5 Boro Bike Tour Tandem Trike: Moving To The Front

written by JerseyJim on April 8, 2015 in Projects with no comments

IMG_0856One of the universal truths of any project is that things are going to take more time than expected and the unexpected happens. Before the horizontal braces and final welds were in place, the trike frame fell over and ruined the rear wheel alignment. As a result I had to repeat the rear fork mounting processs, aligning and tacking everything once again. Actually it got worse because as I was getting it all back together the tack on one of the dropouts broke. I had to take it apart, align and re-tack the dropout before I could get the fork arms and wheel on.  This time I also cut and fit the horizontal braces to lock everything in. All of this took precious time away from other tasks, but that’s the way it goes.

As of this writing I’ve cut and fitted all the gusset plates and the final welding is done. The rear end is rigid and I’m sure it will be able to take all of the abuse a pair of riders can dish out.

IMG_0864Every good story has an element of suspense and this one is no exception. There are many tasks left to complete and not a lot of time left. There are only 3 weeks until the tour. It is still possible to complete the trike but it will be down to the wire. My focus going forward is on functionality. If I can get the trike to steer and get the pedals driving the rear wheel in the next 2 weeks, then it’s on. I’ll concern myself with the paint job and making things pretty later on. As long as I can ride it I’ll be happy.

The front end is next on the list. I’ll be fabricating the steering tubes which will mount the wheels to the steering booms. This entire assembly will then be welded to the trike. Once done we’ll have a rolling chassis.

Once again, I’ll be deviating from the plans but I think it will make the fabrication easier and the alignment more precise. The most time consuming part of building so far has been in making sure things are aligned. Without using a jig, there’s a lot of trial and error. I especially find this to be the case when parts have continuous welds or require gaps to be filled with weld metal. The heating and cooling process causes metal to warp and move. What was aligned when tacked may not be aligned when welding is done. So you could take a long time lining things up and then have to correct the part after welding, or worse, have to re-make the part.

If I have a criticism of anything in the trike plans it is the fabrication method of the steering tubes. For a part that requires precise angles to be replicated on both sides of the trike, the design of this part seems to be prone to accuracy issues due to welding. This is something to be aware of if you decide you want to take on this build or similar Atomic Zombie projects.

All of this writing and posting takes time so enough talk for now. It’s time to get to work.