Friday, December 30, 2011

Electric Warrior recumbent tadpole trike in Norway


Some months ago, I purchased building instructions for the "Warrior". Very good and highly
valuable, thank you very much! Since I had no previous welding experience, your "welding basics" tutorial also helped me a lot.

I was "brave" enough to go for round 50mm/47mm tubing in place of the square tube frame. It gave me grey hair before I mastered welding round thin walled tubing. Very difficult for a beginner, but a lot of practice helps (and a good grinder). Your instructions of how to make use of different existing bicycle parts were most welcome. It saved me a lot of research work.

Since I live in a place with a lot of hills, and almost no flat areas, an electric motor is almost mandatory to get anywhere. So, I purchased a "Golden Pie" and 38V LiPo batteries.

The trike was finished and first test ride was made today. It is NOT the right time for bicycle trips in Norway at this time of the year, but I cannot wait for the spring to get this thing tested. After some adjustments of the handlebars to maximum comfort, it was ready for a ride. It rides perfectly! Very stable and easy to handle.

Even on ice and hard snow it was no other problems than some painful "bone rattling" over some very bumpy parts in the road caused by poor clearing of the snow and ice. The motor really does a great job to zoom up hills that otherwise would slow me to walking speed. I hope this will be a great alternative to my car when commuting to job, and for pure fun.

Thank you very much for your instructive web site!


Bjørn Furuheim, NORWAY"

 Wow! That's a great, rugged Warrior trike designed for your climate. Thanks, Bjorn for your kind words. Hope to see more bike creations from you.

Build your own cool recumbent trike.

South Carolina motorized bike

"The bike is a small dirt jumping frame with (2) stage2 pocket bike engines rack mounted and V-belt driven. The wheel pulley is a same size rim hoop bonded and security bolted to the spoked wheel. Separate brake lever throttles. Approx 8-9 hp and 11000 rpms. Ridiculous acceleration from a dead stop or roll on.

Located in Charleston, South Carolina.

Thanks, Alex (aka: lowracer)"

Bike builders rock!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Antelope crashes biker

The video clip was shot during a mountain bike race near Pietermaritzburg, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

A leaping antelope attacks the racer while he was in second place during the race. Apparently, the antelope and cyclist were ok after the incident, according to a BBC report. Good thing he was wearing a helmet. Imagine the head injury he would have sustained.

Custom SWB recumbent by Kevin - AZ gallery

"My 1st bike project.  During the summer months, I ride it everyday to the pool drawing many favorable comments! Kevin Johnston."

Build your own recumbents, choppers, tandems, trikes, ebikes, scooters and more.

Mike's handmade bike collection - AtomicZombie gallery

"Hey, I just wanted to submit a few pics of some bikes that I've built. I have to admit that your site inspired me to start building bikes in the first place. Thank you. Mike."

Great work, Mike. You have a great collection of bikes. Thanks for sending them to us for the Builders Gallery. Hope to see more of your work soon.

DIY bike plans - recumbents, choppers, tandems, trikes, ebikes, scooters, tallbikes and more.

Monday, December 26, 2011

AZ store was down for a bit, OK now

We had to do some maintenance, so if you tried to place an order and it failed, please try again. Everything is working fine now.

Hopefully, the changes will result in fewer "Service Unavailable" messages on the AtomicZombie main site. It's been an ongoing issue that should be resolved now.

Thanks for your patience.

DIY bike plans: recumbents, choppers, tandems, trikes, trailers, ebikes, scooters and more!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Atomic Zombie newsletter Dec. 24

wooden bike
Highlander old skool chopper
Atomic Zombie archives

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Highlander old skool bike chopper - AtomicZombie archives

Building the Highlander Chopper

from the Atomic Zombie Extreme Machines archives 2004

Highlander is a chopper based on those wild chops from the past - you know like the movie "Easy Rider"? Armed with nothing more than a photo from the move, a few bits of conduit and a hacksaw I began cutting things up and laying out the frame on the living room carpet - something you do when it's too cold to work in an unheated garage during the boring winter months. Highlander turned out so well, that it also earned a spot in my book under the chapter "The Infamous Chopper".

The rear of the frame is made by cutting the dropouts from one pair of front forks, then welding them another set . Both sets of forks are widened before hand in order to take a rear wheel - this is a delicate and precise operation that involves grunting like a rabid ape as you stand one one leg of the forks while pulling the other leg apart.

Bottom bracket salvaged from an old BMX bike - a busy intersection where the chain stay tube, seat tube and down tubes all meet. The entire frame is made from 1 inch thin walled electrical conduit.

Gussets not only give the frame some character, but also add needed strength to the junction between the down tube and top tube. This area will be under a lot of stress due to the ridiculous angle of the head tube.


Four foot long chopper forks - made from 1 inch thin walled electrical conduit. A nut is welded into the top end of each fork leg so that they can be bolted to the triple tree as you will soon see.

The two fork legs are welded directly to the bottom half of the triple tree. The threaded for tube is then welded to this plate. All of this is done with the front wheel in place to ensure proper alignment.

The top of the triple tree is bolted to the tops of each fork leg and also held in place by the fork stem. This system is designed much like a typical motorcycle triple tree setup. Simple, yet effective.

A big phat seat is mounted to the frame by welding the suspension part of the seat to the frame, then installing the seat back onto it. A big old exercise bike seat is a good candidate for this. You could also steal the seat from Grampa's old balloon tire cruiser - you know, the one buried deep in the back of the shed under the crates of 8-track tapes?

What would a chopper be without a nice styling rear fender? Some thin sheet metal is used to cut out the three pieces that make up the rear fender. Just tie a marker to a string that is slightly longer then the radius of the rear wheel and tire, then draw out the shape. This metal can be cut with a jigsaw.

The rear fender is tacked together and taking shape. Later, the entire seam is welded and ground so that it looks perfectly smooth with no weld makes or blemishes. Patience!

The rear fender is welded directly to the seat stays. Proper alignment is quite a chore, and the hammer flew across the garage in a fit of rage on more than one occasion before this step was complete!

Once I had the fender welded to the frame, and the front forks completed, it was off the the paint shop. Nope, that's not a $500 dollar powder coat - its a $5 can of spray paint.

An old-skool chopper must have a set of overly long ape hangers installed, or it would be breaking form. The handle bars are installed into a standard gooseneck just as they would be on a regular bike.

Highlander is one Phat chop! Not bad for two days work and ten bucks worth of parts!

The Highlander takes some getting used to, but rides well once you get the hang of it. The reclined position is actually quite comfortable, but don't ever admit that to anyone - choppers are supposed to be painful and hard to ride!

Yes, on a chopper like the Highlander, you do own the road!

Designed, photographed and written by Brad Graham (RadicalBrad),

Highlander chopper included in Bicycle Builder's Bonanza

Is your job killing you?

More interesting statistics and information about work related stress, disease and death. Worth reading.

"How Stressed Are We?
  • 40% of workers say their job is excessively stressful
  • 29% say they feel extremely stressed at work
  • 26% say they quite frequently feel burned out at work
  • 1 in 4 workers feel their jobs are the most stressful aspect of their lives
  • 3 in 4 workers believe job stress has increased over the last generation"
Is Job Stress Killng You?

"We may accuse each other of exaggerating when we say our jobs are killing us, but it might not be that much of an exaggeration. Dozens of studies over the years have linked job stress to increased incidences of disease and death. With this infographic, discover who is most at risk, what causes workplace stress, what the likely consequences are and how both employers and employees can reduce the problem. 

Who Is At Greatest Risk for Work-Related Stress Death?
  • Over a 20 year study of 820 adults ages 25-65 at the study’s start, 53 died, and they were disproportionately likely to have reported a “hostile work environment”
  • Middle-aged workers who have poor relationships with their colleagues are 2.4X more likely to die sooner
  • Surprisingly, relationships with bosses had no ties to increased death, even though it is a top cause of leaving a job
  • Women who reported having control/power in the workplace were 70% more likely to die than those who did not feel in control

Most Common Causes of Work Stress
  • Heavy workload
  • Management techniques
  • Restructuring in the workplace
  • Lack of support/relationships with coworkers
    • 86% of surveyed firms reported bad behaviors like insults and poor manners
  • Lack of clarity in job responsibilities
  • Job security/future concerns
  • Environmental issues (lack of space, excessive noise, unclean air, etc.)
  • Abuse, both physical and verbal
    • 20 workers per week are murdered in the US
      • #1 cause of workplace death for women
      • #2 cause of workplace death overall
    • 18,000+ are physically abused
  • Personal/home problems

How Coworkers Cause Stress
  • Manipulation/pressure to obey orders
  • Inappropriate or just different personalities/work styles
  • Conversely, extreme similarity in personality/work style

Stress has been linked to:
  • Heart disease
    • 40% higher incidence for women
    • 25% increased likelihood of heart attack for men
  • Stroke
    • Nearly 50% increased likelihood for men
  • Depression
  • Sleep issues
  • Digestive issues
  • Obesity (prolonged work stress has been found equal to being 40 lbs. overweight)
  • Memory problems
  • Aggravation of skin conditions
  • The quickened progression of HIV/AIDS

Death from Overworking
  • “Karoshi”—the Japanese word for “death from overwork”
  • In Japan, about 10,000 managers, executives and engineers die annually from being overworked
  • 11 workers for China’s Foxconn committed suicide by jumping from high buildings, citing overworking and neglect of spiritual needs
  • Pan Jie, a 25-year-old female auditor in Shanghai, died from viral encephalitis in April 2011, after working for 10 days with a high fever

How Workers Can Reduce Stress
  • Eat well
  • Exercise often
  • Get enough sleep
  • Employ relaxation techniques
  • Communicate with friends
  • Remember to laugh and make jokes
  • Seek counseling when necessary"

Guatemala quad bike

"Here are some photos of a quadracycle I designed and built by myself. Regards. Kazumi Edgardo Lou Goto." Guatemala

Kazumi is a very talented guy. His blog has drawings, pictures and videos of his many projects. "cosas que hago con las manos" = things I do with my hands. And, he designs homes, too.

Our own sociable recumbent with electric assist motor

Kyoto Cruiser Recumbent Trike is designed to be a real alternative to the automobile for many short trips, errands and leisure rides. The trike has a very sturdy frame and wheels, and since seats are placed side-by-side rather than inline, you can enjoy a sociable cycling experience with a partner. The Kyoto Cruiser is very comfortable thanks to its recumbent seat design, but it also has a seat height typical to many small cars to aid visibility and navigation in traffic.

The Kyoto Cruiser Recumbent Trike is loaded with unique features, including a full range of gears and 20 inch wheels for extreme hill climbing capabilities, and independent front and rear shifting systems so that each rider can pedal at his or her own pace and comfort level. Handling is very smooth with the ability to turn tight circles and stop efficiently using dual rear disc brakes. The unique sliding bottom bracket system can be easily adjusted to suit any rider size so that youngsters and adults alike can enjoy the experience. With gas prices shrinking our wallets and our hectic lives leaving us with limited time to reduce expanding waistlines, the Kyoto Cruiser may be the answer to many of our daily problems!

With a few days of hard work you will have a very sturdy and sporty looking trike that not only performs as good as it looks, but is a true joy to ride on short and long hauls. Most of the parts can be easily found at bicycle shops, thrift stores, hardware stores, or from scrap bicycle parts. Like all Atomic Zombie designs, we aim to keep things as simple and effective as possible, requiring only common parts and basic tools. Of course, there is always room for experimentation and alternative designs based on your own style or needs.

Take a look at our Builder's Gallery to see other KyotoCruiser Recumbent Trike examples, including many creative modifications to the plan. Our international builders community ranges from students to retired engineers, but they all have one thing in common - the desire to build their own stuff!

All of Atomic Zombie Extreme Machines plans are downloadable PDF format. Multiple discounts, free tutorials, videos, gallery, newsletters, blog and more.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Bikes Can Solve Our Biggest Problems

Interesting statistics on biking and health. Portland could save $400M in healthcare costs by 2040 - imagine if more cities adopted pro-bike strategies and infrastructure.

"There's tantalizing data suggesting that biking could go a long way to solving America's obesity crisis. And much more.

Americans are getting fatter every year, and weight-related diseases kill us at a rate second only to tobacco. There's been lots of proposed solutions to that problem--rejiggering the food pyramid, advertising campaigns, soda taxes. But the simplest of all might just be bikes. Yes, bikes.

If you live in the suburbs where any bike trip would be riding along a highway, that probably sounds totally insane. But this infographic produced by Healthcare Management Degree actually provides several data points that suggest that bikes might not be so ridiculous after all.

A few stats immediately leap out at you: For one, 70% of America's car trips are shorter than 2 miles, which translates to about an easy 10-minute bike ride:

The stats really get eye-popping in the second half of the panel above: 13 pounds in a year, just from riding to work?! The second panel then looks at the obesity rates in various European countries and compares them to the percentage of trips taken by bike:

Obviously, correlation isn't causation, but given how much weight you lose by riding to work, the data is pretty compelling. Then again, could Americans really commit to the cultural shift that biking all the time entails? After all, it's not like our gas prices are going up to $8 a gallon, as they are in Europe where gas taxes are huge. If you're trying to fight cars as an American politician, you'll be out of work fast. Especially since, as of this moment, only a tiny .6% of all errands and trips in this country are made via bikes.

But the last panel does actually suggest that change isn't totally impossible. Portland, which is covered with relatively new bike lanes, has 6% of its population commuting by bike; ridership across the country is growing.

There are suggestions that the government takes this trend serious: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has been making noises about making biking easier and safer across the country. 

But nonetheless, the degree to which motorists seem to despise those on bikes is pretty amazing--in New York's own fights over bike lanes, the backlash has been vicious. How do you make cyclists safer without making drivers feel like they're under attack? The answer to that question could hold the key to our biking future.

Recumbent Atom Blaster by Eric

"Find attached photo of my Atom Blaster taken in the summer. Love it and ride it almost every day, but I will be fitting a trike backend for winter riding. Will send photo of that when I have done it.

Love the Web site.

Eric "Cyclone" Coles."

Great recumbent, Eric! Definitely take some pictures when you convert it to a trike and we'll add it to the gallery, too. Thanks.

Build your own bikes!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What is Atomic Zombie Extreme Machines?

We are bike builders, co-authors and childhood friends - known as KoolKat and Radical Brad on the AZ Builders Forum - located in Ontario, Canada.

Brad Graham has been building his own custom bikes for over 25 years. We launched Atomic Zombie Extreme Machines over 10 years ago to showcase some of his creations, and it has grown ever since. We (Kat and Brad) design and publish DIY plans.  

Kat and Brad, circa 1970
The AtomicZombie site also has an extensive Builders Gallery and international Builders Forum
Our DIY plans detail every aspect of the building process using easy-to-follow instructions, high resolution pictures and diagrams. Even if this is your first attempt at building a bike, you will be able to follow our plans, as no previous expertise is assumed. Real photos of the project and detailed diagrams are used instead of complex drawings, so you will not have to guess when critical measurements are required.

You will only need a minimal set of common hardware store tools to build any of our plans such as a welder, angle grinder and hand drill. To ensure that anyone can follow our plans, all welding was done with a basic AC stick welder, and the only other power tools used are an angle grinder and hand held drill. Although some of the trikes require a small threaded part to be machined, drawings are given and the costs are normally very minimal at most machine shops.

No difficult-to-find or non-standard bicycle parts are used in Atomic Zombie Extreme Machines plans, so you can acquire parts at most bicycle shops, thrift stores, or even scrap yards. Our plans allow a great deal of modification as well, so you can adapt your project to the parts you have available, or easily add your own modifications to suit your individual needs and style.

Most of the amazing bikes and trikes shown in our gallery were built by those who never considered taking apart a bicycle or turning on a welder. With a little patience and a few days of practice, you can learn to weld steel and turn scrap metal into a work of art. 

Our Builders Forum is a great place for new builders to share ideas and seek help when first starting into this great hobby. Membership is free, so join us! 

The Builders Forum represents an international community of creative people who enjoy building their own cool stuff! Our forum is family safe, meaning that we keep it clean and free from flaming, offensive language and trolling. 

If you want to talk about the things you are building and meet others who share your desires to create, then please drop by and join the discussions! We also encourage experienced builders who have completed projects based on Atomic Zombie plans to help other novice builders, so feel free to share your advice, tips and tricks with the community.

Meet the AZ creators

Radical Brad
In 2003, Brad Graham, inventor, bicycle creator and author received a Guinness World Record for the World’s Tallest Rideable Bicycle, a new category. It was a dream for Brad, who has always wanted to be in the World Record book.

On July 1 at 1:04 p.m. (ET), Brad launched his first successful ride on his 14-foot, 3-inch high SkyCycle bicycle around the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium parking lot to cheers and applause by family, friends and bystanders. Brad is known internationally for his web site, which inspired the 2003 Atomic Zombie’s Bicycle Builder’s Bonanza book.


Kathy McGowan is also a bicycle enthusiast, co-author of Atomic Zombie’s Bicycle Builder’s Bonanza, and proud owner of several custom built recumbent bikes.

Additionally, Kathy coordinates the logistics and marketing aspects of many bicycle, robotics, computer and publishing projects, manages the daily operations of the couple’s multimedia adventures, including Atomic Zombie, and co-ordinates various marketing and communications initiatives.

Check out thousands of custom bikes in the Atomic Zombie gallery, and be sure to send us a picture of your completed homebuilt recumbent, chopper, tandem, trike, ebike, tallbike, trailer, etc., to add you to our growing AZ Krew community of bike builders. Cheers, friends.

Arizona stretched cruiser bike by Harley

"Hi all. My name is Harley from the Phoenix, Arizona area. This is my stretched cruiser that I fabricated in the backyard. A mix of parts from the 40s to present. I recently converted it to a Nexus 7 speed.The pic was @ Tour De Fat San Diego a couple of years ago ( I don't usually wear a Fez)."  ~ Harley Lee

Great bike, Harley. Thanks for sharing (love the Fez, too!).