Good motorized pedal car base?

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by Rezso, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    My friend and I want to motorize a pedal car that we can then cover with a custom fiberglass shell. This is one option that we are considering:

    Heavy Duty Adult Pedal Car

    This pedal car is from a local store called Tractor Supply, and t appeals to me as a base for a custom because it seems solidly built, with ample room to add on an engine etc.

    We are very curious to hear opinions about wether this would be a good base to build on or not. If someone has a better(cheaper or whatever) suggestion, please share it!
     
  2. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Active Member

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    I was at a fall festival where you could ride pedal cars like the on in your link. There was a little unpaved circuit to ride them on. I had a ball pedalling them. I was in shape from cycling regularly so I lapped everybody. I felt they were plenty sturdy.
    There are some web sites where they build adult gravity cars. Most look like mini hot rods. One particular gravity car club requires that your chassis be based on a hand truck frame. I would rather start with the pedal car in you link.
    I had been seriously considering building a velomobile with electric assist, which would be street legal (if it has 3 wheels). It is basically a reverse, or tadpole trike with a body kit. I soon realized that driving a velomobile on my local roads would be very dangerous, especially during rush hour.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    I'd love to build something like that, as well. I've been really curious about the cost and difficulty associated with getting a custom 'car' street legal. I mean after the custom is built to the acceptable standards.
     
  4. crassius

    crassius Well-Known Member

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    concerns:
    1) how to mix a 20mph vehicle with traffic when it doesn't fit in bike lane
    2) with 300lb load capacity, some friends of mine would have to ride alone
     
  5. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Active Member

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  6. Intrepid Wheelwoman

    Intrepid Wheelwoman New Member

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    The British have a formula for pedal car racing and it's taken reasonably seriously as a sport. However in these impatient and hi-stress times I would not dare to take a pedalcar or velocar anywhere near the roads in or out of a major city centre at rush hour (or at any time really).
    I no longer drive a car except for very local trips within our small town's boundary limits. My daughter had to make a trip to a city about 100Km away two days ago and her very first words to me when she returned home were, 'Now i see why you don't want to drive anymore.' The description she gave me of her intrepid journey while we shared a nice hot pot of tea was the typical litany of too much speed, careless driving, plain rudeness and impatience. I think I've mentioned this before, - my daughter has undertaken an advanced driving course very similar to the training the New Zealand Police receive and she also has steady nerves. If she found her journey seriously challenging then i know things are getting bad.

    Fortunately we have a very good network of cycle trails in our district that follow the old railway branchline formation and it's possible to get to any of the surrounding townships without going near the roads at all. Unfortunately the local council has set them up for two wheeled bicycles only and tricycles won't fit through the gates (sigh).
     

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  7. Allen_Wrench

    Allen_Wrench Resident Mad Scientist

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    I've looked into this Adult Pedal Car before, at TSC. I've been shopping at that place for eons. I was thinking the same thing you were quite a while ago. But I developed some concerns about this thing; you can take 'em for what they're worth. Here are a few:
    1) As mentioned above, check your local laws. If you have four wheels, in most places you have a car - regardless of engine size. This means you need All required lighting, ALL required safety equipment, bumpers which are up to code, and other stuff which may be stipulated differently according to state law and to state law's interpretation of federal law. Three wheelers are a lot less legally restricted in general, and there are not as many hoops to jump through with the BMV (or DMV depending on where you live).
    2) On this adult pedal car, I was disappointed how narrow the front track was. Not a problem if one is pedalling, but if you put a two-stroke back there and get going you could have some steering difficulties. I would also want to check how accurate the Ackerman angle was on this thing. I can't tell what the caster (trail) is. I can't tell what the camber angle is. I don't know how much toe-in it has. On just a pedal car, most folks wouldn't care. But, trust me, you put a motor on this thing, you'll start caring.
    I only wrote all this because I care. It'd be a lot of money wasted if it didn't work out. You don't want that. And if you do make it run, then get injured on the thing because of design issues, I'd feel bad if I didn't say something beforehand. But, in the end, it is your decision how to take advice, and it's your build. If you've made up your mind, there's a few of us who'll help you however we can. Just be careful.
    PS: nearly forgot - no differential on this thing. None. So you can either power just one rear wheel (which would involve extra work on the rear axle), or be mentally prepared to do a little skip-to-my-loo around the corners (unless you slow way down).
     
    #7 Allen_Wrench, Nov 10, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  8. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    I appreciate the info, thanks :)
     
  9. kevyleven007

    kevyleven007 Active Member

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    I saw one of those in front of the local TS a couple of years ago. I thought it was cool but not sure how to put a motor on it. Last time I rode by there they had a nice mini bike out there. I keep telling myself I need to go in there and look around some time but I never have.
     
  10. xseler

    xseler Well-Known Member

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  11. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Active Member

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    I live in an area that seems ideal for velomobile commuting. The terrain is flat, but there are strong coastal winds. I could build a velomobile like the one in my first reply (red with small black roof) for about $2500. I'm not willing to spend that kind of time and money on a velomobile unless I can commute to work in it.
    -I am fortunate to be able to pedal most of my 12 mile commute (one way) on the side walk, next to a freeway frontage road. The danger comes at the intersections. Drivers are looking for cars, rather than bicycles and illegally make their right turns across my path with impunity, though I have the green light and walk signal in my favor, I have to watch and sequence myself with the cars to make my crossing without a crash.
    -I don't think it would be possible to make this commute and cross these hazardous intersections in a velomobile, or pedal car, which requires me to sit much lower and takes a little longer to get moving. I suppose with that with a flag and enough LED light strips, I could make the velomobile much more visible to motorists,
    - I think the motorists would likely continue to illegally intrude into my path of my vibrantly illuminated velomobile simply because of the volume of traffic and the impatient motorists created that volume.
     
  12. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Active Member

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    I rechecked my math and realized I could build the red velomobile for for $1500 with the roof. Building my own roof would drop the cost to $1100. The $2500 figure included the factory roof and 36v/500w hub motor kit.
     
  13. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    Would you mind sharing the parts/costs of the build? Any links to where you are purchasing parts would be killer, too.
     
  14. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Active Member

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    Here are the more reasonably priced items I have found. It's very easy to spend 10 grand for a nice, cutting edge velomobile. If you find lower priced equivalents, please share it.
    Terratrike Rover $699 I would purchase the 1 spd and add a derailleur, shifter and cogset I already have in my garage. The Rover seat bottom is an inch higher than the other models, which would benefit me at dangerous intersections.
    http://terratrike.com/rover.php
    Blue Sky Designs HPV body $400 plus shipping. No floor pan. I don't want the glass canopy as it would certainly fog up in my climate;
    http://www.blueskydsn.com/kit_hpv.html
    This guy will provide the trike, body & build it for you for $3399 plus shipping
    http://www.velocityvelos.com/products/basic
    Here is the Flevo Roof $350. No fogging.
    http://www.velocityvelos.com/collections/accessories
     
    #14 wheelbender6, Nov 11, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  15. Rezso

    Rezso New Member

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    Awesome info, thanks for the links!
     
  16. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Active Member

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    This is one of the first velomobile sites I found that has a lot of pricing info.
    A long list of links to the various models are on the left side of the page.
    The bluevelos, go-ons and other machines were so expensive that I was
    ready to give up on ever owning a velomobile. Fortunately, I was able to find
    some moderately priced kits before throwing in the towel.
    http://www.velomobilenews.com/
     

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