Bike builders news – Building a velo: Part 7

Feature article by RadicalBrad of

Building a Velomobile – Part 7
Welding the sides outside on a makeshift workbench.
Feature article by RadicalBrad: Already Been Done?
What’s new might actually be old.
Bike builders community chat – hot topics of conversation
Bike builders gallery – new additions:
recumbents, trikes, choppers, cargo bikes & moreBuilders Feedback – we love to hear from you.


Hub flanges and axle adapters for your bike projects
now shipping worldwide 

Free DIY tutorials – now available in PDF format

New AZTV webisode – There and Back Again: A Zombie’s Tale

This and archived newsletters are here.
Thanks for your feedback, and keep those suggestions coming.
See you in the Builders Forum.

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Velo project update & newsletter


Progress has been a bit slow due to extreme cold weather and a very untidy basement that’s limited our velo project workspace. But, rest assured fellow bike builders – an update on the velo project will be unveiled very soon, maybe even today.

And, a new issue of the AZ bike builders newsletter will be online in the next couple of days. We have an exciting announcement coming soon, so stay tuned!

Bike builders news November 23

Feature article by RadicalBrad of Building a Velomobile – Part 2
In this week’s issue, Brad makes a scale model of the velo body shape and design considerations.
Hub flanges and axle adapters for your bike projects
Bike builders community chat
Bike builders gallery – new additions: recumbents, trikes, choppers, tall bikes, kids’ bikes, cargo bikes & more

This and archived newsletters are here.


Thanks for your feedback, and keep those suggestions coming.

See you in the Builders Forum.

Human Powered Transportation Projects

New in the Atomic Zombie builders gallery

Kyoto cruiser and velo

“Sociable dual velo project. Kyoto Trike rear was modified to fit into a double wide Stormy Weather shell. The Quad is just a fun thing to build in two weeks. One seat has been removed so the drive train can be seen. I have since changed to Sturmey 8 speed internal hubs as a mid drive to reduce my chain handling issues.This version of the Kyoto should fit into the Stormy shell we are building. You can see both the shell and the sociable at the Toronto bike show in March.”

cargo bike

“Seat cover idea made from an old work coat.” Pictures submitted by HPTA.

atomiczombie bike gallery

Build a velomobile – Part 1

Every time I find myself standing at the gas pump, holding down the lever while the dollars spin past, I tell myself that there must be a better way. Let’s face it, the cost of using a gas guzzler adds up to a lot more than just a dent in your wallet each time you fill ’er up, although the pain you feel at the pump is certainly instant. How about all of the effects to the environment?

Using a gas powered vehicle to pick something up from the store a few blocks away is certainly convenient, especially on a cold day when you can just press a button on your car remote starter and let the interior heat up for you. But, with millions of people doing this, what is the net cost on the environment? Call me paranoid, but with the crazy worldwide weather we have been experiencing in recent years, I think the answer is obvious. From this point forward, I will use the word “car” to refer to all gas guzzling ground transportation vehicles.

Environmental issues aside, there are many good personal reasons to be leaving the gas guzzler parked more often. My health has been impacted by the convenience of the car since the first day I passed my road test. How did I all get around in the days before becoming enslaved to my car? Well, besides begging for an occasional ride, I got around on foot or by bike!

I remember how simple things were back then. My main concerns were usually how long it would take to get from point A to B and making sure that my tires had air. I had no expensive repairs, no insurance costs, no parking problems, and didn’t have to work overtime just to pay for fuel. Ironically, I had more free time even though it took a lot longer by bike because I didn’t have to schedule in time for exercise because it came with the lifestyle! That extra body weight was a direct result of using a car, too. Sure, the car helps me get around in a hurry, but I end up either wasting more time and money to sweat over a treadmill or consulting with a doctor on how to fix my health.

Seems as though in our later years we have things backwards, don’t you think? “DING!”Oh, hold on a minute, the truck is filled now. I have to go give the attendant another $70 bucks!

I’ve decided to get a grip on my shrinking wallet and ever expanding waistline, and find a practical way to leave the car at home as much as possible. Now, the key word here is “practical”. Living in the a rural area of Northern Ontario means that I will always need a reliable car or truck to move large cargo and to travel large distances to the city in the winter, but since there are some local stores within riding distance a bike could certainly be used for many journeys.

For those who live in the city, a practical human powered vehicle with some cargo capacity could also be used for many local trips, such as grocery runs or social calls. For me, practical also means affordable and robust, which almost always translates to home built, which to us DIY types is great news. Of course, there are commercially available human powered vehicles “velomobiles” for those who can afford them, but since they tend to be as costly as a decent used car, they are out of reach for most.

All of these velomobiles pictured above are obvious works of art, but there is no way I would ever part with ten grand for something that I could build myself. Obviously, there will be tradeoffs between cost and aesthetics, but there is no reason why a very practical and sturdy velomobile could not be built using readily available parts by anyone with a few basic tools and a lot of motivation.

In fact, I have seen some home built velos that are streamlined works of art, but often the cost of materials used and the skill set needed are beyond most of use weekend garage hackers, and the end product is more like a hotrod than a bike you would want to take out in traffic or ride around in the rain.

My goal is to build a body using basic materials that is both aesthetically pleasing yet at the same time tough enough to live in the real world. Living in the real world means taking Mother Nature’s wrath of rain, sleet, hail, wind, and constant bombardment of UV radiation. Living in the real world means surviving the odd ding, dent, or scratch from crowded urban environments, being able to bounce over a curb and take the abuse of a poorly maintained road without shaking to pieces. Living in the real world also means living in the urban jungle, so the vehicle will need to be visible in traffic and include the usual safety gear such as rear view mirrors, brake lights, head lights, turn signals and a horn. Living in the real world means offering the pilot some shelter from the elements without requiring any acrobatic maneuvers to climb in and out of the vehicle. And of course, living in the real world means that the vehicle must include some practical cargo carrying capacity for such things as groceries, a battery pack, and personal items.

So with all of these goals in mind, the first choice becomes – delta, tadpole or quad?

The type of base vehicle will determine the overall shape of the body as well as its load carrying capabilities, handling characteristics and aerodynamic advantages.  Choosing one of the three configurations was actually quite a chore as they all offered advantages and disadvantages when it came to costs, aesthetics, practicality, and ease of building. In the end, I decided that a delta trike would be the most practical base vehicle, but I will discuss all three possibilities, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

Part 2 tomorrow

Freewheel axle adapters are in stock

Freewheel axle adapters

Shipments went out on October 4 to anyone who had back ordered the adapters. If your order contained freewheel adapters and other parts, your order was also shipped yesterday.

You will receive an email from Purolator (Canada Post for domestic orders) with tracking information within 48 hours. Thanks for your patience.

The freewheel axle adapters fit any Shimano style thread-on freewheel and a standard 6 bolt bicycle disc brake rotor. Drilled for a 3/4 inch axle and includes a 1/4 inch mounting bolt. Disc brake mounting holes are tapped for standard M5 bolts.

To add a transmission to your trike or quadcycle, you will need to install a freewheel onto one of the rear axles. A freewheel is a single speed or multi-speed sprocket that can ratchet in reverse so that drive power is only applied to the axle when it turns in the clockwise rotation. A standard Shimano type freewheel is installed by threading it on in the clockwise rotation. A more detailed description of a Shimano thread-on freewheel can be seen on our DIY tutorials page.

The freewheel axle adapter is used for these projects: StreetFighter Racing Quad, Kyoto Cruiser Tandem Trike, LodeRunner Cargo Bike, LodeRunner Tandem Cargo Bike and Aurora Delta Racing Trike.

The axle adapter can fit with these projects with some modifications: TimberWolf Suspension Trike, DeltaWolf Racing Trike, DeltaRunner Delta Trike and Gladiator Chopper Trike. More >>

Disc brake adapters

Our Delta Trike Axle Disc brake Adapter fits onto any 3/4 inch axle and allows for the installation of a standard ISO standard 6 bolt bicycle disc brake rotor. With this part, you can add reliable disc brake stopping power to any trike or quadcycle using only standard bicycle components. The included locking bolt secures the part to the axle and allows for easy removal at a later time. The 6 disc rotor mounting holes are also tapped so you can mount your bicycle disc brake rotor using the standard M5 bolts that are supplied with it. The DBAX34 Delta Trike Disc Brake Adapter is a high quality machined part made of aluminum and anodized black.

Bicycle disc brakes are widely used and fairly inexpensive, so they are the perfect option for adding brakes to a delta trike or any other DIY project that has more than one wheel in the back. Bicycle disc brakes are also highly effective on even the largest cargo trike, and will offer superior breaking power for many years without needing any adjustment. Our Trike Axle Disc Brake Adapter will fit any diameter disc brake rotor that uses the ISO standard 6 bolt mounting pattern. More >>

Gallery pics – Tadpole Trikes

 *** Bicycles from around the world ***

More than 150 tadpole trikes migrated from the old gallery to the new one.

Here’s a sample of some of the handmade bikes submitted by bike builders just like you:

Check out these and other handmade bikes in the Atomic Zombie gallery.

Submit pictures of your own bikes, too. It’s free!