'Meccano For Adults' Flat Pack Trike - Singletrack World Magazine

2022-06-07 08:01:54 By : Ms. Susan Kung

by Hannah Dobson 2 years ago 5

Insync Bikes, the brand that surprised us with plans for a new DH bike this year before then deciding not to sponsor a DH World Championships team this year, has been working with a part time inventor to develop a trike suitable for a child in a wheelchair.

Les McMahon from Ellenbrook, Worsley, near Manchester, made the original trike in his garden shed to enable his 13-year-old neighbour Lewis Flint to get out on the roads with his parents. His social media posts about it caught the eye of metal framing manufacturer Unistrut, and Manchester-based Insync Bikes and now they’re working to perfect the trike.

Insync Bikes in Manchester is owned by India’s Hero Cycles, the world’s biggest bike maker by volume, putting some strong backing behind the new trike. Before the pandemic, Les was making regular visits to Manchester to iron out any design challenges with Insync’s team of designers. Considerations have included improving the stability of the trike, weight-saving measures and flat-packing and shipping.

Les has tweeted about the progress of his invention regularly and, when he posted a tweet asking for donations of Unistrut off-cuts, the business responded to say it would like to help with the design aspects and offer advice on flat-packing.

Quick update on the MK2 #Unistrut trike. Currently have 5 lengths of 41×21 and 1 length of 41×41 thank you @huggie69 @slattocks799 #NeverGiveUp #inclusion pic.twitter.com/Dj0JaWlfNl

The trike involves a ‘sidecar’ fitted to a bike, with a ramp to roll on the wheelchair. Insync’s designers have recreated it in a computer programme to allow them to make and test alterations before it is rolled out. Prior to his link-up with Insync, Les teamed up with the University of Bolton, which incorporated the trike into its engineering degree course for two years.

Les said: “The chances of getting one global company on board with this were slim, but to get two is unbelievable. We’re trying to solve the problems now so that we can produce something that is like a Meccano for grown-ups, making it easy for anyone to build so that we can benefit as many people as possible.”

Martin Beard, marketing manager for Unistrut, based in West Bromwich, said: ‘It is easy to see that Les is doing a great thing and, although the design is his creation, we are trying to support with alternative options and assist him with ideas for the possibilities of flat packing the frame.‘

Abhishek Pratap Singh, head of design at Insync, said Les deserved all the support he needed and was pleased to welcome Unistrut on board. He said: ‘Insync is very proud and happy about continued association with Les. He has been working very hard with our studio designers to improve the design for lightweight structure, mass manufacturing and cost. We are also very happy to welcome Unistrut in this project as it is truly a community-driven project and needs more partners who add value. Unistrut undoubtedly brings in lot of expertise and knowledge about structures. The project is true reflection of Insync’s brand values which, at their core, are about making cycling accessible to every member of the family‘.

Once plans are finalised, it will be made available in a flat-pack kit or as a downloadable design under Hero’s Insync family bike brand. The first CGI images of the trike have been released by Insync. It’s planned that the trike will eventually be available at about £500, a tenth of the price of current models on the market, to enable more families to enjoy the benefits of cycling.

Any parent will know how hard it is to keep a growing child on a bike that is the right size, and adaptive cycles and trikes add another element of challenge to that. Since they’re not usually mass produced, and sometimes have elements which are bespoke to an individual child’s needs, they can cost as much as £5,000 – putting them out of reach of many.

If the plans come to fruition, we can’t help but think that the possibility of playing with something like Meccano for adults, with a feel good product like a sidecar/trike at the end of it, is going to be of great interest to the shed dwellers and fettlers on our forum.

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What an awesome fella Les is! It’s great to see these two companies get behind his project, too. Let’s hope it benefits many others.

Love it, can we have a sidecar mtb racing series (bags not pedalling!!)

Will Les take a version that can be mounted on full sus mtb’s into consideration or has he already done so?

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