19 Mar 2010

Kendrick trikes

An upright "tadpole" trike (two wheels forwards) is quite an unusual machine even by tricycle standards. The Kendrick type trike is one of these. I have uploaded all the images I have been able to collect of this fascinating machine and they appear below:

My intention was to build a replica of the Kendrick and I sought as much information as possible on the original machines. I am indebted to the owners of these beautifully preserved machines and the infinite patience of the expert staff at the National Cycle Collection (museum) at Llandrindod Wells in Wales who not only provided images of their own Kendrick tricycle but also provided scale drawings and even introductions to owners.

Tandems and Tricycles in The National Cycle Collection

The problem with the original Kendrick lay in the steering geometry. The upright king pins were largely to blame. These days the kingpins on such machines are usually inclined to extend a line through the centre of the ground contact point of the treads of the front tyres. This avoids such difficulties as bump steer which can make a Kendrick rather skittish. Or so I have been informed by those who have had the pleasure of actually riding one.

Here is a link to an example of the K-type made to order by the famous Higgins trike makers on the Tricycle Association website under History>Higgins:

The Tricycle Association - THFHiggins

Here again the kingpins have been made upright.

Here's another link to another Kendrick with excellent images:

1936 (approx) Kendrick TWS (Two-Wheeled Steering) Tricycle « www.Oldbike.eu

Again there are upright kingpins.


A variation on a theme:

13. 1940s Monarch TWS Tricycle « John Warrick Cycle Company, Monarch Works, Reading


Simplex trike Lot 470 from:

Transport Collector Auctions - 13 November (browse catalogue - page 7 of 8)


Below is an example of a beautiful, self-built, lightweight Kendrick style trike:

Strictly speaking this isn't a true Kendrick because the steering has been optimised with sloping king pins.

These images were borrowed from Kevin McLellan's interesting website when it was still available online. I haven't been able to find him online since his website disappeared. So I haven't been able to to seek permission for these images to appear here.

I love the elegant simplicity and visual lightness of this design. Being able to see where the wheels are on the road must be worth all the effort in building one. The use of a standard bicycle rear end means that all the advances in bicycle technology can be used to the full. The rider enjoys all the well-practised advantages of a standard bicycle position. Without having to learn to pedal lying down as occurs on a recumbent. The muscle training they have built up can be used without modification to pedalling style. They can enjoy the scenery beyond the hedges offered by the standard, high seating position. They can even stand up to sprint. Knowing that the power will be put down on the road exactly on the centreline of the machine. Not to slip precariously away through an off-centre, lightly loaded, single wheel drive of the delta. The machine is universal to all countries regardless of which side of the road they travel on. Drum or disk brakes would be a vital addition though! A single rear brake isn't legal in some places. Though some older Danish bikes had only a back pedal brake.

If Kevin should discover my blog, by chance, perhaps he will get in touch so we can discuss the geometry, handling and practical details of the superb trike shown above. Or if anyone else has ridden it, or built one themselves, I'd be grateful for details and images if possible. It was this machine which inspired me to have a go at building my own but I lacked the patience to complete it at the time. Now I intend to have another try by cutting up some of my collection of old bike frames and building a proper assembly jig. These old frames have no real value today and, being anonymous, are certainly not collector's items. I can use the stays and main tubes and head bearings of other bike frames to build the trike's front end. Last time I tried to braze the kingpin axle housings to a crossbar just by resting the tubes on a steel table. It proved impossible to achieve any sort of accurate alignment even with heavy metal blocks to hold things in place. So I gave up for a while to regather my forces and do further research. Knowing which geometrical mistakes to avoid will help to improve the chances of success.