past builds

Russell

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2009
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Curt,
i didn't do a build this winter, but I did wrestle with my last two builds! The tri-engine had me pulling out what little hair that I have remaining! I built it just to do it, but it became a major headache. In the build I had to remove the flywheels so I could mount the engines close together. So that meant running battery & coil off the points of each engine. The 3 engines are chained together 120Deg. out of phase. Without the flywheels the engines were a b-itch to get running!
So I made smaller but heavy flywheels to get the engines under control! I also did away with the points and set up a solid state (3) ignition.
Still it was a major problem bump starting due to the compression! I had to take it to a nearby STEEP hill to get it started. Result = to much VIBRATION & power. Lots of engine control issues!
Have thought about pressure relief on it but not going to do it!
I am going to strip it & install 5-1/2HP 2 cycle on it.



The next nightmare was the 1930"s Gravely / Merkel build. Bought the engine on ebay. Built the bike around it. I didn't screw around with the engine due to it's age & rarity
So after the build I sent it to a Gravely mechanic. He worked on it to no avail. Yes I was totally bummed. Have nothing to lose at that point, I went to work on the old engine. Guess that I was willing to spend more time & effort on it than the Gravely mechanic, as I got it running great.

So that is why I did not do a new build this winter!!
 

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indian22

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Dec 31, 2014
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Though I'm sorry to hear the tri-motor doesn't meet your expectations it was an epic build that still has a cool look about it. You filled and stretched the envelope on that one.

The Gravely Merkel is a beauty and I'm so very pleased to know it is functional. The Gravely engine has the size and look of early bike singles though rare and not known to be easy power plants to get back up and running. Ignition parts seem to be a big issue with these motors. I've a friend who has a significant number of these motors that he's rebuilt and tasks to their intended purposes in yard and garden and they are workhorses that sound great as well. Sadly none for sale but I have hopes one day.

Glad to see your keeping your hand in the game and to revisit these two memorable builds. I'm actually saddened that we don't have bumps on great threads or updates on old builds from years past. There have been so many noteworthy projects along the way that deserve more attention.


Rick C.
 

curtisfox

Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2008
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So sad you didn't get it going, would of been so Kool, What kind of 5 1/2 hp motor ? you always pick such Kool ones. Glad you are keeping at it, my end of things are at a stand still till winter,as far as bikes go. doing a lot of house and yard work, cleaning out garage and work shop.........Curt
 

Russell

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2009
1,240
87
48
MA
So sad you didn't get it going, would of been so Kool, What kind of 5 1/2 hp motor ? you always pick such Kool ones. Glad you are keeping at it, my end of things are at a stand still till winter,as far as bikes go. doing a lot of house and yard work, cleaning out garage and work shop.........Curt
2 cycle 5-1/2 HP Tecumseh from a snow blower.
 

indian22

Well-Known Member
Dec 31, 2014
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The Gravely is cool. It's also awesome in size and weight. Frame is a big deal and the Merk frame certainly looks and has shown itself capable of carrying it. HP is really modest but the work torque is incredible for these motors used in real work so powering a bike frame and rider is like nothing compared to what they were designed for and the sound that big piston makes is glorious!

I am a fan & delighted a good builder saw fit to use a Gravely and build a lovely bike around it.

Rick C.