View Full Version : motorizing a bicycle

08-31-2002, 11:56 PM
I've been toying with this idea for awhile, and have looked online at some of the commercial units available. $500 seems the ballpark. But I've got a shop and could adapt a weedwhacker motor. I don't think it would be that much cheaper in the long run, but I'd be happier making it myself. Any plans out there guys? Thanks!

09-01-2002, 01:37 AM
No, but this would be a great project for you to document and get published.

Actually I have seen plans - the old popular mechanics do-it-yourself encyclopedeas (late 40's) had some cool ones with those fancy kick start maytag washing machine motors.

I also found a site that builds ramjets and gas turbines (from small turbo chargers) for bicycles - they have competitions on this site's campus all the time. The bikes get a tad squirrely at times, but that is the price you pay for bleeding edge sports!

I have even seen a bicycle running a commercial 90W sterling heat cycle engine. Phillips in Holland had these available for a few years to spark interest in them. Then they dried up and blew away. I believe I have seen steam powered as well in ME or Engineering in Minature - the steam engines are ideal for this as they have good power at low speeds.

Steam power might be funky, but it think it would be safer and far more amusing to ride - you could have a wee steam whistle even!

[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 09-01-2002).]

09-01-2002, 02:39 PM
I agree, Dave, the low band power of steam would be perfect. What I know about steam tho' would fit in a thimble, with room left for another thimble.
I'm just looking for a cheap ride to work (7-8 miles) not a pocket rocket with no brakes. So I think I'll pass on the jet propelled speed bikes.
What got me thinking about this; the other day I was out whacking weeds, tackling things the 6hp push mower wouldn't even touch. I was admiring the power of the small two stroke package(admittedly at higher rpms) and wondered if it would be sufficient to haul my fat ass around town. Friend of mine has an old Whizzer bicycle (Schwinn made them I think) We've got bikes everywhere, but not much oomph to peddle them any further than to the mailbox.
Now I gotta bust your chops a bit, Thrud. What do you do for money??? You prowl this board so frequently, you must never sleep. And you have input on everything. I love it, don't get me wrong, just wonder what planet you're from, or maybe you're 400 years old and use the fountain of youth for a bidet. No need to answer, I'm just being a smart ass. You've helped me plenty. My way of saying thanks, Thrud.

09-01-2002, 08:14 PM

Just killing time before it kills me. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

I cannot discuss my previous job under a non-disclosure covenant. If you want the gory details email me about why I am buggered and on disability pension (retired - officially).

I can tolerate my computer chair for longer periods (Same 24Hr. chairs they use in missle silos) so I can spend time here and there amusing myself (thanks Guys!). Every now and then I force myself to go in the shop when I get a bug up my butt. I usually pay for that indescretion for a few days...

So I sit and blah, blah, blah.

09-01-2002, 09:54 PM
Gizmo... if you peddle them a little more each day, that 7 or 8 miles to work will turn into nothing at all. Besides, if you motorize it, won't you have to register it, etc.? Why do you suppose I'm Sprocket?

09-01-2002, 10:40 PM
Cole's Power Models out in California used to have a set of plans for a steam power unit that bolts on a bicycle, the unit was named Vesuvius

It was all brass with a vertical boiler and bolted to the front fork, top speed was supposed to be close to 18 mph, but I suppose that was with a tail wind.

I have been thinking of making this one for myself, but don't know if the company exists, or if they still have those plans.


[This message has been edited by JimWolford (edited 09-01-2002).]

mike thomas
09-02-2002, 12:29 AM
Gizmo, I hope my failing memory serves me right on this one. Are you the one who had worked for A-Square? The reason I ask is that this winters project is going to be an 03. However, while looking for one in which the action had not been butchered, I came across a number of Enfields that had actions still in original condition. The prices were pretty good too. How about starting a thread on the pitfalls, best manufactures, and tips on converting these actions. I could see picking one up for a future project, if I had a little more info. Thanks, Mike
BTW, I did find a nice Rock Island 03, now I just have to figure out what caliber to go with.

09-02-2002, 01:05 PM
I found address and numbers for Cole's, dated 1999. I'll fax tomorrow, and if it's still active I'll post it. Thx Jim! Sprocket, your advice is spot on, of course you know I am going to ignore it. I'd be on the bicycle board if I rode as much as I should. But maybe this will get me going!
And Mike, let me find some notes, and I will indeed start a new thread. You may be the only hit it gets, but I did do a bunch of Enfields, so I can pass along my thoughts to you, anyway! Nothing slicker with two lugs than a Springfield! It will be a great project.

Herb W
09-02-2002, 01:32 PM
Powered bicycle...hmmm how 'bout a dc motor and a battery? Cordless power tools have come a long way...makes me wonder - just how much power can the motors in the latest 24v tools produce? Enough to propel a bike at a reasonable speed? How far could you go on a charge with a good Nmh battery?

Here's a link to some pics of a steam powered cycle on the Lindsay site http://www.lindsaybks.com/gallery/Jorg/cycle/index3.html
The engine is quite compact but the boiler's a little bulky.

Usual disclaimers re Lindsay Publishing


charlie coghill
09-02-2002, 11:13 PM
A friend built a steam powered three wheel bycicle. The engine is a single cylinder which drives one of the rear wheels through a "v" belt around a pully that was salvaged from a clothes dryer. He did have to lengthen the bicycle frame some at there was too much weight on the rear wheels and it wanted to lift the front wheel off the ground when the bike was just setting.

The dang thing will go fast enough that it scares the bjeses out of me.

mike thomas
09-02-2002, 11:30 PM
Gizmo, I look forward to it. The end of the month I am taking last winters project on a 10 day antelope hunt. Going to throw in a few days bird hunting also. I need to get out of this place, and start following the dog's butt through the brush again. Mike

09-03-2002, 02:14 AM
mike, Gizmo
You guys are looking in the wrong country for enfields - we got all the good ones. Don't know if you guys can import the guns or parts - the Canadian government are complete anal sphincters.

09-03-2002, 03:09 AM
mike .....never worked on "american enfields , but have seen some scary things in print abt. ww1 heat treat on enfields .....trying to remember the source , but this guy shattered the actions w/ a ballpeen ,think they were win. & eddyfield,maybe not rems.......made the lo numbered sprngflds look like nickel steel by comparison.........also , remember comments from 50 yrs ago about "the tightst barels ever tried to remove "...had to cut relief groove in front of shldr.,,,,,,,besides . geez , they are UGLY!!!!are all the yugo & small ring mex. mausers gone?..maybe the mexs set back ,but at least they didnt fragment!.....if u visit ur brother in ky. , i bet we can find one!.....has anyone cut the bolt on the 91 russian & moved it to the rear & filled in the rear bridge so a decent mount can be installed ..( yeah i know there is a commercial kit out , but i mean doing it "correctly")..incidentally .like most mil.mausers , i have a 91 russian that mikes .011 excesss hdspc.......neighbor regularly shot 1.5 in. 5 shot groups w/ it ...curious what it would do w/ a piece of glass on it & some decent h/loads.
best wishes

mike thomas
09-03-2002, 07:39 PM
doc, I have heard the same about the fragility of some of the Enfields. I'm hoping for some info about that from Gizmo.
There is a supply of the Mex. Mausers locally. I have a hankering for one in 257 Roberts. A fellow living about 65 miles from here has piles and piles and piles upon piles of Mausers. I have never seen such an accumulation or such a mess of a treasure trove. However, the last 4 rifles I have done have been Mausers, and I need a change. The Vault Locks are coming along, but I find that project more of a school than fun. I haven't destroyed one yet, but I must study each move with the utmost care. I am certainly getting an education from the mill. Besides, if I find the Vault Lock action cute, I would probably stay up nights cuddling an Enfield.
If the kid stays on track, her prof. is looking at a transfer, I'll be heading that way in August '03. Mike

09-03-2002, 10:37 PM
mike ...i have a set of 257roberts imp.(dunlap/ modified ) that i made up a few years back that u may borrow if u need them & decide to make up one ...we made a pair & i still have to stock mine...yeah , i know ,...still have a lowall k /hornet to stock....kind of got more interested in mach.tools........hinged the guard & made a new welded up bolt knob.& decided a factory rifle was a GOOD BUY !!!!!.made a double set trigger (still waiting to harden it & make some decent springs,,thot 118 bucks from brownell was too much money..HA!!!!!...found that my reamer was a little tight on factory case , so i barely touched the neck /shldr junction w/ a taper reamer & have a nice crush fit on case....rough reamer is abt .010 under , so cud be used for f.l. resize w/ a little polishing out.......
...............yeah ,the mill skill u are acquiring is probably the most valuable of all .....i still marvel @ guys who can mill to a line +/- a few ( the 3/4 turn backlash on my 1942 m head doesent help much)...i spend more time measuring & remeasuring than cutting ( & then frequently end up + one...would help if i did the same thing more than once ( have 0ne years experience 50 times)(even worse rhan that!).....friend gave me a hvy rem 3006 barrel in great shape & a good one ( he is a world class smallbore competitor who got serious abt high power comp. & rebarrelled to a 6mm wildcat....have another mex. mauser to make up a 30something w/ it & probably never get it stocked..........enjoy the upcoming fall season...( my black pointer is now a lean #105,slobbers like his lab mother , but hunts hi tailed like his daddy& so far is submissive to him,...but i can see the day is coming!!!!!!!!& ill be sewing up dogs again......maybe he wont look in the mirror for a couple more years ..very strange ...both parents were 60 + pounds..he is 5 in. taller than either ..have fun w/ the grouse...if u come this way ,see if u can spare a day or two for a visit

best wishes