My First Burning Man Bike Project

[Because this was my first build and was completed many years prior to the creation of this blog, I did not take step-by-step photos of the build process at the time.  Therefore I am writing this account a few years after the fact; consequently this is the only post in this particular build thread. – Ed.]

I attended Burning Man for the first time in 2008. After seeing all the amazing art installations and mutated (modified) vehicles and bicycles I knew that I had to make something for my next visit to Burning Man, which occurred the following year — 2009.

Music is a big part of the festival.  In fact, music can be heard everywhere; at all times. All types of music can be found, but predominantly consists of EDM.  Multiple sources being played simultaneously across the city truly creates a cacophony of sound.

So for 2009 I thought I’d add to the atmosphere with a mobile sound system. My thought was for a self-sustained rig that I could bring anywhere via a bike — since bicycles are the main mode of transportation in Black Rock City.

As I thought about the size of the sound system that I wanted to build I realized that an adult-size trike rather than a bicycle would provide greater possibilities.

Searching Craigslist I found a used trike for sale which I snapped up.  It was a Torker Tristar with 24″ wheels all around.  Now the build could commence.

Above is the sound system on the trike.  I took this rig out to Burning Man for four or five years in a row. It never failed me and its sounds (mainly 70s AM pop) brought joy to many a burner.

Along the years some enhancements were made. For example in 2010 I swapped the Torker Tristar’s 24″ front wheel and fork for a 26″ front wheel and fork — a nice improvement for traversing the (soft, at times) playa surface.

I also replaced the original motor cycle 12V battery for a Werker deep cycle 12V batter — another nice improvement that added hours of playing time between recharges.

Recently I found some notes from when I built the original incarnation of the Torker Tristar mobile sound system. Below you’ll see a scan of the list of parts I sourced (mainly from Craigslist) for the build.

One amp drives the 12″ sub-woofer and the other drives the mid-ranges and tweeter.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this thing gets LOUD!

Also, looking at the list above I see that another enhancement I made to the system was to replace the crappy Roadmaster 2-way speaker system with a much more efficient (read: LOUDER) Cerwin-Vega speaker box (pictured on top of the subwoofer above).

All components of the system were mounted (with large, bomb-proof, wood screws) to the subwoofer’s wooden box.  I then added handles to the sub so that the entire system could be lifted out of it’s form-fitting, framed platform.  In this way I could remove the system from the trike for those times I did not want to carry around the weight of the system.

The handles also served as a nice back-up tie down point to secure the sound system to the trike’s frame.  All-in-all the entire rig was pretty bombproof.

Because this was pre-bluetooth days, I played music through a 1st-generation iPod Touch. I had many mixes pre-loaded on to the iPod Touch, but as I mentioned above the 70’s AM pop was always a crowd pleaser.