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Motorized Tandems, Trikes and Recumbent Bicycles Trikes (tricycle) and recumbent bicycles can give the ultimate in comfort for cruising on long trips or just around town. Ad an engine and they will really turn some heads.

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  #1  
Old 09-17-2013, 04:07 AM
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Intrepid Wheelwoman Intrepid Wheelwoman is offline
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Default Velocar cyclecar semi-replica.

For the first time in a long while today I had my garage working clothes on and all my spanners scattered about my bicycles and it was absolutely lovely.

I live with a disability and I really want to have a lightweight local use vehicle that is as handy as my Hercules trike, but with the potential to offer greater weather protection during Winter and Autumn when it rains here like you wouldn't believe. I don't want a car, - in fact I've just given my car away to my daughter because I don't use it anymore. It was too big and lumpy, too expensive to run, i hated having to mess about finding parking and to top it off getting in and out of it was a pain, - literally!

So what I want is a vehicle I can still pedal because maintaining a level of exercise is essential for my well being, but having a motor too so as to help things along when I'm carrying a load of groceries, or potting mix, or whatever. Because I like classic vehicles I don't want a Star Wars-like super aerodynamic velomobile because I think they look funny. What I want is a velocar and if it looks like a post WW1 period cyclecar then so much the better. I particularly like the French 'Colombe' cyclecar and this is what I shall be basing my project on with regard to body shape and appearance.

As to basic design a three wheeler is essential or else I'll have to register it as a car. For a utility workhorse a delta trike is the way to go as they are safer with a load than a tadpole trike. Bicycle sidecars are expressly forbidden here in NZ (don't ask me why) so it really does have to be a trike or else I'll end up having to register my project as a motorcycle which I don't want to do.

Several years ago now I purchased a lowrider bicycle and a trike conversion axle to go with it. My intention has always been to make some kind of alternative vehicle out of it and now finally it's been dragged out of the corner of the garage where it has been lurking.
To mark the beginning I've taken a couple of snaps of it (and yes that really is a Villiers engine in the frame) as well as posting some pictures of the Colombe cyclecar. I posted a picture of my early 1950s English Hercules bicycle and my 1990s Indian Hercules trike as well just for fun. They are both my regular transportation around town.

Tomorrow I will be getting my hacksaw out and making the first cuts as the frame needs to be lengthened and otherwise modified. With any sort of luck I'll have some more pictures to show you too.


Attached Images
File Type: jpeg LowriderTrike1.jpeg (312.1 KB, 385 views)
File Type: jpeg LowriderTrike2.jpeg (276.5 KB, 362 views)
File Type: jpeg MyTwoHercules.jpeg (199.1 KB, 296 views)
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:55 AM
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Default Re: Velocar cyclecar semi-replica.

This looks like a fun project, so I'm signing on for the ride.
SB
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:06 PM
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Default Re: Velocar cyclecar semi-replica.

Really looking forward to seeing this evolve. Are you going to use wood to make the main frame of the cycle car? Will it be a single seat?

We suffer the same fate during our fall and winters, which we are just entering, as well. It rains from 160 to 185 days a year depending on just where you live in the Vancouver, British Columbia area. On the other side of the mountains to the east of us it's what they call high desert.

Sun during that period is as rare as hens with gold teeth.

Steve.
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: Velocar cyclecar semi-replica.

[QUOTE=big project my friend, it will still taste great at the beginning and the application of the engine in the frame, and it could not be the usual class to post on your project, keep up the good work, enjoy with this projec t
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Velocar cyclecar semi-replica.

Ill be watching this one.
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:17 PM
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Default Re: Velocar cyclecar semi-replica.

Thanks guys Yes this going to be an interesting project and I'm really looking forward to it. What I will be doing with that poor unsuspecting lowrider bike is sawing it in half behind the seat post and then lengthening the frame by around two feet. By doing this the support for the steering head remains the same essentially robust structure as before and I still have a useful piece of metalwork to mount the steering. The Villiers engine will remain where it is and this whole front portion of the frame will be covered over and will form the bonnet/hood area of the cyclecar bodyshell.

Yes Steve I'm planning on using wood for the main chassis and the bodyshell as I want to try for a reasonably traditional appearance and finish. The bike frame will form a central spine with outrigger supports to hold the wooden outer chassis rails which in turn will support the floor and the bodyshell framing. The Colombe has one and half type seating with the passenger seat set back from the driver's seat to save space. I don't think I'm going to have room for this without making the rear axle track wider which I'm not keen to do; - though once I have run a tape measure around things a little more I will have a better idea as to whether I can install the additional seat or not.

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Old 09-18-2013, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: Velocar cyclecar semi-replica.

The school of creative staring says not only should you measure twice and cut once, but one should also think at least three times before picking up a hacksaw and doing anything with it. Today after looking hard at the lowrider frame and the trike axle I came to the conclusion that the trike axle was too plain wimpy to use and that my original cutting plan needed to be revised around using a better axle.
Better axles I had in the form of three and a half quad bike axles in varying states of completeness and general condition. My first choice was a Chinese quad axle which was good for width and wasn't tapered. It wasn't too heavy either. The one problem with it was that the spocket splines and the main axle bearing hub were seriously offset to one side which didn't suit at all. The next axle was rejected straight away; - it was from a Honda quad and it was HEAVY. It along with a damaged and incomplete friend had come from a dead 200cc farm quad bike and while the Honda axle has a nice big drum brake and a pretty solid axle sprocket design it's far too much of a lump for what I'm building.

Which left the last one which I'd picked up cheap because it's previous owner who had purchased it for a stalled project didn't know what it was and thought it must be Chinese. It's not because the very nice alloy 4 bolt hubs have 'USA' cast into them, but as to the make I'm still none the wiser. The centre bearing housing is alloy too and should polish up a treat. And despite sharing the same overall dimensions as the Honda axle it's nowhere as heavy. It also had a grease fitting which the Honda axle didn't which is also a plus in my book.
The other useful thing about this axle is that the two space saver spare wheels I had under the house fit the hub bolt pattern. Space saver spare wheels with good tread get thrown away down the local council dump all the time so to my way of thinking a free tyre is a tyre you can't refuse.
Yes the axle doesn't have a diff, but the Colombe cyclecar didn't have one either so I'll have to see how it goes once I get to road test time.

The front wheel will eventually be replaced by a wheel from an old European lightweight motorcycle, but I'm not too worried about that at the moment.

Metal cutting and welding will happen soon never fear.
Attached Images
File Type: jpeg LowriderTrike3.jpeg (155.0 KB, 373 views)
File Type: jpg Anne2013.jpg (161.8 KB, 357 views)
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:58 AM
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Default Re: Velocar cyclecar semi-replica.

I recognize these initial steps you're taking. I traveled this road myself just a short time ago. Doing the cutting and fitting correctly at the beginning make a huge difference down the road. I like the idea of the body/surround.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:58 AM
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Default Re: Velocar cyclecar semi-replica.

Quote:
Originally Posted by caduceus View Post
I recognize these initial steps you're taking. I traveled this road myself just a short time ago. Doing the cutting and fitting correctly at the beginning make a huge difference down the road. I like the idea of the body/surround.
All very true Caduceus. I'm following a set of plans in an old French book on how to construct a basic cyclecar, though I'm having to modify the design to make my vehicle a three wheeler. I'm also modifying the bodywork to make it a copy of the Colombe cyclecar, simply because the Colombe was a three wheeler and it's a better fit for what I'm doing.
Making the right choice with an axle and then laying it out correctly according to the French drawings is something that can't be rushed because if I make a mess of it my cyclecar/velocar will be a pig to drive and I'll have no one to blame but myself.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:52 AM
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Default Re: Velocar cyclecar semi-replica.

That axle should work nicely. What kind of speed are you figuring on? Pedal type speeds?
I am so glad you're doing this project. It should be "a treat". I'm also learning some Kiwi talk as we go.

And speaking of your part of the world, a strange thing happened a week ago. I advertised my old Jeep Cherokee in the local paper and got a call from a young woman with a very different accent... not British, but something like. She came to see and drive the Jeep and bought it. I learned that she just arrived from Sidney and was going to be doing volunteer work at the National Bear Center in the local town for the next six months and would need a good winter car for going back and forth. I wonder how she will enjoy 40 below. Not much I imagine, although it will be an adventure.

I realize that you are not Australian and that New Zealand is very much it's own place, yet on the big globe of the world you appear to be close neighbors. Do people there still speak of Burt Monroe? One of my favorite films is "The World's Fastest Indian". You might follow it up with a sequel, "The World's Slowest Cyclecar". Ha!
SB
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