C R E A T I N G   H U B L E S S   H O R S E M A N
A Project Journal By Eric Paulson
You know, it's funny how a simple gesture can ultimately lead you into a project that you really have no plan for. I fully intended to spend Keith Moss' birthday cookout drinking beer, eating burgers, and resting on my laurels. As a bonus, this cookout would include a flea market for used bike goodies. Great! Let's clean house while we're at it....
 
Well, as the "good" parts cleared out to new owners, I spied a set of strange wheels that Kenny Prather brought along. No one seemed to cherish starting a build with a set of wheelchair wheels complete with hand hoops. After all, they had a non-standard tire size, skinny rims, and just plain weird hubs. Kenny had more or less resigned himself to the fact that they'd be going back with him.     
 


1. Above: Making the bike look "right" is going to be the hard part considering what is going to be needed for gearing to make this all work out...

Here's the parts that Kenny donated. If you can't tell already, they are the outer rim and handrail from a wheelchair.

2. Above: Using the rim as a guide, I set the depth for the hoop inside the rim and bored a new set of holes. These coincide with threaded holes I tapped around the circumference of the handrail hoop. The wheelchair rim will act as the belt drive..... (somehow).
3. Above: I decided to try the rollerblade wheel route... Pairs of these should  as guides around the hoop. By adding spacer washers between them NOW, I should be able to fine tune the bearing surface later, by adding or removing them. Here's a flat surface to work out the radial spacing........
4. Above: After figuring the bolt circle dimensions of the rollers, here's the layout for the first carrier plate.
Then he asked if I wanted them! Well... not really...  But in a moment of synchronicity, my wife and I both grabbed a wheel and looked at each other. Nothing was said, but this would somehow become the basis for a hubless bicycle.    
5. Above: Here's the first carrier with the OD cut and four of the pairs of rollers installed. A quick check to see if the clearance around the outer rim is working...
6. Above: Here's a look at the opposite side. I'll be adding one more pair of rollers.....
7.  Above: Here's a quick video as I tested out how it would work before commiting to the other side carrier. Don't really know why there's a purple dolphin on the wall..... there just is. Some things are like that. 
Click to view video
8. Above: Ok... so here's the deal. The thing seems to work so far, so I cut the other remaining carrier. I drilled the bolt circle, including guide holes for spacers at the mounting points, added a fifth set of rollers to ride at the bottom, and cut the inner sections out. What I ended up with is a 15-1/2" "axle" or hole in the middle.....
9. Above: Here's a shot looking down inside at the three sets of lower rollers.......


10. Above: Still working!............ ..... 
Click to view video
11. Above: Ok... got a couple pics anyway. I got a belt yesterday that seems like it may work. If not, at least it will give me a starting point as far as sizing. Here's the general idea.......
12.  Above: A couple pics of the transmission deal....... road cassette, bearings, pulley, and the disc will be mounted here also. Thanks to Sic Nick for the nice stainless trike parts used for the jackshaft......
13. Above: One more for now.........
14.  Above: Today's project was to bend a solid aluminum rod into a perfect circle and TIG it tightly into the inside pocket of the rear "pulley". This way the belt will actually drive (and brake) with it's sides like it's supposed to. Without having a roll bender, this makes for an interesting project. "How did  I do it"  you ask... well it involved a lot of swearing and bleeding mostly, but in the end it came out perfectly...... somehow.

The rod will also space the belt away from the sidewall of the tire.


15. Below: With that over with..... I came upon another problem. The rod I welded in covers the holes for the mounting screws.... f'n genious.  

Out came the dentist tools and and I carved out the area for the screws that make the thing go round..........

16. Above: Well... I managed to get a little work in before heading to the bar tonight. Good thing I'm fast because this could eat in to my drinking time....here's a picture of something .. yay....
17. Above: Oh... and did I mention there's a fuqin tire on it now.... woohooo.....
18. Above: Had to relocate the hole for the valve stem.. figured out the arc of the radius of the tube and drilled a new one at the corresponding angle... ummm yeah,  that way the go-roundy shit doesn't run over the air thingy

19. Above: Started carving up some aluminum today.. machined some end connection pieces and actually started on what might be considered frame parts? Damm I'm sick of working on this wheel, a little frame building might make it fun again... I even used this thing today.
20. Above: These clamps work pretty good... way better than the regular c-clamp. Here's a couple of tube-looking things. Luckily I had a bag of those weldable 90's left over from about 15 years ago. They came in handy finally.....
21. Left: Here're those connector pieces I was talking about.... turned them, counterbored them for a socket to fit in, and welded them onto some tube.....
 22. Right: More pipes and 90's..........
23. Below: Keeping everything square............
24. Above: So here's the whole modular rear end arrangement after welding.........
25. Below: Ok so here's what those parts look like bolted to the wheel. I still need to make up the center section that will tie it all together and house the transmission........
26. Below: A little dreaming............ .
27. Below: Well,  I got a couple more small pieces of the puzzle done on my day off.... nothing too mind blowing but pics are always good. Here's the connector piece carved up to tie the modular rear end together with the transmission..
28. Below: Then I made up a rough layout of the  transmission plate......
29. Right: And carved it up like a Thanksgiving turkey.....
30. Below: Here's what the components look like all welded up. Technically, I guess I could call these the first frame parts..... whadda you know!
32. Below: Finally, it can stand on its own.......
31.Right: Overall  view.......
33. Above Right, Below Left and Right: Today's task was to get the wheel deal bolted into the jig. This proved to be a pain in the ass considering that it has no axle to work from. What I came up with was tire spacers, a fixture to grab the tire from the rear and some standoffs to keep the frame pieces level and centered from outside of the areas where I'm going to need to be welding.
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.I opted to rotate the whole assembly to a level position. Normally I like he bottom of the "chain" to be somewhat parallel to the ground, but I'm going to go for a different look with this bike. What that look is? No idea....

34. Below: I started to build again. My buddy's motorcycle build was taking all my weld time up, but I wanted to get it finished so he could start the painting process. .I did manage to get a couple tubes arranged on the bike. My build procedure is very slow sometimes because I never really have a plan. I just let the bike build itself and sometimes it just isn't talking.

Take a look at where the headtube cones are right now. That's where they were left from the Pandora build....

35. Below: NOW... look at where it's sitting.. That's quite a bit lower. I think the bike needs a short fork and more rake this time around. 
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Oh.lookie.. there's that other wheel from the other week. Let's just slap that up there while we're at it.

36. Below: Side view of the new top tube deal...
37. Below: And the beginnings of a down tube. Here's where the "attitude" starts to take shape. The aft junction will prove to be a pain in the ass, but hey nobody said it was supposed to be easy.
38. Below: Added one more tube to tie it all together... and add to the "vertical VS horizontal" theme. Now just need to start tacking and mitering......
39. Below: Here's a side shot..... not quite a "burrito" but pretty close. The highest point on the headtube is 1" taller than the tires.
Below: I bent up a short filler piece to tie the bottom tube in with the section just forward of the rear tire. There's a lot going on right there. Different tube sizes, directions, thicknesses. I figured this was the best solution. I made a 90, then mitered it to fit and cut it back and marked where the seam would end up, then cut the downtube to fit....
41. Below: Front view of the same piece.......
42. Below: Mitered the other ends and started tacking............
43. Below: I took the frame down and got all the finish welding done to it. I know it looks like a fence gate without the aft section bolted to it, but at least it welded up. A couple weld areas could look better. I need to remember to drill gas holes before closing the welds!
44. Below, Left and Right: Managed to get a few things started. One of those being the beginnings of a fork. My standard dimensions weren't gonna work out with the fat front tire. So I altered them a little. Here's the main leg assy........I'll have to make up a piece for attaching the springs for the leading legs.

45. Below, Left and Right: The other thing that I got accomplished was the bottom bracket deal. I made a piece similar to the bolt-in that I used on Pandora, only much smaller and to the point. Here it's roughed in and the attachment tubes aren't yet welded to the frame..........
46. Below: Alright then.......... all that's left right now is to get the attachments for the B.B. rig welded in place. Then the whole rig is coming off the jig. The first order of business will be to see if the wheel is going to behave as a weight bearing member. The second test will be with a chainring across one gear to see if this concoction is actually going to propel itself.
47. Below: Well moving along tonight, I managed to get the mounting tubes for the bottom bracket welded in for good
48. Below:  I also bolted the parts back in and got my cheesy mock-up crankset in there.
49.  Below: Now with that out of the way, I can remove the front of the jig and begin to build the fork.

Here's a tip.. I find lately that making up some large plates of the material you choose for linkage plates makes it a breeze to set up your trail. Once you get the thing dialed in, you can carve them up and no one will be the wiser.

50. Below: Here's the plates set up @ 3" of trail. Marked/ drilled/ and bolted tightly in place.....
51. Below:  That's enough for tonight. I'm getting on my motorcycle....

Here's where I'm at so far. I cleaned up the background a little cuz there's so much crap collecting in my shop..

52. Below, Left and Right: ... back to the grind. Tonight was dedicated to getting some work done on the fork. The first order of business was to get some parts on the leading leg assembly. First being the stem piece for my one-spring deal and then the lower attachment points....
53. Below: Smoothed out the rough edges a bit........
54. Below: The next hurdle was in modifying the upper crown that xtrem made up for me. I had to add a spring perch to it. I took a piece of 1/4 X 2 flatbar and massaged it into the radius of the crown. Then made up a perch piece and tig'd it all up into this shape....... the hole in the spring perch will get cleaned up a bit and most likely receive a Delrin sleeve.
55. Below, Left and Right: Now it looks like this...... getting closer to touch down all the time......
56. Below, Left and Right:  Well... I got the linkage plates cut out for the fork. That meant that I could finally take the bike off the jig and see what it looks like on the ground. This is always enlightening, as you can never really get a grasp of what the bike is until it's at ground level. I flipped it around for pics of the other side. I figured you were getting sick of the crank side by now......
57. Below: I used the paint program to chop the top off the fork tubes in this pic. I haven't gotten around to it yet.............. Well.... it's different. I'll have to poke at it with a stick a little more before I can say I like it. The next test is the weight bearing, and then maybe a little ride.
58. Below:  Well..... tonight's project was to get the seat mounted somehow. After trying to figure out some crazy, tube looking, curvy amazing whacked-out pedestal for it, I said screw it and made this instead. I rigid mounted the seat on this fairly simple rig.........
59. Below: Here's the underside where it mounts up..........
60. Below: And with it all glued up............
61. Below: And an installed pic..........
62. Below: Well,  seeing as I got a seat in place, I figured it's about time to get some control surfaces in order. Here's my new bars, straight out of the scrap bin.... add a few c-clamps and voila!.. instant thing to steer with....
63. Below:  I went out  to the LBS and purchased me a few chains. I decided on a gear to start with and glued the chains together with one of those fancy chain stick-togetherers. Here's the combo I thought I'd start with. Luckily the chain tension was fairly correct after first tensioning the belt.... let's just say that that part kinda sucked.

64. Below: I also threw the brake on there to remind myself that it ain't over till it's over.....
65. Below:  Okay folks........ that brings us to the moment of truth!! I brought you all along for the ride. Not the greatest vid, I had to film and ride but at least there's some action to show....... 
66.  Below:  One more cheesy vid... and this one even has the added bonus of 80's hairband metal in the background!! This is some Saturday nite! 
Click to view video
Click to view video
It just kinda seems like everything works. I probably don't have the right amount of air in the tires but they seem fine. The fork isn't completed yet so I need to do some fine-tuning there. 

There is a small amount of belt slippage, but as I rode more it started to decrease. I noticed some wear marks on the pulley (which is good) so hopefully the uneven areas will even out and the whole thing will settle in. 

My prediction on the gearing is off a little. I thought I would actually need more chainring than I have already, but it seems okay where it is.

I was hoping to be able to watch the videos to get some info on the sideloading, but the quality sucks. I don't really notice any movement back there while I ride it though. I'll have to do a video on board while I ride it and just aim down at the wheel. I'd like to know the speed of the rollerblade wheels too, and see if they do anything strange while underway.

Eric Paulson
68. Below:  We did a few laps on the bike today to try to get some time on the parts. My faithful crash-test rider put the screws to it for me. I figured instead of crap video and wind noise, I'd give it a little music for entertainment's sake... enjoy.
Click to view video