My son and/or my son and I have built nine recumbent bikes and we both frequent several of the bicycle DIY building sites. Two of the most requested bikes I see are bikes of no welding necessary and bikes made of aluminum. Well, N55 in collaboration with Till Wolfer have made available open source plans for a recumbent trike that requires no welding and is made of standard aluminum.
I’ve already seen Yea and Nay comment around the internet. Question of the steering (it does not use Ackermann steering geometry) and the durability of aluminum has been questioned.
(EDIT: This trike does indeed have Ackermann steering, I just didn’t understand with my first looks at the plans. With my understanding now, it doesn’t have camber/caster and the kingpin runs parallel to the wheel. I don’t think it would self center very well. These are all easy points to address.)
Our biggest complaint on the building we have done so far with mild steel has been finished weight. The XYZNODES Trike weights in at 18 lbs for the frame on the single seat version.
To me the XYZNODES is not a pretty trike, but you can always cover it up with a velomobile body that looks great. I’ve always wanted a velomobile anyway.
My son and I have had a great time building trikes and bikes together but it is not always convienent for us to get together because of distance or work schedules. I also have a defibrillator implant and cannot weld. For those reasons, I am going to have a real investigation into the building of the N55 trike called XYZNODES. I’m not saying that I will build one, but I’m excited about looking into it.
The free open source plans can be downloaded from the N55 site. The downloadable PDF has all the measurements for cutting and drilling but void of any assembly instructions. I’ve yet to understand what holds the bottom bracket shell in the crank box. I think a self support forum would help a lot and advance the cause.
I know this trike is going to get a lot of attention. Check it out.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think of it.