Rick Wianecki's leaning trike
Rick Wianecki's Leaning Trike Project
These web pages chronicle the design, construction and evolution of Rick Wianecki's leaning trike. The design of this trike allows it to be ridden like a normal bicycle, and in fact, while moving, it feels and leans through corners just like a normal bicycle. A locking mechanism is used to lock the bike into an upright position when stopped. This type of vehicle would be ideal for faired commuter Velomobile. Rick's trike uses some of the concepts brought to light by Wayne Soohoo's leaning trike, though Rick has re-thought and simplified the lean and lock mechanisms.
Trike Design Trike Construction Hub Centered Wheels  
Hub Centered Wheels
This drawing shows the design of the new front wheels. These hub centered wheels will overcome the  compromises inherent with using kingpin steering geometry with leaning offset wheels. Using these hub centered wheels should greatly reduce the scrubbing and toe misalignments which occur when the trike is leaned over in a corner, which will improve the handling and speed of the vehicle.

You can click on these plans for a larger image.

Freshly machined hubs. Hubs were turned from a solid 4-inch diameter 6061 T6 round. I have a 3-in-one machine and it took almost 20 hours to make the hubs. Phil Wood wheel chair bearings are press fit in. 
The disk brakes will be the Avid mechanical type. The carbon dishes need to be fabricated next. Once the new wheels are finished both front uprights will need to be modified to accept the new wheels.
Hub under construction - 4 inch aluminum billet in lathe.
Garrie Hill created a male mold for the offset disk wheels, and then vacuum bagged several layers of carbon fiber over it to create the disk. This picture shows the disk wheel in the vacuum bag after layup.
This picture shows the disk after the first 6 layers of carbon fiber were applied,  the epoxy cured, and the vacuum bag was removed.

Garrie used a light dusting of 3M Super 78 spray adhesive to get the layers of carbon fiber to lay down and stick together while he was laying them up on the mold.

This picture shows the disk wheel after it was trimmed up. The slots cut into the edge of the disk are to allow it to compress slightly when it is press fit into the rim.
This picture shows the inside of the disk wheel. Since the spray adhesive does not stick to the mold release agent, it was able to be removed easily from the mold.
An arbor press is used to press the wheel disk into the rim. Epoxy was applied to the wheel disk before pressing it in to glue it in place.
The wheel disk, after being pressed and glued onto the rim. 
Rick drove down to visit Garrie and they got some further progress on Rick's carbon wheels for his leaning trike. Enclosed is a JPEG showing the holes
milled in for mounting the hub. 

The wheels shouldn't have to be trued for a long, long, long time. These things look SO COOL spinning in the sunlight! Rick and Garrie also discussed Rick's plans for carbon fenders. 

After getting the wheels back to Michigan a mandrel was fabricated to mount the wheels in the lathe and smooth out the otter edges of the carbon and to remove any splinters caused by the notching of the carbon dish. 

Note: a shopvac is strategically placed to suck up the dust and debris.

After the wheels and hubs were reassembled it was discovered that the disk brake caliper would not clear the valve stem. This caused some minor heartburn while a fix was developed.
Several solutions were explored including remaking the hubs to use drum brakes but in the end the decision was to use smaller disks. I e-mailed Garrie Hill a drawing and he fabricated 2-4” diameter stainless disks for me.
After several months the new uprights were finally fabricated.  Because of the location of the disk break caliper the steering tie rod will have to be redesigned and relocated.
After Christmas I had several days off and decided I would try to finish the installation of the new wheels. The old uprights with cantilever brakes were removed and the new hub assemblies were installed. The clearances were tight and each hub required special thickness spacers to get everything aligned.

Once the hubs and wheels were assembled there is just enough clearance inside the dished wheel for the brake cable to clear the valve stem.

New steering tie rods were fabricated. The single tie rod replaced a tie rod and a control rod
The new steering is designed with Ackerman compensation at the center instead of at the wheels.
Here is the finished trike is waiting for the snow to melt off the roads to give the vehicle a try. The original trike had a front track width of 25”,  the new wheels have reduced the track to 23”. Riding it around the garage the steering effort with the new wheels and steering has been reduced by almost half.
So the last project I want to do on the trike is to make some fenders for the front wheels. Several disks of particleboard have been cut, glued together and automotive type body filler is used to get the final profile.
After sanding, filling, primering, sanding, filling, primering, several coats of an automotive enamel paint have been applied to the pattern. Next step will be to wax and apply carbon  cloth to make the desired fenders. I will not be making a female mold but will use the “HILL” method of lightly gluing the dry carbon cloth to the male plug and then applying the epoxy resin.
Wax on wax off about 8 times to prepare the male plug. I used Kanaba mold release wax. The total process took the better part of a day. 
Getting ready to do the lay-up. Two pieces of 6oz. Cloth were cut to a size that is less the ½ the diameter of the mold. Dexter Frekote mold release film was sprayed on the waxed plug before the carbon cloth was applied. The Carbon cloth was applied to the plug dry using a light coat of contact spray adhesive.
Epoxy resin with hardener is applied to the dry carbon cloth and worked into the cloth with a short bristle brush and a plastic squeegee. Excess resin is removed with the squeegee and the pattern is placed in a warm spot to let the resin cure over night.
The next day the rough fender is removed from the plug. If enough coats of wax were applied and there were no missed spots with the mold release the plug should give up the part without too much difficulty.

Trimming fixtures were made to trim the fender to the desired shape.

The above steps were repeated a second time to produce a second fender. Aluminum brackets were fabricated and attached to the fenders with pop rivets. A thin layer of fiberglass cloth was epoxied on before the brackets were attached to help prevent any galvanic corrosion to the aluminum.
The fenders attach to the uprights and should do a fine job of keeping moisture and debris off of the rider.
This concluded the work on this vehicle, there may be some minor adjustment required after I put some miles on the vehicle but over all I am very satisfied with the out come on this project. The trike handles exceptionally well and is a blast to ride. The only thing that I may still do is to attach a fender to the rear wheel. 


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