Introduction: Buggy Trike

About: Swiss expat in Germany, husband, father, teacher, cyclist, tinkerer, former theatre propsmaster ️ Heimwehschweizer in D, Ehemann, Vater, Lehrer, Radfahrer, Bastler, Ex-Requisiteur

In the forum of the websiteratrodbikes.comevery year there is a big bike building contest going on, a so called BuildOff. It usually runs from may 1st until beginning of september. Besides honour and respect from other builders from all around the globe and a homemade trophy from last years winners, there is no money to win. The judges at the end are all the members of the forum.

这是我过去几年的作品:The "Campground Buggy Trike"。这辆自行车最终以41位完成者排名第七,并获得了特别奖项。这是我参加5次并完成4次之遥的我最好的结果。

It all started as a beat up bare bones NSU ladies frame with matching fork, probably from the late 50ties, a negleted baby buggy from the 60ties and a decomissioned therapy trike. The plan was to marry these three into a trike with a trunk.




  • 50年代女士自行车(NSU)的框架
  • 未知来源的婴儿越野车,大概是60年代
  • therapy trike (Haverich, about ten years old, still produced)
  • rear triangles from another frame, that had already been transformed into a stool before
  • Vintage 60ies汽车后灯(来自Opel Rekord P2)
  • 各种(复古和新的)自行车零件
  • various electrical parts (switches, cables, battery, ....)
  • Ikea parts (I never throw Ikea hardware away, never!)
  • grey cardboard
  • plywood
  • tape rolls


  • basic set of bike tools
  • basic woodworking tools
  • corrugated cardboard
  • soldering station


  • set of quality cans from Molotow
  • tape
  • 番茄酱;-)(好奇?到达第11步)




The mockup happend almost a year before the start of the actual contest (which is all covered by the rules: you are allowed to do mockups, just don't start building before 1st of may)

Based on this mockup is my first crude sketch and later in the build I even made a rough 3D version with SketchUp.

Step 2: The Basic Trike

First I had to put together the basic trike and make it work. So I went at it and took apart the trike. The ladies frame was already releaved of all the unnecessary parts when I bought it.

Adding the trike axle to the frame was really easy, as the rear end of the ladies frame was of similar form as the trike. Both had horizontal dropouts.

I added a stem and an apehanger handlebar, a frontlight I had on stock and grips (needed to extend the handlebar length for this, see pictures). I also added front brakes and a chain. All parts came out of my parts boxes, saved from older builds.

With the trike axle on it, there was no more need for the stand so I took it off and while at it I also exchanged the pedals to some black ones I found in one of my boxes, as the original ones were toast.

As the whole frame sits much lower due to the 20" rear wheels (compared to the original 28" the frame was made for), the pedals now are very close to the ground. Clearance is around 1-2 cm. So on uneven ground I hit the flor with the pedals quite often. Changing the crank was no option, as these type of bottom bracket crank combination (Glockentretlager) is really hard to take out and when doing it, the risk of frame damage is very high. So after a while I decided to swap pedals with another bike. With the sturdy red BMX pedals that are on now (last picture) touchdowns are no problem anymore...


Step 3: Base for the Trunk

I put a lot of thougth into how to construct a solid base for the trunk without welding. What I came up with was using parts of another rear triangle and fix them to the dropouts of the trike. first I mounted them to the outside, but that didn't work due to clearance issues with the trike axle. So I swapped them to the inside. That worked much better.

Then I slowly started bending the remnants of the seat and chainstays horizontally. With some brute force a heavy old vise and an old fork as lever extension I finally got a halway levelled platform for the trunk through som trail and error.



First I transferred the side panel to packaging paper and from there onto cardboard. this cardboard side piece got mounted on some slats that could rest on the platform from the last step.

Like this I could move around the "trunk" to find a good position for it that flowed well with the rest of the bike. As you can see on the picture with me sitting on the bike, I also needed to make room for my heels while pedaling.



Step 5: Dismanteling the Buggy and Improving the CAD-design

Very carefully I took apart the buggy. It was mostly built out of grey cardboard, mounted on a wooden frame. For now I kept all the parts for future reference.

To find out if the cardboard mockup had the right size I fixed the original sidepanels to it with some clamps and string. It was tight, but enough clearance and I really liked the look of it.

Step 6: (Re-)Building the Buggy-trunk

The rebuild of the trunk started of with some precut 6 and 8mm plywood and grey 2 mm cardboard.

First I made the new sidepanels (6 mm). I'll later mount the original panesls onto these so they had to fit as perfect as possible.

Next was to join the sidepanels with bottom and front. for this I used flat dowels to be as precise as possible. the panels were than glued together and also nailed from the outside. Better be safe than sorry...

For the curved side I added several strips of ply to support the bended area. As preparation for the cardboard I also angled the rear edge of the underside of the bottom panel with a file.

Next was fixing two layers of cardboard to the curved end of the buggy. The first layer was glue onto the edges of the ply panels and stapled down starting from the top, ending with some exccess cardboard on the bottom edge. After that I added a second layer. This layer was glued on on the full surface and also stapled down on the edges. To let it dry I tyed some cheap corrugated cardboard ont the curve with some string. Like this I let it cure for a day, to be sure that all the glue had really dryed.

胶水干,我平滑的边缘越低,所以that the curve flowed almost seamless into the floorboard.

After some testfitting I started sanding down the green paint from the sidepanels. With that done, I glued and nailed the original sidepanels to the new trunk.


最后我的弯曲的面前and back section with some thin ply to create room for the electronics.

步骤7:将后备箱嫁给底盘 - 霍恩斯和Sirene

Next I placed the (car) horns and a sirene I purchased on a flea market a long time ago behind the front wall. Now the trunk was ready to get married with its chassis. First I fixed it with some standard hardware to it to determine the right spots for the drive-in nuts. As the front of the chassis was a bit to low, I added some spacers I had left from a broken IKEA stool I had taken apart before throwing it away.

At this point I started to use the bike as a daily ride on the campground. Like this I could make shure that everything worked, before I later painted it.

Step 8: Taillights

After a long waiting time filled with hundreds of searches, all of a sudden this magnificent taillights of an oldOpel Rekord P2magically appeared a well known auction site. I could get them for a fair price and as soon as I had them, I started searching for options to mount them. I decided that arranging them in a classic horizontal line suits the trunk best.

唯一的问题是如何将某些东西安装在弯曲的表面上。在这里,一位非常有帮助的同伴自行车建造者介入了我的指称frenching。I quickly realized, that this was the solution to my mounting problem and started looking for fitting cardboard tubes. I found out that standard tape rolls had the exact size necessary...

My largest hole drill was a bit to small, but some grinding took care of the missing millimeters. From some 4 mm ply I made a baseplate to mount the the lights to and the glued the taperolls and baseplate in to prepped holes of the trunk. I place the rolls just deep enough, that the tips of the lights still show a bit, when lookes at from the side.

With the rolls glued in and the glue dryed, I cut off, what was to long and mounted the lights.

Step 9: Paint Job (Trunk)

For the paint I searched for inspiration on many classic cars sites. Basically I wanted to have a two-tone paint job. After looking at many pictures I decide on a combination of black, white and ruby red. The reason behind this is the fact, that one of my previous bike builds an it's trailer where painted in the same ruby red and the frame was already black and I wanted to keep it that way, only with subtle changes.

The other important decision was, that I wanted to make look old and used, so I studied a lot ofpicturesand视频about fauxtina paint-jobs.

To decide on how to paint I used a image editor on the PC to create various combinations of red, black and white and compare them. Finally #11 made the cut.

Before sanding the whole trunk, I treated all the little holes from the nails and several older dents with filler and roughly sanded it when it was dry. After fine sanding the trunk I clear primered it. Another sanding session and a second coat of clear primer then. Then I sprayed the inside white and taped and covered it all up when it was dry.

On the outside I finally did another fine (wet) sanding and I could lay down several coats of black. This is my base coat that tells me when I have to stop sanding when working on the fauxtina later.

接下来是一层厚厚的锈。我使用了从棕色到橙色和黄色的一组。我尝试使其尽可能不规则,甚至同时用两个罐子喷涂。有时候,训练较弱的手与更强的手相同的手是非常有用的... ;-)




With the paint job all done, I finally could focus on the eletronics. The plan was to make front and taillights fully 12V battery powered. And there where also horns and sirene and I wanted to incorporate indicators into the taillights.

Power source is a 12V motorbike battery.

First step was to build a base for the battery to sit on. Then I routed the cables for the taillights trough the side panels (this took a lot of trial and error and even more patience) and connected the taillights.

The frontlight was already electrified and converted to LED in a previous project. When I powered it up the LED decide to die so a transferred it to halogene. As a little special I added two red LED strips I had left as underfloor lights.

I added several switches and buttons to the front plate: a main switch in the center, two push buttons for horns and sirene on the left.

主灯和指标座(两个小orange boxes) are operated from the handlebar through two vintage NOS motorbike control switches.

When all was connected and operational I added a fuse and a little control panel to see the status of the battery and cleaned up all the wiring.

To be able to access the battery quickly I added some camper hardware to the top panel of the front compartment.


原来的框架和叉显示年的地方use and I wanted to keep that vibe, but in the same time I wanted to optically tie together the frame and trunk with some little design touches.

First I took care of fork an frame. When I started, the fork was decorated with strips of white tape. This had to comme of first. Than I taped of some kind of swoshes on fork and frame, inspired by the swoshes on the trunk. No comes the secret ingredient into play to create/keep the effect of the beat up paint: tomato paste (others use mustard, but that was, what I had on hand and both work the same way).

After taping up the desired design, I coverd all the parts that had no colour or showed marks of use with small dabs of paste and then spryed white over it. When the paint has dryed, wo wipe off the paste and take of the tape and voilà, it looks like it has always been there...



Earlier on I had ordered some nice stickers for the front wall of the trunk. And a built not bought for the rear. I also added a little cover for the two push buttons (drawer pull).


I don't remember when, but at one point in the build, I realized that haveing a standard break lever is not very practical, as the trike tends to roll off, so I installed the break lever from the thrapy bike that had the option to lock it and so keeping the trike parked.


As this bike was built for a contest it was necessary to take some nice pictures of it. So I took my trike on a spin around the campground through the ouskirts of Berlin-Kladow

Step 13: Final Words and Possible Additions

The 12 V battery I used proved to be to weak, so in the long term I'll need a stronger one and I really have to exchange all the standard and halogene bulbs to LEDs

The trike as it sits now is single speed. Maybe I will build in a 3-geared hub at one point, but that would need some specially machined parts that I cannot afford to let them ade right now.

I already started building a cover, also made from cardboard. Maybe I will finish it at some time, we will see.

But before all this, I will need to replace the left rear axle. The whole system ist built to be taken apart and at some time one screw must have become loose therefor the left axle started to wander to the outside. When it reached it's weakest point, it snapped and left me stranded in a park. I had to push the trike about 2 km back home, balancing it on its remaining two wheels. Lucky me it is a standard part of the company manufactoring the therapy bike, but it cost almost as much as I spent for the complete trike when I bought it from its previous owner... :-(

At the moment the trike is parked in a old trailer next to my caravan and waits to be reawoken. And it will happen pretty soon, as this bike is so much fun to ride, it really begs to be moved.


Trash to Treasure Contest

Trash to Treasure Contest



    • Wearables Challenge

      Wearables Challenge
    • Envision the Future of the Lift Truck Student Design Contest

      Envision the Future of the Lift Truck Student Design Contest
    • 三明治速度挑战




    10 days ago



    Reply 10 days ago



    Reply 9 days ago

    You are more than welcome. Small world right? Looks like we both have similar interests and even create some similar instructables. Thanks for the compliments on my "Best work" project. I teach high school engineering technologies and employable skills now, but this was a perfect project for middle school students. Looking forward to your next project! Happy building.



    That rear end reminds me a lot of a 1974-1979 Corvette. Really cool!



    谢谢!VIntage car, that was what I was aiming for on the rear end. I took a lot of inspiration from various (american) cars from the fifties onto the seventies.



    Truly incredable.





    14天前onStep 13

    This is an amazing project! Your creativity and skills with making old stuff into something beautiful and useful are just astounding. I wish I had half of your patience, skill and creativity.



    谢谢!Upcycling is my thing... Stay tuned for another big upcycling project I'm at right now... ;-)



    This is really frickin sweet! I'd love to build one but power it with an electric motor or one of the cheap gas China girls using a trike modification kit! Very thorough explanation! Great job!



    There is room for an electric motor. Maybe somewhere in the future I'll try...


    15 days ago

    Great work, and so nicely done. Love it! : )


    Reply 15 days ago