Old Guys X Autocycle

Discussion in 'Board Trackers and Vintage Motorized Bicycles' started by indian22, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    While I'm swamped with work & stuck on progress with the Simplex sidecar design; I thought it a good time to start a new bike build....??

    I've been sorting through my left over parts for several weeks now and have much of what I need to base a board track type, 2 cycle powered bike around. At the same time I searched for a donor Schwinn straight bar frame, but failed to find one I liked at my price point, so I ordered an aluminum version and hoped for the best and waited. It arrived yesterday and I'm pleased with the quality. The fuel tank I'd picked up a few months back from a "bike builder" who became overwhelmed with the cost & difficulty of assembling what I'd describe as a very basic box store "kit bike". His pain my gain, 'cause the stainless tank coffin style tank actually pressure tested and fits the aluminum frame. I sorta expect the X Autocycle to be almost a "kit" build as well when compared to my last two, the Simplex Copper Gator and Harley Peashooter, but I'll tweak a few things I'm sure.

    The motor is a Gt 5 Grubee that I built some time back for a future project and I guess this is it. Nothing really radical balanced & trued the crank. Ported the transfers and cut a third transfer port in the jug to match the piston window. Slightly enlarged, polished & matched the intake and exhaust ports and surfaced the jug deck. I selected a 6 cc aftermarket head and copper gasket, more for cooling than added power & a RSE reed kit coupled to a SHA Dellorto clone carb. I also replaced all the bolts with high grade socket head bolts and studs.I put about 10 hours of riding time into this motor and it's pretty sweet. It's one of three GT 5 motors that I've built in exactly the same way, one of which is mounted on my Skyhawk frame & is getting close to 500 hrs of riding time. These motors are quite thirsty and on the small capacity Grubee tank bear topping off frequently, but are sporty. Though I don't run an expansion pipe currently a good pipe really brings the mods to life. I run a 48 tooth in town riding and pull from a dead stop without pedaling.

    Have a few photos on my phone that I'll share later. Rick C.
     
  2. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    Posted photos of the described engine setup as described in the previous post on my Grubee Skyhawk. Notice the case saver and the torsion style chain tensioner mounted to the gear housing. A few modification required to mount this slick tensioner in combination with the case saver, but worth the trouble. Rick C.
     

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  3. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    I've decided to powder coat the frame, forks and tank black. Local guy's in the process of setting up shop so thought I'd support him with some work he can point to. I'll probably hammer some copper accents for engine and tank as contrasts. 2.2 or 2.3 width black walls mounted on chrome or alloy wheels, coaster rear & Archer-Sturmey upfront & Schwinn style single spring fork. I really want to stay close to the small Excelsior bicycle look not the X motorcycle look...bicycle with a motor with a few board track elements added such as bars, saddle & coffin fuel tank (replacing the pretty, non functional, Autocycle tank panels).

    I'm not sure when aluminum bike frames became commonly available, but my first encounter with such an item was my first bike, a hand me down from my older brother. This was in 1952. It was a youth model and I grew out of it by 1955. My bro was 8 years my senior so my thought is it had to be built pre-war. Late thirties or very early forties.It was a belt drive, solid rubber tires mounted on disc style aluminum wheels and unpainted. I don't remember ever knowing the manufacturer of this little gem but I wish I still had her! Anyone have a clue or better yet examples or current ownership?

    My X build using aluminum frame is just the latest of many bikes I've owned made of light stuff and hope it serves me as well as some (mountain bikes) that I've thrashed but never trashed made of aluminum. Rick C.
     
  4. fasteddy

    fasteddy Well-Known Member

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  5. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    Steve that's the one, red wheel stripe on mine. Saddle was also aluminum. This is a real find for me, good memories thanks for the share! Rick C.
     
  6. fasteddy

    fasteddy Well-Known Member

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    Wish someone knew the history on them.

    Steve,
     
  7. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    Steve I hope someone out there can help us with a history lesson. I'll also do some study as well. I've shared my story with quite a few bicycle enthusiasts and you are the only one who's come up with a photo and an accurate commentary on the bikes basic construction.

    The 66 cc GT 5 motor on my Skyhawk does have more external modifications than my other CG builds and this really changes the look & cooling of these motors. The motor I plan on placing in the straight bar frame will feature a different look. I'm going with hammered copper side plates and all added pieces such as the 6 cc head will be "aged" as will the copper plates...no shiny engine parts. I'll be using the same head, reed valve and carb; as well as the internal engine mods described in my previous post. I've already completed & assembled the bottom end, but haven't started the work on piston and jug. Adding the third transfer port and cutting a piston window really makes a difference in the power and torque characteristics of these little motors, even without a decent expansion chamber pipe (which will really free it up) I have a "muffled" long high expansion pipe mounted on my Indian Outlaw build which uses a basic GT 5 that has a balanced crank and very modest port work (cleanup & matching only), no reed valve, though externally it looks very much like the one on the Skyhawk frame. The muffled expansion pipe gives noticeable power and torque increases on this relatively stock motor, especially in the mid range, but the short "kit" muffler actually breathes better in the higher ranges.

    I originally had planned using a KTM 50 clone on this build, but changed my mind, for stylistic reasons & because I've had great reliability from these motors & rebuilds cost peanuts if or when they are required. My mods do improve performance, but without dyno proof I'd not hazard a guess as to how much hp is increased (I'm confused by distributors claims as to base HP of the various kit motors anyway) so I'm not suggesting trying the same mods on your motors, but I will post some photos of the piston window and jug third transfer port modifications. I've noticed that a lot of vendors sell reed valve setups that claim big bolt on increases & I tried the RSE reed valve without internal mods & got zip...which is what I expected, but with a third transfer port or a piston window power is increased...when both mods are combined the power and torque increases with the RSE reed valve are dramatic. Plug range and jetting changes will almost certainly need changing...read the plug.

    Vendors should be upfront with accurate reed valve product info and provide basic piston and jug mod information prior to the sale. Then the customer could decide if he wants to experiment & learn how & what works with a reed setup. First few jugs modified will quite likely go on the scrap pile. Because of product liability & in some cases lack of technical expertise on the vendors part is why they don't suggest piston & jug mods. I'd expect manufacturers to offer suggestions along the same lines, packed with the product, but all the above mentioned are aware that sales would suffer 'cause many don't want to go inside to modify...bolt on and go, looks cool, yet does nada.

    Those who have followed previous build posts will know that speed isn't my goal. I run 48 tooth on the Skyhawk and never have to pedal assist from dead stop or on hills. My GPS seldom records speeds over 40 mph but I want power on tap even though I seldom use it. I'm still a gear head at heart & like to modify...by the way with these engine mods the bike comes on pipe with the short kit muffler at 8,500 rpm and with the long expansion at about 7,000 rpm both with a rush. Rick C.
     
  8. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    For those not familiar with the Schwinn Excelsior Autocycle model 1940 version shown in screen shot of a magazine ad. Straight bar frame, feather chainguard & spring fork are all elements I'll use on my build, no fenders. Rick C.
     
    #8 indian22, Jun 11, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2017
  9. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    Photo?
     
  10. fasteddy

    fasteddy Well-Known Member

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    allen standley likes this.
  11. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    Thanks for linking the 1940 Schwinn catalog Steve. Brings back memories of rich kids bikes. I've had problems posting photos for a couple of days...getting "memory full" message, last time that was on the site end not mine. I'll wait a day or so to see if it sorts out...Rick C.
     
  12. fasteddy

    fasteddy Well-Known Member

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    Always a pleasure Rick. In the early to mid 50's I lived in a town were we had a lot of tourists from the U.S. during the summer months. We watched with envy as the other kids rode their Schwinn's as we rode around out skinny tire C.C.M.'s (Canadian Cycle and Motor). They produced cars and light motorcycles for a while early in the 1900's as well as sporting goods and bicycles.

    Final one of the kids asked if I wanted to trade bicycles. He didn't have to ask twice. It was a short and sharp lesson delivered in a hurry because that Schwinn with the fat tires and the heavy frame was a bear cat to get rolling and the owner was tearing around like a man freed from a great burden on my bike. He sure didn't want to give my bike up and his parents bought him a C.C.M. at the local hardware store before they went home.

    I often wondered if the kids in his neighbourhood were envious or not when he got home and they saw his new bike.

    Steve.
     
  13. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    Your're bringing back memories Steve. The big,beautiful cruisers were just that slow cruisers. My older brother bought a 3 speed English Raleigh with money he earned working at the drug store after school, weekends and all summer. I inherited his all aluminum bike. He was in his very early teen years about 1952 or so & he would have been about 13 years young at that time. Man was was it fast & red. I know 'cause I "inherited" the "English racer" when I grew into the full size frame a few years later. No more walking the bike up steep hills or having to stand and pump the levers on the small hills... ever & it was quite an upgrade, yet I still envied the kids with the Schwinn Deluxe bikes & still prefer that look. In between the aluminum youth bike and the adult racer frame my Dad bought me a red Western Flyer (Western Auto Supply) and the roadster style was also much faster than the fancy Schwinn's. I wan't a rich kid but I got by pretty good! After thirteen I graduated to a Cushman Eagle 8 hp & bicycles didn't play a part in my life again until my late 20's. At 70 I've come full circle. Rick C.
     
  14. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    I'm waiting on wheels and tires, bottom bracket & pedal lever set for the Autocycle. In the meantime I installed airless tubes on the Grubee Skyhawk and been riding the heck out of it. I won't give a thumbs up evaluation at this point, but will give first 50 mile impressions. At $40. bucks each not inexpensive. I'd read comments that they are hard to install...I followed simple instructions & used good levers for a very easy install. 2.195" tires & airless tube & rim to match. Going on a 1.95 wheel or 1.75 probably make install harder, but make tire to rim fit much tighter. I feared tire roll off while cornering but so far I can't see or feel any tendency for the tire to do this.

    No flats to this point lol, but pedaling takes a bit more effort about the same as a typical tire tube combination running at half the max air pressure. The tube seems to be very well made. The tube has cleats that seem to lock into the spoke rim eyes (rim strip has to be removed) The riding comfort is very good & again the airless tube feels like an under inflated cruiser tire ride...cushy & comfortable. The airless does not feel as sporty, in fact at pedal speed it feels a little unstable & caused me to be very cautious before adding any speed, but adding speed showed feel and handling improve as speed increased. I've had the GPS show momentary speeds of around 40 mph and I was surprised when I looked at the ride data and realized that I was at least 10 mph faster than I'd thought at those times. So I'm getting used to feel, but the feel is different & I could understand if not all could adjust to the new sensation.

    Don't read this as an endorsement. It's not, just one Old guys observations & I still reserve the right to trash them. Actually I'm rather surprised that I've ridden them as long as I have because I really expected that I'd dislike them even before they arrived and disliked/hated & distrusted them at first. Things like tire wear are yet to be understood so I'll continue to ride the airless till I find sufficient cause not to. Rick C.
     
  15. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    Stop a flat is the brand name airless tubes I described yesterday. It is a 2.125" tube mounted on a 2.125" tire, but the wheels are 2.325". As I said the tire mounted easily but kinda loose, bead not really firm to the rim & that contributed to the weird feel at slow speed. I fixed this by taking an old 2.195" x 26" tube & slitting the tube around the entire inner circumference of the tube and carefully trimming around the Schrader valve & discarding it. I now had a big "contoured" rubber band that I slipped over the tube being careful to keep this even on the airless tube bead to bead. I then mounted the tire and tube as the supplied instructions directed. This time it was more difficult to mount, but with good levers I didn't have to use soapy water to lube the mounting process so it wasn't that bad considering some tire mounts I've @*!& through.

    Proof was in the long ride I latter took it through. Now I'm starting to be a fan of this airless tube concept. Still not as easy to pedal as a conventional tube but still comfy & with a better feel. I'm now not concerned about flats or blowouts at whatever speeds. Price is still too high in my opinion & I've not been able to source them out in sizes larger than 2.125" in 26" diameter & even with my inner tube "jacket" solution I'd think a 2.5" tire with the heaviest "thorn proof" tube" jacket" on a 2.125" tube & wheel width would be about the max width tire one could use and have a decent tire bead to rim connection & even this would be an experiment. 2.325" wheels are probably not a good idea to experiment with mounting 2.5" tires and 2.125" tube, but using 1.95" rims with the larger configuration might work out with a heavy tube jacket.

    Hope my experiment is helpful to any considering going tubeless in either a complete airless tire (which even I am not optimistic about) or just a tube replacement like I've chosen to go with. I'd like to see the manufacturer offer larger diameter tubes because I would consider using them on my other bikes as tires and tubes required replacing, even at current pricing. Rick C.
     
  16. Bob53

    Bob53 New Member

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    Rick, Your visions and applications are definately cool. I know you said Portland wasn't an option this year, but plans can change. One month away. After my first visit last year I'm ready for more. It is a must see for anyone that loves 2 wheels that roll. Your projects just keep getting better. How about a pic of the Peashooter patina. Has it started to change by now. That was a really cool project to follow. Bob
     
  17. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    Thanks Bob for the encouragement and praise. I know Portland is a must, but commitment to my responsibilities will always take precedence, "one day"! I've been intending to take a few photos of the Peashooter HD and the Copper Gator Simplex as well & will make a point of getting some good patina shots of both as they both have aged with some mechanical & chemical encouragement.

    I was happy that you picked up the Simplex engine with the unique motor shroud & didn't feel the price was too steep. It might not be be one of a kind but it is certainly one of the few & as you stated any Simplex motor is a find, lots of frames but few with motors.
    Safe journey to Portland & take lots of photos for those of us who are missing out. Rick C.
     
  18. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    I ended up running two thorn proof tubes modified to slip over the airless tube for the rear tire and secured in place for mounting (internally) by eight zip ties. Now I'm satisfied with a secure fit on both front and rear wheels. I guess the extra weight on the rear wheel created the need for an extra liner tube, but now I'm running great on airless tubes. One big negative observation...pedaling requires at least 25% more effort & I'm sure this translates to less speed on top end using motor power as well, but not a problem around town. I noticed 34 mph on the GPS after a normal ride & that may have been coming off a small hill, not a speed run attempt, just the highest recorded on the short trip.

    I doubt I'll use the airless tubes on any other builds so I really can't endorse them to others, but if you have tried everything on your motorized bike and still puncture tubes on a frequent basis these will solve the problem...though I'd never use on a straight up pedal bike. Rick C.
     
  19. indian22

    indian22 Active Member

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    Bob I'm posting a couple of photos of the Harley's patina to date. Last couple of photo's wouldn't come up.

    Parts are coming in for the X and already my basic design has changed, I've decided to go with disc brake up front, safety thing, and Sunlite dual spring fork for the same reason...safety. The single spring isn't nearly as robust, probably would have been ok, but decided against it. I plan on us it on a stock motored moto bike which is very lightweight. The Sunlite fork is disc brake ready also. I have a new Avid caliper and a 160 mm rotor in stock as well. Since I have a new set of 24" black wheels and the front wheel is disc rotor ready, I ordered brick pattern 2.125" tires to fit. Same with the steel/chrome 7/8"handle bars, that have in hand and are board track style and size. Sealed cartridge bottom bracket & conversion kit is on it's way as well.

    Still planning to go with black tank and frame, I'll need to cut the motor mount off the frame to properly mount the motor (allowing room for the much taller aftermarket Dax RT head) I'm hoping to get the frame powder coated as soon as I test assemble everything. I'm surprised to be this far along on this bike 'cause it's been crazy busy all Spring. I'll post photos from my phone , if I'm allowed. Rick C.
     
  20. curtisfox

    curtisfox Active Member

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    I will allow it LOL, Glad everything is coming together, will be nice to see what you are up to.....................Curt
     

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