News and Events

Keep up to date with the latest news and events of Modular Bikes.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Timber Leaning Trike Part 7

Gluing and screwing parts together.  The "hi vis shirt" is mainly a "dirt shirt" to save my better clothes getting crap like paint and resin and sawdust all over them.

Head Tube Plates,

gluing them.

Painting bottom bracket shell.

Ripping apart 2 bottom brackets from a failed experiment.

Drying parts overnight.  I moved on from the frame to painting some seat parts.

Right to left: Phoebe, Christine, Sarah, Ewan, Richard Stephen.
3d printer, woohoo!


I've been continuing to build the frame for my wooden leaning trike and now its almost finished.  I've screwed and glued on the head tube plates and varnished the frame, and assembled and painted one of the bottom brackets.  The other bottom bracket had a few problems, the thread somehow became knackered, and I needed to whack an assembly of 2 shells onto the lather to harvest one good one.  Outside of biking, my brother has been visiting from England and we caught up at a nearby restaurant, and I ordered and received a new Cetus 3d printer.  More on the printer once I put it together and have it working.


Steve Nurse

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Timber Leaning Trike Part 6

Repairing one of the timber bike parts.  The diameter of the hole for the head tube bearing was too small, and this setup was used to fix it.

Preparing the steel plates used to distribute stress from the head tube bearings into the frame.  The holes that will carry screws needed to be enlarged and chamfered.  I'm not using all the holes in the plates.

Finishing off the frame.  With this epoxy glue, I'm binding the internal frame reinforcements to the frame sides.

Parts stored under cover at the end of the day.  One side of the frame has been glued and the prepared steel plates have been painted ready to be attached to the frame.


Pictures tell the story today.


Steve Nurse

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Timber Leaning Trike Part 5

Tapping chainring bolts with a 3/16" tap ......

So it can carry an extra "trouser guard"

Screwing the lower part of the frame to the front end

All the front plates in place

Record Store Day poster outside Basement Discs

Parking right out the front!

"Thin White Ukes" playing inside, I stayed for 3 or 4 songs.
My wife Christine at home, checking out my op shop purchases

Tailbox demounted so....

I could do this repair, securing the 2 sides of the bottom part together.

 Hi, here are a few photos of bike building and excursions from the last few days.  I spent some time working on the chainring for the bike which will be a 38 tooth Biopace.  It needs 2 chainguards to work on my bike, and I made one by cropping the teeth off a larger chainring.  The second is timber and today I tapped the chainring bolts to accommodate screws to hold the timber guard.

In the middle of the day I got out, visited Basement discs in the city on World Record Store Day wher the big attraction was a free Billy Bragg performance.  It was crowded and by the time I left they were full up, only letting one person in for each one going out.  Good on 'em!

On the way home, I visited an op shop, the council recycling depot and the hardware store.  In the afternoon, I did a bit more work on the wooden bike frame, gluing together some more assemblies.  All for now,

Steve Nurse

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Timber Leaning Trike Part 4

Start of the day.  These are the frame side plates as they were cut from the plywood together with the solid plywood parts (made yesterday) they will join.

Some more parts I worked with today, they will make up top and bottom plates for the frame.

2 types of corners, those circled green is cut with an extra semicircular profile to eliminate interference between the rectangular timber pin and the hole.  The corners circled red were drawn as right angle corners but the inner corners show the tool tip radius.

Removing the excess part of the rectangular pin.  I've placed a spare plywood part over the pin to get the right cut length.
Clamping after gluing.

Top plate is 3 layers thick, clamping after screwing and gluing.

Me in the back yard with one of my current bikes.

Work done at the end of the day.  Top and bottom sets of parts are glued together and drying.  Hopefully they will dry straight.

Hi, here are some photos and captions showing today's progress.


Steve Nurse

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Timber Leaning Trike Part 3

Lining up the pieces for the back of the bike frame with a bottom bracket shell and a piece of 20 x 12 dressed all round timber.  This is the same section used in the steerer.

Putting glue on those pieces.  It's a 2 part glue, not mixed yet in this photo
The same process for the front of the bike

Back part of the frame.  There's a bit of extra glue there that needs cleaning up.
Front part of the frame with the front fork in place.
Hi, today I've been gluing bits of bike together, its been going quite well.  Soon I'll be able to put the whole frame together.  I made a few mistakes in the drawing, and am writing down a list of these as I go, they will be fixed up in the next version.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Timber Leaning Trike Part 2

Some sawn-off parts, those on the left are unsanded, on the right, sanded

Small Sawn-off parts, and the piece they come from. They are used to clip the tailbox panels on to the tailbox.

Internal brace before sawing.
These parts will be glued together to make solid timber for the rear axle.  This shows parts cut out of pieces.  The rectangular holes are where rectangular DAR timber will slot in to keep all the parts in line while glueing.

Front section that will become solid timber.  The gap between the 2 stacks of timber (right) is for the head tube and the large round tube is for the bottom bracket.


Last Thursday, all the routed timber that will make up the trike arrived.  This is NC routed by TGC Building , and I have begun removing parts that will be glued together to make the trike from the pieces which have been cut from 4mm hoop pine marine ply. The parts of the frame that need to be strong are the 2 ends, as they need to absorb forces from the wheels, chain and bottom bracket.  So the back and front will be solid plywood, made from laminating sheets together.  The front and back form small modules, I will glue these together next, and that can be done independant of the complete frame gluing.  Till next time!

Steve Nurse

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Timber Leaning Trike Part 1

A mockup of what it will look like.  I took the seat / tailbox from one trike, the steerer from another, and plonked it on my timber frame trike.

A few parts which have been gathered together to build the trike.  7 speed, 26" front wheel, 11 - 40 sunrace rear cog set, 26" unsuspended MTB forks, custom laser-cut dropouts. 
Bending the forks to suit the front wheel.  This process is repeated a few times until the gap between the dropouts is wide enough.

Jig for keeping back brake bosses in place while brazing.

Standard fork dropouts removed, new one in place 

Timber steerer side-plates which were made from 1 large piece and need to be sawn apart.

Reaming headstem parts so they fit snug around the handlebars.

At this stage the timber for the steerer is all predrilled but needs to be glued together.  Handlebars were acquired at the Abbotsford Cycle market as per my last post.


(June 25, 2017 You can skip ahead to a video of the completed trike.  Here is the link )

Over the past 2 years I have made 6 versions of leaning trikes which includes Vi Voung's "ilean" wheelset design at the back.  This has all been part of an industrial design master's degree, and I've been on a scholarship which has been my wages (woohoo!).  A few months ago the scholarship ended, I'm pootling around now looking for my next gig.

One opportunity that came up is the Dangerous Designs timber design competition, and a few months ago I decided to enter it.  I have built a few wooden HPVS before and even plywood leaning trikes, but the plywood leaning trike (like the ones shown 8 photos down here  or in this video) wasn't made to the you beaut, latest spec and I didn't feel like entering it in the competition.  I mocked up what my best leaning trike could look like, and this is shown in the top photo.

But still not good enough!  To enter the competition properly, I really wanted to build a trike to my latest and best design, so I set about working on the design.  Because previous designs were part of my work and masters degree, I didn't document building them very much in the blog.  But I will try to document this one a bit better, here we go with part 1.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Abbotsford Cycles Market

Bike Market At Abbotsford Cycles today

Free Stuff!

The market.  I didn't wait for the train to go past.  It was just there.

Ross Harrup Checks my bike

Book 1 from free stuff, formicone manual

Book 2 from free stuff, Raleigh "A Shortened Illustrated History of the Bicycle"

Book 3 from free stuff, "How to be a good bike rider and a safe one!"

Formicone Detail 1

Formicone 2

Formicone 3

Images 1 from "How to....."

Images 2

Images 3

Images 4

Images 5

I spent some of today reassembling and storing trikes, but managed to find an hour or so late in the morning to slip down to Abbotsford Cycles where a bike market was taking place.  And it was a good move.  I bought a t-shirt and  spoke to a few people I knew.  The market was ending and a few stallholders were giving away stuff they didn't want to take home with them, and I grabbed a few books and pamphlets.  A pair of wide handlebars I had wanted had gone from the stall they were on and I panicked a bit but they had wound up on the free stuff pile.    Over the next few weeks I hope to be building a new trike, and I plan to blog about all of it. The handlebars should work well on the trike. Woohoo!

One of the pamphlets is a 70 page Formicone bike manual.  The formicone is an Italian modular bike and has various strange tech like extendable forks built into it. At one stage I owned a Formicone Tandem and wrote a web page about it, so was quite pleased to get this.

Another item is a bike safety pamphlet, printed entirely in red and yellow ink.  I am sure Scott Adams who writes the Dilbert comics got a good long look at these characters before he started his career.  The last pamphlet is a Raleigh short History of the bicycle.

Anyway, it was a nice outing and I was glad to catch up with Ross, Adrian and John Harland.

Till next time

Steve Nurse