My Recumbent Bike Build

This was the 24 inch, 18 speed woman's mountain bike that my wife donated to the project.
I traded our oldest Grandson my 26 inch 18 speed mountain bike for his 20 inch bike (which he out grew the year before).
That was the beginning of a new RECUMBENT bike.

I have obtained the plans for a two wheel recumbent Long Wheel Base (LWB) bicycle from ATOMICZOMBIES.COM (AZ) and RECYCLED RECUMBENTS.COM by AD Carson.  I will combine the seat from Recycled Recumbent’s with the WildKat from AZ.

 Today (12 April 2010) I started  the build of my WildKat recumbent bicycle at the age of 65+ years of age.  Why you ask?  Bike riding is good exercise and my wife and I enjoy riding our three wheel recumbent trikes, and I like riding in a couple of organized distance rides, and the three wheeler is just too heavy (65 lbs) for a long ride to be real enjoyable.

I had talked to several local welding shops and asked for a price to cut and weld and they said any where from $300.00 to $500.00 US. I found it to be less costly to have the local Vo-Tech welding class to do the work for me as apposed to buying all the equipment that would be needed and only using it one or two builds, besides I haven’t welded for over 40 years and don’t really have a place to do the work, and it would take me a goooood loooong while to get back into the swing of welding.  The student that is doing the welding is Andy from the Manhattan, KS area Vo-Tech and is to graduate this May (2010).  When I talked to the instructor he gave me a price of $50.00 US.  I have taken my donor bikes (my wife’s 24 inch diamond frame and our oldest Grandson’s 20 inch Mountain bike and an extra bike just for parts to have on hand (just in case)..... Oh by the way I gave our Grandson my 26 inch diamond frame that was to small for me.

I’m using the seat plans for a Barnett Williams style slung seat from AD Carson’s web site and had an electrician friend of mine bent the conduit for me as he could do it in less time and less material than I could. I have the seat material and as soon as Andy says the seat frame is ready I will pick it up and sew the material on the frame (I’m using Phifertex fabric with a 70% closed weave vinyl coated mesh fabric, this should allow for some good air flow on my back vs the 90% closed).

The seat was finished over the weekend and was delivered to Andy on Monday. Andy and I talked about the seat how well it turned out and about the build in general. Andy said he is going to paint of the bike also so. We had talked about the logo that I was going to use then I decided that the logo would be too small and decided on just the name of OzKat.  The bike main color will be purple with an accent color of white or gray and the name will be in yellow for the yellow brick road of Oz.

OZKAT has arrived and rides well. Seat is comfortable.  First time I rode it I was dumped in a rain puddle and the wife laughed for 20 minutes. The seat wasn't tightened up and it twisted. Have fixed it now and it rides well.

Update:  As of 20 June 2010, I had to change out the front wheel from a 20 inch wheel to a 16 inch wheel due to some toe strike when turning and pumping through a turn.  This works a lot better.  I'm also looking at a way to add front brakes to the 20 inch front forks.  Will post the results when I get it done.

Update:  As of 30 June 2010, RIDE REPORT:  The wife and I went for a 5 mile bike ride at the State Park in town; she rode her SUN EZ3 USX tike (she said that she sure could tell that she hadn't ridden since the end of March) and I rode the new long wheel base (OZKat) bike.  It rides smooth (I even took it off road for a short distance) and has a lot of flex to the frame when going over ruff terrain or speed bumps. I have found out it is better to start in a low gear and then shift up as you gain speed. The wife said that I was doing a lot of weaving (and I knew I was) but I attribute that to not being that confident in my riding skills on this bike.  All in all it is one nice ride. It does take some getting use to and at this point I can't ride with out hands on the handlebars, (I believe the bicycle trail of the front wheel is not correct and would have to cut the head tube and reposition it the correct angle, but at this point I can live with not riding hands free) .

Update:  As of 18 August 2010, RIDE REPORT:  I now have around 80 miles on the bike. The more I ride this bike the more I learn. I have learned early on that if you start off on a ride in a higher gear you will have some trouble and a lot of wobble. If you start in a lower gear you will be able to start easily and smoothly and once rolling you can shift to a more comfortable riding gear.

Update: As of 9 September 2010: Front Brake has been added (finally got a round to it). Had to build a bridge for a mounting point for the brake, install the brake and run cable housing with cable and then adjust the brake. I bought all of the brake parts from the LBS (local bike store) for $50.00. While I was at the LBS I bought a helmet mounted rear view mirror for a safety device. I should be set for some long rides; although I still want to install tire liners......but that can come when I need to replace the tires and tubes.

Update:  As of  10 April 2011:  In December 2010 we left for Arizona and I took the Oz-Kat with me. While in Arizona I rode almost everyday (about 5 miles a day); I put over 500 miles on while there and was even in the Christmas Parade for the RV Park. While in the parade I discovered why I was having trouble with all of the start/stop action that was going on - the gear I was starting in was too high. I dropped to a lower gear and that ended the problem for me (other than the other participants seem to want to stop and partake of refreshments on every other camp site), but all and all it was a fun time with a lot of friends with their golf carts and other friends on bikes and trikes.

 I talked to several people about the Oz-Kat and the Atomic Zombie way of doing things. Two people told me they were going to order plans. I only hope that they follow through.

I MUST AGAIN say a special THANK YOU to Brad and Kate for having such a fun and informing hobby and site. I have enjoyed every minute that I ride my LWB Oz-Kat.  I will continue to direct people to your site.

Pictures of the build process can be viewed by clicking on the bike picture.