So you cruised the net, looked at the many recumbent home builders pages, and are looking into starting your own recumbent bike project. But are you ready to take one on? I will be looking at the charateristics of a recumbent home builder. This is based on talking to a number of other home builders that have built their own bikes.
Are you the type that likes to tinker with things? If you are, this is the first good sign for being a recumbent home builder. All the builders I talked to where always tinkering with something whether it be bikes, cars, or other items. One of things that I did before building recumbents was to repair my own bikes. I started off with simple repairs and progressed to a complete strip down of the bike and reassemble it. Once I found this easy to do, the cutting up of old bikes came next and recumbents came to be. Many of the home builders types have a good soilid working knowledge of many mechanical systems which is either self training or through schooling. There are many small details to be worked out on a recumbent bike.
The second charateristic of a recumbent home builder is there life long experiance with doing general work shop skills. They have always been working with tools ever since they can remember. Whether it be doing wood working projects or metal or both, they have had the ability to see things in their head and put these ideas down on paper. Using myself as an example, I liked to do many wood based projects before going into metal items. In fact, I only learned welding when I started building my third bike project. Up to that point, I had others do in for me.
How old are you? Not wanting to get personal with age but the average age for a good recumbent home builder is around 40 years and up on average. These are the ones that put a lot of energy into there projects. I feel that is also means that there are know pressures to conform to a group like youger people. They always have had a strong will of there own anyways from the start so they really don't mind what others think of them. Riding a recumbent makes you a very visible person on the road. Being a very small minority makes you open to many questions about the bike and it's design.
Do you find yourself collecting old items like bikes and keep them for a while. If you do, this is a good sign that you could one day find yourself having the materials needed to make a recumbent bike. A good home builder will have many spare parts floating around. Some people will take apart there bikes and store the parts nice and neat while others will keep the bikes in one piece. Either way is ok and depends on what your storage is like. If you are a very neat person, chances are that you will not become involved in building a recumbent bike.
Are you an engineer? How much did it cost? These a number of the many questions I get. While some people that design these are trained engineers, many more are selve taught in this design field. Many are limited in the amount that they can spend on a commerically built one. Does this make them cheap to build? Well yes and no. If you factor in the cost of tools including a mig welder and other power tools needed, the cost can go up fast, depending on if they are new or used. Experiances in the operating of items like a mig welder using a gas bottle or a brazing kit can add up in the long term. If you start to build many bikes or other items, the cost of operating this eguipment can be well worth it. If you lack any of the tools needed to start doing this and live on a fixed income, getting started could be very difficult too impossible to think about. Once you factor in the hidden costs like gas bottle refills, replacement parts on grinders (the grinder wheel) etc. the costs can get high if there is a limited amount of money for these things.
Although this is a short list of some of the things that I feel a recumbent builder needs, it is importart look over and see if you fit these needs. If you don't, you may find yourself not wanting to finish up what you have started and wondered way you started it in the first place. If you the junk collecter type and like tinkering with bikes, at some point in time, you may find yourself getting into a recumbent project. For those at find making things very rewarding, the recumbent home built may be for you.
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