Spokes? We Don’t Need No Stinking Spokes!

The Air Kraken is a bicycle for demon spawn. Well, that’s what it reminds us of anyway. [Gabriel Cain] took his inspiration from burning man and also had several reasons for building it, but the one that we just love to hear is ‘because I can’.

The over-grown tricycle built for two is more than just some bicycle frames welded together. [Gabriel] built the wheel set himself using some very interesting methods. We believe the hubs themselves are actually automobile rims drilled to accept eye bolts. Instead of rigid spokes, a network of steel cable keeps the rims, made from plastic culvert pipe, centered. For grip, mountain bike tires were cut into pieces and screwed onto the pipe parts. The whole shebang is steered using a ship’s wheel (not pictured above) to turn the small wheel located behind the two riders.

After the break we’ve embedded a video of the vehicle in motion. It is the second of three videos that have been posted so far, with the other two walking through how [Gabriel] solved the design challenges facing him during the build.

[Gabriel] sent us a link after seeing the quadbike post on Monday. Don’t keep your projects to yourself, make sure to send us a tip and we’ll make sure to keep posting about them.


19 thoughts on “Spokes? We Don’t Need No Stinking Spokes!

  1. “Either that or he’s just about out of shape as I am. ”

    Looking at the photos and video… He is in perfect athletic shape! Lance Armstrong is a fatty compared to this guy….

  2. Coming along nicely!

    http://gabrielcain.com/projects/airkraken/ is the link in the video, for the lazy like me who wished it were clickable.

    @Akoi, @Jeremy
    Sounds like the noise plastic pipe makes on bits of gravel on hard roads to me.
    It needs some soft tires on the outer rims.

    It might be because it’s in the wrong gear, and the deraillier[spelling?] isn’t installed yet.

  3. Hi all. To address the noise and correct a minor error: the wheels do not yet have the bike tread applied. The noise is from the plastic on pavement abd will be substantially quieter with the treads. :)

  4. @Jeremy

    Spokes act as cables, “hanging” the hub of a wheel from it’s outer rim. Whether they’re solid or flexible, the mechanism of action and retention is the same. So no, the noise is not from them “shifting” as you incorrectly claim.

  5. Hi Gabriel, this is a brilliant looking design! About how heavy is the Kraken? I suppose any difficulty in pedaling due to weight is more than made up for in intimidation factor. Also, why the cable-spoke system? Is there any advantage from having the hub supported from the top rather than the bottom?

    This is good stuff.

  6. @Mike, the whole thing weighs as you see above in at about 250 lbs. It actually moves pretty easily and unlike another poster commented, it is not very strenuous.

    The chair placement makes it a little awkward, though. That’s something I’ll be adjusting. :)

    The spokes are made of steel cables because that was easy to do. It’s easy to replace them as well. Check out the link on my page to the gallery of pictures, and you’ll see some construction images that clarify some details.

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