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BigSherm 09-10-2010 01:53 AM

My 100(+)mpg feet-forward motorcycle project
 
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Hi everyone. I'm Sherm.

I've been planning, researching, and concocting this project for a long time. I went back and forth between using the 250 Ninja, the EX500, and a smaller displacement, single cylinder bike for my starting platform. I even considered a liter bike!

I ended up deciding on the 2-fiddy Ninja with the goal of over 100mpg. I figure it will have the power to handle southern California's, um, highly competitive freeways, maybe even if I make the bike a two seater.

I live in the high Mojave Desert, and any trip of length always ends up including the Cajon Pass. It's a long, long, steep grade, and of course, a trip down it is followed sooner or later by a trip up it. The power the 250 Ninja should be enough. Maybe after I knock this project out of the park, I'll build one with a smaller engine and go for 200mpg? This will be easy, and go very quickly without obstacles, right? Uhh..

So anyway, with lots of inspiration from Theycallmeebryan's achievement of 100MPG on his 250 Ninja, Craig Vetter's Helix streamliner, John and his 250 powered HyperRocket three wheeler, Allert Jacobs' 125 Honda streamliner, and the Ecomobile/Monotracer, here I go!

I found some pics of a naked 250 Ninja, used the known wheelbase to make a roughly scaled stick man of myself, and started planning.

Here's one sketch of an open top design. With this design, I figure a lengthened swingarm and removal of the subframe for the seat being most of the major frame mods.

theycallmeebryan 09-10-2010 02:15 AM

Hey there sherm. Glad i could be an inspiration to your goals. Your project sounds interesting! Best of luck on it.

Are you planning on turning the ninja 250 into a recumbent?

BigSherm 09-10-2010 02:16 AM

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If I reach my goal and make it a streamliner, I'm going to have in big, bold, letters, "SCREW FOREIGN OIL" on the shell, along with "ECOMODDER.COM" and whatever mileage I end up getting printed on there, too. I thought about "SCREW TERRORIST OIL" but that may be a little too, um, polarizing?

Anyway, here's an admittedly Monotracer/Ecomobile influenced head-in, enclosed sketch. The fold-up landing gear from that thing is sweet!

BigSherm 09-10-2010 02:19 AM

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Hey Brian, yep, a recumbent.

I'm a big, big fan of my recumbent bicycles! I've got an Optima Baron that flat hauls.

Here's a tandem design. This would take a lot of added length. either a loooooong swingarm that would need some form of added suspension, or stretching the frame.

theycallmeebryan 09-10-2010 02:20 AM

I can already see one problem with that exact seating position. The rear shock will be through your butt! ouch

theycallmeebryan 09-10-2010 02:25 AM

I honestly think you would be better off splitting the front end from the rest of the bike, and then mounting the frame/engine/swingarm/rear tire behind you, and the front end components in front of you. Then fabricate a seating area in between. It would allow you to be lower to the ground, which will make the bike more stable. Also, there will be less front area.

BigSherm 09-10-2010 02:27 AM

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I scored the perfect donor bike! It's a running, titled (that's a big thing in California!) naked 2005 250 Ninja. The owner (Bjorn) had created a naked, streetfighter, Ducati Monster inspired roadster. It was admittedly rough, but that was part of the bare bones appeal.

When I had a surprise change to night shift at work, I seized the opportunity and made the banzai drive down to Thousand Oaks and back in one morning. $200 lighter in the wallet and it was mine!

Here's what it looked like when I got it, after I stripped it down.

BigSherm 09-10-2010 02:49 AM

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Thanks, Brian, for the input.

I've modded the frame, removing the subframe that supports the seat. You're right, My butt is pinched between the tire and the upper end of the shock and frame. To keep things simple, I'm stretching the swingarm. I don't want to get too ambitious and stretch the frame when I'm just starting on such a complicated project.

I'm keeping the engine in front of me to keep the bike relatively short, for simplicity, and for the small bit of security of having that mass in front of me rather than waiting to smoosh me from behind if I come to a very sudden stop.

The seat height will be about 19 inches. Splitting the frame and moving the swigarm pivot back while sitting behind the engine wouldn't help me get it any lower, because the chain is the limiting factor, and will still have to get from the front sprocket to the rear wheel in a relatively straight path. I could try to make some kind of serpentine path for the chain so I could lower the seat, but again, let's not get overly ambitious right away.

I really am inspired by Craig Vetter's Freedom Machine proposal, in which he expresses his desire to get lots of people excited about this sort of thing. Accomplishing that is a big motivator for me, and I want this thing to be something a lot of people will feel like they can build, too. I'm keeping it as simple as possible.

Vetter suggests a 100mpg lane, where there is no speed limit as long as you're getting 100 or better mpg. That's why he calls it the Freedom Machine proposal. Free from wasting high priced gas, free from foreign oil, free from so many restrictions! Everyone should read his proposal on his website.

After much deliberation, I figure the easiest and sturdiest way for me to lengthen the swingarm is to graft two swingarms together. The "A" shape of the swigarm allows one to nest inside the other.

I scored a complete 2-fiddy Ninja swingarm on eBay for $20, shipping included! Holy Cow, parts for this thing are plentiful!

Here are pics of the front portion of the stock swingarm, with the new swingarm trimmed to fit inside. It looks a little, uh, ghetto? Should be strong enough, though, as there is lots of surface for my booger welds to hold on to between the two pieces. I'll let you know how it turns out.

euromodder 09-10-2010 07:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigSherm (Post 193406)
If I reach my goal and make it a streamliner, I'm going to have in big, bold, letters, "SCREW FOREIGN OIL" on the shell

That'd look better on an EV than on a vehicle that still burns oil.

Quote:

The fold-up landing gear from that thing is sweet!
You'll need either something like this or a rather big hole in the streamline to put your feet down.

Good luck with the project.

BigSherm 09-10-2010 01:21 PM

Hey Euro-

Yes, it'd be better on an EV, but I'm not building one.

I plan on taking long trips in this thing, and the refueling infrastructure is already in place for gas powered vehicles. I already have a running vehicle that is capable of 100mph and 70mpg for 200 dollars. That's a lot better than I could do building an EV.

Plus, the whole Freedom Machine concept depends on showing people that it's not that hard, using existing and cheap technology, to build a vehicle that gets over 100mpg and can take you on as long a trip as you'd like to take. If a lot of people get on board with the concept, the demand for oil goes way down, prices go down, and we depend on foreign oil a lot less, or maybe someday, not at all (Uhh, yeah, that'll happen real soon).

Sherm

kawboyCAFE 09-10-2010 06:49 PM

this thread is a joke, and not real. yesterday you were still thinking about what bike to use, then at noon today you were still in sketch phase. then thirty minutes later, guess what, you suddenly had a donor bike for $200. do you really expect us to believe this? come on.

can we say bullcrap anyone?

BigSherm 09-10-2010 07:31 PM

Whoooooooaaaa, Kawboy! Relax there, partner!

You can see the times I made each post in the upper left of each one. The first post was at 9:53pm, and all the rest about the actual work, up to the swingarm cutting were posted by 10:49pm. Sorry if it wasn't obvious that I was documenting what I've already done.

I've been working on the project for a while.

My posts have caught up with the project, so from here on out it'll be in real time.

No need to get your spurs all tangled up!

Sherm

BigSherm 09-12-2010 09:48 PM

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Made some progress today.

I welded the swingarms together. In the past, my welding has been pretty booger-ish. Today I found that increasing the heat setting and reducing the wire speed seemed to penetrate better and make a better bond. We'll see, I guess. This is a pretty crucial part of the bike! I think it'll be more than strong enough.

You can see, now I have room for my butt!

BigSherm 09-12-2010 09:50 PM

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Here's another shot.

BigSherm 09-12-2010 09:55 PM

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And one from the side.

The bike has a shock from a newer 250 Ninja, so the preload is adjustable. With the added leverage of the longer swingarm, I changed the preload setting to the maximum. After jumping on the swigarm, it seems like it may be enough, but I have a lot more weight to put on the bike. We'll see if I have to replace the spring with something heavier.

I joined two chains together to cover the extra 8 inches of the swingarm. The welds are rough and the 2 chains aren't permanent. After I finalize more things, I'll weld covers over the square holes in the sides of the swingarm, make it look better and paint it, and replace the chains and sprockets.

Now that I have room for my butt, next is a place to sit!

skyl4rk 09-12-2010 10:28 PM

Looks very interesting. Are you going to mount the seat on the frame or on the swingarm?

alvaro84 09-13-2010 01:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by skyl4rk (Post 193830)
Looks very interesting. Are you going to mount the seat on the frame or on the swingarm?

I think placing it on the swingarm would make it a pretty harsh ride :D

BigSherm 09-13-2010 02:28 AM

Hey Skyl4rk,

I started working on the seat this afternoon. At least the main support for it will mount on the back of the frame, just behind and slightly above where the footpeg brackets mounted.

Since I plan to make an aero shell out of fiberglass, I can always make the main support for the seat out of steel, and the back rest and seat pan integrated with the shell out of fiberglass. We'll see.

Oh, and also, the bike is a 2001 model. I think I said earlier it was a 2005.

Sherm

euromodder 09-13-2010 08:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigSherm (Post 193828)
With the added leverage of the longer swingarm, I changed the preload setting to the maximum.

The added leverage considerably adds to the bending forces on it, and so does more preload.

In drag racing, and on high performance street bikes, the swingarm is braced externally - either above or below - or the beam is made deeper.
I'd do something similar on this long swingarm.
Obviously not because of the bike's awesome power, but because the extra length and the extra weight you're going to add (fully enclosed fairing) ;)

BigSherm 09-13-2010 05:44 PM

Hey Euromodder,

I didn't lengthen the swingarm in the traditional way. I nested one swingarm inside the other, providing a lot more contact and area to weld between the two pieces than the just around the circumference of the spars like the usual way.

I think it'll be just fine. I guess we'll all find out if I'm wrong, haha.

Sherm

theycallmeebryan 09-13-2010 08:46 PM

Sherm, you are definitely embarking on an awesome adventure here. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

BigSherm 09-13-2010 09:16 PM

Thanks, Bryan!

Your results with your ninja are part of what led me to choose the little beast!

Sherm

redpoint5 09-14-2010 10:10 PM

I'd risk my butt (literally) on a project this cool.

It's too bad they don't make those 250s FI though. That would help with your efficiency and power on those altitude changes. Curious now, what is the smallest FI motorcycle engine out there?

alvaro84 09-15-2010 02:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpoint5 (Post 194077)
I'd risk my butt (literally) on a project this cool.

It's too bad they don't make those 250s FI though. That would help with your efficiency and power on those altitude changes. Curious now, what is the smallest FI motorcycle engine out there?

You can definitely buy FI'd 125s here. Honda even sells its 49cc Zoomer with FI in Europe.
The 250 Kawa Ninja, all of the 250cc Hyosungs, Yamaha YBR 125, and so on, they all have FI.

theycallmeebryan 09-15-2010 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpoint5 (Post 194077)
I'd risk my butt (literally) on a project this cool.

It's too bad they don't make those 250s FI though. That would help with your efficiency and power on those altitude changes. Curious now, what is the smallest FI motorcycle engine out there?

The Europe version of the new Ninja 250 is fuel injected. One member of ninja250.org actually converted his older gen Ninja 250 to fuel injection by purchased the TBI setup from European bike on ebay.uk, a suzuki dual sport dirtbike's fuel pump, and a megasquirt ecu. Pretty cool project, but too expensive of a conversion to be worth it for me. Tinkering with carbs isn't all that painful. :thumbup:

Europe gets all the fun stuff. :D

redpoint5 09-15-2010 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theycallmeebryan (Post 194155)
The Europe version of the new Ninja 250 is fuel injected. One member of ninja250.org actually converted his older gen Ninja 250 to fuel injection by purchased the TBI setup from European bike on ebay.uk, a suzuki dual sport dirtbike's fuel pump, and a megasquirt ecu. Pretty cool project, but too expensive of a conversion to be worth it for me. Tinkering with carbs isn't all that painful. :thumbup:

Europe gets all the fun stuff. :D

How does Europe get all the good stuff? Why wouldn't the companies standardize the engine and fuel systems for simplicity sake? Does FI really cost more than carberation?

Anyhow, it's neat to know FI is the direction they are headed on bikes, if only 3 decades late. Might as well skip the FI technology altogether though and get a head start on electric. Motorcycles already get a paltry 150mi range before refueling, so it shouldn't be too difficult to get similar range from a battery.

Now this has me thinking, is there any advantage to an all-wheel drive motorcycle?

euromodder 09-15-2010 02:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpoint5 (Post 194173)
Why wouldn't the companies standardize the engine and fuel systems for simplicity sake?

Regulations are different in different parts of the world.

Quote:

Motorcycles already get a paltry 150mi range before refueling, so it shouldn't be too difficult to get similar range from a battery.
If you can get it recharged in the same time it takes to fill up ;)

Quote:

Now this has me thinking, is there any advantage to an all-wheel drive motorcycle?
Yamaha had (has ?) one.
Works for off-road work, but it adds weight and drag.

alvaro84 09-15-2010 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpoint5 (Post 194173)
Motorcycles already get a paltry 150mi range before refueling, so it shouldn't be too difficult to get similar range from a battery.

Sorry, I can pretty easily exceed 300 miles out of one (15l~4USgal) tank with Teresa in the summer (see log, there's even a 349mi one), I wouldn't be entirely satisfied with that 150-mile range ;)
Though I could live with it if
1.) refill would be just as fast as with gasoline
2.) batteries would not deteriorate with age

redpoint5 09-15-2010 06:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alvaro84 (Post 194209)
Sorry, I can pretty easily can exceed 300 miles out of one (15l~4USgal) tank with Teresa in the summer (see log, there's even a 349mi one), I wouldn't be entirely satisfied with that 150-mile range ;)
Though I could live with it if
1.) refill would be just as fast as with gasoline
2.) batteries would not deteriorate with age

My comment about 150mpg was a generalization and not meant to diminish alvaro's MPG accomplishments. My best tank was my last, and I got 56mpg and 220 miles. Not too shabby for spirited driving in the mountains.

I would like an electric that only goes 150mi since I plan to have multiple motorcycles. Heck, I'd settle for 100.

Lokalazeros 09-15-2010 06:45 PM

awesome project you started there !

I wanted to add that reducing the wire speed doesn't increase penetration. Increasing wire speed, or lowering amperage ( ''heat'' ) does.
Check the Miller's website, they've got a nice calculator that tells you what setting you should use. From the pic, it look like it's 1/8 steel you are welding ? I'd try 165 Amps, and about 330 inch of wire per minute (for .035'', solidcore wire) if I were you :) ( http://www.millerwelds.com/resources/calculators/mig_solid_amperage_calculator.php)
Oh, and, if you ever intend to ride that bike, have your welds X-ray'ed (or at least checked by a certified welder/inspector) before you go. I'd rather not see that someone was killed because the bike he was riding broke in half :confused:

Keep us updated !:D

BigSherm 09-16-2010 12:17 AM

If I ever intend to ride it? Well, of course I do!

You guys have me second guessing myself.

I think I will weld some steel tube through the two swingarms, or at least run some bolts through them for some insurance in case the welds don't hold.

I'll keep you updated, of course.

I think Friday may see some progress, I have it off.

El Shermo

alvaro84 09-16-2010 01:49 AM

(wow, Euromodder, your link in your sig - they have lots of f650 logs, thanks :) bad that I don't see any comments in the entries, especially at the top one who has a 2.84l/100km lifetime average...)

redpoint5 - yes, not a bad range for something you use for "spirited driving in the mountains" - but Teresa is a workhorse too, she's my only vehicle at the moment so I'm riding until the frosts, I commute with her, I go on holidays, I often cross the country 2-up with luggage because we have to see about things there.

OK, I admit it's not typical :D but it's an existing exception to the rule :D With this use I really appreciate longer range. Some day I'd like to see a similar light tourer with at least this range in electric (I don't like heavy whales, I'm not a big guy either. I prefer bikes under ~200kg - that's 441 lbs to be exact :D). Or, if not electric, anything that doesn't run on any fossil fuel.

/off :D

Maggotbreath 10-22-2010 01:06 PM

Very cool project! So cool I decided to join Ecomodder so I could follow your progress. I'm also just about to start a very similar project based on a xt350 and the work of Vetter/Gurney. Anyway keep up the good work!

JasonG 10-22-2010 06:16 PM

Awesome project.
you may want to check California's laws.
many states require a 24-25" minimum seat height to keep visibility up.

redyaris 10-22-2010 09:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigSherm (Post 194271)
If I ever intend to ride it? Well, of course I do!

You guys have me second guessing myself.

I think I will weld some steel tube through the two swingarms, or at least run some bolts through them for some insurance in case the welds don't hold.

I'll keep you updated, of course.

I think Friday may see some progress, I have it off.

El Shermo

Although the way you have done the swingarm extension is ingeniuse I share the concern that it may be inadiquit. I would suggest that you add something to the bottom of the arms that extends from close to the swing arm front pivot across the welded section to close to the rear wheel axle. The design of these could include some aero features for the rear of the bike. The issues that I see are flexing of the arm over time weakening the weld/metal and the affect of flexing on handeling. Both of these problems would be solved by some form of truss, channel, or box beam below the swing arm. ;)

Boreas 10-27-2010 03:03 PM

I find your project very interesting and would like to try something like it myself someday. I agree with red yaris, increasing the width of your swing arm would make it much stronger. Something to look out for when wire feed welding is if you switch from a shielding gas and solid wire to flux core wire you may need to switch the polarity of your machine to get proper penetration and weld quality. I know from doing it wrong first and then reading the instructions that came with the wire after I was questioning my welding ability.

oldenway 11-14-2010 11:32 AM

very interested
 
Your project is right along the lines that I have considered tackling. Please keep up the good work.

old...

grizz 11-21-2010 02:12 PM

Good luck on your project. Hope this motivates others.
I have a 150cc Chinese scooter with the windshield and roof. By enclosing the right side of the scoot, my mpg went up about 15mpg and my speed is up about 10mph. The gearing is whats keeping both down right now.
Another observation is... Sidewinds can just about pick it up and blow it off the road !
Keep the bodywork to a minimum and keep it low.

joedupont 12-20-2010 11:10 AM

Visability will be an issue on all small vehicle. Being able to pop up a bicycle flag and retract it for reduced drag might be an option. but flashers, etc are a must.
modifying 4 wheel vehicles could end you up with a ticket.
I'd like to make a three wheeler out of my geo metro.
Anyway this is a great site!!

Frank Lee 12-20-2010 06:50 PM

http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r...er/3wheel2.jpg


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