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Saturday, February 25, 2012

A survey of open source recumbent bike and hpv projects


Shortly I will be posting a pdf of my recumbent bike plans on the internet.  To aid discussion I've prepared some links to existing open source or interesting hpv concepts and projects.

A modular bike project using aluminium extrusions as the basis for a range of bikes (from Thibaut Solloignon in France) is reaching an interesting stage, here are some links: Bulletin Board Posts
Crowd Funding:  (Added April 9, 2015)

The AAZZAA project contains open source plans for a recumbent trike.  Plans are quite detailed and there are links to suppliers of various trike parts and services as well as a guide to obtaining free 2d and 3d cad software.  Some parts look quite complex. (Added Mar 15, 2015)

PVC Pipe should make an interesting and not much explored material for recumbents. The pipe comes in different sizes and glues together very easily with a large range of accessories intended for plumbing application like reducers, joiners, tees, thread adapters, elbows and couplings.   Some examples of recumbent builds are here (pipe and gaffer tape python recumbent) and here (mockup for bamboo trike, which seems to include some very fine building techniques)
     PVC pipe and sockets seem to be incredibly cheap and easy to work with and the idea of building bikes from it only came to me after working on a pump shed at work, making up and connecting pipe fittings.
     Because it is so simple, the technique lends itself to large scale recumbent builds (including surrys / pedal cars all the way up to a recumbent Porsche) and bike accessories including parking stands, luggage racks, fairings and repair stands.  I have mentioned making bikes from plastic pipe to one of my bosses at work. He has a grudging respect for my wooden bike but is completely horrified at the idea of a plastic pipe bike!

Peter from the Netherlands is posting some interesting material about building a laminated wooden recumbent here (added Feb 2014) is the site of a Russian group I stumbled across via Youtube.   An interesting modular trike concept. They have a great footbrake on the trike, its interesting to see the suspended seat in action, and possibly most amusingly, their video has incredibly cheesy music! (added Feb 2014) and associated web pages like relate to the PYTHON low-racer centre-steer recumbent bike.  Lots of projects listed and photographed.  Its easy to remember and find a name like Python! (Since initially writing this post, I have posted a new Monsterbike page off the main Wiki page. ) seems like a great website, it is gently commercial and works on collaborative principles.  Some great designs have come out of this site and an email to me from Rick Willoughby got me thinking about the collaborative approach to bike improvement.

The Tin Lisa Project shows a simple recumbent cycle but  there are no sign of any plans being available. is devoted to one form of recumbent delta trike.  Lots of features like discussion groups. shows pictures of modular trikes and accessories and cargo trikes made from the aluminium tube common as a sort of Meccano set for building conveyors and other engineering machinery  .  There are no plans for the trikes that I can see. The group's home page is one of the most underwhelming I have seen but seems to bounce off to a range of interesting ideas regarding recycling and low-tech or no-tech construction. (2 Nov 2013) Although this link to "Mindbike" does not include any bike plans, the site is very interesting in that the bikes shown illustrate what can be done with a custom extrusion design in a compact format bike. Some of the modular possibilities of the bike are shown on this page.  Mindbike is from Japan.

Instructables, seems to be a rich source of recumbent bike plans and discussions with several many bike builders contributing.  And how could you resist this: "What could be more practical than a bicycle that doubles as a pencil?! "  Users pay a small fee to be able to download plans (pdfs) of bikes, trikes and probably just about everything else.

Atomic Zombie has a blog supporting its business of selling bike plans and its home page links to a wealth of bike building ideas,

The setup for discussions and postings at Xtracycles is a link to a yahoo discussion group via the Community / Roots Radicals menu selection.

This link leads to a range of recumbent bikes and trikes and parts designed in 3d cad programs such as Solidworks.  Not sure if the plans are immediately useful unless you have Solidworks or a similar 3d cad program.  As well drawings, practical descriptions and photos are the things that most people need to start building a bike, I don't think grabcad provides this.

This recumbent share page contains an extensive variety of homebuilt recumbent bike projects.

Evolve Trikes founders Eric and Alan Ball posted some plans for their early trikes and bikes on the net, jump off from here.
Here is a report on eventual closure of the Vicnet site where these plans are posted.  The same link includes links to plans for my own "Zeica" bike.

Two articles about velomobiles are near the bottom of the articles on this page of  the Australsian Transport Research Forum site .  Rather wordy articles, and not much in the form of actual plans, but some interesting ideas are discussed.

There is a wealth of material available from the Wisil site.  Jump off from here.

(March 10, 2013) My latest wooden bike bears some resemblance  to the 2 x 4 lowracer.  Plans for this bike are for sale through James Robinson.  There are several versions of this bike documented on the internet:

Peter from the Netherlands is posting some interesting material about a lowracer build here (added Feb 2014)

Nick has a version on his Ligneus Bikes site,
The marvellous XnTRICK cycles has a version here.

(Nov 2, 2013) After some correspondance with Paul Needham about bikes, he sent me this link .  There seems to be quite a lot of information there and Paul had used Edgar Atkins work as a basic reference for bending plywood for recumbent seats.

(4 Feb 2014) A google image search found me looking at this blog page  .   This trike is by Lothar Kochtokrax, its one of many shown on the site, which also includes descriptions of several home builds, tips on building with corflute, etc. etc. etc. A very good resource

Thats it, I'll be posting a link to my bike plans in the next post. Regards Steve Nurse


  1. Hi Steve,

    Nice collection of links :-)

    Found this manual for the framework for the trike at

    (N55 is an artist group based in Copenhagen. The group works with art in everyday life)

    Lars Knudsen

    1. Thanks for the link, Lars. Some nice cad work and graphics in those plans.

      Steve Nurse

  2. Do you have wood two-wheel bike project?

  3. Hi, You can look in the blog and see that I have a couple, although most of the bikes I made are a few years old now, I have been concentrating on leaning trikes for a while. Go here see one of the wooden bikes. Some of the newer (trike)posts about tailboxes and steerers would be applicable to some of my wooden bike builds as well. Regards

    Steve Nurse

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