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1. Goal

To build a 'hybrid' HPV.
On a VERY tight budget.
That offers COMFORT.
That is SAFE.
That has some kind of POWER PLANT (hence the word 'hybrid').
That would be STREET LEGAL (in Belgium)

2. Justification

Living on a tiny disablement pension, yours truly has no other 'extra' funds than the tuppence  Google Adsense produce. (Hence the advertisements on this site, sorry if that annoys you)
Being old, fat and disabled, (*) I would like a vehicle that can be pedalled, that offers a high degree of stability, that is cheap to build, cheap to maintain and cheap to insure.

(*) :not to mention: uggly...

3. Legal Stuff

According to (recently renewed) Belgian Laws, as long as a vehicle is less than 1 meters (40 inches) wide, and the maximum speed is limited to 18 km/h  (11mph), it is considered a 'motorized means of locomotion'. (in Dutch:  "Gemotoriseerd Voortbewegingsmiddel")

In the  new law (K.B. 13.02.2007) there is a non-limited list of such vehicles: electric scooters, Segways, electric wheelchairs, trolleys for people with reduced mobility,...
It's the ",..." that is interesting, as the lawmaker leaves an opening for the inventive ones...

4. Design

I don't want any more broken bones. Let that be the foundations of the design. I've survived two motorbike crashes, incuding a head-on collision, two broken vertebrae, two heart-attacks and one wife (the latter being the most difficult one to survive from)  Besides my spine, I've broken two fingers, one collarbone, one kneecap, one wrist, one elbow and a big toe. In French they say "ça suffit", meaning: that's enough.

So I want my vehicle to have three wheels. That will prevent me from falling over. I hope.  The center of gravity has to be quite low, but not uncomfy-low. The trike will need to have some kind of heavy-duty brakes, preferably disks or drums, since the mass it will have to slow down will be considerable: 130kgs (275lbs) of rider + trike.

If money wouldn't be an object, this would be the trike for me:

1930's trike

Alas, money IS an issue, in fact, it is THE issue, so the design will have to be a little bit less flamboyant. No bodywork, for example. So that everyone can admire my Bibendum resemblance.  (click here if you don't know who Bibendum is)

The trike will probably sound like a Middle of the Road song from the seventies:
 "Chirpy, Chirpy, Cheep, Cheep",
so what better then than to start the project with a "Yellow Boomerang" ?

So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen (drum roll)
 PoPoL proudly presents his DONOR VEHICLE (faster drum roll).... (SNARE ! )

Batavus Relaxx
This slightly shaken (not stirred) photograph is the first impression of my actual donor-bike. It is a Dutch Batavus Relaxx (with double 'X') dating from the 1990's. The bike was designed by the FLEVOBIKE team, and was (one of?) the first recumbent build in larger series by a well-known bicycle manufacturer. The Relaxx is more a kind of sit-up bike than a lie-down type, which is better for an elderly person like me...

Shimano hubs, with front and rear rollerbrakes,
7 gear internal shift.
Wheels : 20" front and 26" rear.  

I actually collected it today, April 3, 2007, in  Holland. For a 10+ year old bike, it's in pretty good nick, with some minor scratches and some light rust here and there. And most important: a complete 'stock' example, with no modifications whatsoever!
Troubles? For the moment, only five gears want to work. So I will have to examine that.
The price? VERY cheap. Thanks Ronald!

5. The Future

First things first: I will start to clean, inspect thoroughly, adjust to size and then RIDE the Relaxx, before even thinking of using it as a base for a trike. If frame and mechanical parts are up to it, I will contact Walter Deklerck again, to see how we are going to adapt the Relaxx. We've been brainstorming before, but the donor trike I had in mind has been sold from under my nose, and a good quality disabled trike (as a second donor) is rare and difficult to find.

6. Reminder

For those of you who skipped my 'trikes' page: here's a reminder of the idea behind it all.

batavus relaxx + trike + sachs engine

6. Updates

april 3, 2007
After writing all the above nonsence, I took a quick look at the 'Seven Gear Itch'
Like I wrote earlier, twisting the grip would stop at the number "5".
The Relaxx is extremely short geared, so it was impossible to be sure, but it was most likely that the cable would need to bee adjusted (lenghtened) and ttat in fact #5 would correspond with top gear ( #7) i.e. the lowest gear being #3 instead of #1.
Since cables have a tendency to strech rather than shrink with use, I was looking for a cable sleeve out of place. And, 'yep', there it was ! I replaced it  to its appropriate spot, all the little red dots ligned up perfectly, and BINGO Seven Gears in Tibet !
A (very) short testride down the road confirmed that all gears were at home, and working fine. Time to celebrate with a pizza !
adjusting nexus 7 gear hub

May 23, 2008

I've obtained a delta tricycle, so the ideo to build a recumbent tadpole might be adapted to this new development. (read more in "My Trike ")

De Panne (BE)
May 23, 2008

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