Custom built, legal and self-propelled 'car'

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Rezso, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    I wasn't sure what forum to post this in, so I apologize if it needs to be moved.

    I'm curious about building something that would legally qualify as a motor vehicle and comply with tag/inspection standards. It would be just a fun side project, but if the end result left me with a street-legal and practical commuting vehicle, that would be a really awesome bonus.

    If you've created something like this, can you share you thoughts and experiences? Or if you just have some good ideas for what parts to use or information about legalities etc, I would love to hear those as well.

    My only real guidelines would be budget. I would want to build something that is capable of making short commutes(30 miles or less), costs less to run daily than a normal car or truck, but can be insured and is compliant with transportation laws.

    ANY advice or links is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    I forgot to mention that, from what I have read on this site, it seems a hybrid gas/electric setup would be best for this...but I could be completely wrong. lol
     
  3. paul

    paul Active Member

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    hi rezso welcome our wild world of the motorized bicycle. their is a couple people that have built hybrids and love them. the legality of the bike will depend on where you live. I use my electric bike to commute back and forth to work. cost really nothing because I charge the bikes at work. all depends what exactly you want. the gas bikes say they get 150 mpg. realistically around 80mpg since I am sure you would be like most of us and run it wide open most of the time. great to have you with us
     
  4. kevyleven007

    kevyleven007 Active Member

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    From a legal standpoint it would probably be easier to modify an " old car". Good luck.
     
  5. Tang

    Tang New Member

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    Welcome to the MoB world. Are you wanting a bike or more like a car with a cover for weather.
     
  6. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Since you are here (welcome by the way) I'm guessing you're thinking in terms of something light weight and on the small side. First, if you are thinking about 4 wheels then you will be subject to a whole lot of scrutiny by the motor vehicle people and subject to a lot of hassle. Something with three wheels however is another ball game as it is considered a motorcycle. That is the way to go if you want to be street legal... unless you have very deep pockets and are willing to build something the powers that be will approve.

    I'd suggest you look up a thread called Vellocars and other interesting vehicles. There are a number of us here who are interested in building three wheeled alternative vehicles. Ricks Rides is building one now, Intrepid Wheelwoman is putting the parts together for an upcoming cylclecar with two wheels in the back and one up front, while Fasteddy and I are planning our builds in the tadpole configuration with two wheels up front, and one in back.

    Wander around the site a bit. There's a section for trikes here which also has some interesting material for your perusal. Good luck with your project and when you do start something share it here with a build thread. I know that the interest in cyclecars is growing. You are among friends!
    SB
     
  7. fasteddy

    fasteddy Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to this fascinating and at times maddening world of motor bikes. You are now being gently drawn into the realm.

    As mentioned ask at your local D.M.V about what they consider legal. Usually if you have three wheels and pedals hooked up to the wheels so you can pedal it manually it is considered a bicycle trike. I believe that you are allowed 750w of electric power and 50cc as the engine size.

    Best of luck and if you ask for information give it a day or two for people to see it and answer.

    Steve.
     
  8. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    Hello Rezso welcome to the forum :)

    As fasteddy and Silverbear have already mentioned keeping to a three wheeled format will make life a whole lot simpler when it comes to building a road legal lightweight vehicle. Generally so long as it has pedals and it can be moved by muscle power you will be good to go.
    Check your local regulations though as things do vary concerning what is allowed and what is not. For example bicycle sidecars are not permitted at all here in New Zealand even though many other countries in the world have no problem with them.
     
  9. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    Thanks, everyone. If you've not already noticed, I've posted in a few different forums with here with plans to build different things. As soon as my wrecked truck sells, I will definitely be doing something related to building a pedal-based motorized vehicle. I'm sorry about wildly changing plans, but I'm taking in a ton of info and i have really one shot at building something decent. Thanks again!
     
    #9 Rezso, Nov 15, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  10. fasteddy

    fasteddy Well-Known Member

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  11. fasteddy

    fasteddy Well-Known Member

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    If you look at the text you will see that he said it is nearly impossible to get insurance on a rickshaw you build yourself. Might be better to have a welding shop build it for you.
    As I said ask a couple of insurance companies for their opinion. It will save you a lot of problems in the future.

    Steve.
     
  12. RicksRides

    RicksRides New Member

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    check the my post in the velo's and other interesting vehickles
     
  13. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    Killer, thanks. I love this forum!
     
    #13 Rezso, Nov 16, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  14. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    I have a burning desire to build something myself, though.
     
  15. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    I'm leaning more and more towards building a velomobile. I just really dig the concept. I wish I could find an affordable battery so i could build one with an electric motor. I can't seem to find a decent one that isn't at least half of my entire build budget.
     
  16. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    For batteries use SLAs. Yes there are all manner of magic batteries out there that are supposed to do wonderful things, but they cost a fortune and to my mind involve too much worrying technology.
    I've always used SLAs on my Hercules trike and my trike is a worker and often hauls large loads ranging from bags of coal to bags of compost and potting mix, large loads of scavenged bicycle parts, lengths of timber and even the weekly groceries :)
    With a vehicle like a trike or a velocar the extra weight of the SLAs make little difference to general speed and performance and the big bonus is that the batteries can be charged with a very ordinary charger. It's a bit of an old husbands' tale that SLAs don't last, but I got four years out of my first set of batteries with no more maintenance than making sure they didn't sit around in a discharged state.
     
  17. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    I'll totally check into that. I think I have a couple more weeks of daily reading/research to do before I make any firm decisions...although I did end up buying a new bike. Mine was stolen over the weekend. :(

    I got a pretty sweet one, for the price, though.

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/26-Avalon-Men-s-Cruiser-Bike/21635130
     
    #17 Rezso, Nov 16, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  18. biknut

    biknut Active Member

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    Welcome to the forum from Dallas. Since you're on this forum I assume you're asking about a 2 wheel vehicle.

    If absolute legality is your goal with license plates, and insurance, you can't get there starting with a bicycle in Texas. Texas has no means of titling a bicycle because bicycles lack a VIN, and there's no way of generating one.

    However a motor bicycle generally is considered a bicycle in Texas, as long as it can be considered not self propelled. Not self propelled includes most china girl style bikes, since they need to be pedaled away from stops. If it has to be pedaled from a stop, it could be argued in court that it's not in fact self propelled. In Texas the law says all motor vehicles are self propelled. So far this defense has never been tested in court. The Texas DPS recognizes this distinction, and because of this considers motor bicycles to be riding in a gray area of the law, and leave it up to local localities to decide how to enforce the riding of motor bicycles. So far no one anywhere in the state is being harassed by law enforcement.

    If you still require registration, you're going to need to start with a bike that has a VIN. That will have to be a moped, or motorcycle. I have all three.
     
  19. biknut

    biknut Active Member

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    #19 biknut, Nov 20, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  20. biknut

    biknut Active Member

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