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MAKE Volume 26 Motorbike Project

Lew Frauenfelder had dreamed of owning a classic Whizzer motorbike since he was a young maker. Now retired, when he came across a link to bikemotorkits.com, he decided it was time to realize his dream and build a knockoff. Lew shares his build tale with us in MAKE Volume 26, the Karts and Wheels issue. We decided to build one too at Make: Labs, and are fortunate enough to have Phat Tyre Vintage Bicycles right around the corner. Owner Steve Cook lent us this sweet ride built with 1950s and 60s parts. Check out this video shot by Keith Thompson featuring the bike in action, along with explanation from Steve and MAKE engineering intern Brian Melani, then head over to the article page, where we’ve shared the entire text of Lew’s article.

And in case you’re wondering, another awesome creation of Lew’s is our editor-in-chief of MAKE magazine, Mark Frauenfelder. Thanks Lew!

Photograph at top shot by Garry McLeod.

 


From the Pages of MAKE:
MakeV26_cover_300.jpg
MAKE Volume 26: Karts & Wheels
Garage go-kart building is a time-honored tradition for DIYers, In this issue of MAKE, we’ll show you how to build wheeled wonders that’ll have you and the kids racing around the neighborhood in epic DIY style. Build a longboard skateboard by bending plywood and build a crazy go-kart driven by a pair of battery-powered drills. Put a mini gasoline engine on a bicycle. And construct an amazing wind-powered cart that can outrun a tailwind. Plus you’ll learn how to build the winning vehicle from our online Karts and Wheels contest! In addition to karts, you’ll find plenty of other projects that only MAKE can offer!

» BUY or SUBSCRIBE

Goli Mohammadi

I’m senior editor at MAKE and have worked on MAKE magazine since the first issue. I’m a word nerd who particularly loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon as a whole. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for the ideal alpine lake or hunting for snow to feed my inner snowboard addict.

The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. The specific beat I cover is art, and I’m a huge proponent of STEAM (as opposed to STEM). After all, the first thing most of us ever made was art.

Contact me at goli (at) makermedia (dot) com.


Related

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    There are few where I live. They aren’t the cleanest running things. I would not be surprised if a modern V8 puts out less pollution. But then there are a lot more local classic cars and bikes that seem to pump raw fuel out the pipe, so compared to those, these things are green. They do look like they would be fun.

    1. Rich Brunner says:

      This make was probably done more in fun then actual use. I’d love to slap a electric motor on my bike and use it to go to work. Course I live 20 plus miles away and sometimes get out late so a standard bicycle would never get me to the daycare in time for my son. The article is great and probably brings back memories from the past for a few older makers. Oh and some 2 strokes are getting very clean by the way but alas not this one I’d agree.

      On a side note, You want to blame classic cars for pollution? Trying blaming EPA and CARB and other so called environmental agencies. They won’t let any emission controlled vehicle get modified with anything other then original equipment. So guess what on my 1979 Truck that I love and I can’t clean up the engine with fuel injection EPACARB won’t allow it and yes I did put cats back on. By repairing this vehicle verses buying a new one all the time, I’ve saved on a carbon footprint. (It takes a lot to build that car and ship it to you.) I can get mpg out of it comparable to a modern truck and even closer to if I could modify it. I’d really love to make it diesel electric but I don’t have the money for that. Maybe one day if the engine dies I’ll drop in a modern engine. At least that I think they will let me do. Before anyone says they won’t let you modify it due to not being able to control it’s tuning like a factory car is all they have to do is smog test it. If it runs cleaner then it did from 1979 then pass it. Also don’t judge the older classic cars. Some of them might be getting better mileage and performance then a modern day car as they have probably been fine tuned and better maintained. Some of them might even have a brand new fuel injection block under the hood. The only thing they are lacking is safety features of the modern car.

      Rich

    2. Rich Brunner says:

      This make was probably done more in fun then actual use. I’d love to slap a electric motor on my bike and use it to go to work. Course I live 20 plus miles away and sometimes get out late so a standard bicycle would never get me to the daycare in time for my son. The article is great and probably brings back memories from the past for a few older makers. Oh and some 2 strokes are getting very clean by the way but alas not this one I’d agree.

      On a side note, You want to blame classic cars for pollution? Trying blaming EPA and CARB and other so called environmental agencies. They won’t let any emission controlled vehicle get modified with anything other then original equipment. So guess what on my 1979 Truck that I love and I can’t clean up the engine with fuel injection EPACARB won’t allow it and yes I did put cats back on. By repairing this vehicle verses buying a new one all the time, I’ve saved on a carbon footprint. (It takes a lot to build that car and ship it to you.) I can get mpg out of it comparable to a modern truck and even closer to if I could modify it. I’d really love to make it diesel electric but I don’t have the money for that. Maybe one day if the engine dies I’ll drop in a modern engine. At least that I think they will let me do. Before anyone says they won’t let you modify it due to not being able to control it’s tuning like a factory car is all they have to do is smog test it. If it runs cleaner then it did from 1979 then pass it. Also don’t judge the older classic cars. Some of them might be getting better mileage and performance then a modern day car as they have probably been fine tuned and better maintained. Some of them might even have a brand new fuel injection block under the hood. The only thing they are lacking is safety features of the modern car.

      Rich

  2. simmotommo says:

    Lew seems to have put some effort and styling into this build but these things are a step backwards.
    Bicycles come with a detachable, go anywhere engine (you). We didn’t spend years lobbying the city for better bicycle paths so lazy folks can strap a stinky Chinese petrol burner to a Kmart bunky just to avoid pedaling the flat 10km to town. Time to burn fat not fuel.  

    1. Rich Brunner says:

      It isn’t always because of laziness that people need motorized assistance. It might be a physical need due to injury. It might be distance and time. It isn’t always practical to ride your bicycle in or sometimes there are so many hills that unless you are a professional cyclist or athlete by the time you ride to work you will be so tired and exhausted you will probably be worthless at your job. Oh and about those bike paths please use them. I do when I ride but I’m so sick of ignorant selfish bicyclists who have their nose so stuck up in the air thinking they own the road that they don’t realize just how many laws they are breaking. Examples are. Blowing traffic signals cutting cars off. Riding abreast in the road when at least in Maine they are required to stay single file as far to the right as possible. Also when they ride on the wrong side of the road or just cut across randomly. They might not be an actual motorized vehicle but they are required in most states to follow the traffic laws. It is for their safety and ours. Shame they don’t have to have insurance. Dents and scratches can be costly and you can be held liable if you are at fault. 
      Yes I do acknowledge there are some ignorant drivers just as much as ignorant bicyclist and peds. I personally do my best to be a safe and alert driver and it would help if everyone else that uses the road in any form does the same.

      1. Anonymous says:

        I love the assumptions that some people make where they think they can speak for everyone and every circumstance. For me, as a handicapped person, with spinal arthritis and involvement in my knees and ankles, I can’t ride a regular bike, at least not more than a few feet. A motorized bike, whatever the power source, would be a perfect way for me to get as much exercise as possible and still be able to ride when my legs get tired. Unfortunately, my neck basically doesn’t work, so I can’t really see where I’m going enough to be very safe.

  3. Nice video.  The magazine article says that he paid $100 for the kit (2 years ago).  The actual price at http://bikemotorkit.com/ comes to over $200 with shipping!  You ought to mention that in the writeup!

    Walt

  4. It should be noted that in some states you can’t drive these on public roads and streets. Here in Oregon, these would be classified as motorcycles, however since you can’t get a certificate of origin for the bicycle with motor you can’t title it (thus you can’t get a license plate).

    Now, if you used an electric motor (up to 1,000 watts) it would be classified as a motorized bicycle and be exempt from title and registration.

    So, definitely check your local laws to see if they still offer a “moped” registration as most states (especially CARB ones) no longer allow them on public streets.

  5. Anonymous says:

    A noisy, stinky, polluting 2 stroke bicycle is an abomination. Electric is the way to go if you must have assistance, and I understand why some people need it.

    Please wear a helmet!

    1. Thebes says:

      There are also 4-stroke bike motors.
      Electric is not practical in all cases, particularly if the user needs long range or intends to only use the bike seasonally (battery manufacturing pollutes too)

    2. Thebes says:

      There are also 4-stroke bike motors.
      Electric is not practical in all cases, particularly if the user needs long range or intends to only use the bike seasonally (battery manufacturing pollutes too)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Nice work and very innovative. Save the fuel and also money.

    gas powered bikes

  7. Does this thing need a license to drive? >.< Lol!

  8. Gabe Moorman says:

    15-20 mph. weak. my motorized bicycle does 40. these guys are newbs.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It is great to have the opportunity to read a good quality article with useful information on topics.
    Thanks
    Nancy

    “Engine and Transmission World”

  10. kayloe says:

    can you put a engine on a chooper bike

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