If a recumbent bike has two different wheel sizes, the big one will be at the back, right? ...

Well, no!

Starting with the Zeica a few years ago, I have been building front wheel drive (fixed bottom bracket) bikes that have the big wheel (24", 26" or 27") at the front and a 20" at the back. All have twisting-chain front wheel drive but the bikes developed over the last year dispense with the intermediate pulley (found on Zox bikes) and keep the standard-bike fork rake of about 70 degrees. This is in contrast to other new bikes such as the Minq which have direct front wheel drive but reverse trail. The layout ends up something like the long wheelbase Rans X-Stream but dispenses with the long chain, all the chain guides and the long control cables. The wheelbase is long and so are the bikes, and the new drive mechanism has some costs in terms of handling such as a reduced turning circle.

The first, experimental direct drive bike was built in late 2006 and started life as a six-speed, supermarket suspension bike. It didn't last all that long but worked well enough to convince me of the worth of the design and persevere with it.

The first good bike of this type had a cro-moly steel main boom and rotary-laser-cut end pieces, the same front and back. They support the bottom bracket and steerer (front) and the rear suspension pivot and seat (back). This bike has completed 50-70k per day, twice weekly commutes, 100k training rides, a tour of French Island and the 210k "2007 Round the Bay in A Day", all without fuss or serious mechanical problems.

Note: The bikes were built with inspiration from the “Bevo” bike, but recently I discovered a “long lost relative” of this type of bike which is a bit more sporty than the Bevo. The bike is a custom built Rotator and it appears in the book “The recumbent bicycle” by Gunnar Fehlau. It was ridden by Matt Weaver to win a road race for unfaired bikes at Battle Mountain in America and can be seen online here in a photo by Arne Hodalic.

  • Prototype bike
  • Wooden bike
  • Disc wheel
  • 3D CAD design
  • Rapid prototype casting
  • Lycra bike fairing

Plans for the bike are available online when you buy the book "An Illustrated Guide to The Cycle Zoo". I have 2 sets of laser cut parts for bike frame available for $320 each. This is not a complete bike frame and work needs to be done to put it together. Email me for details.