Building a Recumbent Bike

When I fumbled into Recycled Recumbents’ open source plans for a long-wheel-base recumbent – I knew I had to build one.

My bike is the simplest version of 3 plans offered – the “Mach 1.”

I started off with old Lotus and Raleigh frames. After some early mistakes with a hack saw – I added an old repainted mountain bike frame of unknown brand to the mix.

After much hacking, jigging, brazing, sewing and assembly – I had something that resembled a bike. After some additional bending and filing of the fork ends – I even managed to get it tracking straight.

Using my kitchen floor to verify frame alignment

I’m using my own 3d-printed friction shifter with a Shimano SLX 11-speed derailleur and a Microshift 11-42t 9-speed cassette. The SLX’s clutch and a ‘Sharktooth” 44t chainring manage to keep the lengthy chain under control without needing an idler.

My 3d printed shifter

I finished the build several months ago – and at this point have something around 2000 miles on it. It’s not my fastest bike – but it’s a lot of fun and very comfortable.

For this project I was focused more on building than documenting – for construction tips I highly recommend Brian in Ohio’s Bespoke (recumbent) Bike Building blog.

One tip – get a proper oxy-acetylene torch setup with refillable tanks. I managed to complete the frame with a torch that uses disposable MAPP / oxygen cylinders. The problem is that the oxygen cylinders are expensive – and only last a few minutes (I lost track of how many I used).

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4 thoughts on “Building a Recumbent Bike

    1. Pretty good – but not perfect. I ended up “strong-arming” the frame a bit to get it fully straight.

    1. I can probably hit 20+ on the flats (no wind) – but pretty insane speeds downhill. I have a fairing installed now that really helps with downhill.

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