Continued from Locost, part 3.
The same highschool friend that clued me in to Locost USA shares a tidbit of news he got when he purchased a bike engine and transmission for his project: there are some pretty strict branding laws regarding crashed motorcycles in Ontario that mandate damaged motorcycle frames never see road use ever again. Digging around, I find a FAQ at the Ministry of Transportation Ontario regarding vehicle branding that has a pretty damning footnote:
Vehicles branded as “Irreparable” can never be driven on Ontario’s roads and can only be used for parts or scrap. Motorcycles are included under the “Irreparable” category where there is frame damage requiring replacement.
What does that mean to me? Well, that means that if I want to build a Shrike, or any other reverse trike, it means I’d have to do one of two things:
1) Buy a bike that has not been branded, which would mean either a working bike, or a damaged-but-repairable bike.
2) Buy a branded bike, remove everything I need, and build a full frame for the vehicle, replacing the damaged motorcycle frame.
Continued from Locost, part 2.
In building a Locost, you pretty much have to build everything that you can’t use off of your donor vehicle. In general, the most complex area that falls into that category is the suspension, both front and rear. Even with a good how-to, or using someone else’s design, you still have to build it. Ditto with the frame – you need to build the skeleton on which you’ll re-assemble your donor vehicle. However, the idea of building off of a motorcycle gets around a lot of that, because you already have half of the frame, the entire drive train is already mounted, half of the suspension is already in place, and you’ve even got an entire working electrical system that you only need to tap in to. That leaves only designing the front suspension and the frame from where it mates to the motorcycle frame forward. For that much work, you get a vehicle that would be equally fun as a Locost, for roughly half the work. Do we have a winner? Yeah!!
Continued from Locost, the introduction.
I had just joined the Locost USA forums and found not only a wealth of information about building a Locost, but also a bunch of information about building so-called “non-traditional” vehicles. Ooooh! Some of these were Locost-based vehicles, but used a FWD drive train from a donor vehicle placed behind the driver to make a mid-engined rear-wheel-drive vehicle (also known as an MR layout). The alluring logic of that is that, as I’ve noted previously, the number of available FR layout, manual transmission vehicles is extremely small as compared to when (and where) the Lotus Seven was first designed. Being able to chose a vehicle with front wheel drive (FF layout) provides one with infinitely more opportunities in terms of donor vehicles. What’s more, a FWD drive train combines the transmission, drive shaft, and axle into a transaxle, saving precious space and weight on your vehicle. Well, that sounds like a slam-dunk decision, doesn’t it?
It did – until I learned about BECs – Bike Engined Cars.
When it comes to me and cars, there have been two consistencies throughout my lifetime:
1) I’ve always admired the Lotus Seven, a.k.a. Caterham Super Seven.
2) I’ve always wanted to build a kit car.
More recently, say in the past 10 years or so, I’ve also wanted to build an electric car. When I recently realized that there are plans available – for free, no less – on how to build your own Lotus Seven (know as a Locost – combination of “Lotus” and “low-cost”), I thought, “Eureka! I can kill three birds with one stone! I can build an electric Lotus Seven!” And thus some voracious reading and searching began.
Gad, it feels like forever since I’ve blogged. It’s not really been all that long (OK, a week, but I’ve gone longer) but with all the stuff I’ve been wanting to blog about and haven’t, it feels like my brain is bursting at the seams. In order to ensure that I can still get to bed before too long, I’ll give you the condensed version of what’s been on my mind.
This past week the family and I were in central Florida, specifically Kissimmee. If you don’t recognize the name, it’s just outside of Orlando, and right next door (figuratively speaking) to Disneyworld. Yes, the annual extended family trip went to Disney this year! Well, sort of. At no point during the trip did all sixteen of us (yes, we’re up to 16 people total now) actually do the same thing in any one day, save for eating dinner. In any event, it was a good trip, and now I need to rest up from our vacation. Funny how that goes, huh?