Build Your Own Recumbent Trike

Written By Rickey M. Horwitz

version 2.1


The material contained in this section is protected by U.S. copyright laws. Any unauthorized duplication or publication of the material contained in this section is prohibited by law.


I am not responsible for anyone's unfortunate circumstances or stupidity! I do not claim that these plans or data are perfect and without error.


Welcome to my web page hosted by the IHPVA.  My name is Rickey Horwitz, the former owner of Practical Innovations.  Contained at this site are detailed plans on how to design and build a recumbent tricycle.  The contents of this site used to reside on my own web page, but I have little time now to support it directly.  However, if you have any questions concerning this material, please contact me at   To learn more about me and my former company select Who Am I? .  

The drawings and specifications offered on this web page are for building an advanced version of the tried and true Thunderbolt Sports Recumbent Trike.  The original design dates back to 1994.  However, even today the performance of this trike is still impressive.  I am confident that you shall find my documents exceed in quality and detail to any plans available free or not.

For a specification of this trike, please checkout my old Thunderbolt brochure.

If you have any questions concerning these plans, please email me at


After 6/15/2002, I will no longer update this project.  Several years ago I made a promise to make these plans available to the public at no cost.  I have succeeded in doing this with no compensation other than the bragging rights to claim I have ‘wrote the book on recumbent tricycles’.  Please enjoy.

Chapters(Some items have not been completed)

Chapter 1    Choosing Materials(Updated)

Chapter 2    Welding Technologies  

Chapter 3    Recumbent Trike Design  

Chapter 4    Thunderbolt Design Overview  

Chapter 5   Parts Required  

Chapter 6   Tools Required

Chapter 7   Fabrication Instructions(under construction)

Part 1     Constructing the Main Tube Sections 

Part 2     Constructing the Trike Rear End

Section 1) Fabricating the Drop-Outs

Section 2) Fabricating the Seat/Chain Stays  

Section 3) Fitting the Stays to the Frame

Part 3     Fabricating the Frame Web Gussets

Part 4     Building/Modifying Hubs for Stub Axle Usage  

Part 5     Selecting and Building the Steering System  

Section 1)  Building the Steering Knuckles

Section 3)  Over Seat Steering System  (Work in process)

Section 4)  Under Seat Steering System 

Part 6     Building the Bottom Bracket Assembly

Part 7     Building the Seat

Part 8     Assembling the Chain Management System

Part 9     Final Assembly and Adjustments


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