. It includes a bottom bracket shell (found it as well on eBay).
The quad frame is using the same steering system as the trike.
The electric hub motor wheel is a 250w 36v “front wheel” for bicycles. It is mounted in the rear right side of the quad. This configuration allows the use either of the rear wheel power drives individually. When the rear wheel with pedal power loses traction you can put extra power in the electric hub motor wheel just by using the manual throttle as needed.
The average travel speed 15-20km/hr. Max speed tested with 98kg aprox., 27km/hr. Realistically, this is not a fast machine but it works excellent for the purpose; plus, my wife and my son love it.
I hope this help others to improve their designs.
Being a weldor and metal fabricator most of my life I have a keen interest in “homemade trikes”. I made my first tadpole trike as I did my first recumbent bicycle. Here are some videos of others who made their own trikes. I will say this … it is very important to “do your homework” before building a trike. It is imperative that you build it correctly so that it is safe to ride. The complex geometry (angles) of the front end must be correct and the rider’s weight distribution is quite important so that the trike handles properly.
It is a lot of work and most certainly not everybody is up to it, but if you are you too could build your own velomobile. Click HERE to see the webpage on this.
There is lots of information about building a tadpole trike available online besides what I have written myself. I am not really adding anything new here. Rather I am simply posting this one article with links to all that I have written about the subject before making it a bit easier to find it.
Here is one of them: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/gotta-do-your-homework/
Here is another one: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/tadpole-trike-construction-the-science-of-tadpole-trike-steering/
Here another one: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/home-built-recumbent-trike-detailed-plans-and-construction-steps/
And here are a bunch more postings on my blog about custom built trikes: https://tadpolerider2.wordpress.com/category/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’