I loved building and riding these bikes until I built the last one that was actually a very reliable ride. Then many things came into play for me to lose interest, I had reached my goal, I moved to the city (Montreal streets are notoriously bad) and I started getting into cruisers. Until 2 weeks ago when something happened...
...I hurt my back! No way I could ride my cruiser in this condition. The timing was awful since I was planning to ride at critical mass and I was invited for a night cruise with the Hannan choppers afterward. So out came my pocket rocket recumbent from the mothballs and I rode for at least 8 hours and had a blast that evening. I was surprised that after at least 5 years of leaving that thing alone in storage, all I had to do was adjust the brakes, put some air in the tires and it ran solid the entire ride. Even did some pretty stupid stuff and came out of it with flying colors.
The other ingredient for that mechanical soup, that you are about to learn about, was a donation of a full suspension mountain bike from a friend. I started thinking"hmmm, I always wanted to build one with a rear suspension..." and the mad recumbent builder took over like Mr Hide.
So here we go, let's build a rear suspension recumbent bike from junk. :)
First thing I had to do was strip the old mountain goat to the bare frame. There was nothing left to use on this thing. It was one of those rare bikes that I find with no useful parts left and the damn thing made me sweat 2 hours to take it apart. I had to hacksaw my way to her guts! I will have to make sure that corrosion doesn't become an issue later on, it was bad.
I gathered the parts that I already have: 20 inch wheel and tire, matching fork( I can't keep the original fork because I want to lower the frame and be able to use brakes on the front wheel.), a spare rear shock(nothing fancy just a regular Chinese job) since the original one is dead and my faithful "Pocket Rocket" recumbent to donate the rest of the parts. I will have to make another seat since the suspension doesn't allow me to use the one from that bike, more R&D.
After stripping the mtb I installed the fork and 20 inch wheel to see how it will sit and give me some ideas for problems to come. One big issue in any recumbent build is chain management. This one won't be different. Expect a full post just for that. At this point it is time to decide how you will progress and think of solutions. Good exercise for your brain believe me.
The next ingredient that we will need for this build is a men's road bike frame for various parts, more on this in part 2. Now this post will have all the links to all the articles for this build. I will try to update the build at least once a week. This all depends on how things go and what kind of wall I hit.
Lastly, before you go out all crazy and build one of these, be warned! These bikes go real fast downhill and if you are not careful about how you build one, you can very simply kill yourself. I am not there to take you by the hand to build anything, so don't come crying to me if your are stupid enough to build a bike half assed and get hit by a truck. I have listed other recumbent sites in the sidebar and I have many recumbent sites in the Bicycle Search Engine, do your research. Finally, always respect the number one rule of all homebuilders: When in doubt, OVER BUILD.
Til next time, ride safe and Godspeed.
Recumbent Build Part 2
Recumbent Build Part 3
Recumbent Build Part 4