Yeah, I've learned that chromoly isn't worth the trouble for it's slight weight savings. I'm collecting materials to start my homebuilt. Menards had a great sale on EMT conduit so I bought a couple 10' lengths of 1" and a stick of 3/4 and 1/2 just in case. Now I'm looking for steel donor frames.
Best tank= 81.23 mpg on july 1st 2008
SAVE SOME GAS, SAVE THE WORLD!
I've built a few frames of sorts out of old bike frames, scooters, and tall bikes, and so on, and the thin tubing can be hard to weld if you don't have a good welder, or alot of exprince, but brazing is reasonably easy, and you can get small brazing kits that use disposable cylenders of mapp gas, or propane, and will burn for about 10-12 minutes on a small disposable tank of oxigen, I think the one I have cost around $30, I have a set up now with refillable tanks, and if you plan to use it alot, or share it with friends, it's defently worth the finer adjustability, and elimination of disposable tanks.
most steel, and steel based alloy bike frames are brazed together, aluminum alloy frames are for the most part the only ones that are welded, and it's still commen, even with high end frames, to use brass/bronze rod, mostly because it costs less, but Nickle rod is much stronger, and doesn't seem to have any drawbacks, other then cost, but for a single bike frame that cost might be as much as $3 more for the stronger brazing rod.
Believe me, there are serious problems when an object that only weighs ~250lbs and goes 80+mph. I believe Sam caught a bit of air when he did crash during a high speed run. Ever see one of those speedboats crash and it turns into a sail and goes 60ft in the air?
I road bike a lot and at 55-60mph on downhills, I can catch air on even small cracks or bumps in the road. Add in curves and I'm all over the place if I am sprinting (think 2 50lb pistons at 180rpms - not stable). I once drafted my friends Tracker down a hill at 70mph and I was catching a bit of air from the slights crack in the road.
Bottom line is you need some weight if you are going highway speeds. Even my Civic doesn't like being behind a tractor trailer on the highway, I get pushed around a lot by the wind and it's 2500lbs.
Friends that live in a hilly place really like their recumbent trikes because they can go as slow as they want or need, and don't worry about tipping over. http://www.geopathfinder.com/9659.html
The electric power additions to their bikes are a work in progress although the first one works great on hills and rough gravel roads.
I really want a recumbent, but I guess I should try riding one first. I've been thinking about building one since I'm too cheap to buy one .
After having limited sucess at building my own swb I rented a lwb for a week and found that it was far more stable at speed and more comfortable. The seat on it was 2.5 inchesw thick foam and under that was a stiff substrate. When hitting a bump your bottom goes down to the substrate and you dooooo feel it. However I went out and bought the Lightfoot Ranger lwb and it has a webseat bottom which means that bumps are noticed but not acknowledged. If you think that bents are not visible on the road , you should try riding one in rushhour traffic. Constant beeps, waves, and conversations with drivers at 20-25 mph as I am at car driver height.
Far more comfortable than the Cannondale dual susp. I replaced with the Ranger. Now I am after the Bacchetta Cafe for my wife and myself. It has more speed potential and more areodynamic compared to the lwb Ranger, and it is geared much higher.
It might be a better idea to buy something used and not fix it up, then get to know what you want and buy something worthwhile. Renting bents are a trifle expensive but well worth the problems in buying something new and finding it is not as you expected.