I have a 25′ cruising tugboat in Florida, and I wanted a small, lightweight ride that I could keep onboard for making beer and ice runs when I pull into a marina. After seeing a short segment on TV about a cordless-drill-powered bike at a hardware convention, I decided to build my own.
Behold the result: the Drill Rod. Equipped with a 36-volt drill, this brute accelerates from 0 to 10mph in just 2 seconds and is responsive enough to do tricks like standing on its back wheel.
As for styling, it’s been said that when I’m on my Drill Rod, I look like a circus bear on a tricycle (duly note the photo in Step 1). You will not attract potential romantic partners when riding this. Trust me.
When I started the project, I contacted the company that made the bike I saw on TV and asked if they could just sell me the right-angle gearbox that enables the center-mounted drill to drive the rear wheel. But they refused; they would only sell a finished bike.
I continued looking for ways to build my own. At a flea market, I found a tiny battery-powered bike for kids called the Electric Punk, made by Razor. I bought it for $60 and took it home. With its small battery and motor, I knew it was underpowered for what I needed, and its 7″ rear wheel looked too small to support the weight of an adult.
On flat pavement, the Electric-Punk only went 5mph, and it couldn’t even pull me up my driveway slope. But its small frame was perfect for the project.
For the engine, I used a 36V Bosch Litheon drill, which was the most powerful cordless I could find. I bought it reconditioned through Amazon for $219. I also found a nice, small right-angle gearbox (1:1 ratio) made by Torque Transmission, model #RAB-1, which was rated at 1/3HP at the drill’s maximum speed of 1,800rpm.