SwarfRat Enterprises, L.L.C.

     

Recumbent Bicycle and

Sidecar Outfit

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You're either going to think this is really weird, or that it's really neat -- there doesn't seem to be a lot of middle ground.

The bicycle portion is a German-made 'Wavey,' a short-wheelbase recumbent bike with 20" wheels, and a 27-speed geartrain.  It actually handles very well (and is surprisingly fast!) on open roads and bike trails, but it's not a lot of fun on tight bike paths with switchbacks and the like.   The high center of gravity along with the short wheelbase, coupled with the rider's legs being 'out there' so to speak, can make for some rather scary cornering at slow speeds.  

 

Putting a sidecar on the little beast took care of that!

If you've never ridden a recumbent, you're in for a pleasant surprise should you ever get the chance.

The upright seating relieves any neck discomfort, and improves your ability to see around you.  The seating

position is very comfortable, and allows you to relax your body while making efficient use of your quads and glutes to power the bike.  And, the recumbent position

reduces aerodynamic drag to a very noticable degree!

The same benefits apply to the passenger.  This sidehack has a Shimano 7-speed internal-geared hub

for its drivetrain, and the ratios are very well organized for maximum efficiency.  Being an internal-geared hub, one can shift gears while completely stopped, unlike a derailleur-equipped bicycle.  This is especially useful when getting ready to cross a street from a complete stop.

The hack looks very heavy -- it's not.  While it weighs more than the bike, it's not bad at all, and the whole unit can easily be lifted by my wife and I to clear the vehicle-traps that are often put along bike trails to keep motor vehicles out. (Or we can disassemble it -see below.)

I made the main frame from thin-wall 2" square mild steel; the wheel well is from 1"x1/2" thin-wall square tube. I utilized TIG and MIG welding throughout, except for the bottom bracket, which was brazed into the frame to prevent heat distortion.

 

For transport or storage, (or if someone simply wants to ride the bike solo,) the hack comes off by simply releasing three levers and pulling a separator handle.  It's free in 30 seconds or less, and goes back on in under a minute.  The seatback folds flat against the bottom, and the unit can store rather flat against a wall, out of the way.

 Update 6-07: We've covered many hundreds of

miles on this rig with no problems (other than a couple flats!)  The aerodynamic efficiency of a recumbent is, sadly, lost when you ride side-by-side, although the seating arrangement (the passenger is moved slightly behind the driver's left shoulder) does help a little. 

Still, it's not hard to maintain 15-18 mph, and it is a blast to corner!  Besides that, the MPG is out of this world. <G>

It fits easily on most of our Arizona bike paths, handles dirt roads like a charm, and can make a U-turn on a normal sidewalk!

Now, if I could just get a solar-powered electric motor...

UPDATE 11-2010 :  I'm finally getting around to tearing this down for painting!  It's been too much fun to put into drydock, but it's starting to look a little ragged.  I also plan on FINALLY fitting a fender and making a few comfort-oriented changes... stay tuned...

I hope you've enjoyed my weird little project.  It's been a ton of fun so far.

If you're into sidecars, HPV's, recumbents or the like, or would just like to see a little of my 30+ year history with bicycle and BMX sidecars, please click on the box to the right.

If enough folks are interested, I'll post a page here with some of my other hack projects, including the one that was ridden to 2nd place in the 1974 US National BMX Championships by the team of Kevin Murphy and Chuck Carter.

(24 hack teams from all over the country in that one!)

Thanks for checking this out!

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