How to Build a Tricycle for Adults?

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Long gone are the days when tricycles were only made for children. Adult tricycles offer plenty of fun and even a few benefits over traditional bicycles. They are perfect for teenagers and elderly individuals who have difficulties getting around on their feet.

Tricycles make outdoor adventures more fun since they are more stable than traditional bicycles. They can also be customized to suit your personal style.

Building a tricycle is easy, with the right technical know-how and tools. It is the ultimate way to make a statement and stand out from the crowd. In this post, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to build an adult tricycle.

What You Need To Know Before Getting Started

You don’t need any welding skills but a spacious workspace is a must.

Important tools to have on hand include rotary drill, hacksaw, power drill and a Dremel. Other things you may need include;

  • Adjustable wrenches
  • Headset lock ring
  • Stem clamp
  • Steering tube
  • Nuts and washers
  • Seat
  • U clamps

The easiest way to get started is use recycled bicycles. Three used bicycles in good state will do. Two of the bikes should have the same frame size to ensure the rear triangles of the tricycle match.

When choosing a used bicycle for this project, consider the number of gears you want. Be on the lookout for bicycles with flat handlebars as they’ll make it easier to replace the shifting mechanism.


Tackling the Front

As previously stated, starting with a used bicycle is the easiest way to go about this task. Use the front of one of the used bicycles to build the front of the tricycle. This ensures the front brake and steering remain as designed on the original bicycle.

This stage doesn’t require a lot of cutting mainly because the rear triangle needs to remain intact. You can use the hacksaw to cut off the seat post provided you leave everything else intact.

Tackling the Rear

You’ll need the bicycles with same frame size for this part. Use the hacksaw to cut down the seat post to where it meets the frame. Some wood may come handy will serve as a base for the seat and rear triangles to rest on top of. It can be any shape, but cutting it to match the shape and width of your tricycle is best. Screw the rear triangles into the wood base, with the right side up, using a power drill and U-clamp. You can also clamp the base to the lower rear fork of the bike.

Tackling the Gears

Setting the gearing is incredibly important and a little more involving. This is because tricycles use a longer chain than standard bicycles. That said, use a chain tool to combine both chains. The resulting chain should connect the front crank to a jackshaft that runs between the rear bicycles. You may have to purchase a pipe, which will serve as a jackshaft.

Use a cog from the remains of the front bike to transfer power from the crank to the jackshaft. Simply add it to the right side of the jackshaft. Add a second cog on the left. A second chain will come handy when connecting the rear wheel to the existing cassette. It’s important to note that this provides power to one wheel and as such, the tricycle may not be ideal for muddy or wet conditions.

Tackling the Brakes

Assuming you left the front brake intact, it’s crucial that you have at least one functional rear brake. Reconnecting the rear brake is relatively easy since all you need to do is run a brake cable from the rear brake handle to the caliper brake. It is incredibly similar to running a brake cable on traditional bicycles.

If you have real engineering skills and need a brake system, you can do away with the front brake. Replace it with a brake lever that clamps down both rear brakes simultaneously. You’ll need a mechanism that allows one brake lever to activate different brakes at the same time to make it functional.

Tackling the Seat

Everyone needs a comfortable seat when riding a tricycle and at this point, it’s the only thing your adult tricycle doesn’t have. You can sit on the plywood base installed before or opt for more comfortable seating. Have any metal patio chairs that you don’t use? Cut off its legs. You can use a kayak seat or stadium seat as well.

Final Word

Building an adult tricycle is easy and considerably cheaper than purchasing a new one. Additionally, nothing is more satisfying than building something and seeing it come to fruition.

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