Recumbent bicycles offer an aerodynamic advantage over upright cycles due to the reduced frontal area hitting the wind. You also have a massive strength advantage as you can now deliver the full power of your legs directly into the cranks as your back is pushed into the seat. On an upright cycle, you can only deliver as much force as you weigh, and any more will just lift you off the seat. Having the cranks so high from the ground also means that you can blast into corners without slowing down or worrying about where your pedals are.
The building process is designed to allow anyone with a Do-It-Yourself desire to finish his or her own version of the Spirit SWB without requiring previous bike building experience or specialized tools and skills. The plan is laid out in a format that makes customization or alternate parts usage a breeze, so you will certainly be able to include your own imagination in the process of building a fast recumbent cycle.
With the adjustable bottom bracket and unique frame design, riders with shorter legs will be able to pilot the Spirit SWB without dealing with crank interference with the front wheel. All components used can be found at your local bicycle shop or salvaged from another bicycle, and there are no machined parts necessary. There is plenty of room for your own design changes, and the Spirit can be built using the parts you have available to you.
12MB PDF file
131 high resolution pictures, plus detailed diagrams
Have a look at our Builder’s Gallery to see many other similar short wheelbase examples, including many creative modifications to the plan. Our international builders community ranges from students to retired engineers, but they all have one thing in common – the desire to build their own stuff!
“They’re finally done. When me and wife ride these down the street they generate a lot of second looks. She calls them our lazy-boy bikes because they’re so comfortable to ride.
While building these I looked around the internet for alternate ideas, but always returned to Brad’s design. I’ve seen other trikes that cost over $1,000 that don’t look as good as these. Well done, Brad & Kat.
Mark Storen aka Kindamental”
Awesome on both counts, Mark. You and your wife are certainly riding in style. Well done!
“Here is my RD bike. I built it about four years ago. This is a four speed, two forward pedal gears and two back pedal gears.
“Scout” is a solid commuter/townie as well as an intrepid explorer. The transmission was patented in the 1880s, so it’s nothing new. I’ve pedaled Scout forwards and backwards thousands of miles and it just keeps going (forward).
“Your new stomping grounds look great. I hope you fill all those acres up with new creations. Thanks, Joe.”