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MetroMPG 04-02-2008 11:10 PM

Video: ForkenCycle! (Dirt cheap forklift based motorbike conversion)
Russ Gries has built a forklift based motorbike, and in the video says he's 30 bucks ahead of the game after the scrap refund.

I interviewed Russ for an article about his project on the EcoModder Blog. For the sake of brevity, I couldn't include all the information he provided in the blog, so I'm including it here in the forum instead. Watch the video if you haven't seen it yet, then scroll down all the details....

First test ride...

Photo slideshow of the build progress...

Fork truck details:
  • Raymond model 20 reach truck, a stand up fork truck
  • 3,440 lbs scrap weight (that's with all the non-steel stuff stripped off already)
  • 24 volts / 350 amp main fuse (gives you a hint of the controller rating)
  • SCR controller (same kind that came with the Baker we stripped to build the ForkenSwift)
  • motor rated 2.3 HP at 3000 rpm (resurfaced commutator before using it in the bike)
  • 1976 Hond CB550
  • stock "highway bars" (where the front batts are mounted)
  • scooter seat
Build details:
  • Russ did all the fabrication, so far about 120 hours worth
  • original transmission is retained
  • electric motor belt drives the former alternator shaft into the transmission
  • where the ICE used to be, he bolted a plate (to keep the transmission oil in) and mounted the electric motor to the plate
Costs to date:
  • $50.00 - motorcycle
  • $63.34 - tires, front & back
  • $2.25 - wire loom
  • $3.17 - indicator bulbs
  • $10.11 - oil, 3 quarts
  • $3.07 - oil filter
  • $28.59 - gates belt 720-8mgt-30
  • $75.77 - pully p44-8mgt-30
  • $46.80 - pully p22-8mgt-30
  • $13.95 - taperlock 1012- 1&1/8"
  • $8.00 - taperlock 1008- 1&1/8"
  • $8.99 - female plug for charging
  • $7.16 - male plug for charging
Parts subtotal to date = $351.21

Less... $335.60 scrap refund from recycling the forklift chassis, battery & copper.

Total cost: $15.61

What's left to do:

Of course the price is going to go up more. One problem Russ ran into was the manual for the bike listed the wrong ratio for the alternator shaft, so he ended up buying the WRONG size pulleys to get the ratio he was after. He was aiming for a 60 mph top speed, but the pulleys he's got limit him to 35 tops. So he's going to have to probably get at least one new pulley and a new belt.

And there's brake work, speedo fix, DC/DC converter, cosmetic work ... all the other stuff that's never really finished on an EV.

Ryland 04-03-2008 12:31 AM

I can't youtube due to Dial Up... but I was thinking about an electric motorcycle the other day, wondering how it would work to use a shaft drive motorcycle so a longer motor could be used, thus allowing a cheaper motor like a golf cart, or forklift motor to be used, the Honda cx500 or 650 would be perfect, as they are a water cooled engine that tends to leak at the water pump on to the alternator, so they sit till they seize, and are hefty enough for a few batteries.

bennelson 04-03-2008 10:00 AM

Reverend Gadget has a 72V BMW e-motorcycle with a driveshaft.

That's pretty much the only one I could find a while back when I did a web search.

When I was first looking for a cycle for conversion, I had the opportunity to get a really good deal on a big old Goldwing. I was told by other EV motorcycle people that a driveshaft is relatively ineffecient compared to a chain. Also, the Goldwing just plain weighs a lot, although it would have LOTS of room for batteries.

Here is Reverend Gadget's cycle

I like the "Forkencycle" Guy's reverse gear setup. I am guessing he did it just because he could. The momentary start button connected to the reversing contactor is a slick little setup.

Low center of gravity on that thing. Any electric motorcycle I have seen so far usually has a suprisingly nice balance to it.

Peakster 04-03-2008 03:53 PM

That video is pretty sweet. The thing moves pretty darn well.

bennelson 04-09-2008 12:03 PM

I read through the comments on the Forkencycle video at YouTube. He used the motor from a Raymond stand-on reach truck. Same Make and style as what I took apart in my driveway in January (although a different model).

I noticed the motor is double-ended. Sometimes motors like that have a parking brake on the back end. Looks like he is using the back end of the motor to drive the cycle. When he shows the other side of the cycle, you can see a threaded shaft sticking out from the motor.

MetroMPG 04-09-2008 12:12 PM

There's a lot more info coming. I've been in touch with Russ (the builder) and interviewed him for a blog post I'm writing. Look for something on Friday.

MetroMPG 04-11-2008 02:14 PM

I've updated the first post in this thread with more info about the ForkenCycle (aka VoltZilla).

MetroMPG 04-14-2008 11:39 PM

Added a second YouTube vid to the first post in this thread - Russ posted a photo/slideshow of the build progress.

bennelson 04-15-2008 10:32 AM

Just watched the "photo slide show"

That forklift is totally the same one as I had!

OK - so I double-checked the plate from a photo I had - mine was a model 31, not a model 20 - sure looks the same though!!!!! Must have had the same body, but mine was the 36Volt version.

MetroMPG 04-15-2008 09:58 PM

VoltZilla picked up by motorcycle blog:

D.I.Y. Trend of the Moment: Electric Motorcycles

1) Not sure why it's a "trend of the moment". People have been converting bikes for years.

2) I'm surprised he didn't link to Ben's bike too.

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