Python suitcase trike

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Dec 29, 2016
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Lanc's, England
My plan is to build a python trike witch fit inside a suitcase and also have room for camping gear.
My concept is to build the python so it can be dismantled in about 10-15min and packed in the suitcase.
It will have the rear frame built into the suitcase. The rear wheel and axle and front frame with wheel and drive train will be detachable,
which will, during transport, be stored inside the suitcase.
I'm still pondering over a good seat solution.
So I have slowly got together the parts that might make it possibly.
The suitcase of choice so far is



Might not be in red. Size 85 x 54 x 30cm, so I'm working with 80 x 50 x 27cm as storage space
The front frame on my python measures about 18cm wide and 85-90 cm long, so slightly to long for the suitcase.
So my idea is to use 16" bmx wheels, 20" would probably also work with a squeeze.
The wheel which makes it possibly is


Aluminium cast wheels. The front wheel, will be my back wheel, has a hub width of 78mm, so if I fit 2" tyres which is about 50mm, the hub only sticks out 14mm on each side, lay the wheel so the hub sticks into the other wheels large opening and the package is just under 13cm thick and about 40 x 50cm in size.
The hole in the hub bearing is only 10mm but they are sold to be used on trikes and quads, 10mm 12.9 bults would work, but I might have a spare set with me just in case.
The rear alu wheels, my front wheel, hub is 88mm wide and has a 34mm tread on both side for a cassette and disc brake + adaptor.
The only downfall is that they are probably heavy, the weight is not mentioned in the description.
So if the suitcase is 80 x 50 x 27 is 108l and rear wheel package is about 26l, I calculate the tires as being square, and front wheel frame is 52l, leaves 30l for tent, sleeping bag, kitchen equipment,
shower and toilet stuff, comfy chair, food, water, clothes and personal stuff.
I think it's doable. Time to use CAD.
 
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I had looked at similar wheels for some project or other that never happened and wondered if I could knock the bearings out and drift in a set with the same outer size but a 12mm inner. After measuring the monitor image I was doubtful I could find such a bearing but that's hardly a concrete fact. I would suggest though that the rear wheel of that set will be almost certainly expecting to have a single speed freewheel screwed on so anything more than (probably) a three speed freewheel is likely to overhang the edge of the hub and so need a longer axle and a spacer also meaning the tyre then won't be central to the wheel mounts. You can work around that but it needs planning for or an alternative wheel found.

Getting a trike in a suitcase is a tough project but will be fantastic to achieve. Does the trike have to mount the suitcase on it's rear end once assembled or do you plan to leave the suitcase at a fixed camping spot? I look forward to seeing the cad work on this. I suspect the design is going to be more work than the build.
 
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After measuring the monitor image I was doubtful I could find such a bearing.
Dual row bearing, has 26mm outer 12mm inner, made for lateral force, £10 each. I think I stick to the 10mm ones and a spare pair of bults.
I would suggest though that the rear wheel of that set will be almost certainly expecting to have a single speed freewheel screwed on so anything more than (probably) a three speed freewheel is likely to overhang the edge of the hub and so need a longer axle and a spacer also meaning the tyre then won't be central to the wheel mounts. You can work around that but it needs planning for or an alternative wheel found.
The picture https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32983422780.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.main.1.1435y5a8y5a8Ve&algo_pvid=4484e9b9-d85a-481d-aa6d-e1c3d67cfc7c&aem_p4p_detail=20230125130804882157140967920024763431&algo_exp_id=4484e9b9-d85a-481d-aa6d-e1c3d67cfc7c-0&pdp_ext_f={"sku_id":"66745143650"}&pdp_npi=2@dis!GBP!40.16!38.15!!!!!@2100b69816746808843763356d0730!66745143650!sea&curPageLogUid=d89JnqYn05g3&ad_pvid=20230125130804882157140967920024763431_1&ad_pvid=20230125130804882157140967920024763431_1
shows 6 gears and it comes with a long axle and spacers, I think a 8 gear cassette would fit. My first python also had a asymmetric front frame.
Does the trike have to mount the suitcase on it's rear end once assembled or do you plan to leave the suitcase at a fixed camping spot? I
No, the suitcase is a permanent part of the python with the rear wheel axle going through the side of the suitcase and the pivot point is inside the front of the suitcase.
So ones the bike is assembled you have lots of storage space.
All you will see is the front frame attached to a suitcase which has wheels attached to the side of it and a backrest on top of it.
And for now the large zip opening, on the suitcase, will be the bottom of the seat.
 
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One thing I've noticed about modern suitcases is they are built incredibly light to keep your weight allowances for your clothes rather than the case itself. This means they don't take a lot of abuse before they fail. I'd consider getting a much sturdier case like a flight case. It'll undoubtedly be much heavier but you could perhaps recoup some of that weight by stressing the case itself as part of the chassis and/or seat.

 
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It's not the strength that's my worry, as the internal chassis will take care of that, but rather the durability. All the crap thrown up from the wheels, rain, wind plus any regular wear and tear from use as a suitcase is sure to take a toll on a flimsy case designed for indoor use only. I'd be worried, if after a weeks worth of use at the bottom of a python trike, whether it still functioned as a suitcase for the return journey particularly if used in bad weather. Will it keep rain out? Many panniers have some waterproofing but I doubt suitcases do, especially ones with holes cut in them. It's not the contents getting wet that's my bigger worry but the suitcase itself failing.
 
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Is the suitcase because you plan on taking it on a plane ?

Paul
 
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No, trains and buses.
I like to ride the Hadrian wall or The way of the roses bicycle routes without support.
Or just jump on a train or buss, go somewhere and ride home.
And it's a concept, to maybe be built for next summer, first finish my chopper, supposed to be finished 3 years ago, and the tadpole, supposed to be finished last year and the tandem tadpole, supposed to be finished about 10 years ago.
Better get back to the workshop.
 
Joined
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No, trains and buses.
I like to ride the Hadrian wall or The way of the roses bicycle routes without support.
Or just jump on a train or buss, go somewhere and ride home.
Great idea , however I doubt you could ride much of ANY bicycle route in the UK on a trike !



Just full of rubbish like this.

As you can see beyond it , not really trike friendly either !

Paul
 
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I think that the way of the roses and the hadrian wall route is on wider paths or narrow rods.
There will be a few bicycle gates , but a python can handle them.
 
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pegasus

this is NCN65 near York :-


There was 2 fields of this , I was on the Python and towing a trailer .....
NCN1 leaving Berwick upon Tweed for the road to Holy Island


Same Python accompanied by same ICE trike ! [ no trailer ]:D

Hope your paths are better.

Paul
 
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