Home-Crafting A Motorcycle Throttle Hold

Cruise control is a common feature on automobiles, though less so in the motorcycle market. Given that continual throttle application on long rides can be a real pain in the wrist, many riders long for such a convenience. As a cheat solution, bolt-on locks that hold the throttle at a set position are available, though quality varies and generally they need to be activated by the throttle hand anyway. [Nixie] wanted a solution that would leave the right hand entirely free, and held, rather than locked, the throttle.

The device [Nixie] came up with is essentially a brake that fits inside the throttle handle and holds it in position. This is achieved with a mechanism that presses a pair of small brake shoes into the inside of the throttle, holding it from rotating back to neutral when the rider lets go. The brake is activated by a control on the left handlebar via a Bowden cable, allowing [Nixie] to activate the throttle hold on the highway and use the right hand to check pockets or simply rest.

It’s a tidy build, and [Nixie] does a great job of explaining the various design choices and the intricacies of the Bowden cable actuated mechanism. It’s anything but a one-size-fits-all build, but other enterprising machinists could certainly duplicate the design for other motorcycles without too many problems.

For those interested in more traditional cruise control, we’ve featured a teardown of a simplistic 90s Jeep system before. Video after the break.

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A Monotrack Bike With Only Basic Tools And Parts

Tracked vehicles are cool, but can be quite complicated to build. [XenonJohn] wanted to skip the complexity, so he created Vector, an electric tracked motorcycle using only basic parts and tools. No machine tools required.

If it looks familiar, it’s because it was inspired by [Make It Extreme]’s monotrack motorcycle that we covered last year. [XenonJohn] liked the concept, but wanted one that was simpler to build. That meant ditching the custom machined parts like the wheels and the suspension system. These were replaced with three go cart wheels and axles mounted in pillow blocks, on a simple welded frame. An e-bike battery powers a 500 W golf cart motor that drives the rear wheel. Like [Make It Extreme]’s version, the track is an SUV tire with the sidewall cut off. [XenonJohn] used tin snips to do this, but from personal experience we would recommend a utility knife. This track design will have a tendency to collect debris inside it, so cutting some hole in the tread could help. As with most single wheeled/tracked vehicles, you really don’t want to try and stop quickly.

It looks like this bike works fine in straight lines, but there is room for improvement with the steering. [XenonJohn] has some ideas to do this, which we hope to see some time in the future. Let us know in the comments how you would make it turn better.

[XenonJohn] really like vehicles that can make you face plant. He built quite a few self-balancing motorcycles, one of which was supposedly designed with first responders in mind. It honestly seems more likely to create an emergency than respond to one.

A Motorcycle Dashboard Straight From The ECU

Classic motorcycles are the wild west of information displays. Often lacking even basic instrumentation such as a fuel gauge and sometimes even a speedometer, motorcycles have come a long way in instrument cluster design from even 20 years ago. There’s still some room for improvement, though, and luckily a lot of modern bikes have an ECU module that can be tapped into for some extra information as [mickwheelz] illustrates with his auxiliary motorcycle dashboard.

This display is built for a modern Honda enduro, and is based upon an ESP32 module. The ESP32 is tied directly into the ECU via a diagnostic socket, unlike other similar builds that interface with a CAN bus specifically. It can monitor all of the bike’s activity including engine temperature, throttle position, intake air temperature, and whether or not the bike is in neutral. [mickwheelz] also added an external GPS sensor so the new display can also show him GPS speed and location information within the same unit.

[mickwheelz] credits a few others for making headway into the Honda ECU. [Gonzo] created a similar build using a Raspberry Pi and more rudimentary screen but was instrumental in gathering the information for this build. If you’re looking for a display of any kind for your antique motorcycle which is lacking an ECU, though, we would suggest a speedometer made with nixie tubes.

Building A Gimballed Motorcycle Helmet Camera From Scratch

[Nixie Guy] has hit all of important design elements in a single motorcycle helmet-cam project which packs in so much that the build log spans three posts. These cameras need to stand up to the elements and also to being pelted by insects at 80 MPH. They need to attach securely to the helmet without interfering with vision or movement of the head. And you should be able to adjust where they are pointing. The balance of features and cost available in consumer cameras make this list hard to satisfy — but with skills like these the bootstrapped camera came out great!

Where can you get a small, high quality camera? The drone industry has been iterating on this problem for a decade now and that’s where the guts of this creation come from. That produced an interesting issue, the board of the CADDX Turtle V2 camera gets really hot when in use and needs to have air flowing over it. So he threw a custom-milled heat sink into the side of the SLA resin printed housing to keep things somewhat cool.

Since the mill was already warmed up, why not do some mold making? Having already been working on a project to use a casting process for soft PCB membranes, this was the perfect technique to keep the buttons and the SD card slots weather tight on the helmet cam. A little pouch battery inside provides power, and the charging port on the back is a nice little magnet job.

Everything came together incredibly well. [Nixie Guy] does lament the color of the resin case, but that could be easily fixed by reprinting with colored resin.

While you’re bolting stuff onto your helmet, maybe some excessive bling is in order?

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’54 Motorcycle Saved By Electric Conversion

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.

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A Super-Brain For An E-bike

There’s no better way of improving a project than logging data to make informed decisions on future improvements. When it came to [Brian]’s latest project, an electric bike, he wanted to get as much data as he could from the time he turned it on until the time he was finished riding. He turned to a custom pyBoard-based device (and wrote it up on Hackaday.io), but made it stackable in order to get as much information from his bike as possible.

This isn’t so much an ebike project as it is about a microcontroller platform that can be used as a general purpose device. All of the bike’s controls flow through this device as a logic layer, so everything that can possibly be logged is logged, including the status of the motor and battery at any given moment. This could be used for virtually any project, and the modular nature means that you could scale it up or down based on your specific needs. The device is based on an ARM microcontroller so it has plenty of power, too.

While the microcontroller part is exceptionally useful ([Brian] talks about some of its other uses here and gives us even more data on his personal webpage), we shouldn’t miss the incredible bike that [Brian] built either. It has a 3 kW rear hub motor and can reach speeds of around 60 mph. While we let the commenters below hash out the classic argument of “bicycle vs. motorcyle” we’ll be checking out some electric vehicles that are neither.

Steampunk Motorcycle Runs On Compressed Air, Is Pure Hacking Art

Sometimes it’s ok to sacrifice some practicality for aesthetics, especially for passion projects. Falling solidly in this category is [Peter Forsberg]’s beautiful, barely functional steam punk motorcycle. If this isn’t hacker art, then we don’t know what is.

The most eye-catching part of the motorcycle is the engine and drive train, with most of the mechanical components visible. The cylinders are clear glass tubes with custom pistons, seals, valves and push rods. The crank mechanism is from an old Harley and is mounted inside a piece of stainless steel pipe. Because it runs on compressed air it cools down instead of heating up, so an oil system is not needed.

For steering, the entire front of the bike swings side to side on hinges in the middle of the frame, which is quite tricky to ride with a top speed that’s just above walking speed. It can run for about 3-5 minutes on a tank, so the [Peter] mounted a big three-minute hour glass in the frame. The engine is fed from an external air tank, which he wears on his back; he admits it’s borderline torture to carry the thing for any length of time. He plans to build a side-car to house a much larger tank to extend range and improve riding comfort.

[Peter] admits that it isn’t very good as a motorcycle, but the amount of creativity and resourcefulness required to make it functional at all is the mark of a true mechanical hacker. We look forward to seeing it in its final form.

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