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tinkerbill 09-04-2010 07:15 AM

Building tadpole trike for street use
 
1 Attachment(s)
Hello fellow modders! Thought I would apprise those who are interested of my current motorcycle project plans. For some time now I have been gathering parts and pieces to build a tadpole (2 front, 1 back tire) trike with covered body. The usual route in this configuration is to put power to the single back wheel however I want this thing to be FWD. Towards that goal I recently scored big-time in the purchase of a rolling Polaris Scrambler 4x4 frame. This model (and others) utilizes a McPearson arrangement for the front suspension with CV axles and small 3rd member up front. I plan on replacing the 3rd member with my own modified differential sourced from an older John Deere riding mower. It already has a 45 tooth sprocket for chain drive. I will be installing a Honda 350 twin out front in the open, kind of like the Morgan 3-wheelers and doing a short chain run back to my modified differential. It will not have reverse but at a planned weight of <500lbs I should have no trouble rolling it back if need be. I'd love to install a diesel engine in this thing but that is not in budget :( After this rig is running OK I will start work on a body for it. I'm thinking about 3ft wide in front tapering to about 24/22 inches at the tail end. Suspension and front tires will extend further out of body for an estimated width of about 5ft. Hopefully the frame mods will allow placement of two seats in tandem. I have no idea as to mpg but I'm hoping for at least 60 or more. I plan to run DOT-approved 4-ply street tires on the original 10" rims (22x10x10). That's a little wider than needed but it will look good. It has taken me a fair amount of time just to source the components I now have as I am building this on a pretty strict retirement budget. As time allows, I will be posting a link to pictures of actual rig but for now I am attaching a pic of a trike design that comes the closest to what I have planned. Mine will be a little narrower/taller and of course the engine will be up front instead of out back. I welcome questions and/or suggestions.
Have a good labor day weekend everyone!
tinkerbill

skyl4rk 09-04-2010 09:05 AM

Sounds good, I will be watching!

redyaris 09-04-2010 12:17 PM

I to have thought about a tadpole trike, but I start with a terratrike bicycle and add a 50cc honda GC50 and solar power... With full solar cell covered body work a la solar challange racers. Such a vehicle with a solar charging system at home would make me carbon zero and energy independent; almost... I dream that such a setup would get around 200mpg driving at night and better than 300mpg in the day for short trips, at about 50mph. The ultimat hybrid:D. Your progress will be well wearth watching. Do you have plans for some solar on your project? What I have thought of is some way of useing a 120 watt, or so, solar panel as a body cover part, double duty as it were. This would also reduce the need for a large alternator system. When working on this type of project I always keep in mind a comment made by an engineer friend of mine who said that not being burdened by the facts can allow one to come up with something otherwise unemaginable!:thumbup:and after you have demonstated that it works everybody then says it was obvious:confused:...Keep on keeping on.

puddleglum 09-07-2010 02:50 AM

It sounds like an interesting project and I look forward to hearing/seeing how it turns out. I do have one concern about your purposed dimensions. Raising your seating will raise your center of gravity and the rear seat will move the CG back toward the single wheel, although the front mounted engine should help. A narrow trike with a high center of gravity is a recipe for disaster. Thats why most trikes are wide and low. Just make sure you get the design right before you build it. There is some good info out there to guide you if you do some searching. Robert Q. Riley has some good info on this as do some others. Good luck and have fun.

kawboyCAFE 09-10-2010 07:06 PM

interesting thread. i will be watching for the updates. good luck.

redyaris 09-24-2010 11:00 AM

tinkerbil Do you have some pic's of the Polaris frontend/frame that you have for the tadpole project? I have a Honda 350 Quad in the yard that I never use that could be turned into something interestina and fuel efficiant. Do you have info on alternat tires and rims for the street?

jmygann 09-25-2010 01:20 AM

Phil Chipman's WIND

hmiwb 02-09-2011 07:40 PM

I'll be following your project as it progresses. Good luck with it. I'm currently looking into mounting a small 49cc engine on a bicycle to see how that works out. Could be interesting. If that Honda 350 you are going to use is from the '70s you might want to gear it tall and keep the rpms fairly low. I owned a couple of those and they are severe vibrators when you get the revs up to highway speeds. I could never take a long trip on either of mine as my hands and feet quickly went numb. Just something to be aware of.

tinkerbill 02-11-2011 06:13 AM

Building tadpole trike for street use
 
RedYaris,
Terratrike huh? Even their least expensive recumbent is too expensive for me! Unless you already own one, you are going to have way over $1000 with the cost of a trike, Honda motor and fittings, plus solar cell, bats, controller, wheel motor, etc. Now that I list it all out, I'm thinking WAY more that $1000! Do I have plans for solar? No, I will be doing good to get the thing built and running with a ICE. Maybe many moons down the road. Good luck! :)
Quote:

Originally Posted by redyaris (Post 192389)
I to have thought about a tadpole trike, but I start with a terratrike bicycle and add a 50cc honda GC50 and solar power... With full solar cell covered body work a la solar challange racers. Such a vehicle with a solar charging system at home would make me carbon zero and energy independent; almost... I dream that such a setup would get around 200mpg driving at night and better than 300mpg in the day for short trips, at about 50mph. The ultimat hybrid:D. Your progress will be well wearth watching. Do you have plans for some solar on your project? What I have thought of is some way of useing a 120 watt, or so, solar panel as a body cover part, double duty as it were. This would also reduce the need for a large alternator system. When working on this type of project I always keep in mind a comment made by an engineer friend of mine who said that not being burdened by the facts can allow one to come up with something otherwise unemaginable!:thumbup:and after you have demonstated that it works everybody then says it was obvious:confused:...Keep on keeping on.


tinkerbill 02-11-2011 06:20 AM

Re: Building tadpole trike for street use
 
Puddleglum,
I will only be using the front end assembly of the Polaris quad, not the frame. I have already given the CG thing plenty of thought and will be sitting just aft of the front end, down low, not up high like the donor quad. With 3ft of body width in front and A-arm assemblies sticking out from there I will probably end up with a tire-to-tire outside width of at least 60". Thanks for the concern though. :)
Quote:

Originally Posted by puddleglum (Post 192799)
It sounds like an interesting project and I look forward to hearing/seeing how it turns out. I do have one concern about your purposed dimensions. Raising your seating will raise your center of gravity and the rear seat will move the CG back toward the single wheel, although the front mounted engine should help. A narrow trike with a high center of gravity is a recipe for disaster. Thats why most trikes are wide and low. Just make sure you get the design right before you build it. There is some good info out there to guide you if you do some searching. Robert Q. Riley has some good info on this as do some others. Good luck and have fun.


tinkerbill 02-11-2011 06:58 AM

Re: Building tadpole trike for street use
 
RedYaris,
Absolutely. I don't have nice big pics of the actual frame I bought but I did take a snapshot of the ad. I also have pics of another Polaris 4x4 front suspension area. I took them long before I bought the frame. That is what gave me the idea. I chose the Polaris 4x4 because it has such a simple McPearson front end and would allow me front wheel drive.I also have a couple pics of alternate street tires or tire/rim combinations but for some reason flickr won't let me upload em. Link to pics I successfully uploaded to flickr will be shared at bottom of reply.
Your Honda quad would make a great donor for a reverse trike if you don't mind cannibalizing it. Just be sure to build a new frame so you can sit down low like a gokart. A-arms, suspension, brakes, spindles, and even rims could be reused. You would need to relocate the steering down low and redo all controls.
I belong to a trike group on Yahoo called "cabinscooters" where we discuss and build enclosed trikes of differing sizes. From bicycle makeovers all the way up to 3-wheeled cars! Anyone is welcome to join!
Now, as far as tires, I like the Kenda-brand but any DOT approved street tire of the correct size will work. A lot of these type tires can be found at on-line golf cart stores. Plug the following into google: 'Kenda 205/50-10 DOT tire' minus the quote marks and feast your eyes. Now here is the link to my flickr pics: <http://www.flickr.com/photos/46196403@N06/sets/72157626023497350/> photo set entitled 'Parts 4 FWD reverse trike'

Quote:

Originally Posted by redyaris (Post 195743)
tinkerbil Do you have some pic's of the Polaris front end/frame that you have for the tadpole project? I have a Honda 350 Quad in the yard that I never use that could be turned into something interesting and fuel efficient. Do you have info on alternate tires and rims for the street?


puddleglum 02-16-2011 01:11 AM

tinkerbill, I think I read your initial post wrong when I gave you my first response. I was thinking overall width was only going to be 3 feet. sounds like it should be pretty nice when it's done.

zoltanbod 02-16-2011 02:54 AM

Hi,I have been busy on my own tadpole concept for three years now.Nice to see creativity doesn't stop with retirement.Check out my album if you are interested in a tadpole of a differant colour.It has a 3 cyl turbo Suzuki front drive assembly installed.

puddleglum 02-16-2011 03:02 AM

Red Yaris,
I don't think you could use your quad to build a trike, like what tinkerbill is doing. You could build it, but I don't think you could get it licensed here in Alberta. I was reading the licensing regulation last night and it states that a custom vehicle, for on road use, may only contain parts from other on road vehicles. Parts from off road vehicles cannot be used. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. I also remember reading a while back that the regulations for getting any kind of enclosed trike licensed here are incredibly stringent. In case you thinking about it, I suggest you do some research first. I was really wanting to try and build a trike, a couple of years back, but gave up because I didn't think I could get one licensed. Building an unstable trike with a high CG, from a open motorcycle is not a problem. Build one low, stable and enclosed, you may have a hard time getting it licensed here. :(

tinkerbill 02-16-2011 03:44 PM

zoltanbod,
Very nice! I see you are coming right along. I have seen your project numerous times. It's great how you have been able to incorporate differing parts to come up with your creation. It's obvious you have spent a lot of time on this. I wish I had half the energy!

Quote:

Originally Posted by zoltanbod (Post 220623)
Hi,I have been busy on my own tadpole concept for three years now.Nice to see creativity doesn't stop with retirement.Check out my album if you are interested in a tadpole of a differant colour.It has a 3 cyl turbo Suzuki front drive assembly installed.


tinkerbill 02-16-2011 04:01 PM

Something is wrong with this picture. Either you have oppressive "nanny-state" government or the big car manufactures have lobbied to cut out the little guy! 'Sorry, just sayin.:confused:
In addition to Federal mandates we have individual state rules in US concerning building trikes. Some states are very leanient while others are pretty strict. The strict ones are just protecting us from ourselves. Wouldn't want a bunch of creative crazy people running around on God knows what! :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by puddleglum (Post 220627)
Red Yaris,
I don't think you could use your quad to build a trike, like what tinkerbill is doing. You could build it, but I don't think you could get it licensed here in Alberta. I was reading the licensing regulation last night and it states that a custom vehicle, for on road use, may only contain parts from other on road vehicles. Parts from off road vehicles cannot be used. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. I also remember reading a while back that the regulations for getting any kind of enclosed trike licensed here are incredibly stringent. In case you thinking about it, I suggest you do some research first. I was really wanting to try and build a trike, a couple of years back, but gave up because I didn't think I could get one licensed. Building an unstable trike with a high CG, from a open motorcycle is not a problem. Build one low, stable and enclosed, you may have a hard time getting it licensed here. :(


puddleglum 02-17-2011 02:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tinkerbill (Post 220694)
Something is wrong with this picture. Either you have oppressive "nanny-state" government or the big car manufactures have lobbied to cut out the little guy! 'Sorry, just sayin.:confused:
In addition to Federal mandates we have individual state rules in US concerning building trikes. Some states are very leanient while others are pretty strict. The strict ones are just protecting us from ourselves. Wouldn't want a bunch of creative crazy people running around on God knows what! :)

Well, I think the intent is to protect us from ourselves. It's just that there are a few regs. that really mess things up like the component restriction I mentioned already. Three wheeled motorcycles must be open and have a minimum seat height. There is a three wheeled vehicle class, but the regs. seem to be intended for a production car and require all the safety equipment and destructive test data that a manufacturer would have to comply with. I couldn't see any way around them for building a one off. I know there are a few trike projects (like zoltanbod) here in Canada. If I'm wrong on the regs. and there is a way to get a one off licensed, I'd love to have it explained to me.

tinkerbill 02-17-2011 04:33 AM

Re: Building tadpole trike for street use
 
Dang! Sounds like they are specifically trying to curtail the building of custom 3-wheeled trikes with enclosed cabin! That sucks in several ways besides the obvious. Especially in a climate that can get pretty bad in winter. That is what the enclosed cabin is for! More riding, year round, in comfort! In essence they are grouping cabin scooters in with cars! If they categorize by the number of wheels, you could still build an enclosed two wheel motorcycle by cannibalizing a already titled and registered motorcycle, building a body around it, and installing out-riggers that can be retracted once going and balanced. Search google for "enclosed motorcycle" and you will get Acabion, ZeroTracer, the Teca, the MonoTracer, and others but my absolute fav is the Acabion! I like them so well I am still on the fence on which to build first, a trike or a feet-first enclosed MC! Attached is a picture of a Acabion. It's so fast there are not enough roads built for that kind of speed! Almost forgot, it's insanely expensive too!

Quote:

Originally Posted by puddleglum (Post 220758)
Well, I think the intent is to protect us from ourselves. It's just that there are a few regs. that really mess things up like the component restriction I mentioned already. Three wheeled motorcycles must be open and have a minimum seat height. There is a three wheeled vehicle class, but the regs. seem to be intended for a production car and require all the safety equipment and destructive test data that a manufacturer would have to comply with. I couldn't see any way around them for building a one off. I know there are a few trike projects (like zoltanbod) here in Canada. If I'm wrong on the regs. and there is a way to get a one off licensed, I'd love to have it explained to me.


chucitdlu 02-17-2011 06:05 AM

very nice


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