AZ inspired trike build starts!

Hi everyone,

In 2008 I built a Meridian, and not much later I had to sell it :( I also got rid of all my metal working tools and all bike related stuff, save for a few odds and ends.

For the last few years I've been keeping an eye out at garage sales for tools and parts, and I've finally collected the needed welder, grinders, and parts bikes. Last week I purchased 20 feet each of 1.5" .083" wall square tubing and 3/4" .060" wall square tubing.

My design is going to need a jack shaft, and so I've started with at least part of that, so that I can make sure I can build it as needed. If I can't figure that out, I have to redesign the bike. Seems like a good reason to start there :)

I just bought a 6 pack of plans and will be borrowing heavily from them in many areas. I put up a video of the shaft and my setup, and a shout out to AZ! Here is the link:

I'll post more about it when I can.
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That's some nice work, & a really clever setup there! Love it!
Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

Great promotion for AZ at the end of the vid, too! (y)

Hey, thanks for the mention!! great vid.
Looking forward to seeing the rest unfold.
Once there are a few more vids in this thread, it would be great newsletter material.

Thanks guys. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest unfold too @Radical Brad :p

There was a thread on the old forum that showed pics of what I was thinking about building, and this will be essentially that. I haven't touched this sketchup model in a long time (4 years), and ignore the seat arrangement. The seat will be forward of the rear "basket" as I tend to think of it.


The proportions in the model above aren't right really either. It's going to be 42" wide with a standard 26" wheelset in the back: A rear wheel on the left, driven, and an undriven front wheel on the right. The jack shaft will transfer power, much like this one I found online:


I'll essentially be copying many elements of that design, but with AZ style construction, square tubing, remote steering rather than tiller etc. I'm definitely open to suggestions before I start cutting steel :)

I was also inspired by this design, and am hoping to end up with something similar in the end:

I don't know where I found that image (in 2015) but I searched high and low for it recently and found nothing. I like the length and the seat placement that leaves lots of room for cargo, and that's what I'm going for.
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I like that last one.

I started following you on YouTube.
I look ad a lot of recumbent builds online.
I got some ideas from that and combined it with the Warrior trike.
It's also good to see how others do things.
That is as good setup. I had that same transmission in this old 1980's rig of mine and it worked very well...


I did drive both wheels as well (ratcheting differential), although it wasn't necessary.

Today I had a little bit of time to spend, and started out by deciding how long this thing is going to be. The overall length of the main boom will be 95 inches, which is 62" for the forward section ahead of the rear basket, and 33" for the rear basket that will mount the wheels. The overall length will be close to 10 feet when I am done. I don't mind, this is about utility and little more. It's also going to be 42" wide which precludes it getting through a standard door, but it'll make it nice and stable.

How did I arrive at 33" for the rear frame length? 30" fore to aft for the wheel and tire, and 1.5" for the tubing, like so:

I stood on it, and it held my 330lbs without trouble, and was a little bouncy but didn't bend the tubing, which is exactly as I'd hoped. Mind you, there will be four of these tubes at 33" long, since there are two per wheel.

I have been storing an old bed frame with the purpose of using the angle iron to build wheel mounts. First to tear that down:


I cut one out to test it, and it looks like it'll work fine except for one minor problem... too thin!


I forgot to buy 3/16" thick steel bar at the steel supplier, so I'm thinking perhaps I should just go buy that (It's a 60 mile round trip in my gas guzzler) and get it over with. I might check a local hardware store too, they might have some.

A friend also loaned me some clamps and a tool that'll really help getting cuts perfectly straight:


Once I get more steel I can get the rear frame built and get this show on the road!
Thanks @SirJoey :)

Today I ran to a local hardware store to look for some 3/16" steel. The thickest of anything they had was 1/8". I decided to check out a scrap/recycling yard that I've driven past a number of times. They had a pallet of steel that took some digging in, but I found a piece of 3"x2" angle iron about 2 feet long, 3/16" thick. Perfect!

As I was walking back, I spotted something poking out from under some other stuff. I grabbed on it and pulled, and got very excited: A Bontrager 9 speed 26" wheel with cassette and a slick tire. It features offset spokes and double walled wheel. Holy smokes!


Since my trek through the yard had been productive so far, I decided to keep looking around in various places. It's not well organized and there's parts of the yard you'd really have to work to get to! I spotted another possible gem, and I couldn't leave without it. It's pretty badly abused: Deraileur hanging and tangled in a spoke; missing crank arms, and one of them looks like it was attacked by a tweaker with an angle grinder. That BB is probably history. But it had two things I really wanted.


That's right, a fat tire bike! Yeah it's a Huffy, and yeah it's a 6 speed, but these should go pretty nicely on my trike. And that other rear wheel will go really nicely on another Meridian, down the line. Those fat tires would make short work of some of the dirt paths and trails we have around here... This could be fun!

Here's the part where if I weren't typing this, I'd totally hate me: $20 for all of it.

I'll have to re-examine the rear frame size to make sure 30" is enough room to leave room for fenders around those tires. I'm hoping to have time to get the wheel mounts cut out. My wife is quite sick right now and is sleeping a lot, so I'm not making much noise in the shop for now.

I'll post more pix as I can.
Great watching this all unfold!
Thar rear 26 looks very familiar! If you look at most of the racing bikes on the plans page, you will see I use that exact same rim on just about all the bikes, even the Warrior.

Keep the photos coming... but only after the boss is all better!

Very cool to hear about that 26" wheel. I wish it was disk braked, though! I'll definitely be building something with it, as long as I have the opportunity at least. I'm very excited to have fat tires for the rear of the trike though. I think it'll improve the ride a lot. It'll also save me a load of money on tires, since these appear to be fairly streetable.
I managed to get about half an hour in the shop tonight. My mission: Remove a freewheel from an old 27" steel wheel that was on an ancient 10 speed bike! I followed the instructions shown here:

And what do you know, it worked! I found a 3/4" bolt that had a slightly larger head than the freewheel. The head of the bolt was 1.25" wide. I used my bench grinder until it went into the freewheel, then I ground two sides of the bolt threads flat so that my vise grips could get a grip, then I used a cheater bar for leverage. It came right off! Here are pics:



And the job done:


Total cost was $2 for the bolt and a tender forefinger because I touched the bolt while it was still hot. Oops.

Funny story about the vise grips. I was out hiking with friends in the Sierra Nevadas of California and we came across a large aqueduct, the kind that's open on top. My friend climbed up there (I don't climb!) and he found those vise grips. They'd probably been there since the aqueduct was constructed, and they appear to be very old. That was around 8 years ago. I still use them regularly. They must be pretty old by now! Heck, my welder is probably as old as I am too.

Lastly I measured the new fat tire wheels. My 30" rear frame measurement is still good. Can't wait to get started on that!
I still have the original remover a made in that video, and after 20 years, it still works perfectly.
Thanks for posting the link, and pics of your own $2.00 remover!

I was able to spend some time this afternoon re-learning how to work with metal. I didn't realize how much I'd forgotten! My goal today was to make the wheel mounts- tabs of metal with vertical dropouts. I used the 3/16" 2"x3" angle iron. I cut two 3" wide sections of angle iron, intending to use part of each side to make a mount. I got to use the chop saw for the first time.



Next was to size the cutout on a template piece, then cut four such notches, and then cut the tabs off the angle iron and make them all the same size:




And the finished product. They aren't necessarily symmetrical, so I marked the forward direction.


This took way more work than I thought it would, and I see how I could have made my life simpler I am sure. Now I have to decide if I want to mount them under the 3/4" square tubing, or weld it to the side of the tubing. I'm definitely open to suggestions there.
You put them under the frame from the image?
If so, check if the tubes are in one line. Than you can put them under it. If they are a bit off, then placing them on the sides, makes that you can put them in line.
I won't say it was wasted time today, because I definitely learned. I realized that my question at the end of my last comment could be answered them easiest by leaving this as angle iron, and welding the angle iron directly to the bottom of the square tube. That'll allow me to taper the mounting surface and avoid any stress points.
I like your build, keep the pictures coming. You'll be very happy when you get to take your creation out for a ride. Bear in mind the first few rides are often good for troubleshooting then tweaking the bike.
This build is a great example of tackling large project one bite at a time.
Before you know it, the only question will be... what color to paint?

Click for DIY Plans!