Monday, September 24, 2012

A long bike in AFrica

Hi Kathy (and Brad),

I've attached some pictures and a pdf file that shows some of the things that I've ended up doing here involving bikes. Here's some more info, feel free to edit and use.

Myself and my wife and 2 kids (with a third due this fall) live and work as volunteers in a village of about 7000 in The Gambia. We work with a Christian organization called Youth with a Mission (see My main work is with erosion control and tree planting which are very interconnected and a key issue in this part of the world. I work with villagers to tackle the erosion and we plant trees together. I also try my hand at some farming and gardening, testing out new ideas to see how they work in this degraded soil and hot temperatures. Since 2010, I have also been involved in training some guys in making compressed stabilized earth blocks and have had my hand in building 4 houses out of these blocks.

I have always loved bikes and grew up (in Minnesota) riding and fixing them, but it wasn't until coming to Africa that I really got into them learning the intricacies of repair such as wheel lacing (thanks and derailleur adjustment, etc. The next logical step was modifying and building them! I learned to weld out of necessity in 2010 (in order to finish up the trusses and ceiling structure of our house) and soon after started being called on to repair or modify bikes in the village.

Bikes here are pretty pricey for African standards and the good ones come used from the US and other western countries. They end their life here and don't die fast as folks continue to fix them until way beyond repair. A common repair is cutting out an old, stripped bottom bracket and welding in a new Chinese one that you can buy for a couple of bucks. Another one is converting a former mountain bike into a single speed which can involve welding rear dropouts on it in order to adjust chain tension. Read more>>

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hub flanges for your bike project

Our laser cut Hub Flange Discs will make it easier for you to build your own delta trike wheels and save you time on your project. This Hub Flange Disc is made with 24 spoke holes so that you can build wheels directly onto any 3/4" axle using rims with 48 spokes.

The Hub Flange Discs are made of steel and are approximately 1/8 inch thick as required by the plans. Spoke holes are 7/64" in diameter so that standard bicycles spokes can be used.

Our Hub Flange Discs come in several varieties with various spoke hole counts and axle hole diameters. Each of our DIY plans offer a recommended axle size and spoke count, but you can certainly change this to suit your design needs or parts availability. For instance, the Aurora Trike can be built using rims with 36 spokes rather than 48 spokes, or the DeltaWolf can be made using a 3/4 inch axle rather than a 5/8 inch axle. Please make sure that you order the correct Hub Flange Disc size for your project.

To keep costs to a minimum, our Hub Flange Discs are laser cut from flat sheet metal. Each disc will have a small imperfection on the outer edge and inner edge where the laser started cutting out the disc. There is also a mill scale on the surface of the metal that will need to be removed using sandpaper or a sanding disc. Neither of these imperfections will compromise the strength of the disc, and once they are built onto your hubs and painted, the imperfections will be unnoticeable.

The surfaces of the Hub Flange Discs are coated with a mill scale at the factory to help protect the metal from oxidation. This coating easily be removed using a sanding disc to prepare the part for painting. The laser cut edges are also somewhat sharp, so they need to be smoothed off using the sanding disc by running it lightly around the edge once.

Once the mill scale has been removed from the Hub Flange Discs, the spoke holes will need to be beveled slightly to remove the sharp edges around the holes. This is done so that the spoke exiting the flange is not cut by the sharp edges of the hole. To bevel the spoke holes, use a 3/16 inch drill bit and push lightly into the hole until a small bevel is made.

The beveled spoke holes are shown here after running pressing lightly with the 3/16 inch drill bit to remove the sharp edges. The Hub Flange Disc is now ready to be welded to your delta trike axle.

Remember, our Hub Flange Discs are sold as a set of four matching discs, and there are several versions available, so please choose the correct number of spoke holes and axle diameter for your project. These discs are manufactured to keep costs to a minimum, so you will need to bevel the spoke holes and prep the surface for painting, an operation that will only take a few minutes per disc.

All of our DIY Delta Trike Plans make use of these Hub Flange Discs, which allow you to lace a rim directly to the rear axle. By integrating the flanges directly onto the axles, you’ll save some money instead of needing to have complex and expensive machined hub parts made. Our trike plans also include instructions on how to make these parts from scratch, as well as a drawing that can be sent to a machine shop in case you want to make your own hub flanges.

Our goal is to offer parts that save you both time and money when building your own DIY bike or trike project. For more details and to order, visit the AtomicZombie store.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bike builders newsletter September 17


NEW DIY bike plan - Aurora Delta Racing Trike
Hub flange discs now for sale

 Bike builders chat
Bike builders gallery: recumbents, choppers, quads, trikes, motorized, tall bikes, trailers, cargo bikes and more

Atomic Zombie manufactured parts for your bike projects

This and other newsletters are here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NEW DIY Plan - The Aurora Delta Racing Trike

Typically, high performance trikes have been of the tadpole type (two wheels in the front), but the Aurora shatters this stereotype with its ultra low seating position and amazing corning abilities. With our easy-to-follow DIY delta trike plans, you can build your own racing delta trike using typical bicycle components and steel tubing, and you can do so at a fraction of the cost of an equivalent factory produced trike.

Under seat steering offers complete control over the handling at any speed and places your arms in a comfortable and relaxed position. For rugged terrain, the Aurora is equipped with rear suspension and a low climbing gear range that will smooth out the ride and allow you to climb hills with ease. All of the steering parts used on our DIY racing trike are standard bicycle components.


The Aurora Racing Delta Trike is a low and laid back recumbent trike will perform equally well on both the road and the trail. The low center of gravity allows the Aurora to race into corners at full speed, hugging the road like a performance race car while you keep on pedaling. You can also cheat the wind thanks to the aerodynamic recumbent seating position.

More >>

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bike builders newsletter Sept. 4

Featured article: "New AZ Parts & Plans"

Freewheel and disc brake adapters for your bike projects for sale.
More parts coming in September.

Aurora Delta Trike - new AtomicZombie bike project
The Giraffe and Shorty - new Atomic Zombie bike projects

Builders Gallery bicycles around the world
Builders community chat
AtomicZombie Facebook group
Summer special: 6 plans for only $36!

This and other AZ newsletters are here.