Recumbent Tike – Improvements II

If you let an engineer build something and use it, it will get tweaked over time. Now that the new seat is on the trike and I have been riding more, there are some more changes to make:

  • Rear fender
  • Headlight and mount
  • Cyclemeter for my phone and Apple watch along with speed and cadence sensors
  • Tools and tire pump

I do a fair amount of my riding on gravel paths. This means that I am pelted with sand and grit from the tires. The front tires are tolerable, with my arms merely looking dirty. However, after a rain the amount of gunk thrown by the back tire is too much. Gravel going down my neck and back and getting lodged in my hair through the slots of the helmet. So I added a rear fender. There are not too many “rear only” that are fenders made for a trike. However Planet Bike has a nice one. It fits my 26″ x 45mm wide rear tire. My trike did not have any pre-existing mount points (as the instructions indicated that I should use). So, I had to drill and tap in the rear fork for the front and right side mount points. The right side mount point was tricky as there is no room to get a drill inside of the fork. I used a right angle attachment for the drill and then straightened out the hole with the tap. The front mount point was pretty straightforward – drill straight in, but a ratcheting tap handle was needed due to the limited swing.

The left mount point was “borrowed” from the disk brake caliper. I had to add some washers as spacers and bend the fender braces, but it worked out well.

Left fender mount

The right and left braces do not align with each other due to the differing mount points but it seems to look all right after all. The braces were cut down to size with a disc grinder and cut-off wheel.

Completed fender installation

With the end of summer approaching, I really needed a headlight. This is required for early morning riding, especially with the fog that SE Wisconsin is prone to from the end of August onwards. I chose a Planet Bike Blaze 600 due to its wide angle – 270 degrees and bright beam. It is AMAZINGLY bright. The only problem was a lack of a standard mounting point as it is made to mount onto the handlebars of a standard bike. Therefore, I designed and 3D printed a mount bracket that fits the short downtube that supports the front derailleur. This downtube arrangement is fairly standard for tadpole style trikes. The mount bracket fits into the downtube and has a center horizontal bar – 22mm in diameter the same as one of the standard handlebar diameters, for the light to clamp clamp onto. The files for this are on Thingiverse both as STL and Fusion 360 so you can easily edit for your use. Now that the light is mounted and used in “flashing” mode, I have noticed that cars and trucks definitely give me a wider berth at intersections.

With the longer rides, I worry about a breakdown. So in the bag behind the seat I keep a bike multi-function tool, patches and tire levers (in addition to phone, wallet and energy bars). The question was then where to add a tire pump? The pump is located behind the upper seat bracket and below the bag. The fastening is inelegant – rubber bands. I have proper velcro strips – somewhere.

Being an engineer, I really wanted to get accurate stats on my rides and have an application that would integrate with my iPhone and Apple Watch. I tried a few but they generally did not integrate the watch and phone well or had problems with usable transmitters for speed and cadence. With the rectangular steel tubing frame of the trike the more common integrated speed+cadence sensors would not fit. I ended up using CycleMeter as the application. Cyclemeter provides a huge range of stats, real watch and phone integration and is only $9.95/year (far from the outrageous pricing and lack of watch /phone integration of Strava). Then I added the Wahoo speed and cadence sensors. They directly sense the motion (no fiddling with magnets!). The speed sensor mounts on the hub of the rear wheel.

Bike speed sensor on rear axle

The cadence sensor mounts onto the crank.

Cadence sensor on crank


Rear fender – Planet Bike Cascadia ALX 26″x50mm:

Headlight – Planet Bike Blaze 600 :

Headlight mount bracket files:


Wahoo speed and cadence transmitters:

Tire pump: