Sunday, June 24, 2012

Motorized Bicycle - Epilogue

I finished the bike just a few days before Scarlett Fever.  With all of the construction done, the only thing left was to take a test ride.  I was extremely nervous because up to this point I had no idea if the motor even worked!  I dreaded the thought of the endless hours of troubleshooting that would ensue if the motor didn't start.  Anxiously I positioned myself on the bike at the top of my steep driveway, started coasting down, popped the clutch, and...nothing!  OK, it was just one try, but my confidence was starting to sink.  Then I realized, I had never opened the fuel petcock!  So i opened up the petcock and tried again.  By the time I reached the bottom of my driveway, the bike sputtered to life and I was off.  The project was a success!

The small engine warmed up quickly and I could open the choke before I even reached the end of the block.  The bike cruised along easily, topping out at around 25 mph?  I spent the next couple of days riding the bike breaking in the motor, working out the kinks, and making some final adjustments.  It was way too much fun.  It was going to be hard to see this one go come raffle time.

at the local cruise night
To promote the show, I rode the bike down to the local cruise night.  It was amazing how many people crowded around the bike to get a closer look.  All included, the project cost about $900; most of that from the bicycle ($620).  We could have built something similar for much cheaper, but the styling of the Felt 1903 really made the project.  Most people thought it was a restored antique, not a new bicycle.  The extra money was well worth it.  Finally I posted a video on YouTube and Facebook to generate interest (see below).  People flipped over the look of the bike.

at the show

The day of the show we parked the bike on the street in Hoboken.  Once again, we got lots of interest from people passing by.  As part of the show we had several famous pinstripers on hand doing custom work all day long.  Glen Weisgerber was kind enough to letter "Scarlett Fever" on the bike to commemorate the show.  It was mystifying to see him do the whole thing in single brush strokes; true talent.  We sold a ton of raffle tickets all day long and finally raffled it off around 11 PM.  The poor soul with the first winning ticket must have left because we had to pull a second ticket.  The winner was one of the guys from another local car club.  I was sad to see the bike go but it was nice to know it went to another car guy who is going to appreciate it.

lettering the bike

amazing work by Glen

This project was so much fun, I'm thinking of building a second one for myself.  Of course, I'll have to go bigger, better, and faster.  Hmmm?  I have a 200cc motor just waiting to be put to good use...  Finally, I'll end this with the video I made to prove to everyone that the bike actually works and get people psyched about the bike.  Enjoy.

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