Mountain trike (note: 2 wheels on front)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Mountain trike (note: 2 wheels on front)

    About a week ago I posted this in the NorCal forum in a thread about a concept off-road big wheel. Didn't get any feedback about my own concept mountain trike, so I figured I'd post it here in a more widely viewed forum.
    I wrote:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "A couple of nights ago, I came up with a new design for mountain biking.... or rather mountain triking. Okay, so the Lefty fork has one blade.... but what if a fork also had a Righty side to it? Two independently moving blades with two front wheels and two front brakes. An ambidextrous fork...... called the Ambi. Now, the two front wheels won't be too far apart.... perhaps 1.5 to 2 inches or so.
    The objective is to attain improved traction and handling. Or even if it's just a fun thing to ride, then mission accomplished.
    The biggest flaw with this design deals with having rocks or roots getting wedged between the two wheels. The rock is either going to get pulled around and fly off at some point, the rock gets shimmied loose by the independent oscillation of the separate blades, or the rock or root stays lodged in the trail and the rider gets pitched over the bars. Or, maybe there will be no pitchage if the momentum of the trike is great enough. Perhaps buttering the front tires will be routine maintenance.

    How would a mountain trike like this handle? I imagine having two gyros that are on each side of the steering axis would make it handle differently than a typical fork whose single wheel is on the steering axis.

    There could be various models:
    The 099er - aka One Buck Chuck - 20" rear wheel, two 29" fronts
    The 499er - 24" rear, two 29" fronts
    The 666er - aka The Number of the Trike - three 26" wheels
    The 699er - 26" rear, two 29" fronts
    The b99er - aka BioDiesel - 650b rear, two 29" fronts
    The "Oh! Beer!" - 20" rear, two 650b fronts
    The 999er - aka The Devil's Headstand - three 29" wheels

    I was thinking the brand of the bike could be John Steere (like John Deere), The Tractor Bike Company, and the mascot would be a steer riding a tractor. Of course it also ties in with the steering of the front end. Then I remembered that steers are castrated bulls, and that subject matter is not cool. Not a good way to market a mountain trike, that's for sure.

    If this mountain triking thing takes off, perhaps someday people will be hanging out in the mttr (Mountain Trike Review) forums.

    I've searched around the net but haven't found any forks that use two wheels on the front. Is this because my design is too crazy? Or is it because I've tapped into the space-time continuum and I can see what people will be riding in the future?..... and by future, I mean as soon as this fork is manufactured and ridden, which could very well be done in the next couple of weeks if someone around these parts is willing to do the fabrication."


    Today, I told my uncle about this design, and he told me the Piaggio MP3 scooter also has two wheels on the front.

    Thoughts on my mountain trike design?
    To ride this trail is completely free.
    Just show me a triangle..... make it three!

  2. #2
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    So instead of riding some sweet singletrack, it would be all jacked up and be called... tripletrack.

  3. #3
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    You're adding an unbelievable amount weight right at the front of the bike, complexity, added maintenance, harder repairs, and we haven't even begun to discuss its behavior on the trails. I can barely keep a single wheel on track sometimes there's no way I could find a spot for two tires to fit in some places I've been. I think those scooters were built for people with no balance and so they could park more easily, not because they were superior to two wheeled machines.

    But I'm just being negative. Why don't you get a welder and knock out a quick prototype? Even if you simply welded two forks together by the legs it should give you an idea of what the bike will feel like. Every bike design has to start somewhere, and perhaps it could be a machine that would appeal to people with balance issues or maybe even disabilities. I worked with several people over the years who were looking for trike bikes for various reasons but didn't want the beach cruiser pigs, they usually end up with recumbent so maybe you could push into that market by offering an alternative. Not sure a mountain bike trail is where this machine is going to shine though.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  4. #4
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    I'm completely aware of the extra weight that's being added. I'm wondering if this would benefit downhill bikes, where weight savings are not at the top of the list, and traction and control are. Plus, I think the rotating weight of an additional front wheel might be a plus on downhills.
    While welding a test fork that allows for two fronts may seem like a good way to get a general feel for how two fronts might behave, having the fork blades and wheels traveling independently would feel much different, especially when the trail is curvy. The goal is to have both wheels simultaneously in contact with the trail, as opposed to the left wheel lifting up an losing contact when leaning right, and vice versa.
    To ride this trail is completely free.
    Just show me a triangle..... make it three!

  5. #5
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    I'm picturing myself.ripping down the trail, coming into a turn and being leaned over inside the turn. At this point, one of the two front wheels would be off the dirt.

    What benefit would this bike offer? Also, with the width of a front hub, how would these wheels be positioned to be 2 inches apart? I just don't get the concept. Sorry.

  6. #6
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    Going through a turn, I'm not so sure that one of the wheels would be off the dirt. If they were on the same axle, and the lower legs of the fork were connected with a bridge, then sure, of course the outside wheel would come off the dirt. With two independent shocks that are not connected by a bridge, the inside leg should compress while the outside leg extends, thus both should, in theory (my theory), stay in contact with the ground.

    Having them spaced 2 inches apart is easy. The hub extends past the tire by about 7/16" to 1/2". Let's say 1/2". The other wheel, the same 1/2". So, that gives us 1" between the two hubs..... the Lefty hub and the Righty hub. 1" of hubs-past-the-tires + 1" of space between hubs = 2" gap between tires.

    I'm fully aware of the weight that's being added with a third wheel. This is not intended to be an XC race bike.
    For one of the reasons that fat bikes exist, this might end up being something that's just fun to ride. Something different that behaves a bit out of the ordinary, and hopefully achieves improved control and traction on rough, curvy descents. I also wonder about the momentum by having one more wheel.

    If anything, it would certainly be an interesting conversation piece and the front end would cause a number of double takes.

    I'm just curious about the design. I've never seen anything like it, nor heard of anything like it. I don't have the equipment to build a prototype, so if any builders out there are as curious as I am about it, feel free to give it a shot and report back.
    To ride this trail is completely free.
    Just show me a triangle..... make it three!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Wizard View Post
    Going through a turn, I'm not so sure that one of the wheels would be off the dirt. If they were on the same axle, and the lower legs of the fork were connected with a bridge, then sure, of course the outside wheel would come off the dirt. With two independent shocks that are not connected by a bridge, the inside leg should compress while the outside leg extends, thus both should, in theory (my theory), stay in contact with the ground.
    I think you forget that the bulk of turning of a bike comes from leaning and not from steering. So if you're going very fast, you will be lifting one of those wheels off of the ground.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  8. #8
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    And lets not forget that a 2 wheeled bike "slips" through the trees whereas a 3 wheeled bike will get hung up.

  9. #9
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    It adds complexity to the bike and plus unless you can build two front wheel that can lean and each wheel has independent suspension it's no point because the rider would sacrifice control an it take away from riding experience.



    You are better off inventing an internal power assist bike similar to Gruber assist that would work with any current frame design and avoid propreitary crank design or ugly wheel. Why power assist? because if you are not pedaling then you are not riding. I'm all for a little of assist if it would add to longer and further ride.

    Bike can only go so light at some point with we can not go any lighter, I think to be able to pedal easier power assist would be the way to go. I don't imagine that it would be anything close to having a motobike on the trail it's just easier pedaling effort at the same speed or same pedaling effort at faster speed. Less pressure of having costly lighter/strong material.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1 View Post
    And lets not forget that a 2 wheeled bike "slips" through the trees whereas a 3 wheeled bike will get hung up.
    With that logic, I suppose you're using an 11" handlebar to avoid getting snagged by trees. Are you also twisting your torso 90 degrees in order to slip through trees?
    That's approximately the width of the fork for this design...... 11".
    To ride this trail is completely free.
    Just show me a triangle..... make it three!

  11. #11
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    ^^why yes I am. Please show your design when you're done as I would love to buy one. Somehow my 11" handlebar is too twitchy. Not sure why though. I thought about going smaller but then I have no place to put the brakes and shifters.

  12. #12
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    I've just come up with a new design aspect for the mountain trike, aka The Triketor.
    It will have a 27" steering wheel.
    It won't be a full wheel, as one's knees would hit a full wheel. More like a 45% crescent moon shape, with a slight backsweep at the part closest to the rider. There's the option to put one's hands on the outer wheel. The nice thing about this design is it protects riders' hands when they're slipping through trees. It's sort of like the hand guards on slalom ski poles that protect your hands from the gates.
    To ride this trail is completely free.
    Just show me a triangle..... make it three!

  13. #13
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    my initial thougths are - more parts = more weight + more things can break, control factor on single tracks, non-universal design means limited parts selection.

    But the heck w/ speculations, build it and let us know....
    d butt u kicked today, could b d same butt you'll kiss tomorrow.....

  14. #14
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    Yeah, you can't throw out a bizarre idea (which sounds somewhat interesting) without a proof of concept.. put something together, I'd certainly be interested to see it tried. Doesn't have to be perfect!

  15. #15
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    Design update:
    It will have a tapered steerer....... 2" at the top, 2 1/2" at the bottom.

    I've also come up with some colorways that are tractor themed:

    Green with yellow lettering (would look good with gold headset, collar, hubs, etc).
    Yellow with black lettering with a white inner (for the Caterpillar look)
    Blue with white lettering (I had a toy Ford tractor when I was a kid)
    Red with white lettering (classic tractor color, would look good with silver parts)

    I've also come up with a four-wheeled tractor / quadcycle. Same front end as The Triketor, but will have two independently suspended rear wheels. This of course means that the chainstays will need to be about 34" long for the riders' feet to clear while maintaining a normal Q factor. This also means that there will be a chain for the left and right, a chainring for left and right, and a cog for left and right. Having more than one gear on this seems like too much trouble. This would be a small-gear and take-your-time type of vehicle.

    Of course there will be questions like: "What would be the advantage of having four wheels? I don't get it. That sounds heavy with all that extra stuff", and other types of whiny questions. Do you know what I ask? Why not?
    It's an absolutely ridiculous design, and I won't mind how long it takes me to move along the trail, and I won't mind how hard it is to push the extra weight up climbs. I would much rather have people laughing at the absurd rig I'm riding as opposed to checking out what type of lightweight two wheeled rig I'm on. To me, riding a two wheeled bike has become too easy and too ordinary. The challenge has fizzled. Plus, think of how fast a bicycle will feel after logging some time on a triketor or mountain surrey.
    The bicycle is beautiful for its simplicity, and I'm sure they will always handle better than a 2 or 3 wheeled vehicle, but the goal of such a vehicle is that it be a fun and challenging workout that's out of the ordinary.

    When I have the means to put a test triketor together, I will, but in the meantime, I invite anyone else who has the resources to build one to do so.
    To ride this trail is completely free.
    Just show me a triangle..... make it three!

  16. #16
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    I've always wanted to try a trike or quad built with quality bike parts, I could imagine it being fun on some wider descents. I wonder how one would climb if you could put power down to all four wheels?

    I think a road version with a lot of carbon could be a blast on some paved trails. I'm thinking recumbent style seating for that.

  17. #17
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    I remembered an attribute of having three (or four) wheels...... a rider will be able to legally ride trails which prohibit bikes.
    Bike is short for bicycle, and by definition, bicycles have two wheels.

    Until trail management changes their signs to include prohibition of trikes and quads, these vehicles will have free rein.

    I just thought of a name for the quad tractor...... Rein Deere. It could have a faux fur paint job and the alt antlerbars could be wrapped with velvet.
    To ride this trail is completely free.
    Just show me a triangle..... make it three!

  18. #18
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    The design you suggest would have two wheels turn on one axis (like a wagon), this puts the wheel on the outside of the turn farther forward. The inside wheel (now further back) is going to have more load because of the bikes angle, and may be pulled back even more. I envision a dive/climb cyclic motion that would be effected alternately by the rut of the singletrack and terrain. Not to mention the handlebar ''yank" that will be felt by each bump not shared by both wheels evenly.
    I further suggest that you build this monster, then make it's maiden run on a huge downhill... With the proper video coverage you could become an internet sensation!
    Last edited by talljako; 11-09-2011 at 03:48 PM.

  19. #19
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    Kind of opposite of how you are describing, but cool design.... they are a good platform for disabled athletes.

  20. #20
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    My dad just sent me a link to this bike design. A company called Rungu is making an off-road trike with two wheels on the front. Similar concept. Two stems and two head tubes instead of one.

    Rungu | Break new ground. Take your board.
    http://youtu.be/V0OJYopJ7MU
    Two Fat Fronts are Better Than One with the new Rungu Juggernaut Bullfrog Trike
    To ride this trail is completely free.
    Just show me a triangle..... make it three!

  21. #21
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    I found a picture of this one, it's purpose built... to ride Antarctica.

    Mountain trike (note: 2 wheels on front)-3-fat.jpg

    Recumbent Trikes - ICE - ICE Blog
    Yes! Whenever bicycles are broken, or menaced by International Communism, Bicycle Repair Man is ready!

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