Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Most Ingenious DIY Bike I've Ever Seen

Microbent CLWB Recumbent, by Fred Fincher, USA

The Most Ingenious DIY Bike I've Ever Seen
by Bevin Chu
Taipei, China
February 10, 2011

Lately I've been surfing the web for DIY bike designs.

I have a 26" diamond frame urban commuter that I would like to convert into a LWB mid racer recumbent, along the lines of the Easy Racers Javelin or Rans X-stream 26.

But as I surfed the web, I stumbled across the above compact long wheelbase (CLWB) recumbent, converted from a diamond frame child's bike.

It has relatively little to do with my own DIY conversion requirements. But it is perhaps the most ingenious DIY conversion I've ever seen, and therefore useful as a source of inspiration.

What makes this particular DIY conversion so ingenious?

1. This DIY conversion makes full use of the existing bike design. Rather than laboriously fabricate new parts in a machine shop, it makes full use of every part already on the bike.

2. The crank assembly, for example, is merely a section of EMT, welded to the head tube. It extends forward along the axis of the top tube, just far enough to accommodate the rider's legs.

3. The seat bottom rests directly on the top tube, and is the exact same length as the top tube. The seat back begins exactly where the top tube and seat tube meet. The seat back supporting struts attach to the existing rear luggage rack attachment points. The seat back, seat stays, and seat back supporting struts form a perfect triangle. 

4. The USS (under seat steering) solution is perhaps the most ingenious feature of all. The builder simply welded two pieces of EMT onto the front fork, creating handlebars for direct steering. Because the DIY conversion uses a child's bike that is short in overall length, the handlebars fall directly below the rider's hands. This eliminates the need for any complex steering mechanism. No muss, no fuss. 

5. The DIY conversion requires only a single donor bike. No need to accumulate two or even more donor bikes before beginning the conversion process. Everything on the single donor bike is used. Nothing is wasted.

6. Because the DIY conversion uses a child's bike, the completed bike is low to the ground. This makes it safe in the event of a spill. The rider sits a mere foot or so above the ground.

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