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Gregory Allen’s Steampunk Trikes

If you are around downtown Boise for long, you will notice an unusual trike driven by an interesting looking fellow.  Dawson’s coffee shop is a likely place to run into the driver, which I often do.  It is a handmade trike designed and built by Gregory Allen.

They are pedal assisted, but run primarily on battery power.  He used lithium for long life, and lead acid for quick take off.  This is about the 17th model he has built, and each version has some different features.

Gus Duncan’s Woodies!

If you think of technology as a work of art, Gus has taken the technology to a new level of art in his wooden bikes.  Here are the two I have seen:

more photos here, and here.  Gus has a blog here with more details their construction.  You can drop him a line with questions at <>


Puprunners Dog Trailer

The Puprunner Trailer for Doggies!

I have had the opportunity to test drive the Puprunner trailer, a trailer made for dogs and their owners.  Full disclosure: the makers, the Carters, are clients of my patent law practice and we are getting a patent on this device.  Their website is HERE.

We hooked up this trailer to my Catrike Speed, which is a recumbent trike.  The hookup was very easy, and didn’t take more than a few minutes.  The photo above shows the Puprunner in a configuration where my dog Ginger can trot along behind my bike.  The Puprunner does this by having the floor made of two panels which hinge up and attach so the dog can be on the ground.  The idea is that after a few miles the dog might be tired, but the bike rider might want to cover some more miles.  When that point is reached, the floor panels of the trailer hinge down, and the tired pooch can ride.  It really works, and my dog who is very sweet, but not very bright, figured it out on the first ride.


The Puprunner has a storage area in front of the dog compartment, and a sun screen that goes over the top. It is 33 inches wide, and weighs about 45 pounds.  The photo above shows my dog in the riding position, which lets me speed down hills without leaving her behind.  The dog is tethered by a chest harness to the frame, not by a collar.  I was impressed and thought it would be perfect for a nice ride that is too far for my dog, but would allow her to get a workout.

Tadpole Upright Trike, Underseat Steering

Here is a comfy looking tadpole trike.

This looks like its chain drive, single speed, the rider’s back would be straight up, not leaning forward.  I don’t see any brakes, but if it was direct drive, you could brake by resisting the pedals turning.  This would work well today.


The MASA Slingshot, by Trikebldr

In 1974 MASA (Multi-Advanced Sports Action) (of Japan) created a new class of closed-course track racing. They set up the rules so tight that only one trike would qualify,……their’s! Japanese companies could do that in those days.

MASA was a Japanese company, but targeted the US with this form of racing. In 1975 they finally brought a few of these over here and did some exhibition races between their own staff.  It never really caught on, but they still imported about 1500 of these into the US over a three year period.

There were some very minor changes made to the trikes over the three years they were produced, like the rear dropouts, the chain tensioners, seat materials, colors, elimination of a lot of the original chrome parts, and the elimination of the use of a mid-drive that followed the rear der’s movements (called a reciprocal-gearing system).

Since these trikes were focused on track racing only against like trikes, the lack of braking and their size was not a problem. Their wide, long front end was thought to be better protection for the rider.

Two major problems that kept them from becoming popular was the single, minimally effective rear brake and their humongous size (56+lbs). The Slingshot really was intended solely for track racing where braking was only used to adjust speed entering the corners. Even the disc brake on the rear of earlier models was way less than effective for street use. Later models tried the Bendix drum brake on the rear wheel, but still fell short of being able to lock up the wheel. The trike’s 56-65lb weight didn’t help with it’s stopping problems either.

Earlier models came with an aluminum ‘wing” over the front axle, probably more for looks than anything, and a bullet-shaped, sports car-styled rear mirror on the left side. The chain and front sprocket was also completely enclosed in an aluminum guard. They were very high tech looking machines, but too heavy to compete with any other HPV around.

The first year only came in red or yellow, with lots of chrome on the front end. The second and third years offered the orange and black colors, with the loss of all chrome on them, except the rims. The one you have there now is a very late first year model, with a tan seat and simpler, single cog rear jack-shaft on the driveline. It still has some of the chrome on the steering components, but not all. It is a transition model. The seller claims it to be original paint, but that’s not true. Orange wasn’t introduced until all chrome was eliminated. Black also came out first, with all parts painted black, then the orange was added to the frame only.

One last feature that also killed it was it’s tendency to flip over in high speed corners! The rider’s center of mass was closer to the rear wheel than the fronts so it wanted to tip that rear wheel over, and the front wheels couldn’t stop it with so little weight on them. It as about a 30/70% weight distribution on them, front to back, whereas our current generation of tadpole trikes average about 60/40% front to back.

Innesenti Trikes

This has got to be the Ferrari of trikes, but at $11,000 it should look sexy. I don’t know if it is a trike or a work of art, or both.  Check it out at Innesenti trikes.


Tadpole Trike, rear wheel steering, front wheel drive, 1950s.

I’m guessing this cool little tadpole trike is from the 1950s, judging by the stylin’ hairdo.  This photo from the site “Modern Mechanix, where “yesterday’s tomorrow is today.”


Joules, the cycling robot

Specifically, Joules is a robotic stoker for your tandem bike, when you are riding solo on a tandem.


This project definitely has a steam punk flair, and combines some art, whimsy, and a good deal of engineering.  Joules was built by engineer Carl Morgan with his son, a former pro cycling racer.  The web page with more information on Joules is here.

Carl has a great U tube video also, linked below.

Bicycle Lawnmowers

There are dozens if not hundreds of patents on lawnmowers combined with a bicycle frame and propulsion.  Some date from the 1880s!  Here is a typical one.

lawnmower bike

A Bad Case of Drillium!

Bruce went crazy with his drill press, and removed, if I read his notes correctly, about 13.7 pounds from the normally 30 pound Catrike Speed!  This is Catrike #CS754, named Holey Spokes.







Now we need to see that thing assembled, a final weigh in, and a test ride to see if it whistles.  Its just remotely possible that Bruce has too much time on his hands. One last picture: