Radio control cars have been a popular toy for decades, but their motorcycle counterparts have always lagged behind due to balance issues and compromised agility. At the same time, a little toy motorbike can be mesmerizing in action. [brettt3] built a few of his own design that look remarkably fun to play with.
Modeled after the Ducati Draxter and Suzuki GSX-RR, the 3D printed bodies do a great job of aping their full-size counterparts. With a lick of paint and some finer touches, these could be absolutely exquisite, but they look awesome in the bare plastic nonetheless. The bikes use a belt drive to deliver power from a motor in the body to the rear wheel. To keep them upright, a weighted front wheel is used as a passive gyroscope for stabilization.
But the finest touch is arguably the rider which sits atop each motorcycle. Articulated and with hands resting on the handlebars, the rider moves with the steering of the bike, creating an eerie realism that we can’t get enough of. There’s even a tiny micro-servo in the head which allows the rider to swivel and look in the direction of motion as you’d expect.
Files are available for those wishing to recreate these designs at home. Alternatively, dive deeper into gyro-stabilised designs to learn more about how it all works. Video after the break.
Continue reading “You Can 3D Print Your Own RC Motorbikes”
Many arcade machines can be emulated and handily controlled with the standard joystick and button combos. However, a few don’t feel quite right without some extra equipment, motorcycle racing games being one of them. So, no longer content to go to an arcade to get his fix, [The Q] welded his own motorcycle simulation rig for playing racing games at home.
After an initial design was sketched out, rectangular tube steel was cut to size and welded together with a MIG welder. A central shaft linked to some secured bearings made the central pivot point. A few pistons offered the resistance needed for leaning into the curves. To the central shaft, a seat and an old bicycle fork were attached. A clever linkage from the handlebars to the base causes the bike to tilt when turning the handlebars and vice versa.
The bike was ready for prime time after some grinding, orange paint, a license plate, and some lights and grips. [The Q] just needed to get the angle of the bike into the simulation of their choice. While we expected a teensy or other microcontroller emulating a controller, [The Q] went for a somewhat simpler approach, and 3D printed a cradle to hold a PlayStation controller. Little levers pull strings to articulate the joystick, and a cable from the throttle grip pulls back the trigger on the controller. All in all, the experience looks pretty decent, particularly when you’re comparing it to a motocross arcade machine. What it really needs are some fans blowing for the effect of the air stream coming at you.
If you’re thinking about busting out the MIG to make a rig of your own, maybe consider making a homemade car racing rig to complement the bike.
Continue reading “Motorcycle Simulation Rig Is Off To The Races”
A motorbike might not take up a lot of parking space, but this is not true for the trailer required to transport one. To solve this problem, [Make It Extreme] built a custom single-wheel motorbike trailer barely wider than the motorcycle itself.
The frame of the trailer is welded together from a couple of sections of large diameter steel tube, with a single car wheel mounted to a C-shaped portion on the rear end. A standard ball hitch would allow the entire trailer to tilt over to one side, so a pin hitch is used instead, with a pivot to allow up and down movement. Another pivot was added to the frame just ahead of the rear wheel to allow the trailer to lower to the ground for loading. It is raised and lowered with a manually pumped hydraulic cylinder, and a small pivoting ramp at the back also acts as a stop for the motorbike’s rear wheel. With the rigid frame and no suspension, we’re just wondering how well it will handle bumps at high speed.
[Make It Extreme] really likes his recreational vehicles, which include a monotrack motorbike, a monowheel, and an all-terrain hoverboard, among others. Continue reading “Single-Wheel Motorcycle Trailer”
The energy to power a motorcycle has to come from somewhere, be it a power station, a solar panel, a gas station, or a hydrogen plant. There have been many ways to reduce the cost of extracting that energy over the years, but we think [Gijs Schalkx] may have hit upon one of the cheapest and simplest we’ve ever seen. It may not be free gas, but it is free swamp gas! His Uitsloot (we think that’s Dutch for “From the ditch”) motorcycle gets its power from methane generated in the sediment at the bottom of the Netherlands’ many waterways.
At its heart is a venerable Honda Cub moped, we’re guessing of the 50 cc version. On its pillion is a large clear container, inside of which is a balloon filled with gas. He doesn’t go into details in the video below the break, but we’re guessing he’s injecting the gas into the Honda’s airbox from which the engine can suck the gas/air mixture. We like his gas collector, a large inner tube with a collector funnel in its centre that floats on the water. He dons some waders and pokes the sediment with a long stick to release bubbles of methane. He then uses a long hose and a bicycle pump to inflate the balloon with the collected gas. We see him zipping around the streets of Arnhem under this unconventional power, though sadly we don’t see how far a full balloon will take him.
There’s a discussion to be had as to the environmental credentials of this project, but we think given that the naturally generated methane which would find its way into the atmosphere eventually has a greater effect on the climate than the CO2 produced by the engine, he may be onto a winner. It is however not a system that would scale to more than a few drivers poking at bogs with a stick.
Continue reading “Swamp Gas Will Get You Home”
[Maarten Tromp]’s replacement of his motorcycle’s tail light with LED equivalents is a great example of something that every hacker learns sooner or later: interfacing to and working around existing parts can turn a trivial-seeming task into a much bigger job than expected. The more one has to work within the constraints of an existing system, the more opportunities there are for roadblocks and surprise issues to stall progress, and this project is a great example of that.
[Maarten]’s 1999 Honda ST1100 Pan European motorcycle had no aftermarket options for an LED rear light assembly, and he wasn’t too keen on just installing a generic module to replace the original. Instead, he resolved to purchase and disassemble a used factory assembly, and replace the incandescent lamps with some equivalent LEDs. Replacing bulbs with LEDs sounds easy, but doing the job right took [Maarten] almost two weeks in the end.
Problems started early with simple things like how to open up the light assembly itself. The unit isn’t user-serviceable and isn’t intended to be opened, and the parts are sealed shut with a waxy substance. Fortunately, heat does the trick. Another early hitch was the curved base of the light assembly, which made mounting flat perfboard or veroboard a challenge. In the end, [Maarten] settled on a triangular grid of high-brightness LEDs, driven with LM317 regulators configured as constant-current supplies, mounted on some protoboard cut to fit the unique curve of the assembly. The result accepts the wide voltage range of the motorcycle’s battery (from 10.5 V to 14.5 V) and can still function even if some individual LEDs stop working.
The project has one more example of how working around existing hardware can be a pain. [Maarten] had originally intended to swap out the turn signal lamps for LEDs as well, but there is a glitch. The motorcycle’s turn signal relay will do a fast blink pattern if burnt-out turn signal lamps are detected. Since LEDs consume considerably less current than the original bulbs, the relay will remain stuck in the fault condition. There are a few different ways around this, but it’s a problem for another day. For now, the tail light LED replacement is a success.
Working around existing hardware frequently brings unexpected challenges, but when safety systems (such as lights on a vehicle) are involved, it’s extra-important to make sure things are done right.
If you ride a motorcycle, you may have noticed that the cost of airbag vests has dropped. In one case, something very different is going on here. As reported by Motherboard, you can pick up a KLIM Ai-1 for $400 but the airbag built into it will not function until unlocked with an additional purchase, and a big one at that. So do you really own the vest for $400?
Given the nature of the electronics and computer business lately, we spend a good bit of time thinking of what it means to own a piece of technology. Do you own your cable modem or cell phone if you aren’t allowed to open it up? Do you own a piece of software that wants to call home periodically and won’t let you stop it? Sometimes it makes sense that you are paying for a service. But there have been times where, for example, a speaker company essentially bricks devices that could work fine on their own even though you — in theory — own the device.
Continue reading “Do You Really Own It? Motorcycle Airbag Requires Additional Purchase To Inflate”
Motorcyclist’s vulnerability to bodily harm and weather has spawned several enclosed motorcycle designs over the years. Fascinated by the idea, [Meanwhile in the garage] finally got around to building his own. (Video, embedded below.)
The vehicle started life as a 125cc scooter, stripped of all the unnecessary bits, he welded a steel cockpit onto it. A windshield, doors, and side windows were also added. The ends of the handlebars were cut off and reattached at 90 degrees to fit inside the narrow cockpit. A pair of retractable “training wheels” keep the vehicle upright and at slow speeds.
Legalities aside, we can’t help but think that the first test drives should not have been on a public road. It almost ended in disaster when a loose axle nut on the front wheel caused steering oscillations which caused the vehicle to tip over. Fortunately, there were no injuries and only light cosmetic damage, so a more successful test followed the first.
While many companies have tried, enclosed motorcycles have never achieved much commercial success. Probably because they inhabit a no-mans-land between the rush and freedom of riding a motorcycle and the safety and comfort of a car.
For some less extreme conversion, check out this electric motorcycle, or a rideable tank track.
Continue reading “A DIY Enclosed Motorcycle To Keep You Dry In The Rain”