David Bruce Trikes FWD prototypes builds and blog from 2009 to 2012.

Our build story continues from the 'about us' page...After moving to Cocoa Beach in 1992, I was doing other things and the FWD Recumbent Tricycle had to take a back seat. I kept drawing and thinking of ideas. I had inquired at local machine shops and their prices were just so ridiculous! So, in 2005 I bought my own metal lathe/mill combo and started to learn how to machine parts up.  I had a house then so the garage became the "shop."

I kept plugging away on the inboard brake design despite nagging doubts with the power transfer to the left wheel and large cog size limited to a 24 tooth. In November 2009 I rigged up the trike for a test ride, using only the right shaft to drive the wheel. After that "event" I realized I couldn't rush things to test ride! I realized the inboard brakes were not going to work with a single chain. In addition, I failed to come up with a working  power coupler( not a differential) to the left wheel.

Which meant a big decision: either abandon the whole thing, or re-configure the trike for outboard brakes with a internal differential...which meant remake just about everything in the center power block. I spent much of December 2009 deciding.

I'm not a quitter, so I decided to start over! First thing was to make a differential that would work with my design. The diff would have to fit inside a housing and be small in diameter.

FWD Concept and early first prototype:

Original wooden mockup for seating and bb positions.

The early inboard brake design with single shock.

I gave up on the single shock and made a bumper setup for testing.

Side shot from Feb 2009.

Prototype Differential from Jan 2010 with freewheel thread.

Completed prototype diff on top of my state of the art drawings!

New power block assembly and suspension arms, from Feb 2010

Power Block with diff and 7speed cog and rear derailuer hanger.

From February 2010 to August 2010 with what little time I had, as I started working again was spent on new tooling. I decided to spend money on the aluminum framing material to make a decent frame jig that was higher off the ground. Working on the floor sucks! After some test rides, the thin wall steel tubing cracked on the lower part of the rear frame.

In September 2010 I made a new rear frame and had the trike powder coated and chromed.  A nine part "build video" documents the reassembly after paint. Type in "David Bruce Trikes" on youtube! Prior to the 7th Catrike Rally (2011) I settled on a conventional Bar End shifter set up. A sway bar was made and fitted the week before the Rally to improve the cornering at speed with the air shocks.

Test Rides and Photos with the Red Trike:

Rigged up for a test ride! No front brakes yet!

Bright Orange "Testing Paint" and plenty of driveline clearance.

I paid extra for some chrome bits!

The sway bar to improve handling.

At the end of the 2011 rally.

No sir, it just LOOKs overly complex!

October 2011 at a bike event.

The two DBT 3 prototypes are made up of 3 main pieces: Front Frame, Rear Frame and Power Block. The front frame section bolts onto the middle power block and once on, should never have to come off. The Rear Frame attaches with three easy access 8mm bolts and you can take the rear section off  when transporting the trike in smaller vehicles.

November 2011 update: I mounted the new aluminum frame sections on the Red Trike. This consisted of modifying the newly welded aluminum rear frame with some adapter shims to align with the original Power Block. I used the #002 frame that had rear drop out spacing issues.  Frame 001 would become the Orange trike and 003 and 004 frames are welded, but not assembled.

I was working on these aluminum frames with the intention of selling these during 2011. But these new frames were based on the prototype layout and there are some compromises that I believe customers would not like and so I started playing around with ideas that would over come these limitations and be much simpler*, cleaner lines and ideally, lighter too!

In February 2012, I completed the second prototype that would become the 'Orange' trike using rear frame #001. This rear frame also had spacing issues but using a 160mm brake rotor instead of the 140mm rotor fixes the clearance issue with the rear wheel brake option. The second prototype was built to test a number of design changes: more castor, more track width, swapping the expensive air shocks with simpler and lighter elastomer "dampers" and finally the u-joint steering setup. All these changes have improved handling and tire wear and reduced the weight too.

Prototype 2, the Orange Trike:

December 2011

Starting to come together!

Modified hub to fit the 001 rear frame.

9 speed Shimano Cassette.

Testing and dialing in steering with no shocks mounted.

After testing, we removed the air shocks and made a simple eastomer shock.

The evolution continues...

At Lake View Park prior to  Catrike Rally in early March 2012.

2011 Withlachoochee Rails to Trail Event! October 2011 2011 Horrible Hundred, at the top of "The Wall"  November 2011 2012 Withlachoochee "Clean Air Ride" March 2012

Watch the October 2012 Withlacoochee Ride video!

Say goodbye to the Orange Trike!

Ahh, one of the last pictures of the beautiful Orange Trike during a ride in November 2012. ( above) The original purpose of the Orange Trike was to test some things and then strip it down and use the parts for the brand new design. The new design will feature a lot of improvements and capability... and I'm sure it's own set of new challenges to overcome.  Build Blog Continued on the DBT4 page...

Now, lets go ride!!

David Bruce

Please contact Dave: dbtrikes@yahoo.com 

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