I have a 25′ cruising tugboat in Florida, and I wanted a small, lightweight ride that I could keep on-board 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.