Painting

No bike build project is complete without painting. Here’s the front end painted to match the pedicab trailer that it will be towing.

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Strengthening the front end

In order to strengthen the front end, trusses were added connecting the top tube to each head tube. I repurposed the original fork sides from the Gitche Gumee’s fork for the tadpole’s trusses. [I thought it only fitting.]

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Roll test!

With the steering linkage installed, it was simply a matter of installing the front wheels in order to perform a quick rolling test ride. 🙂

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The tie rods

The tie rods for the steering linkage are pictured below. Sourcing an economical pair of these proved more challenging than I had anticipated. Ultimately I found these online through Northern Tool and Equipment [Item #13811 – Plated Steel 13″ Tie Rod Kit].

[Since building the Gitche Gumee Tadpole i’ve learned that Northern Tool no longer carries this part. However I see that they do carry individual tie rod end bearings; so one could make her own tie rods. – Ed.]

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Chopping the original fork

The center fork’s left and right fork sides are cut from the fork’s crown; leaving only the steering tube and crown. Tip: Save the side pieces for later use. The crown is then ground clean and smooth.

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Huh?

While I had the front wheels installed, but not yet the steering linkage connected, I took a picture of the wheels in a position in which they will never ever be (hopefully) after the tadpole is complete.

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Tadpole taking shape

After the left and right head tubes were welded to the center head tube, I removed the center fork, and temporarily installed the front wheels to get a visual. The tadpole is taking shape!

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Welding the head tubes

Welding each (left and right) head tube to the center head tube. Note: the center (orange) forks are in its tube simply for alignment purposes. The center (orange) forks will be removed after the welding of the left and right forks. Note the use of a rod to align all the forks.

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Same sized forks

Collecting parts. Two matching forks found at the Reno Bike Project. One read Huffy, one read Roadmaster, however they were equal in size, and length — a critical requirement for the front end of this trike’s design.

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