While it’s nice to be able to fully restore something vintage to its original glory, this is not always possible. There might not be replacement parts available, the economics of restoring it may not make sense, or the damage to parts of it might be too severe. [onyxmember] aka [Minimember Customs] was in this position with an old ’54 Puch Allstate motorcycle frame that he found with no engine, rusty fuel tank, and some other problems, so he did the next best thing to a full restoration. He converted it to electric.
This build uses as much of the original motorcycle frame as possible and [onyxmember] made the choice not to weld anything extra to it. The fuel tank was cut open and as much rust was cleaned from it as possible to make room for the motor controller and other electronics. A hub motor was laced to the rear wheel, and a modern horn and headlight were retrofitted into the original headlight casing. Besides the switches, throttle, and voltmeter, everything else looks original except, of course, the enormous 72V battery hanging off the frame where the engine used to be.
At a power consumption of somewhere between three and five kilowatts, [onyxmember] reports that this bike likely gets somewhere in the range of 55 mph, although he can’t know for sure because it doesn’t have a speedometer. It’s the best use of an old motorcycle frame we can think of, and we also like the ratrod look, but you don’t necessarily need to modify a classic bike for this. A regular dirt bike frame will do just fine.
29 thoughts on “’54 Motorcycle Saved By Electric Conversion”
Cool! With a hub motor, I guess you never have to replace a chain.
I cannot wait for an electric dual-sport with at least 200 miles of range to be feasible.
200 miles at anything more then, say, 30mph is a rather tall order with todays battery tech. The bike would be quite bulky and heavy…could be done with a hydrogen fuel cell, but honestly, you would not want to pay for that.
A microturbine and a can of butane for fuel.
Could look better with the batter covered in some way. Maybe using a small vintage gas canister or some tin box in design fitting the bike frame and keeping similar look.
I always love seeing a retrofit that breathes new life into an old pile of steel. Well done!
This is inspiring to watch. I want to find something like this for my daughter and I to do together.
How long does the charge last, and your range.
Not long. Obviously depends on how you ride it. At 50 mph plus you can only expect to get about 18 miles. At 25mph you’re probably gonna be closer to 55miles. Eventually I’ll put a 60Ah battery and the box that everyone’s bugging me to do
Ask a battery manufacturer to be your sponsor. Show your power with pride! You go boy!
That rear wheel spoke lacing doesn’t look right at all. WWSBS? (What Would Sheldon Brown Say)
Oh, my….let’s see….. electric motor has max torque at 0 rpm…….spoke lacing has all tension 90 degrees to the force direction…what could go wrong?
lucky for him, it doesn’t have anywhere near enough torque to shred the rim or spokes
It won’t shred the rim or spokes immediately, but it will eventually enlarge the holes enough to rip through. When A2B electric bikes first came out, they had radial drive wheels. I knew it was just a matter of time and sure enough, a few years later, the new models came out with crossed spokes.
This project looks a bit sponsored by https://www.onyxmotorbikes.com/…
Is it sponsored or not?
No Oliver, I’m just a random guy that had some down because of a pandemic. The onyx battery was used simply because I had it left over from another other project
High center of gravity due to hanging battery where they did, the motor bolted to the frame down low originally…. didn’t bother to paint it… didn’t bother to find nor recreate any of the classic styling of this bike (look one up, beautiful curved metal bodywork) no period accessories or indications this is something he cherishes as part of the past… no indications it is actually driven on the road…. nope, it looks like a cheaply done electric conversion that will only be used as a prop for promoting (probably) a business. Shameful waste of an uncommon motorcycle.
Yeah, there are several things surprising me a little bit:
1) why he kept the rusty parts – is it intention and just the look or just not bothering with sanding adn repainting the parts to at least protect them from rust?
2) I can imagine several ways of “restoration” of that bike:
a) using something to fit the design, e.g. battery inside of some box in the same design as the rest of the bike, or
b) creating something ala Mad Max – e.g. not trying to keep the same design (but something put together from various machines) but create something original, or
c) something “steampunk” inspired like putting the battery in a case with fake brass gears and some lights, paint in gold / black and add some decorations to to commemorate the Victorian era etc.
But nothing above happens. Hope there are some plans for future.
Leaving the rust on is a “thing” in the old vehicle world, just look at the whole Rat Rod genre where rust is referred to as “patina” and sometimes actually created and stabilized to keep the look. Seems to be one of those love it or hate it things. So I suppose that was what the guy was going for.
This was obviously not a restoration in the typical sense of the word but on the other hand, it’s more that many of us have done. Most people would have sent that frame to a scrap yard and forgotten about it.
I agree with some of your points, but that’s kinda harsh for something that’s still unfinished.
And are you talking about the same bike that’s in the video? Because the one in the video was just a cheap bike sold by Sears. All it had for “bodywork” was a chain guard — nothing else at all, certainly no “beautiful curved metal” beyond maybe the absent motor.
Wow this guy found something wrong with it, he must be really smart
Love the passionate feedback.
I thought it would me nice to answer some of the questions I saw that might help to put things in perspective.
What your looking at is three week project that I did for $1000 (someone who had never attempted a conversion before)
I’m definitely not connected to any businesses, and didn’t do it to promote anything.
In fact I didn’t even know this article existed until I received a text from my father asking me when I got interviewed
I really was just looking for something to do during the pandemic, and a friend pestered me to film the process.
I was heavily limited to what I could do by the tools and parts that I had at my disposal.
Putting myself on a tight budget, and always having a strange love affair for a rat rods, I intentionally cut out as many things that I would consider luxury items as possible
As far as the bike being just a prop, I can guarantee it’s definitely not. It actually rides ridiculously well. The day I took that picture I was zipping all around town, going up mountains, off-roading it on dirt trails. It definitely exceeded my expectations (The suspension was the biggest surprise)
Would a battery box be cool, and help lower the center of gravity? -of course! But I didn’t want to build one for 23Ah battery, plus ordering anything at this time has been an absolute nightmare. (Would need to purchase a MIG)
Down the road I would love to put in a 60 amp hour battery, welding a battery box, And all the other wonderful suggestions that I’ve gathered through the various blogs that this has been circulating on
I do you find this technology fascinating and plan on continuing to build one off customs among with other ventures…like how to have a full suspension performance bike built that can go well into the 60s for under $4000 (I’ve already done it).
Hopefully with each project I can refine my methods and start living up to the high standards that some of you have set upon me… lol
Stay tuned and subscribe to my channel for future builds!
Oh, for pity’s sake, it’s an ALLSTATE/PUCH that’s been salvaged.
To describe it as an “uncommon motorcycle” would be like describing an MGB as a rare collector’s item.
What would be a “shameful waste” would be to expend ANY time and money doing anything with it beyond making it road-worthy, which is what’s being done here.
To that end, this is a great example recycling.
Kudos on this very creative build – have fun with it!
Look on Ebay for a bicycle computer, cheap starting at 10 bucks. Gives current speed. Trip meter, average speed, time ridden, odometer and maximum speed. Get some rattle can chrome and some outrageous garish colored enamel and be the hit of bike night, real chick magnet! Way cool. Amazing how good spray chrome can look
Based on this mustached dude’s passion for his craft and attention to detail, I doubt we’ve seen the finished product.
Paid great respect to an old bike, hats of to you.
Look forward to seeing future works.
Screw the haters!
It would be even better if the battery was hidden inside a casing that looked like the original motor.
Rock on Craiggery
Oh – my – God – I drove one of these to high school everyday in the late 1960s Sears Allstate 125 – maybe that’s mine lol
“… this bike likely gets somewhere in the range of 55 mph, although he can’t know for sure because it doesn’t have a speedometer”
¿What abour the graphical, logging speedometer in anyone’s celphone?
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