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Thread: Looking for some (more) help with a project for a 8yr old with mild cerebral palsy

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    Senior Member Plankosaurus's Avatar
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    Default Looking for some (more) help with a project for a 8yr old with mild cerebral palsy

    Hey all, I've started conjuring up an idea to help get one of my wee ones up and riding and it occurred to me that the rotorburn brains trust could more than likely turn this from a pipe dream into something actually possible.

    The deal is that my little fella, Matthew, has a reasonably mild form of cerebral palsy. It doesn't stop him from walking or running (anymore, its taken some work to get him where he is), but his balance is shot, coordination is lacking and he doesn't have a full range of movement. In the past this hasn't been a huge issue for him in terms of care factor, but he's a little older and he's seen his twin brother and now his little sister tear off on shiny new mountain bikes, the poor fellas feeling a little left out. I don't want to hold the others back, and I've sort of compensated a little by getting him on a kayak, but its not the same and he wants to ride with his siblings.

    Anyways, what I was thinking of doing was trying to modify a little 20" mountain bike into a trike for him. The idea behind this rather than just getting a set of training wheels, is that the training wheels don't help develop balance and are counter intuitive when it comes to cornering. What I'm thinking is that I could allow the 2 rear wheels to pivot to give him a certain amount of lean for learning how to corner while still giving him balance assist, will help him develop a sense of bike balance, and won't throw him off if he hits some uneven ground. The end result I'm looking for here is just a little more of a helping hand or stepping stone and with a little luck I'll be able to get him a 2 wheeler in the future and pass the trike on to someone else that needs it.

    I haven't even put a rough sketch on paper yet but I thought if there are fundamentally any massive holes in the idea or things I need to consider (damping? Return to upright?), then there's a pretty safe bet someone here will be able to help.

    Thanks for looking, I'd be stoked to hear whatever input you guys have :D


    Edit: this is what i've come up with so far...
    double up sm.jpeg

    Edit Again: and the hopefully coming soon MkII...
    trikey.jpg
    Last edited by Plankosaurus; 30-04-2014 at 10:40 AM.
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    Senior Member velolove's Avatar
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    Perhaps leave the backend with the gears alone and modify a fork to do the same job as the scooter below?

    15623_2008_piaggio_mp3-4b77aba864743.jpg

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    Senior Member james1's Avatar
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    Your problem may be trying to find something that will allow the bike to lean yet still return to its neutral position. Id say use a type of coil over but i dont think he has the weight to compress the shock. The only other thing is an air shock running the minimal pressure. You almost need something like a gas strut from a boot of a car but a beefed up version.

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    Senior Member evObda2's Avatar
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    What about a double wishbone setup like some of the disability mtb's (and open wheel race cars for that matter). But with a taller more upright stand over with seat and pedals driving the rear wheel? Probably a few different designs out there, here's one i saw a while back.

    Untitled.jpg

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    Senior Member james1's Avatar
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    Drawing2.jpg
    or something like this that uses a change in camber to lean instead of an up and down movement.

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    Senior Member Plankosaurus's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, already got me rethinking the idea! The camber change up front might be the go, so long as I can make it handle enough like a real bike still, it would definately be nice to forget about driveline issues and concentrate on the action.

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    I think you might need to consider how much return to uprigt you want in terms of assistance. How much "help" essentially do you want the system to provide and how much will be down to the little fella to get the bike back to upright himself.

    I'd think one of the obvious things will be how to ensure its not a system that will over correct and create a unstable constant side to side movement that doesn't dissipate, essentially just having the momentum shift between dampening systems. Easy to counteract but just figured I'd throw it in for food for thought when choosing a dampening method.

    As he learns to lean the bike he will learn to lean it back to upright I'd think the biggest factor will be stability and control over this dampening.

    The front end method would be simple there are already lots of bikes using these set ups that you can use as a template.


    Also training wheels shouldn't actually touch the ground, they should be there for support as the child learns to lean the bike and slowly make them higher and higher until they don't need them. Again though this obviously has its limits in terms of assistance.
    Last edited by driftking; 21-10-2013 at 09:34 PM.
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    Senior Member C0na's Avatar
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    How about using an old single crown fork with a 20mm axle. Make a longer axle shaft that sticks out from the forks. Then bolt on two 24” wheels both on the out-side of the forks legs. They will need to be spaced appropriately in order to clear the legs of the fork (the wider the front end, the more stable it will be). As for brakes just run a back one, if you want to keep it simple. Keep a lot of sag for the forks and a slow rebound for stability.
    Last edited by C0na; 21-10-2013 at 10:20 PM.
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    Senior Member NUMBER5's Avatar
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    A trike with 2 front wheels would be the way to go... Something along the lines of how these work
    image.jpg

    I would avoid the 2 back wheel trikes as they tend to tip once you take a hard/fast turn and slams the rider on his face..

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    Quote Originally Posted by fred the sped2 View Post
    How about using an old single crown fork with a 20mm axle. Make a longer axle shaft that sticks out from the forks. Then bolt on two 24 wheels both on the out-side of the forks legs. They will need to be spaced appropriately in order to clear the legs of the fork (the wider the front end, the more stable it will be). As for brakes just run a back one, if you want to keep it simple. Keep a lot of sag for the forks and a slow rebound for stability.
    The problem with that is it won't be able to pivot and he won't be able to lean the bike to turn.
    The OP what's to avoid the training wheel style bikes that you can't lean to turn.
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