Modifying Warrior Trike Plans

Joined
Feb 7, 2020
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3
Hey all

Newbie to making trikes of any sort here, but I’m currently collecting all the parts to make a warrior trike. This trike will be used to make a homemade velomobile. My goal is to make a low-cost velo that can reach similar performance to high-end models.

Anyhow, before I start work on the trike I was looking for some advice. For the velo, a suspension is pretty much mandatory; at high speeds things would go south fast without a suspension. The other requirement is that the front wheelbase be 2 feet or less in width.

Can this be done properly? Would I need to use smaller front wheels? Would a mountain bike suspension work?

Lots of questions, patiently await your answers.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
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It's very easy to use suspension on the rear. A Streetfox rear mated to a Warrior front. No issues at all and been done many times. Adding suspension to the front is a lot harder. Front suspension travel equals leaning outwards in a corner. You can limit the unwanted lean by limiting the suspension travel and have a compromise or you can add a anti-roll bar to limit the lean. This of course adds weight and doesn't stop lean but merely limits it. The narrower you make the front track the more of an issue the compromise becomes between suspension travel and lean. If you take it to silly limits a 6 foot wide trike with two inch of travel barely leans at all but a one foot wide one with the same travel leans alarmingly. There are some ready made trikes that incorporate front travel so it can be done. All the ones I've seen seek to limit travel to a smallish amount or advertise themselves as off-roaders. You can use wishbones with rear suspension units (heavy), fixed sprung wishbones acting like leaf springs (less heavy / undamped / often expensive material / better IMO than the former), sliding kingpins (simple / limited travel to about an inch max), use a car anti-roll bar as a torsion bar (cheap / needs careful consideration of bar size and wheel location) and many other ways.
Keeping the track narrow means issues with steering as the wheels and tyres want the same real estate as your legs when they turn. The narrower you go the less turn you'll get before interference. Using smaller wheels helps restore some lock but that then impacts on ride quality. To go very narrow you'd need to adopt rear wheel steer which isn't as fork lift truck like as it sounds if done correctly. There are a few good examples of rear steer about though all I can remember that work well don't also use suspension. At a quick think I believe only sliding kingpin type suspension would work with rear steer. Other ways around the issue of narrow track and leg interference would be to push the front wheels forward of your feet adding considerably to the length or raise the seat and bottom bracket above the front wheels (not ideal from a centre of gravity viewpoint).
One way around both unwanted lean AND wanting a narrow track is to make the whole trike lean. It can be done and yes it does get complicated. There are a number of ways to skin that cat though many of them have proven deficient in some way or are drawing board only designs so far. Most designs (not all) also fall over when you stop and some body designs may hinder getting feet down and sufficiently far out to manage that.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
2,381
Location
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Hey all

Newbie to making trikes of any sort here, but I’m currently collecting all the parts to make a warrior trike. This trike will be used to make a homemade velomobile. My goal is to make a low-cost velo that can reach similar performance to high-end models.
Very difficult to achieve , especially using a warrior as a base vehicle , as to match a real velomobile you would need to have the same weight and aerodynamics ?

Anyhow, before I start work on the trike I was looking for some advice. For the velo, a suspension is pretty much mandatory; at high speeds things would go south fast without a suspension.
Some trikes do have suspension i.e ICE trikes and for some of their models it can be retro fitted so worth looking how they did that ?

This is a good article on building a trike for a velomobile shell , lots good advice :- John Tetz Velomobile

This is a modular velomobile on a suspension trike German wood Velomobile

What do you plan on making the body from ?

The other requirement is that the front wheelbase be 2 feet or less in width.
Why ? it will make it harder ? with 8" seat height and 30" rear track my Python can be got on 2 wheels occasionally ;)

Can this be done properly? Would I need to use smaller front wheels ?
The Glide used 16" front wheels but it adds to the problems with getting brakes to fit and limited tyre choice.

Would a mountain bike suspension work?
for the rear yes however it will be heavy [ see John Tetz above ]

Lots of questions, patiently await your answers.
To the best of my knowledge no one on this forum has been down this path yet ?
 
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Feb 7, 2020
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Thanks for the replies. The streetfox suspension seems viable, just have to pay $20 for those plans too I suppose haha.

The 2 foot width stems from measurements of the fastes velos. I am sure it can be done with a wider width (I’ll probably end up just using a wider wheelbase), but for less frontal area on the fairing a skinny wheelbase is preferred.

A front suspension is probably mandatory but honestly I’m just gonna skip that and tough it out. I’ll use a rear suspension and heavy seat padding.

While aerodynamics matter most, weight is not really an issue. I ride through flat prairie highways with no climbs beyond 30 degrees, so I’ve never had an issue with that. Weight is far less of an issue when you’re cutting the wind with the fairing.

The body I am still researching. I was thinking of making a plywood mold and using strips of door panels, laminating them with epoxy. If I wanted to go the full mile I can make a full fibreglass fairing, but that seems like a lot more work.
 
Joined
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Give some consideration to the delta style platform. With the single front wheel it is easy to use a suspension fork and as with the Aurora I am currently building rear suspension is also available.The single front wheel would make it possible to pick the width you need for a velomobile , the design steers well. It's a bit longer than a tadpole style due to the wheel being in front of the bottom bracket/peddle assembly. In regards to that, my Warrior will not turn sharp enough to do a U turn in my back lane, you have to stop, back up once then finish the turn. But a fat tire version of the Delta style loderunner I built which is about 8' 2" total length will make a U turn in the same back lane with room to spare. My Loderunner variant with it's 3 four inch wide tires isn't built for speed but I have cruised along a 24 kph and it only required a light touch on 1 handlebar with no hint of being twitchy. I have built 2 different coroplast bodies for my Warrior and now added a coroplast body to the fat trike. The fat version isn't really a fair comparison to a velo since it was made for rainy weather - it's more like a Pebl or Elf than a velomobile. But I can tell you the Delta style lend's itself very well to adding a streamlined body fairing.
 
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Thanks for the replies. The streetfox suspension seems viable, just have to pay $20 for those plans too I suppose haha.
Your choice it is probably lighter than the Warrior and has some good ideas so maybe money not wasted ?

The 2 foot width stems from measurements of the fastes velos. I am sure it can be done with a wider width (I’ll probably end up just using a wider wheelbase), but for less frontal area on the fairing a skinny wheelbase is preferred.
Just try a mockup sitting on a chair or pile of lumber , if that 2ft is tyre centre in the space you have to pack steering and wheel wells etc etc etc

A front suspension is probably mandatory but honestly I’m just gonna skip that and tough it out. I’ll use a rear suspension and heavy seat padding.
making it yourself that can be added later , or like most of us build more than one ;)

While aerodynamics matter most, weight is not really an issue. I ride through flat prairie highways with no climbs beyond 30 degrees, so I’ve never had an issue with that. Weight is far less of an issue when you’re cutting the wind with the fairing.
Weight saps energy like a head wind and on long rides causes early exhaustion if trying to maintain good speeds

The body I am still researching. I was thinking of making a plywood mold and using strips of door panels, laminating them with epoxy. If I wanted to go the full mile I can make a full fibreglass fairing, but that seems like a lot more work.
Plenty of wood examples , even full Velomobiles some are listed here wood you built it ?

The problem you have with a body shell is that it is not really part of the trike so cannot be used for fastening much stuff to as they are really 2 different entities which move and react to the road in different ways ? So the trike is really the skeleton and the body is a lightweight shell.

Please keep looking the web is a wonderful place and start a build thread with pictures so we can help and steal borrow any useful ideas you may have ?
 
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Well, after your guys’ replies and my own thinking, a delta seems best.
Check out this link, this is pretty much exactly what I’m thinking.
http://www.recumbents.com/wisil/teubner/Orange_Varna.htm

A FWD delta means everything important is all in one area. Seems far easier for my style of designing. the rear wheels are simply idlers, and thus they can be quite small to keep the aero efficiency up. Looks much lighter and simpler than any tadpole.

Pretty much answered my own question, ahah. Thank you for all the advice, though.
 
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You have got to consider a whole trike as a soft ball of a certain size [ to get all the bit's in ] if you try and put all the components at the front you have squeezed the ball to make the back smaller/lighter and caused a huge bulge somewhere else the front.

To make a FWD front work ?

You need a good inside leg measurement at least 30" I am sure 32" or more will help.
No bigger than 20" wheel
the front rising frame member needs to be as close to the crown jewels as possible
the front wheel needs to be as close to the front rising frame member as possible
transmission at top of fork needs to be as thin as possible.

This is do-able but would not be considered a first bike/trike

Ok a few things to look at ?

There is loads on this Blog and the net for :- Velotilt

Worth a look :- Mosquito Velomobile/trike

If you send me a PM with your email address I have lots stuff on Zox copies ?



they did a trike once :-



regards Paul
 
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Winnipeg, Manitoba
I don't want to discourage you but - there's usually a but - real velomobiles are expensive, and almost always built by hand, rotovelo having a molded plastic body is an exception. I checked out the article on FWD unit you listed, and while being quite streamlined and prob requires less effort to pedal it at speed than an unfaired trike , it does not appear to be very user friendly. The biggest advantage to streamlining is it reduces the watt's of power or pedal effort you need to produce to attain a set speed. So by all mean's build what you want, don't be discouraged and spend some time researching. In my earlier post I mentioned I had made 2 different coroplast bodies for my Warrior. The first on was very sturdy (read that as HEAVY) and the 2nd was a lot lighter. I dismantled the first because of the weight and I was uncomfortable with all the attention it drew, the 2nd after my friend mentioned it looked a lot like a coffin. My main takeaway was they both were fairly confining inside but the one thing they both did was reduce the effort needed to peddle, especially into the wind. The only proof I have of this claim is my Warrior had a powered rear hub and the small computer it used had a nice mileage and speedometer readout. I mostly just powered up the system with no e boost which eliminated the cogging effect of the magnets and found a modest 2 to 3 kph speed increase on level trail's. The extra weight was noticeable on hills and into the wind but that's where the e assist was used.
 
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I checked out the article on FWD unit you listed, and while being quite streamlined and prob requires less effort to pedal it at speed than an unfaired trike , it does not appear to be very user friendly.
It was purely built as a speed machine hence the reference to Battle Mountain the USA speed record site.

I doubt it was ever ridden on the road , no turning circle to speak of and almost no visibility and very limited gearing so unable to climb hills etc etc
 
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