View Full Version : My TourMaster with suspension build log

07-26-2013, 04:01 PM

I am aiming to build a TourMaster with suspension.

I am new to welding so trying to keep it to a minimum on this, my first build.

I've got a nice 26" suspension rear triangle which is a similar shape to the TourMasters.


I've also got a 24" frame that might do for the front end as is including bottom bracket.


I've got another frame for bits of tubes for the steering etc.

Here is a bit of a mock up to help me visualise where I am headed.
It would be a bit more elongated and I haven't drawn the frame in the middle.


Note how the Cruzbike seat back is attached using a bicycle saddle frame, seat clamp and seat post to allow for adjustment of the angle.

Also using the seat tube backrest attaching way with the seat post tube at the back of the spring should allow the seat to be further back like the TourMaster and Meridian seats and allow for a slightly shorter frame than on the Voyager with the suspension.

I have started hacking bits off now. Oooo Errr!

....need to do a bit more welding practice first though.....

07-29-2013, 03:34 PM
First attempt at welding two pieces together

Doesn't look too bad but....


I pulled it apart pretty easily.
It was a second pass on top of a manky first row.
Still getting sticky strikes.
...need more welding rods...

hope I get the hang of it soon. Am very keen to be riding it.

07-29-2013, 08:54 PM
Keep at it, it will come. My welds today are much better than a month ago. Seems like I reweld every joint 4 times, no wonder the welding wire is disappearing before my eyes. The grinder is your friend, you can always go back and reweld something that looks iffy.
Good luck, welcome to madness.

Radical Brad
07-29-2013, 08:58 PM
Try the dial up about 10% and see what happens.


07-30-2013, 12:37 PM
Hi Cashew, thanks for the support and welcome.

Hi brad, thanks for your advice.

So today I have had variable success with the welding practice.
Firstly I went and got a new box of different electrodes. They are the same size metal but fatter with the flux.
They are much easier to strike without sticking than the other ones I have, but I couldn't get penetration to get one piece of metal to stick to another.
The second attempt with those the bit of metal fell off when I tapped the weld with the slag hammer even....and the third go.
Was getting a bit despondent.

I turned up the amps as advised using the original electrodes and did get the two bits of metal to stick quite firmly.
Messy weld I know, but I stuck it in the work bench grip and couldn't pull it off. hurrah!

Even after grinding down it was still firm.....back to believing I will be able to build a bike after all.
Gaps in the weld, yes, but at least I think I've got the settings right now so it's down to practising the steady hand and speed, and the better striking.

I had another go with the new rods. Did a slower weld with a wider coverage.....it again fell off with a slag hammer tap,
and whilst I got no penetration on the big piece of metal I got so much I seem to have melted a corner off the little piece.

I will do a bit more experimentation with these rods tomorrow, but I'm not finding them useful as yet.
(machine mart ones)

Switched back to the original rod.
Not a good weld but again I can't get it off using the work bench never mid the slag hammer!

Onward and upward!

07-30-2013, 03:35 PM
Don't be afraid to turn up the AMPS some more on those new sticks. Different sticks need different amps. It takes lots of practise to get a great bead so don't worry. As long as it is a good holding weld your set. A grinder is you best friend for new welders. Recommend you practice laying down rows of weld on a flat piece of 1/8 or thicker to get the hang of it. In welding classes they had me lay row after row with nothing but chip hammer and wire brushing in between. Once the rows start looking the same then the instructor had the class melt two row together try to make it look good with just wire brushing and chip hammer. So don't be discouraged just keep on burning them sticks and keep us posted.

07-31-2013, 07:31 AM
Thanks Darn the dog,

I have been practising doing more lines this morning, and I did get to attach one piece to another with the new sticks that I can't pull off with my hands.
It is a bit bendy after grinding it down and only stuck in a couple of places though.

I might go and get some more of the first sticks though.
I got them from a welding suppliers and he gave me 15 out of an open packet when I said I was welding a bicycle.
He obviously wasn't taking into account the practice needed.
Said it was about £50 for a full box of those one with hundreds in.

The machine mart box for £8 looks to have about 200...so plenty to practice with, but the first ones seem to be easier to work with once you get them going.

So how long does it take folk to get to be able to do a weld they aren't afraid to ride down the road on?

07-31-2013, 08:38 AM
One minor problem is trying to weld thin metal using a stick welder IMO. A 6013 rod is pretty much a multi purpose rod should work. Welding takes practice. If you can swing it look for a small mig welder. Way easier to learn on.

07-31-2013, 09:13 AM
Thanks Mr Idaho,

I'm leaning towards that or brazing due the the trickiness of it.
I liked the idea of just plugging the welder in - no gasses involved, and the cheapness

...but I have just made a leap forward adjusting the angle of dangle.
I was leaning the rod over too much.
After adjusting the angle I managed to get the whole piece of slag to flake off in one after a couple of lines, which surprised me no end (nicely).

....now for some more joining two bits together videos and tutorials.....

07-31-2013, 10:31 AM
That means you have the amps pretty well spot on for the job, so you just keep up the practice--we all have heaps to learn in this department (except the few gifted professionals in our ranks) Now aim for penetration without blowing holes, and practice filling in the holes you will make! That's the hard bit!
Steve G

07-31-2013, 11:01 AM
Not to knock anyone's suggestions. But if you have a stick welder you also have 75% of a scratch tig process. It takes a bit more practice then the stick welding as it would be a completely manual process. But you would have smokeless welds. However I'm not advocating a change in equipment as that is an expense in itself. Plenty of bikes have been built with the stick welder. Sounds like running beads is paying off. Not sure what rod your using but I have the impression you like your results. I'd stick with that rod till your happy with all your welding. Welding tips and tricks dot com has several tutorials for stick welders. There is a online rental DVD store called smartflicks.com that has welding how to videos as well. But practice is the best practical teacher. Glad to hear your having a better time at welding

07-31-2013, 12:28 PM
He Steve...what holes? ;-)
(an experience yet to come)

Hi Darn, hmmmm, something else to study about.
Have just been and got what they had left in the box (70 sticks) of the Vodex ones, the first ones I got.
Whilst I can run a nice bead with the second lot I come a cropper when I try to stick two pieces together with those, whilst I can get two bits to stick together quite well with one pass with the Vodex ones, so tomorrow I will do some bead practising with those first and get the settings right for them (had been hoarding them as I had only a few) and then try for a proper good joining weld.

Cheers folks.

07-31-2013, 02:33 PM
IMO if you have yet to blow a hole in your material then you have little or no penetration ( poor weld strength) Welding is melting two metals together with some filler(welding rod or metal wire). With thin material, try tacking both ends of the desired weld (this will help with avoiding holes but won't eliminate) then go back over and weld a little on each end. The idea is to allow the base metal to cool slightly thus avoiding holes but holes are a good indication of penetration. If you apply a bead to an 1/8 material, allow to cool, turn it over and you should see an outline of your weld almost coming through the back side. If not your going either too fast or not enough amps. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Good luck you will get the method down pat sooner than you realize. IF you learn first with oxy/acy (gas welding) then the progression to arc welding is easier.

07-31-2013, 03:56 PM
Just looked up the vodex it is the murex code for the standard we call E6013 welding rod. Don't know if they have a special flux to prevent smoke or something in their formula is different to assist in welding. But that is a good solid welding rod and I've been told if you getting good with that then you can weld with almost any rod. The other rod you may want to try out is the E7018. If you start blowing holes I'm told it is easier to fill holes with. But I leave it to your preference. And your trials and errors along the way. Sounds like you are getting a good handle on things.

07-31-2013, 04:23 PM
Thanks chaps,
It's these sorts of tips you don't get in tutorials.

08-01-2013, 10:51 AM
Today I have tried welding on the square 1.5" x 1.5mm tube I got for the frame. (see I am bi-measuremental, I tend to use whichever is the nearest big notch on the tape measure)
I did manage to get two bits welded together quite firmly with the cheaper rods this time, since I have improved my rod angle.
You'll be pleased to hear I did blow a hole in it!
And I think I filled it in ok haven't ground it down yet as the neighbours were back.

I walked down to a local welder (to test how my sprained ankle is coming along) and he said he charges £.30 an hour and it would probably take 1-2 hours to do the joining the middle section bits to the front and back ends.
I might be tempted to have him do theses bits on this bike and have a go at less critical parts like the seat myself while I up my skill level.
By the time I've got through consumables like electricity, pieces of metal, welding rods and grinding discs and glue to stick my hair back on when I do things like try to get the bits welded on straight, it would probably be cheaper anyway.

Plus I am keen to get this bike up and running as soon as I can to test how this type of recumbent suits my back and enjoy it for the rest of the summer.

08-01-2013, 03:18 PM
Yesterdays worms, wiggly but rippled like you see on the tutorials.


This mornings blown hole Doh! What a mess! Was not on form.
This is on the 1.5mm thick box section, thinner than the scrap I was practising on before.

Cheered myself up with my first fish mouth.
am still rather wild with the angle grinder, but using the hand files is nice and relaxing.

...time to consult the plans and work out the seating arrangements...

08-02-2013, 03:24 PM
Welding progress seems to be in the negative, must be the dunce in the class....am deffo going to go with the pro welder, then I can sell it if it doesn't suit after it is finished.
Might see if I can do a nigtschool welding course in the autumn.....later on I came across these carbon arc things for brazing with an arc welder.
Bit dear though...you can make them yourself.
I think I would really prefer to be brazing but there is much cost and gas storage issues involved for what might be just the one project.

Am tempted to go bamboo/hemp(or carbon fibre) epoxy!

On the plus side it seems I can now strip down a bike in an hour (no hard to remove bits on this occasion).
And I think I am holding my own on the bits procuring and making design to fit the bits/ suit me front.
Just need to saw the back end off and prep for welding the bottom bracket and the top to the midframe tubes.

QUESTION: That reminds me, the diameter of the seat tube is 1 1/8" whilst my square tube is 1 1/2".
Should I cut into the corners and fold them in a bit to make it fit?
Or do I need to get some narrower tube for the top tube?
Suggestions, tips, advice welcomed.

TIP I got these from B&Q for a £1.79 a piece I think it was.
They go the other way up on your loft rafters to make a platform for storage, but I think they come in handy for supporting your work at the right height (with the aid of an Argos catologue or two).

They are 8 1/2" from the floor to the bottom of the metal tube. (which is 38mm 1 1/2"). Could fit a bit wider tube into the clip.

08-02-2013, 09:31 PM
Check out this video:http://m.youtube.com/#/user/weldingtipsandtricks?feature=em-subs_digest&desktop_uri=%2Fuser%2Fweldingtipsandtricks%3Ffeatu re%3Dem-subs_digest

He lays it and let's it self weld. If the welder can do it you can too!

08-03-2013, 03:55 AM
Thanks DarnTheDog.
But which video is it? It comes up with a page of bunch of vids.

Building a recumbent bicycle frame


08-03-2013, 07:28 AM
sorry that did not take you direct. Look for the following title:
Arc Welding Tips and Tricks-Uphill Laps and more

Just go to that previous link and click videos and it was the first video listed. Jodie does several different welds including one where he leans a stick to a plate and turns on the welder then turns it of and allows the weight of the rod to weld itself to a plate. Believe he was using a E7011 rod in that instance.

08-03-2013, 08:35 AM
Darn Youtube keeps changing the link. So just Search: Arc Welding Tips and Tricks-Uphill Laps and more

And he is using E7014 at about 2 minutes into the 13:30 video. But watch the whole video as he discusses a bunch of different types of welds and welding rods.

08-03-2013, 09:30 AM
Thanks Darn.
I've seen it now, interesting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7509VJZZ80
(I think the TouTube page with the selection of vids on shows current users recent views and a rotating similar stuff display feature).

I tried to get myself to invest in a mig welder this morning but couldn't quite manage it as it is not cheap, and the guy in the shop said the CO2 bottles only last 15 minutes.

I am keeping my eye out for a second hand one that does dual so I can see if the I can get away with the no gas flux wire.

They did have the carbon rods for making the carbon arc torch to go with the arc welder for about £3.50 so I invested in them to try that out and am working out what other little bits and bobs I need to construct one.
One guy on a forum said he built a whole bike with one 20 years ago and it is still going strong.

08-03-2013, 10:19 AM
Thanks Darn.
I've seen it now, interesting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7509VJZZ80
(I think the TouTube page with the selection of vids on shows current users recent views and a rotating similar stuff display feature).

I tried to get myself to invest in a mig welder this morning but couldn't quite manage it as it is not cheap, and the guy in the shop said the CO2 bottles only last 15 minutes.

I am keeping my eye out for a second hand one that does dual so I can see if the I can get away with the no gas flux wire.

They did have the carbon rods for making the carbon arc torch to go with the arc welder for about £3.50 so I invested in them to try that out and am working out what other little bits and bobs I need to construct one.
One guy on a forum said he built a whole bike with one 20 years ago and it is still going strong.

Don't know what size CO2 bottle the guy was using. My 4 foot CO2 has lasted me 5 years now and still going and it has run through 20 lbs of wire. You only use a small amount of flow with the gas shielded mig. Also any Gas shielded mig can be a fluxcore welder. It is not true the other way around. When looking at migs DC units perform better. Many cheaper fluxcore units use AC only. The more expensive units do both. Charlie_R converted a cheap harbor frieght using to DC to run lower amperage and better welds. He has a write up on how he did it. Never asked what flavor your stick welder was. But DC tends to be easier to weld with I have been told. I use the Gas shielded mig as I had an issue seeing through the smoke of the fluxcore. But I got luck as my mig unit was upgradable to Gas shielding.
Presently I am actually considering going to Tig welding as I want to play with Aluminum for a number of projects. As is the bane of every desire and Sung By ABBA Money, Money, Money, it makes the world go round. That and time are my 2 worst enemies. I am frozen in mid process on 2 projects due to one thing or the other. I'm just glad I still have time to respond and read the forum.

Just an FYI I have not used the 20 lbs of wire on bike projects. I have built a bunch of different things for family, friends, work has even hit me up. While not a professional welder- I have been able to repair, build and replace tons of stuff that might have been trashed since I took a couple weeks of welding lessons then taught myself with the help of online tutorials and a friend or two. So if you ever get the hang of it be prepared to be flooded by family and friend and possible even work for you to tack something up.
Examples- Repaired T-wrench that was specific to a tool at work- Repaired a Gate latch for a friend, Built a frame to make a family tool up on wheels, Welded a lawn chair and table. Attached a mount for a friend to a motorcycle, built a knee cart to give to a friend with a foot injury. And that is just a sampling. But mostly it took practice to learn to weld. You might go through a 20lbs of sticks before your happy. You have a good start where you showed the wiggly inch lines. You need to get a bigger plate and burn through a whole stick at a time not stopping. Relax and have fun. I mean if your not having fun whats the point. Another hint I have heard by I believe TexasTuff is to draw a line with a straight edge using marker or caulk. I don't remember. Then try to trace it with the weld stick.

08-03-2013, 11:16 AM
Thanks for the info and your time Darn,

The gas they had was squiggy sized bottles

It costs about £80 here I think including the hire of the bottle for the large ones, which would be ok if you are doing a lot of stuff.
I did come across some post that said that BOC here in the UK charge annual rental on them as well, so 5 years of it.

The other thing for me is that I couldn't get a large bottle or a heavy welder down the steps into the cellar.

My arc welder is el cheapo Parkside PESG 120A1
I am trying to ascertain if it is AC or DC at the mo as it happens, because AC is better for the carbon arc torch, but am none the wiser after reading the booklet and googling.
There is a wiring diagram in the PDF.

I look forward to the day I can actually make or repair things for myself and others, or to sell even.
I am enjoying the process on the whole, although I may have strained mi brain reading and stuffing so much knowledge it as fast as I can.
It's just the time/money issue problem. I'm devoid of income at mo and should be job hunting instead.

Off to source parts for the carbon arc torch....


08-03-2013, 11:50 AM
Guy in the shop was right if he was talking about little disposable bottles.
Forget BOC - they are rip off merchants.
What you want is no rental bottles.
Have a good look at (and do a bit of reading) at:

It is all very sensible and UK based so you will get appropriate local advice (Tutorials are very good as well)

08-03-2013, 12:30 PM
Cheers Bambuko,

I have come across posts about getting hold of an old bottle and getting it filled at HSS Hire and getting pub gas if you know anyone in a pub.
I'll check that out some more while I find a nice cheap mig.

08-03-2013, 01:12 PM
and ps
Forget also about carbon arc torch for bicycle frame brazing :rolleyes4:
If you want to do brazing, you can't go wrong with this deal (in UK, elsewhere might be different):

As for CO2 and pub bottles - it's not as nice as proper argon CO2 mix but it's up to you and your finances.
If you looking for MIG package:

When looking for MIG secondhand deals make sure they can use refillable gas cylinders.
If you get one of those machines for throwaway gas bottles you will have to modify it to use proper gas bottles.

08-03-2013, 01:36 PM
The gas they had was squiggy sized bottles

My arc welder is el cheapo Parkside PESG 120A1
I am trying to ascertain if it is AC or DC at the mo as it happens, because AC is better for the carbon arc torch, but am none the wiser after reading the booklet and googling.
There is a wiring diagram in the PDF.


No problem Hilary, this is what the site is for. I agree with Bambuko those are not the bottles to you need. And you really need Argon/CO2 mixture for Gas shielded Mig welding. I apologize the bottle I have is 2 to 3 ft (60 to 90 Centimeter) in size not 4 foot. It only weighs 25 to 30 lbs. or 11 to 13 Kg. So I'm sure you can lug that down into the cellar.

As to your welder looking at the Schematic it is a A/C transformer machine in a small package. So that may answer some of the welding issue your have.
I found this chart which references Welding rods and the proper Current type to use and how to use it and I hope it helps with your future trials.

08-03-2013, 02:21 PM
Oh! Thanks for all your help Darn and Bambuko.
I'll ponder all those things and invest when funds allow.

Now you see it! (Yesterdays big blow holes testing attempting to join two pieces with 2mm rod of the 1.5mm tube)

Now you don't!
picked up some 10 pack of SIP 1.6mm electrodes in Halfords to test and with the amperage lowered down managed to fill the hole!
It's extremely messy as I didn't grind the blobs down before starting, had maybe 3 passes whilst trying to adjust the amperage for better striking,
but it does feel quite firm....enough so I might risk riding on a tidier join that goes all the way round.
Happy Bunnie! Now I've solved that one I can make some progress, get a fat box full of em and do practising.

08-03-2013, 04:08 PM
Bead on left looks perfectly good. Definitely needed to use a grinder to reweld that joint. The 2 best friends your going to have is a grinder and the welder. Actually some folks have 3 grinders- 1 for grind wheel, 2 for wire wheel and a 3rd for flap disc. But that is alot of grinders to own. Brad just wire brushed between welds but I think he has it down pat. Grinding would provide a nice even surface to weld to. Also it helps to tack both side before running the bead. While welding the oposite side can spread due to heat distortion causing a wider gap. And you end up missing. But it looks like your getting the hang of it.

08-03-2013, 04:35 PM
Yes, the left one was the last one I did when I was satisfied with the amps.
The gap closing was more of an exploration of the rods tolerance to the poor conditions to see what would happen, so I was pleasantly surprised that the weld took.
I might run the cutting disk through it and see how much trapped slag or not there is in that.

Tommorow I will attempt proper clean ones, and some tacking

....yes keeping changing the angle grinder disks is a chore....and they don't last very long do they.

08-07-2013, 03:24 PM
New electrodes arrived today
Sealey 1.6mm
Model no WE2516

They seem quite good to strike.
Had it a bit too hot and blew holes at one point, but were still striking well when I dialed it down a bit.
I struggled a bit with first corner join and there were slag patches in it but when I bent it over it held and it seemed to be the metal bending over the weld rather than the weld failing, so that's a good sign for when I get a clean weld.

The good thing about these rods is they are easy to restart again if you stop half way through a rod so you can use them all the way down to the bottom.

The SIP ones I was trying last time were very sticky after you stopped half way down a rod and I ended up wasting quite a lot of half rods.

So I think I might get some 2mm of these Sealey ones as well.


Back of the above weld. I think that's how they are supposed to be isn't it?

So tell me where the 2 lines of filled cuts are....wrong that nick is between the two

Feeling a bit more comfortable about the welding now

08-08-2013, 12:38 AM
Good one Hilary looks like your getting some penetration on the welds, its just practice. Yeh its hard with one grinder a lot of messing around.


08-08-2013, 02:52 PM
Today I took the plunge and attempted my first weld on the actual bike.
Stuck the suspension pivot on the end of the square tube.
The welds are poor but it's on nice and straight so at least I can get on with measuring and working out how to do the seating tubes arrangements. and the front end.

The seat post seems about the right angle with the attached bit of tube flat.

So I chopped up that chunk of frame.
The spare bit of round tube at the top seems to be the same size as the pivot tube so if I mangle it up re-welding and grinding I've got another two or three chances out of that tube.


08-08-2013, 05:26 PM
Cool!!! Looks like your on your way.

08-16-2013, 04:06 PM
Update of progress (or lack of)
Welding using the MIG. Can't remember if this one was with the gasless wire or with the gas but ground out (rather too much) not much slag inclusion.


Practising using the MIG with gas. Blobby thus fas but clean and slag free.


Gas one ground out


Got this 20" wheel donor bike but the pivot bushings are reluctant to come out, as are the headset cups.
Perhaps it wants to stay whole and be turned into a SWB MBB recumbent instead.



The welding I did with the ARC machine on the pivot tube was not satisfactory (although on straight).
I haven't attempted to remove and remedy it as yet. I was initially intending to make a Voyager, but then decided on a Tourmaster, so the pivot tube is on 38mm square tube.
I have subsequently got some 32mm for the Tourmaster as the 38mm was too big to match up with the round tubes and it would have been heavy with so much of the larger tubing in it.
But I need a pivot tube to start (which the pink bke is reluctant to yield).
I was thinking of making one from the red bike spare top tube but the metal seems to be about 1.5mm thick on that whilst the pivot tube seems to be 3mm, so I think it is advisable to get one of that dimension one way or another.
I may make a Voyager also. So I am seeking out tube and or more donor bikes.
I chopped up the donor for the front end and started preping that ready for welding.

08-16-2013, 04:30 PM
Hi there

Looking good for first attempts.

What I found helped was where possible add a small internal sleeve at the point where you want to weld , that doubles up the thickness at that point.

This allows you to weld at a bit higher amps as there is twice the thickness for penetration without blowing holes , also your pivot tube being 3mm will be hard to weld to 1.5mm tubing if you are a beginner , if you cut up a piece of scrap say 1" long across two opposite corners you can grind it down till it is a hammer fit into the end of the square tubing then it is a straight 3mm to 3mm weld.

That Vertigo is a bit of a Holy Grail amongst 20" wheeled bikes as it has a 3 piece bottom bracket.

Keep at it , it can be done Paul

08-16-2013, 05:26 PM
Oh, thanks for the tips Paul

08-16-2013, 10:10 PM
.......the pivot bushings are reluctant to come out, as are the headset cups.
Perhaps it wants to stay whole and be turned into a SWB MBB recumbent instead.


HHJJ, if you have some tubing that will fit through the pivot bushing, you can make one of these

http://s20.postimg.org/ncqaota89/head_tube_remover.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/ncqaota89/)

it is used to remove the cups from your headtube

08-16-2013, 11:01 PM
Thanks for the detailed build log. Its fun watching your welds mature. Looks like a great project and will be a fun ride.

08-17-2013, 03:53 AM
HHJJ, if you have some tubing that will fit through the pivot bushing, you can make one of these

http://s20.postimg.org/ncqaota89/head_tube_remover.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/ncqaota89/)

it is used to remove the cups from your headtube

Thanks Imamedik. When I started dismantling the bikes I made one of PVC pipe that I broke.
Then I made one of copper pipe, which I mangled, so I invested in one of those but the ends are a bit pointy in when it is in the 1" headtubes and I had to use a broom handle with duct tape around it stuffed up the bottom to get it to splay out properly. (just remembered that cone in the handlebar stem I have might do the trick for that.)
I might have some pipe to make one to fit these. Think I should, pulled the lip of the plastic ones yesterday off the other bike.
Off to bike shop to get some more in a mo.
Weather is conducive of building rather than riding today.

08-17-2013, 04:04 AM
Thanks for you words of support Graucho.
I have been watching your excellent painting tutorials for when it is eventually ready for that.
And congratulations on all your wondrous creations.

Will be doing more welding practice and hopefully actual production today.
gas reg for gig bottle should arrive today.

08-18-2013, 02:00 PM
Back to making progress. Front end prepped ready for welding


Pivot tube extracted from first bad weld, still seems viable after grinding if not entirely straight.
Fishmouth cut on 32mm tube (I'm a bit wild with the angle grinder...but can work the files ok)


It's not as bad as it looks. I did second passes over the to of the first ones to cover the odd wee hole I missed on the first pass, which is much easier with the MIG with gas as there's not chunks of slag to get rid of.
It's staying on this time.


Thinking, measuring, planning next.

08-22-2013, 10:21 AM
Been too busy doing other things to get on with the build but have scored another donor for a few quid

It's one of these

It's a bit of a rustbucket, but is ok in most of the parts I need to build with.....think I might be doing a Voyager as well as the TourMaster
It's got disc brakes on it, which I haven't had before, and mysteriously a 24" front wheel and a 26" back wheel.
I've stripped it down and it's ready for chopping up.


Like the pink bike, the pivot bushings are reluctant to come out, but on both of these they are metal, so they should be ok to stay on during welding I suppose.
The ones on the red bike are plastic.

08-31-2013, 10:12 AM
I'm trying to work out what angle I should put the seat post at.
The seat back and pan will be adjustable against the seat post.
I've been looking at various of the plans I have to see what angles they use.
The plans for the Wildkat and the Tourmaster don't specify as the seats are adjustable on them.

Voyager says 30 degrees, but I'm not sure from where this measurement is made.
It looks like it would be 30 backwards from the vertical, rather than upwards from the horizontal.
I'm rather confused as to where to measure from and to to get these
I cut at 30 degrees upwards from the horizontal, which is a lot more laid back than the bikes are in the plans

Streetfox looks suitable at 45. My Tourmaster has the same suspension back end, so I think this should be ok.
Back of seat should clear the wheel nicely, and seat back angle could be moved up and down to some extent.
I'm going to measure the seat tubes on my other bikes to see what angle they are at.

Any info, tips, suggestions welcomed here.

08-31-2013, 10:30 AM
If you look at the picture of Brad riding the TourMaster it has a rather upright riding position. 30 degrees from vertical would be correct. With a higher upright riding position and low BB it should be well behaved at low speeds and should be comfortable at higher speeds.

09-01-2013, 02:57 AM
Hi there

I use one of these :- http://www.sadoun.com/Sat/Products/Accessories/Meters/Johnson-Level.htm

It measures from the vertical.

The Kett Weisel has a seat back of 40' and is considered quite upright as far as trike's go , but this angle is very good in traffic and for general riding.

A Speed Ross I owned had a seat back angle of 54' this was ok for riding fast on the open road but was very limiting at junctions or in traffic , you tended to pull yourself upright which was tiring and caused me back pain if I tried it for to long.

If you have the seat to near vertical you will get something called recumbent butt , where your bottom goes numb because you have all the weight on it and not some of your weight carried by your back.


09-01-2013, 04:16 AM
Thanks for your input chaps.
Due to my back problem I need to have a more open angle of the legs to torso than most people.
On my DF I have an extra tall with short projection handlebar stem which provides for a more upright position so I can ride it.
On many pictures of recumbent bikes and trikes the knees look to be too close to the chest when pedalling for my back to manage, which is one reason I am building my own so as I can get a position to suit me, which is why I chose the Tourmaster as it looks to have the most open body angle.

Exactly what that position on a recumbent is won't be known until I have tried it, so I need to make the seat back adjustable, which I will be going similar to the Wildkat with a clamp and seatpost on the back of the seat for tilt adjustmant, but with that connected to a seat post like on the Streetfox and Voyager rather than adjustable seat stays, as I have a suspension rear end (or rather the bike does).

I might need it a bit more laid back than Brad has as shorter legs in relation to the cranks also lift the knees higher to the chest when pedalling.

That looks a handy gadget Paul. I got a metal protractor

09-01-2013, 05:50 AM
Hi HHJJ AKA Heather,,
have you tried , or thought about shorter cranks? Most are 170or 175, because the makers cater for the road or MTB guys. But it helps to shorten cranks on a recumbent, and this will help directly with your problem, and solve the knee problem which will come in later. I'm going to guess I'm taller than you at 5' 11". (no metric conversion availalble today--calculator died and can't find slide ruler--she moved it) If I'm wrong, just smile! I have shortened all my cranks to 155 ,or slightly less, and now have no knee pains at all.
It does feel strange at first, but you soon get used to it, and it encourages you to spin cranks rather than just mash in a high gear. It makes a big change in the knee bend angle.
Steve G,

09-01-2013, 06:15 AM
Thanks Steve
(It's AKA Hilary...one of my nieces is called Heather)
Yes I'm 5'5 1/2"
I do have some 155mm cranks as it happens off one of the donor bikes, which I am planning to use.

I am viewing this build as a test rig setup and when I see what works for me, then I can see if I can fit it to other models and build another one or two.
I've gone with 40 degrees for the seatpost and then to have the seat back to be adjustable for me from 30 degrees from the vertical downwards some.
Taller riders on it wouldn't be able to lean back as far as shorter ones, but aren't so likely to need to.
They'll only be having a go on it anyway...unless I make a good enough job of it to sell it later, but as this is my first build and introduction to welding I think that'll be a bit of a stretch.

If I can cycle 50 miles in a day on it without the back consequences I get doing 20-30 on my DF I'll be well happy....then I can build up to the end to end (Lands end to John O'Groats - the length of britain), which is on my bucket list.

Avoiding knee pain is the next one after the back pain.

....on with the cutting and welding.

09-01-2013, 06:27 AM
Hi Hillary
My appolgies on the AKA--should check and not rely on memory--have a friend in OZ named Heather, so that's my excuse.
I've done the John O'Groats to Lands End , but started at Lowestoft (most Easterly point) because I lived there at the time. Now the big confession--I hitch hiked!
Theres a few hills on the way!
I have no problems with 80 K a day on my two bents (trike and LWB) --but I would hate to do it on an upwong!
Sounds like you have it all worked out.
'Steve G

09-01-2013, 09:32 AM
I might let you off Steve ;-)
That's cheatin' hitching.
Did you go all the way up to John O'Groats and then down to Landsend and then back to Lowestoft.
So you are English in origin then?

I have welded on the seat post. Want to get the tabs for the spring on this aft if I can.

09-01-2013, 12:52 PM
Hmmm...slight technical hitch with the seat tabs. One wants to be a couple of millimetres closer than the other (they are both the same length and swapping them over leaves it the same).
The seat post must be skewed, although it doesn't look so and it is OK lined up down the frame.
Ho Hum! It is well welded on. I did two or three rows of weld.
Thought it was going well for a tricky bit.

Still it isn't critical to the rest of the build as I just need to attach top tube to it and the seat back is only going to be attached at the top.
So I will have to cut new mismatching in length tabs for the suspension spring and cut other attached tubes to be in line.

Tips for getting those angled tubes straight in three dimensions for the future welcomed.

09-01-2013, 01:02 PM
The seat post must be skewed, although it doesn't look so and it is OK lined up down the frame.
Ho Hum! It is well welded on. I did two or three rows of weld.

I have used a large pipe wrench to twist something to me liking. Just gently you see, with only a 3 foot cheater.

09-02-2013, 03:41 PM
Hmmm, Thanks Tex.
It is 32mm square tube and I do have a 32mm spanner.

09-02-2013, 08:25 PM
Yes, I had to get back home! Later I had a hitching race with a friend. Lowestoft to Lands End and return. We left 30 minutes apart (he went first) Beat him back by 30 minutes, with a time of 47 hours! That was when hitch hiking was safe and accepted!
Steve G

09-03-2013, 01:52 PM
Hmmm...slight technical hitch with the seat tabs. One wants to be a couple of millimetres closer than the other (they are both the same length and swapping them over leaves it the same).

Dozy ole twonk!
I swivelled the spring and it's maybe only half a mil difference.
Good job I left it on one side till I was more alert.

09-04-2013, 09:10 AM
Well I've welded on the tabs.
They are rather tight so I am going to have to squeeze em open or grind a sliver off to allow for paint.

Also I neglected to remove the rear dérailleur whilst working out where to put the seat post onto the boom, so the back end was not at quite the right angle, and so the spring is raised a bit more than I was aiming for.
You live and learn.
I could weld on longer tabs lower down or put in a support tube to locate them on later if it is a problem I suppose (options and contingency are my watch words).


Still got to decide and work out the seat.
Might go with the two bits of hinged wood option for starters, though haven't ruled out the mesh seat

I do have a couple of these in the house so I might use one incorporated in the wood hinge seat.
They are quite springy but would leave the shoulders against the padded board for push.
(They're cheap as well)
They're normally used with the elastic over a chair back for lumbar support.


09-04-2013, 11:13 AM
In order for the suspension to be effective the shock needs to be at an angle that compresses it though the pivot direction. If you remove the shock and move the rear end, I think that you might find that your tabs are too high and that it may simply act a sort soft but rigid tube.


09-04-2013, 11:29 AM
You might be right there. When I tried to test if it was springy I wasn't getting any joy.
But if you scroll down the Boss bike I got has it at a similar angle. ?

09-04-2013, 11:57 AM
You might be right there. When I tried to test if it was springy I wasn't getting any joy.
But if you scroll down the Boss bike I got has it at a similar angle. ?

I did the same thing. it always looks good that way but not much travel. i had to move the tabs down. Then moved them again because i didn't like the angle of the head tube. Then move them again because i didn't like the angle of the head. It's fine now.

Here are a few ideas for seats. Many of them linked back to AZ builds. http://texasrecumbents.wordpress.com/recumbent-seats/

09-04-2013, 12:16 PM
Well I'm glad you got it right in the end Tex!
Might leave the tabs for carrier or water bottle bolting on or something and stick some further down then.... hopefully not as many times as yourself though.

Thanks for the seats link.
I am, at least initially wanting to make it out of anything I have in the house, and I do have plywood and I don't have a tube bender

09-04-2013, 04:01 PM
Different suspension/frame setups are designed differently. My GT RTS-2 actually has the shock going through the seat tube.

When testing the action of the suspension though, make sure to attach a rear wheel and prop up the front at an angle similar to what you expect the front end to sit at because that can affect the suspension action also.

If you look at the bottom bracket of the Boss bike compared to the red bike, you will notice that the pivot appears to be different as well (although it is hard to see in the pictures) it looks like the red bikes pivot is an inch or more in front of and above the bottom bracket, while the Boss appears to be either part of or immediately in front of the bottom bracket.



09-04-2013, 09:01 PM
Hard to tell in pics, but the Boss actually has the top shock mount higher, and would have a bit more "give" in the suspension. The position you have will result in the stiffest suspension that shock can give you, with the shortest travel.
Going higher or lower will soften the suspension. But too high is not a good thing, as depending on the internals of the shocky, you get a progressively softer suspension, when you really need progressively stiffer. Before you get too far, its decision time! If you have the Maurauder plans, Brad shows how it should be done.
If it was me, I would do a quick CAD on the floor (Chalk Assisted Drawing), and set the shocky top mount lower, and move the seat post further back so it all fits properly.
The best set up is usually when the two shocky mounts are on the same radius from the swing arm pivot. This would make the mount quite a bit lower than where it is now.
Make sure you include the wheel in the CAD, and at the fully compressed position, as the wheel and mud guard must not hit the seat tube when you hit a bump.
There will be a position where this all fits.
Steve G

05-05-2014, 10:49 AM
Bit of a gap there in the progress, but I'm back on the case now.

Have removed the seat post and the tabs from it and ground them down ready to weld on again in a better place....if only I'd been more careful in the first place!

I have cut out a plywood seat for starters.


(It's a bit thin so the screws stick through the other side (Doh!...but I'm aiming to have a mesh seat later. It's just for testing really)

I have these already bent aluminium tubes from an old cycle carrier I picked up at the scrap yard.
They're not long enough but I might be able to extend them with some other tube. Will experiment more later with those.


05-30-2014, 03:28 PM
I have welded the seatpost and tabs back on in the right place this time.

Today I wanted to crack on with doing the top tube and sticking on the front end but it seems that on the front end I plan to use (off a 24" mountain bike with suspension forks) used a 1 1/8" screw on headset and the 26" rigid forks I wanted to use is for 1". Doh!

I have ordered me an ahead headset as I have some 26" 1 1/8" rigid forks......but they are alloy so I can't weld on a steering tab to those. Doh!
Also they are for disk brake and not V-brake.....but I do have a disk brake front wheel off a donor....but it is 24" Doh!

Nuthin matches up.

I will ponder the issue some more.

05-16-2016, 09:42 AM
It seems it is nearly three years since I started this build and two years since I last worked on it, or attempted any welding.
How time flies when you are having fun (or not as the case may be).
Am wanting to have it finished.

Unfortunately the nice shiney metal is now rusty :-(

I'll go and do an inventory of the forks and headsets inventory and see if I am still lacking matching parts.