Steve's Recumbent Archives

Handley Jackson's Homebuilt Recumbent Bikes and Trike - 6/2006 

September, 2003 -- Handley Jackson built this metal-framed short wheelbase recumbent for less than $50. Quite a bargain for such a sharp looking bike.


Handley's first recumbent project
a long-wheelbase with under-seat steering

This is Handley's second home-built recumbent. 
It appears to have worked out nicely! ss

Way back in September of 2003 Handley wrote:

"I built this bike for less than $50. I had a few old bikes (free from the dump) and some other parts given to me. The main tube is muffler pipe with no bends. The biggest expenses were for ball joints originally meant for the throttle linkage of trucks that I bought from NAPA and used for the under-seat steering. Also 2 new chains from Walmart. I was able to borrow a pipe bender to bend the electrical conduit for the seat. The web of the seat is made from old car seatbelts. I have ridden it several hundred miles and it is comfortable and stable. The only bad part is that since the tube is straight, the seat is a couple of inches too high off the ground and that makes it a bit awkward to get on in the first place, but once underway, it is no problem. The straight pipe does make it very easy to build. The welding was done with a flux core wire feed arc welder. The chain runs in plastic tubes to keep grease off my pants.

This is a second effort. The first has a long wheelbase and is lower. The seat is not comfortable for rides of longer than 10 miles or so though, as it has less back support. I have not ridden my regular bike since building the recumbents.

As you can see, I am a believer in under seat steering. Comfortable to ride, easy to get on, knees have room to move, and when you fall off ( yep, it happens to me too ), there is nothing to get tangled up in. By the way, I am an old phart, age 61."

June, 2006 Update

Handley has been busy and has come up with a nice looking tadpole trike! 

Cool homebuilt Trike!

Sample image from Handley's 
Construction Photo CD
(see text below)

Regarding this trike Handley wrote:

"On the trike, one of the front wheels was made from a 20 inch coaster brake rear wheel. I clamped the bearing cone and sprocket in a vise on a drill press and reamed them out to 1/2 inch with a masory drill. It made a lot of blue chips and got hot as hell but did cut most of the way through and then I was able to grind the rest away. The axle is a inch normal grade 2 bolt held with a nylock locking nut. The wheel turns freely and the bearing cones do not turn on the shaft. It is not perfect but works fine and is cheap.

The second front wheel is from an MTB bike that has a 1/2 inch diameter axle. I drive a school bus, and one of my kids had a set of wheels lying in a pile of junk and he gave them to me. Miracle of miracles, they came from a bike with 1/2 inch axles. Unfortunately the rear wheel had been run over by a car and was bent badly but the front was perfect.

I have ridden the trike for 50 miles or so and neither front axle has shown signs of bending yet. I try to avoid the largest bumps and do not run over curbs. There is only one brake and that is on the rear wheel. 

My son-in-law has a lathe and I fantasize about making a set of front hubs out of aluminum with provision for disc brakes on the front wheels. A quick look on the internet for disc brake systems at $100 per wheel puts that well in the realm of fantasy.

In building the tadpole, I have made a slew of pictures at every step and plan to make a CD to send to interested folks.

There were never any plans, I just built it as I went along. I guess I had better make some measurements and include them in the CD. At this point, the CD has 62 photos and pretty much includes the whole construction except for the sewing of the seat."

Handley sent along a sample image from his CD (much reduced above). He has done a nice job on this trike and is piling up the miles on it.

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