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Old 09-11-07, 03:20 PM   #1
shadowchameleon
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Bicycle Cars?

purely a weird i idea i wanted to try out... I have a 1981 vw RABBIT... it has problems and i think its gonna cost too much to fix... i wanna try something alternative to it... i was thinkin electric, but wondered if anyone has tried to turn an old car into a Human Powered Vehicle...
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Old 09-11-07, 07:09 PM   #2
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it would probably take at least four ppl to pedal it! even stripped down to frame and tire/wheel assembly's it would be wicked heavy. i dont know for sure but i bet it'd be wicked diffucult to convert the differnential to a chain/cog assembly then to turn it on humam power...ouch! but if you do it post pics of the "before" car, the "during" build, and the "after" its done! i wanna see it !!!
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Old 09-11-07, 08:15 PM   #3
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One necessity:

10x90 gearing.
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Old 09-11-07, 09:10 PM   #4
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check out "bicycling tips from a car driver (or somethign like that) here

http://www.bikeforest.com/?m=200705


That is a roades car with an hummer body.


Not anywhere close to the same thing but interesting.
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Old 09-11-07, 10:12 PM   #5
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I've always wanted to try pulling my ford explorer around... just for grins... and maybe a way to get it to the mechanics for repair...
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Old 09-16-07, 01:26 AM   #6
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One necessity:

10x90 gearing.
That would empower the hamster.
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Old 09-16-07, 03:23 AM   #7
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I've seen a 4 man pedal car go 60+ MPH on a flattish road. 4 guys from the US track team that is. The machine weighted about half as much as the trackies. Fully faired, body by Pinaforina no less. Pass on the VW, it will be carrying a lot of massive motor vehicle stuff you do not need.
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Old 09-16-07, 06:27 PM   #8
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Given a long enough lever or low enough gearing you can move anything, but you can't necessarily move it fast enough to be useful. I saw an article somewhere on line about a 40-passenger bus that was stripped to the chassis and set up to be pedaled by all 40 passengers sitting on what looked like 40 stationary bikes. Reportedly, it was still only able to move at a slow walking pace even on the level. Divide the weight of the finished vehicle by the number of people pedaling and you will get the single bicycle equivalent. I suspect it will be hundreds of pounds per person even for the stripped Rabbit.
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Old 09-17-07, 12:26 AM   #9
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I've seen a 4 man pedal car go 60+ MPH on a flattish road. 4 guys from the US track team that is. The machine weighted about half as much as the trackies. Fully faired, body by Pinaforina no less. Pass on the VW, it will be carrying a lot of massive motor vehicle stuff you do not need.
How did Fred Flintstone pass away?

He was taking his Jeep out without Barney to help.
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Old 09-20-07, 09:02 PM   #10
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Get your car out in a parking lot, put it in neutral, push it around a bit and see what you think. Try a wee bit of an uphill, if you're not convinced. It would be great if you had four of those guys from "World's Strongest Man" to pedal it around. Otherwise, you'd be moving at a snail's pace.

A minor obstacle: Small cars don't have enough room in them for a lot of pedaling action, especially for 4 people.

Setting it up for human power, you could eliminate a lot of weight (motor, transmission, radiator, etc), but not enough to make that much of a difference.

I remember once in college seeing an actual pedal car on the street on campus. It was the most awkward thing. It was too big to get out of traffic, but had no hope of going at normal traffic speeds, even where the speed limit was 20 mph.
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Old 09-21-07, 09:54 AM   #11
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a guy at the 2006 Burning Man had a pedal powered Le Car. he was pedaling it alone and it seemed pretty darn easy for him to do. he wasn't going too fast of course.
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Old 09-23-07, 03:51 PM   #12
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Setting it up for human power, you could eliminate a lot of weight (motor, transmission, radiator, etc), but not enough to make that much of a difference.
You've seen that photo that is floating around the internet, with a guy carrying a car body on the front of an adult trike? The car in question looks an awful lot like a VW rabbit. If only the image weren't photoshopped, we'd have proof positive that such a thing is possible.

Even minivans, SUVs, and large cars (like Toyota's Avalon) don't provide enough room to use bicycle pedals, front or rear.

Keep in mind that on ground that is near perfectly flat, you can go at a somewhat reasonable speed. With myself and one other person pushing, I got a ~3,500 pound truck moving at about 10 mph on flat ground, enough to start the engine. Mind you, with a vehicle weight like that, accelerating to 10mph took a long time, and pushing up a 2% grade would have been impossible for us.
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Old 09-24-07, 04:30 PM   #13
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yeah it is possible, and has been done
http://www.bikecarmovie.com/
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Old 09-26-07, 07:45 AM   #14
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that bike-car in the bikecarmovie.com site sure ain't based on the frame from a 3000-pound economy car.
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Old 09-26-07, 09:35 AM   #15
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This one is expensive but sounds interesting...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TWIKE
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Old 09-29-07, 10:50 AM   #16
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Instead of the rabbit trick try this: There are several companies in CA. that make fiberglass car bodies. Find a small light body and put it on a welded tubular frame. It would still weigh more than several bikes,but a tandem set up might work.
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Old 09-29-07, 11:17 AM   #17
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This bicycle has a roof , gull-wing doors, front and rear fairings with cargo space.
It weighs about 90 pounds.
Streamlined enough that it went 47 MPH on flat ground.
Enough Kevlar to qualify as a tank.

Unfortunately it is only 20 inches wide at it's widest. The rear fairing and the bottom of the front fairing are only 14 inches wide.

It's in a class by itself.

Streamlined recumbent bicycles:
http://www.speed101.com

Velomobiles:
http://www.velomobile.de

http://www.velomobiel.nl
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Old 09-29-07, 11:45 AM   #18
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VW Electric

If you go electric...

www.PlasmaBoyRacing.com

That will be my plan (maybe not as performance oriented as this guy) with my 92 GTI several yrs down the road when the motor goes south/to the point of needing a rebuild, or technology creates a alternative fuel source conversion that I will find hard to pass up for it.

VW Rabbits are commonly converted by companies to electric.

My 87 Turbocharged Chevrolet Sprint is likely about the same weight as that Le Car from burning man, and would be easier to peddle around than the slightly more weighty Rabbit.
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Old 09-29-07, 08:27 PM   #19
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Was thinking about this a little more.

Converting a car to pedal power, there is a LOT you don't need. If you're not driving down the road at night, you can get rid of the entire electric system. You don't have a source of power for heating or AC, so those systems can go. If you start looking at all the gunk that's built in under the dash, you could open up a lot of room there, allowing better pedaling access in the front seats, at least. Rear seats would be a problem.

If you're not driving in bad weather, remove all the glass and the doors as well. A big chunck of weight goes there.
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Old 09-29-07, 08:57 PM   #20
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Converting a car to pedal power, there is a LOT you don't need.
The problem with that logic is that all you're actually going to need is two wheels, pedals, crank, and a very basic frame/fork. Wonder what that'd end up looking like.
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Old 10-05-07, 09:40 AM   #21
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been done better!
http://www.thepiton.com/2007/10/pedal-powered-l.html
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Old 10-05-07, 11:19 AM   #22
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Like a ghost car...ha! That's in Manchester .

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Old 10-08-07, 05:33 AM   #23
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I would doubt that a wabbit wheighs 3000 pounds like one reply suggested. I think a usable conversion would probably be more expensive than fixing it, but I believe it would be possible. Eliminate virtually everything but the sheet metal. Even the floor has got to go using a modified rhodes 4 person chassis or build yer own. You could probably get fiberglass body parts for the hood, hatch, and maybe the doors. Toss the glass and get a plastic windshield. VW Rabbits were popular race cars, and you could probably get a lot of fiberglass body parts to get the weight down enough to make an HPV if you had deep enough pockets and the desire, but it certainly would not be practical to drive or cheap to build. If you do build it bring it to Burning Man and I'll help you pedal it.

Later,

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Old 10-08-07, 05:44 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gosmsgo View Post
check out "bicycling tips from a car driver (or somethign like that) here

http://www.bikeforest.com/?m=200705


That is a roades car with an hummer body.


Not anywhere close to the same thing but interesting.
I really love that little Bicycle Forest pickup truck
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Old 10-08-07, 06:56 PM   #25
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Does this vehicle have a rear seat? If so, perhaps you could just remove the front seats and have that whole area for the pedaling gear. Granted, you may then want to move the rear seat up a foot or few (or you could remove the back seat and move the front seats back a foot or two). Sure, you don't have as many people pedaling. Hmm... something like this would have been great for junkyard wars back in the day.
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