[This most recent incarnation of the Torker Trike was started and completed in early 2015. – Ed.]
I’ve had this Torker adult-sized tricycle for a few years. I purchased it in 2009 [I believe] from a guy off Craigslist. It has suited me well since that time, but now I felt a modification was due.
The stock Torker TriStar had 24″ tires all around and a large rear wire basket. It came in both a single speed and three-speed version. I owned the single-speed model.
Over the years I had made a few minor mods to the stock version I picked up on Craigslist. For example, I swapped out the 24″ front fork and wheel for a 26″ front fork and wheel. I also added a taller seat post to give me more room in the cockpit.
In 2009 I removed the wire basket in order to install a platform to which to mount a mobile sound system. [See Torker Tristar Mobile Sound System.] This DJ rig entertained the citizens of Black Rock City for many years at Burning Man.
I’ve had a couple 16″ rear wheels from a couple Schwinn O.C.C. Stingray Chopper Jr.’s laying around my garage for a while. Until now I didn’t know what to do with them.
[If you’ve seen my Chupacabra Custom Chopper build, you may recognize where these rear wheels originated. – Ed.]
These 16″ wheels are a full 3″ wide. The idea came to me that they would look pretty sweet on the rear of the trike.
However, one cannot simply slap on a new set of wheels. The stock rear wheels of the trike utilize hollow hubs with bearings that slip over a 15mm (~5/8″) axle.
First thing was to dismantle the Schwinn O.C.C. Chopper Jr.’s wheels. With the wheels dismantled it was easy to remove the decals, and clean and polish the rim.
Next was to locate hollow hubs with the same spoke hole count as the chopper wheels (28 holes) and the same bearing size to fit the trike axle. I found these at Niagara Cycle. Here’s a link to the hubs I found.
By building the new rear wheels with new hubs I was able to retain the Torker trike’s stock rear wheels as replacements, or to be used on another project.
Because the flanges of the new hollow hubs were taller than the flanges of the original Schwinn coaster brake hub, I needed shorter spokes in order to lace to the rim.
I was able to source the spoke size I needed from a few little kids bikes I found at the Kiwanis Bike Program [Btw, Reno’s Kiwanis Bike Program is an awesome source of inexpensive used bikes and parts.]
Another option would’ve been to cut and make my own spokes, however I do not have a spoke threader,
Pictured are both rear wheels laced up. As an added bonus the new spokes I sourced were silver and matched the new hubs nicely. [The original Schwinn O.C.C. Chopper Jr. rear wheels had black spokes and hubs.]
I couldn’t wait to see what the new wheels looked like on the trike, so I slipped them on the axle before mounting the tubes and tires. Looks pretty sweet!
Newly built 16″ rear wheels mounted on the trike. Lowered, but still plenty of clearance to pedal.
The stock Torker Trike came with a 36-tooth chain ring, which worked well for the stock 24″ rear wheels. However, after swapping those out for 16″ wheels, I needed a larger chain ring to achieve the same travel when pedaling. Pictured here is a 44-tooth chain ring I installed.
Lastly, the old 26″ front tire I had on the trike was looking a little ratty due to the flecks of orange paint on it from having been painted orange at one time [long story], so I swapped it out for a clean, black Schwinn 26″ wheel and tire.
I sold this mod to a co-worker who purchased it to take to Burning Man 2015. Letting it go was a little bittersweet. The trike had served me well throughout the years, but there’s only so much room in the laboratory, and there are many projects in the queue.
Update: My colleague who purchased the trike from me to take to Burning Man 2015 sold it back to me (at a discount) after his burn. Apparently the mods I had made to it were not a good fit for traversing the playa.
Not to worry. The 2016 Burning Man art theme is Da Vinci’s Workshop and I already have an idea for a new build to fit the theme utilizing the Torker Trike. See the Da Vinci Flying Machine build!