Monday, 18 May 2009

Why a homebuild bike?

Years ago a made many bikes, all of them recumbent like the tandem shown here. I love to design and build, and I love the feeling that I am travelling on someting that I made myself.

Commercial products are quite expensive (the Pino is not available below 3000 euro), and designed with an adult stoker in mind. So I decided on starting out from scratch.

The most important design requirements:
  • Not to much work to build, use off the shelf parts where possible
  • Carbon fibre composite construction, as I love the material
  • Total length less that 2 meters for transport on a bike rack on the car
  • Suitable for kids from 3 to about 10 years old
  • Stoker freewheel, so the kid does not have to pedal
  • Elegant lines
Making a good rear triangle is a lot of work in carbon fiber, so I decided on using a good mountainbike rear frame instead. I contacted Santos Bikes, a dutch builder of custom bicycles. For years we have been riding one of their tandems.

I asked for a damage frame with an intact rear triangle. They liked the idea, and in the end I got an almost perfect new frame with a slight blemisch in exchange for a CD with photographs from our recent Thailand trip. A really nice deal.

A lot of design work resulted in this drawing:

I admit, it is sketchy, but for me enough to build a bicycle.

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