Building a Quadricycle

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Building a Quadricycle

Postby Ano » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:43 pm

After a wonderful chance to ride a giant quadrocycle at the Reno BM decompression, the lady and I have decided that our project for this year is to built a smaller quadrocycle for riding about, amusing folks with some fire effects, and looking generally spiffy to add to both the day and night landscape of Black Rock City. However, the challenge lies in the fact that both of us are completely unskilled in welding, tinkering, building, hoo-hobbling, goo-gobbling, putting things together, and mechanical know-how. We are effectively at the "duct-tape that shit/I read about rigging in a PDF!" level of knowledge.

Ideally, our quad would be a two-seater with a small sound system for camp and out on the playa and room for a cooler. A fire poofer would come out the tail end. The quad would be decorated to resemble some kind of bikey-mechanicaly-furry monster, with lights for eyes, an El-wire lined mouth with sharp teeth, and other adornments to add to the monsterish feel. Horns out of the handlebars, maybe a horn, who knows. We've been planning this for a few days now, so we're still at the beginning of the process. Before moving forward creativel, we're looking to get a base vehicle down.

We are somewhat limited by our spending options, being two young college graduates with useless degrees and limited job availability in our area. Again, we are mechanically stupid. We have ambitions, though, so onward we go!
So far, I've come out with two dominant options for my base vehicle.

1 - Build an American Speedster Sidekick (http://www.americanspeedster.com/side-kick.htm)
The advantages of the American Speedster are that it looks neat, and it would definitely teach me something that I could apply to future projects. It's a self contained unit, and since it can handle some weight, mutating it into something cool would hypothetically be somewhat easy.

However, the disadvantages appear to be that the design is flawed with the way the chain is placed, and it also has quite a few annoyances that people have brought up on Eplaya and other places. It is flexible, which could be a pain if playa conditions are bad, and the transportation footprint of this thing is huge. I'd have to get a trailer.

2 - Take two big-box store cruiser/mountain bikes and Granny Bike them together (http://www.thegrannybike.com/index.html)

This one would require much more "mutation" in order to look cool and not be an eyesore on the playa. On the other hand, with some legwork, we could make all of the pieces attachable, negate the need for a trailer, and it would probably be cheaper. We would also be dealing with familiarish things, rather than building a whole new vehicle.

I think I'm leaning more towards option two at the moment.

For some further questions - I've been told (and personally seen) quad-cycles with electric assists out there without a license. Whats the official DMV stance on this? I've seen electric bicycles, too. I'm guessing having four wheels would change things, though, predominantly pedal-powered or not.

I'm going to need power for this sucker, no doubt. For some rope-lighting, el-wire, and a small sound system, I'm not sure which direction to look for batteries or even where to begin researching powering stuff. What direction should I go to research this? And I'm going to need to find information on fire effects, too... golly. I know some basics, but not much. This'll be fun.

And, hell, in general, what are your guys experiences with quadcycles out there, homemade or not?
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby EspressoDude » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:15 pm

2 subtle but important issues.
1.) all 4 wheels must be aligned straight ahead when going straight ahead otherwise you will be doing a lot of extra work fighting a wheel that wants to go sideways.
2.) A flexible frame produces a whole lot oversteer, as does low tire pressure. They get real scary in a turn once they get up on 2 wheels....eminent road rash
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby trilobyte » Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:18 pm

For info on how the DMV sees it, check out their pages and when in doubt contact them directly. I can't speak to 4-wheeled creations, but in the case of pedal-powered bikes and trikes an electric assist does not require registration.

You may also want to keep your eyes open for a good deal on a Rhoades Car. Awesome pedal-powered quad vehicles, they tend to be on the spendy side but if you can get a good deal on a used one it might end up costing you less than going another route.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Tiahaar » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:53 pm

Hey Ano and anyone else interested in crazy human-powered vehicles, if you can get down to the Ventura CA harbor boat launch ramp this Saturday Oct 20th at 10AM you will see a dozen+ home-built pedal creations go for a race across the water, over the sand, around the parking lot a few times, and through a mud pit in the 15th annual Ventura Kinetic Sculpture Race. Its a lot of fun to watch, even more fun to build and enter something. Many entrants are also burners. One racer I've seen in past years is based around an AmericanSpeedster I think. Elliot will be there, I'll have a vehicle in the contest, and you'll get to see a wide variety of mechanicals useful for playa builds.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Ano » Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:24 pm

Yeah... That sounds fun, but I am a young office worker fresh out of college. I have $0 to spend on anything fun if I intend on ever making it back to Burning Man, let alone build a quad.

Okay, I've been googling and yahooing and msning nonstop to try to find something, anything, that would be helpful and useful for learning the skills necessary to build/mutate a quad... but there's nothing. Nothing at all. Apparently, you vehicle artist folk don't really leave documentation... and I don't have funds to spare to experiment. I think I'm putting this on the backburner for a few years, and continuing on riding my regular bike. I don't get how you burny folk do it! These things are expensive beyond belief. Anything is expensive beyond belief, it seems. When I say I have little funds to spend on this, I mean I have about $1000, MAXIMUM, maybe, to think about spending on my entire Burn, including my ticket and getting there. Oh well. I'll be sad about my monetary affairs elsewhere.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Canoe » Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:19 am

trilobyte wrote:... in the case of pedal-powered bikes and trikes an electric assist does not require registration...

Officially, a bicycle, with or without electric assist (must still be able to be pedaled), is as defined under Nevada law: that's up to three wheels and not more than three wheels.
That said, for small pedaled quads:
I've seen them ignored and treated as "bicycles", and
I've seen them treated as DMV vehicles requiring registration application prior to the event with confirmation of conforming with safety requirements at the event.
If you're counting on it being treated as a bicycle, it's a lot of money invested to get there and not be allowed to use it if it's treated as a vehicle.

Not too worried about road rash. You're limited to 5 mph...
But, if you're out of alignment, you'll be pedaling harder.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Ano » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:43 pm

I still don't think I can do this... doesn't stop me from trying to find a beginning welding class in my area... but the DMV also got back to me about this. For the official stance, for anyone who is planning on building one:


In terms of powered bicycles, we follow Nevada state law on what is
classified as an electric bicycle (and hence entitled to be treated as
a standard bicycle in terms of state traffic regulations)

*********************************************
(NRS 482.0287)
ELECTRIC BICYCLES
Electric bicycles as defined by Nevada state law may operate during
the event without any sort of license. That definition is as follows:
"Electric bicycle" means a device upon which a person may ride, having
two or three wheels, or every such device generally recognized as a
bicycle that has fully operable pedals and is propelled by a small
electric engine which produces not more than 1 gross brake horsepower
and which produces not more than 750 watts final output, and:
Is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with
the ground but is not a tractor; and
Powered solely by such a small electric engine, is capable of a
maximum speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on a flat surface
while carrying an operator who weighs 170 pounds.
The term does not include a moped.
*********************************************

If your bicycle meets the above requirements, then it is allowed
without a Burning Man DMV License (Mutant or Disabled). If your
vehicle does NOT meet the above description, then it WOULD need a
license.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby maladroit » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:14 pm

I'm still not sure if that means a quad, solely human powered, is considered a vehicle or not. I think it would be a problem on a city street, but a possible gray area on the playa? I saw mostly trikes, and a few quads, but didn't think to ask the quad owners whether they had to get approval.

Beyond that...would the DMV then require it to be fully mutated even as an open frame pieced together out of bike parts? Putting on some kind of decorative shell and lots of lighting would probably make it too heavy to pedal at all. So if the DMV doesn't have a specific policy for quads, then there's a no-man's-land in between trikes and golf carts.

So I think it's very clear that something with 4 wheels and a powerplant of some type is no longer a bicycle, and should be inspected and licensed. The part that isn't entirely clear (at least to me) is whether it's the number of wheels, or the method of power that requires DMV licensing. If there is a flat out rule "If it's human-powered, it does not need a license" then there is no longer a gray area.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby trilobyte » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:34 pm

More than 3 wheels, and it needs to go through the DMV process.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby moonrise » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:10 pm

Ano wrote:Yeah... That sounds fun, but I am a young office worker fresh out of college. I have $0 to spend on anything fun if I intend on ever making it back to Burning Man, let alone build a quad.

Okay, I've been googling and yahooing and msning nonstop to try to find something, anything, that would be helpful and useful for learning the skills necessary to build/mutate a quad... but there's nothing. Nothing at all. Apparently, you vehicle artist folk don't really leave documentation... and I don't have funds to spare to experiment. I think I'm putting this on the backburner for a few years, and continuing on riding my regular bike. I don't get how you burny folk do it! These things are expensive beyond belief. Anything is expensive beyond belief, it seems. When I say I have little funds to spend on this, I mean I have about $1000, MAXIMUM, maybe, to think about spending on my entire Burn, including my ticket and getting there. Oh well. I'll be sad about my monetary affairs elsewhere.


Ever consider making some new burner friends? Try the burning man regional DISCUSSION (NOT the event announce) list to shout out to the bicycle groups of burners in the Reno area for help designing and buliding the quad. Perhaps get involved with the Kiwanis Bike Club, I've been told it's comprised of many volunteer burners...

I saw that bike at the Reno decomp too! Why not try too learn some (hands on experience) from the owner/creator(s) of that bike?
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby TomServo » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:40 pm

If its not human powered...and not a stand up scooter...and has flame effects, it needs to go through DMV. And, I believe the flame effects alone need to be licensed at DMV.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby maladroit » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:22 pm

trilobyte wrote:More than 3 wheels, and it needs to go through the DMV process.


Well, I can't say I like that very much. Unless, something like the vehicle below will always get DMV approval with no problem, even though it isn't mutated to look like a disco-capybara:

http://www.time-traveler.org/quadracycle/quad-build.htm
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby trilobyte » Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:35 pm

If pedal powered, no problem. Once you've got a motor and more than 3 wheels it needs to go through the mutant vehicle process, from what I understand.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Ano » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:11 pm

I'm from the Sacramento area, not Reno, so I'm looking in that area for something that might be able to help me.

But I did talk with him for quite awhile about it and asked many questions. Unfortunately, this still seems like a terrible idea to attempt with my skillset and abilities. However, I don't give a damn about that god dammit I want to ride a quadricycle...
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Elliot » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:39 pm

trilobyte wrote:If pedal powered, no problem. Once you've got a motor and more than 3 wheels it needs to go through the mutant vehicle process, from what I understand.

I believe this is correct. I build large human-powered vehicles, so I have been following this closely.

1. If it is strictly human-powered, with any number of wheels; no formalities required -- not counting any fire-art requirements.

2. If it is human-powered with maximum three wheels, it may have an electric booster motor of no more than 1 Horse Power = 750 (746) Watts, and still qualify as in 1.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Elliot » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:01 pm

Ano wrote:... but there's nothing. Nothing at all. Apparently, you vehicle artist folk don't really leave documentation...

Try AtomicZombie on the interweb. They sell plans and parts, but there should be much information to harvest. They also sell at least one very good book for your purpose.

I suggest you go with three wheels. Much easier to make it function properly, compared with four wheels.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby maladroit » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:25 pm

Has anyone made a massive slave-powered party galleon yet?
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Major Krash » Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:44 am

my dream is to make 4 giant "hamster wheels" that people get inside of and walk to make the wheels roll. Each wheel is attached to an axle, that is attached to a pivot on top (like a front bike tire). A trampoline type structure spans the top. There is no motor.

to make it move, at least 4 people must work together (one in each wheel). To turn, two of the wheels must be spun on their pivots (by people outside). People can also ride on top.

I imagine it would slowly make it's way to the burn circle by weeks end...

Ano - learn to weld. it is not hard. my first year's welds were not great (some broke - hit them with a hammer to make sure they are good), but I got better....an auto-shade helmet is essential (pricey, yes, but essential for the ease and speed and safety)
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:18 am

maladroit wrote:Has anyone made a massive slave-powered party galleon yet?

2011, Trojan Horse
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Ano » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:08 pm

Elliot wrote:
Ano wrote:... but there's nothing. Nothing at all. Apparently, you vehicle artist folk don't really leave documentation...

Try AtomicZombie on the interweb. They sell plans and parts, but there should be much information to harvest. They also sell at least one very good book for your purpose.

I suggest you go with three wheels. Much easier to make it function properly, compared with four wheels.


Wow, thanks for that link. Somehow, I never managed to find this place. This is... awesome. It makes everything much more daunting for me, with all of these fancy parts and such, and I'm not really in the mood for a recumbent, but this place looks like a good wealth of information to digest.

Yeah, I think I'm actually going to try and go with three wheels for this. My basic idea right now is two cruisers with no front tires, forked somehow to a third wheel with steering and all that... stuff. I really don't know jack shit, but now is the time to learn I guess... I don't know. Maybe I'll go for something like this (http://www.atomiczombie.com/KyotoCruise ... Trike.aspx) except with a cargo area... thing.. or something. I'm clueless :)

Major Krash wrote:Ano - learn to weld. it is not hard. my first year's welds were not great (some broke - hit them with a hammer to make sure they are good), but I got better....an auto-shade helmet is essential (pricey, yes, but essential for the ease and speed and safety)


I am actually in the process of signing up for a metal arts class this weekend that is a one-day class put on by some Burners who teach the basics of welding. It's expensive, but... I guess I have to start somewhere... I'm going to be eating dirt for a few weeks, but dammit, I'll be riding my tricycle while carrying drinks, playing some tunes, and looking snazzy sometime in the future.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:10 am

Ano wrote:...and I'm not really in the mood for a recumbent...

Ah, another of life's sadder milestones passes...
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Snow » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:54 pm

I also recommend http://www.atomiczombie.com I too am looking into building something similar to one of their trikes, perhaps we could team up?

I build some interesting wheeled stuff, and am in the sacramento area (foothills). In fact I'm trying to finish my first recumbent two wheeler (but am low on time). I have the metal working tools and know how, but I'm honestly pretty busy, but self employed so my time frames are semi-adjustable. I can give you a hand at times, and can certainly lend advice about bikes and/or metalwork/welding. Sounds like I didn't catch you before you before plonking money for a course though.

So far my largest human powered vehicle was the Trojan Horse in 2011 (I built wheels and axles among other stuff). We didn't need any DMV permits haha and our motor got a bit unruly.

PM me your email if you wanna chat about it cuz I don't check in here much

Krash, autoshade helmets can be had at harbor freight for around $40 or less
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Ano » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:47 pm

I actually didn't take the course... I'll PM you. :)
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Tiahaar » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:23 pm

Snow wrote:So far my largest human powered vehicle was the Trojan Horse in 2011


EPIC!! Heheh, love the 'so far' part...that'd be something to top the Horse 8)
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Snow » Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:20 pm

you've got mail Ano


Tiahaar wrote:
Snow wrote:So far my largest human powered vehicle was the Trojan Horse in 2011


EPIC!! Heheh, love the 'so far' part...that'd be something to top the Horse 8)
Always gotta push your boundaries right? Although I'm not sure what can be bigger and roll. Moving the horse was a stressful time for me, I was worried it wasn't going to roll straight, it'd hit a dune soft spot or someone would get steamrolled. Luckly all when as planned because if it didn't, there would be no one but me to blame and we wouldn't have got to burn it, and that was a FUN little campfire!!!!

Maybe we can put hidden wheels under the man base and move him around every day just to mess with peoples heads.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Fiver » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:12 am

I'm in the planning stages of something like this as well. We had a human powered art bike in our camp this year and it was awesome. Two standard bikes with a platform welded in-between, and half a bike on the rear in the center (3 person powered). It had 5 wheels, linked front steering and a canopy, but didn't require any registration at the DMV. It was a great "party barge" type vehicle, and when the camp would ride out at night three people would pedal that, one person would just hang out on it along for the ride (along with all our gear needed for the night) and the rest of the camp would ride out along side it on our own bikes. It was well lit so you could easily see it cruising along in the darkness.
It was such a success that I would like to take the same idea and expand a little on it. I was thinking instead of singles, using a tandem bike on each side with a larger platform in the middle. Here's where it gets tricky. One of our amazing camp mates is in a wheel chair. He has a small art car cart that he cruises around on most of the time, but it had some issues in the middle of the week so we just had him up on the seat in the bike barge and rode around with him on it, towing his (collapsable) chair in a small trailer behind. It worked ok, but the bike wasn't really designed to be accessible in that manner so getting him on and off it was a little tricky. Also he kinda felt bad being pedaled all over without being able to help. So I want to figure out a way that he can just roll up onto the platform of the new larger creation, somehow get his chair locked down, and then be able to arm pedal and help out providing human power.
So questions:
Anyone have a good suggestion for sturdy tandem bikes to use for the sides?
How to incorporate our camp mate's arm power to help pedaling?
Anyone know anything about belt drives vs chains? Seems like belts would be one less thing to get gummed up by playa dust.
Last but not least, I'd like to possibly add a electric assist. So if only 2 people are pedaling it, you could still at least move it with out killing yourself.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:17 am

"roll up onto the platform" sounds all manner of tricky. ADA standards for ramps is one foot of horizontal for one inch of rise. I don't know how high the platform is off the ground, but it would very quickly get unwieldily. Instead, think about incorporating an arm bike that he can transfer into, or maybe hook up his push chair to the platform somehow. As an aside--arm bikes don't really thrill me. The seats are typically low, and you the front wheel assembly really interferes with transfering. So, when you have some ideas, talk it over with him so it will be really workable.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:20 pm

I think it's totally doable. Maybe I'm ignorant but I don't think there's any law requiring a private bicycle custom built by you, for you and your friend to ride at BM, to comply with every ADA standard. Screw it, make whatever works! It's just a 5-MPH flat-ground pedal car.
My sister's in a chair, I know how heavy it is, but since every time this thing goes out there's gonna be a crew of at least three other people, I think the simple easy solution is a shorter steeper ramp and the others just give the chair a shove up the ramp.

If I were building it, I wouldn't bother with any pre-existing wheelchair bike, I'd just build the center chair platform and mount cranks wherever is right for the chairperson's arms and run chains down to a shaft connected by sprockets to one of the wheels.
You can (and I have!) cut the pedal-crank section out of old bike frames and use them as carrier-bearings. You cut the pedal cranks off, and weld on u-joints, sprockets, whatever you need. You could have one on each side of the chair with a handle instead of the foot pedal screwed into it, cut the other side of the crank off, and run chains down from the sprockets that the cranks will already have on them.
I think chains are more efficient on human-powered vehicles. It sounds like a bad idea but some people run them without oil on the playa because the crud accumulation is worse than the lack of lubrication. Or just bring a tarp, stake it to the ground at your camp, park on it, and bring some cans of brake cleaner, WD-40, chain lube, etc. and clean your chains and sprockets every now and then.
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby FIGJAM » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:05 am

These might be an option.

I saw a guy on the playa with an adult trike being pushed with a Ridekick electric bike trailer.

It looked like it would be easy to build something similar with more range.

My interest was in getting some of the weight off my frame cause it's almost maxed out.

Then there's this thing. 8)


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FIGJAM
 
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Re: Building a Quadricycle

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:32 am

Was just looking at Craigs list and had an idea for cheap power assist for bikes or whatever.

There are a lot of listings under power wheels for those kids electric ride toys.

6 and 12 volt motors with controlers in those things and thier only $25 to $75.

Get the toys cheap and salvage the controlers, motors, and drives out of them to adapt to "projects"!

Just got the idea, so let the R&D begin!!!!!!!!! 8)
"Don't buy ur Burn...........Build ur Burn!"

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