SkyStyle TallBike - Page 1 of 6
Figure 1 - The donor bike ready to be chopped
If you are going to be known as the neighborhood crazy bike inventor, then you will certainly need a tall bike in your fleet! A tall bike gives you the sensation that you are hang gliding without a hang glider! You get to face your fear of heights, confuse your onlookers, and peer into the neighbor's second storey window all at the same time!
I have been a fan of tall bikes ever since I figured out how to hack bicycles, and have even had some tall bike fame by getting my photo in the 2005 gold edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. Yep, that dude on page 134 slinging the Canadian flag would be me - cool bike, eh? Anyhow, you have not earned your bicycle hacking stripes until you have ridden a tall bike, so let's get building.
This tall bike is called the SkyStyle because it is based on a freestyle BMX bike, and would be perfect for jousting competitions and many other foolish tall bike tricks. The overall height is high enough that you have a good time defying gravity, yet not so high that you can't mount the bike without a ladder. Because we will keep the wheelbase the same as the original BMX bike, you can play fair at jousting competitions, pull wheelies if you dare, and many of the "flatland" stunts you might try on an earthbound BMX.
For starters, you will need to dig in the back of your tool shed for that 1980s BMX that your mom bought you after you watched Eliot fly through the air with E.T. in the basket. Actually, any BMX bike with 20-inch wheels will do the trick, just like the one shown in Figure 1 before getting the axe.
Figure 2 - The parts ready for hacking
You need two decent 20-inch wheels, a sturdy frame, front forks, and all the crankset hardware in order to make the tall bike. Figure 2 shows all the parts disassembled, cleaned, and ready for severe modification.
Figure 3 - Making the ultra long head tube
The overall height of your final tall bike will depend on the length of the head tube plus the diameter of the front wheel. Since this tall bike is designed so that you can step up from the ground using foot pegs, you will want to keep the total height from the handlebars to the ground at reaching distance. The total height of my tall bike from the ground to the handlebars is approximately 7 feet, so the head tube was made to a length of about 5 and a half feet (7 feet minus the height of the front wheel to the top of the fork hardware).
You will need to find a tube with about the same inside diameter of the original head tube so that the bearing cups will fit inside as shown in Figure 4. A piece of electrical conduit or fence tubing may be just the thing you need.
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You can build it yourself from our easy to follow DIY plans!