PVC Pedal Car (Quadcycle)...

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PVC Pedal Car (Quadcycle)...

Postby InternetPilot » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:59 pm

Okay, I'm admittedly getting jealous over all the teardrop builds, but since I can't really get going on one of those at this time, I'd thought I'd share another project:

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It's a significantly modified version of the Side-Kick model using plans from AmericanSpeedster.com.

It has 20" wheels all around and 6 speed gearing. There are chainlink fence toprails in the bottom pipes, and the rear "axle" pipe and seat pipes have wooden dowels in them for extra support (easily handles a 500lb family of four).

The modifications included stretching the chassis a little (I'm tall), turning it into a 4-seater, changed it to more of a Model T look (instead of the original dune buggy style), and extended the surrey top. Quite a few build pics are in my album.

My kids love it, and it's great exercise for me. I get quite a few looks wherever I go in it (haven't caused any wrecks yet, but come close). Maybe one day I'll get around to building a teardrop. I have the plumbing part down (haha) -- I think my teardrop will have a full shower, toilet, etc., with all my PVC experience.

-- Chris
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Postby GuitarPhotog » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:25 pm

Nice!

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Postby Steve_Cox » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:43 pm

Chris,

Very nice job! :thumbsup:

I was just talking to a friend yesterday and we agreed that we should build a quadcycle. You have certainly raised the bar on design and given us a worthy goal to achieve. Did you build with all new parts?
Steve
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Postby InternetPilot » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:14 pm

Thanks, Steve & Chas.

Steve, I'm trying to get some time one of these weekends to trailer the pedal car down to St. Augustine to cruise around the Oldest City (give the locals something to hate other than the horse carriages). I've been increasing my range on it, but I don't think I could pedal it from Ponte Vedra to St. Augustine.

I did build it with all new parts. Dan @ American Speedster sells a bicycle part kit for $150 that includes all the actual bicycle parts that you'll need. I figure that's a pretty good deal since these days you can barely get a new beach cruiser for that, and I didn't want to end up with mix-matched wheels and such by going the salvaged route.

It was a lot of fun to build. Compared to your trailer builds, it would be a piece-o-cake to you! I modified the design A LOT on the fly -- it's so easy to do with the PVC. Just do all the mods before you glue! I built it last Summer and my twp younger sons and I have been riding it almost every evening since unless it was just bitterly cold.

It really gave me the build-bug -- I imagine I'd be in heaven building my own camper.
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Postby S. Heisley » Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:51 pm

I, too, have considered building a quadcycle as my next project. Yours is quite nice! Thanks for sharing the picture and the tips! Glad to hear you are enjoying it so much. :thumbsup: :applause:
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Postby Wimperdink » Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:06 am

I meant to comment on this earlier but got very lost at the link you provided, drooling.

Very cool. Add +1 to my list of possible future projects if I can get the first part of the list completed. :)
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Postby greekspeedoman » Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:58 am

That rocks! Now you need a PVC tear behind it and you can go travel across the nation (seriously).
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Postby Noob » Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:33 pm

Would you have any ( better ) pics of the pedals / drive train ?

Looks like the pass has one pedal/leg outside the "car" , while the driver is inside with both feet ?

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Postby starleen2 » Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:30 pm

any plans to electrify your version??
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Postby InternetPilot » Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:38 pm

Noob wrote:Would you have any ( better ) pics of the pedals / drive train ?

Looks like the pass has one pedal/leg outside the "car" , while the driver is inside with both feet ?


This is about the best I have without taking another photo:

Image

It's kind of a three-pedal system -- the middle pedal is double sized and shared by the driver and front passenger.

You are correct -- the front passenger is straddling the right side frame. This was done by the original designer in order to keep the pedal car narrow enough to fit in a standard bicycle lane. It really doesn't feel weird or like you're going to fall off (or tip the car, even for a big fellow like me). Because it can be pedaled from either front seat, I frequently sit in the front passenger seat and pedal while letting either of my two younger son's steer. The front seats are adjustable (slide front and back) a few inches, but they would have to be unbolted and then rebolted. That would allow for a smaller front seat passenger to help pedal (which the older I get the more I'll need the help, I'm sure).
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Postby InternetPilot » Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:50 pm

starleen2 wrote:any plans to electrify your version??


Yes! I do plan to install a electric hub motor on the right rear wheel sometime.

For those that have never heard of this type of motor (like me until a year ago) I think those hub motors are incredible -- they look almost like regular bicycle wheels and the motor is actually built-in to the wheel itself.

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Right now they're still a little on the pricey side ($600+ not including the batteries), so I was going to wait. There are newer ones just now hitting the market that allow for speeds up to 35-40mph, even on a heavier quadcycle like mine. The older ones are around the 25mph top speed, which is just fine for me, and the newer high speed ones entering the market should cause the slower speed models to drop in price.

Of course, the main reason why I'd be perfectly happy with the slower speed model is because I made/installed the brakes on the pedal car -- I don't think they'd stop properly from 35mph! I don't feel like trying to figure out how to upgrade the pedal car to a four-wheel disc brake system, so I think I'll just be happy with the a two-wheel caliper brake system and a slower motor.

By the way -- LOVE the Green Lantern trailer! Just read through the whole build thread!
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Postby Noob » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:27 pm

Bend the knees, watch the trees, 5$ please.
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Postby duke3522 » Fri Apr 01, 2011 9:15 pm

Hi everyone! My first post here, so be gentle 8) I was wondering if one of these PVC bikes could be reinforced to be able to handle my 6'7" frame, and my 475 weight. Looking forward to getting to know everyone.
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Postby InternetPilot » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:55 pm

Without divulging too much information lest my wife and her friend kill me, I've had four people (3 adults, 1 child) at a total of 540lbs on my pedal car (pictured in the first post of this thread).

Normally this pedal car was designed to be a two-seater -- not a four-seater. This is a pic of the original American Speedster Sidekick model design:

Image

Instead of using the individual boat seats, you can also make your own bench seat like the American Speedster Golf Coaster model:

Image

The Sidekick model (the design/model that I used for the base of my build) uses 1.25" PVC pipe, which is a rather strong pipe size. If you look at the pictures of the bike, it was specifically designed so that there aren't many pieces of pipe that are very long, which minimizes flexing. The bottom rails of the pedal car have chainlink fencing top-rails inside the PVC almost along the entire length. The rear "axle" has a 1" hardwood dowel inside the PVC from side to side. I also put wooden dowels in the PVC holding the seats, and reinforced the boards that the seats are mounted to using 2"x2" boards on the bottom of each plank. Here's a pic showing where the reinforcement is (Yellow is the chainlink fence railing and Green is hardwood dowels):

Image

I am 6'3" myself, so I had to modify the original design a little for my height. You can do this in three ways: (1) Stretch the chassis and/or (2) raise the height of the "dashboard" and steering wheel for leg clearance and/or (3) Raise the seats. I ended up doing all three. You can only stretch the chassis a maximum of about 3 inches without having to fabricate a new crank support shaft. Fabricating a longing shaft wouldn't be terribly difficult -- it's just an aluminum pipe. I also raised up the "dashboard" and to make up for the stretched chassis I lengthened the steering column so I could more easily reach it with my arms in a more relaxed position. Because I used an alternate step through side design, the seat mounts ended up being about 1" higher than the original design which helped a little for my height issues. I'm very happy with the results and I'm perfectly comfortable pedaling and steering with this modifications.

So, long story made short (too late!), yes, I think this pedal car could easily accommodate your weight and height. The design is really easy to modify during the build, because you cut everything, assemble it, and then take it all apart and glue it. Prior to the disassembly and glue, you can easily make what changes you want/need. I planned some of my modifications ahead of time, but also made quite a few changes on the fly when I saw potential problems/issues.

If you attempt this, good luck and have fun! I certainly had a lot of fun building it and equal amount of fun riding it around now.

-- Chris
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Postby duke3522 » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:23 pm

Thanks for the great post! And yeah, I'm gonna build one. Gas is becoming a huge burden, and one of these looks like a good way to cut fuel expenses.

One question though. Is there anyway to make one of these so it will break down to stow in my TD. I am going to be traveling a lot, and being able to stow a PVC bike would make things much easier
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