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stevev
stevev None
2/27/17 12:36 p.m.

Hi All, A reader letter in the April edition of GRM asked about CycleKarts.

I am a member of the Arizona CycleKart Club and would like to hear if you have any questions.

First, what is a CycleKart? Its basically a go-kart with motorcycle wheels that is built to look like a pre-war race car, (Bugatti, Alpha, Model T etc). We build them on the cheap, usually less than $2000.00 and we encourage builders not to go crazy with the engines. The Honda GX200 or the Harbor Freight Clone motor are the engines most builders use. They have adequate power and are reliable. The wheels come from a Honda Ct-90 or their modern versions available from Taiwan. A simple ladder frame and front leaf springs and a solid rear axle with a disk brake....simple rules the day.

These little cars can be geared for a top speed of about 47 mph, which is plenty fast on these skinny tires and pretty bad brakes.

We have a great time racing around with each other and encourage other like minded creative types to join our group. There are growing clubs all over the world and a few annual events and more being planned. The Teiton Grand Prix is probably the largest gathering of about 40 karts in Teiton, Wa. every June.

I am going to try to add a picture.

stevev
stevev New Reader
2/27/17 12:43 p.m.

Is it possible to add a picture? JPG?

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
2/27/17 12:50 p.m.

There's no image hosting here; you'll need to put the image up somewhere else, like Flickr, and put an img tag in your post referencing that image's location.

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 PowerDork
2/27/17 1:20 p.m.

Blueprints. I need Blueprints.

Always wanted to do one of these.

rob_lewis
rob_lewis SuperDork
2/27/17 1:34 p.m.

Some questions and some help:

1) Where do you run them? Most of the ones I've seen are run on dirt or grass courses. Is the pavement just too hard on them? Or, is the concern about flipping increased too much on the pavement? (Nevermind, from the video I found below, you actually had a street race. Neato!)
2) What kind of events and where? I live in central Texas. Building one would be cool, but I can't see driving it anywhere but, unsafely, up and down my residential street.
3) How hard is it to find the wheels. Not a lot of CT90's are around anymore. Are there some specific manufacturers or parts houses from overseas to look at for wheels?
4) Why no rollbars? Is it a safety thing (easier to get thrown out or get out of a non rollbar car like a race kart) or does it stiffen the chassis too much?
5) Personally, I think they're wicked cool and for anyone thinking about welding up a locost or just learning to weld, it would be an excellent project to start with.
6) Ninja Edit: How well do they turn? I've noticed most have a solid axle in the back. Is one of the hubs freewheeling? If not, seems like you'd have a wicked push or does the chassis flex enough to lift a wheel when turning?

Now to the help, just grabbed these of Google images when searching for the Arizona Cyclekart Club:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/duS3Vw8-Er4?ecver=2"

-Rob

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
2/27/17 6:50 p.m.

Lawd. Why. Why'd you show me this!

freetors
freetors New Reader
2/27/17 8:42 p.m.

To answer Rob's question about the rear axle, these modern cyclekarts have a one wheel drive axle with the only service brake operating on the other rear wheel. Supposedly Vintage Cyclekart Co. has a big stock of chinese reproduction wheels that can be purchased for a few hundred dollars. The real wheels are a lot harder to find and will probably need rebuilt anyways... I think the only real established cyclekart community is up in the northwest.

I've wanted to build one for a while, possibly in the shape of an early grand prix Alfa or Maserati. I've also thought about an old Cooper 500 complete with trasnverse leaf springs. Regardless, if I built one I would depart from the cyclekart convention of the honda gx200 engine with cvt. I would use a single or twin cylinder motorcycle engine most likely with a differential. Build it light and even 30hp would be fun, probably even capable of near highway speeds. I would also put real brakes on it. I think you could get a car like this tagged pretty easily, at least in my state.

Robbie
Robbie UltraDork
2/27/17 8:50 p.m.

Yep, my wallet, free time, and garage space did not need me to see this!

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
2/27/17 9:11 p.m.

I need 2 of these at less than $500 each because then if you have two you can have races!

I have the perfect place. My house backs up to a private country club that has full length cart paths. That means that there is one continuous blacktop path around the entire course. It is about one vehicle lane wide. Wide enough for two golf carts or two cycle carts which means there would be room for passing. Good elevation changes as well as some chicanes and tight turns. Of course, lots of room for flat out straight aways.

In addition, I have the Lake Erie Islands locally which allow cars but golf carts are the more common mode of transportation. These would be perfect.

Chadeux
Chadeux Dork
2/27/17 9:35 p.m.

I feel like I'd have to do a live axle somehow if I did one of these, even if there's a perfectly good reason for one wheel drive.

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
2/27/17 9:44 p.m.

One or two of these are on my project backlog. Now that we have a 10 acre farmette (as of March 10th), I will have the room to build, store, and most importantly run cyclekarts.

Of course, I will do it more of a GRM way and it will be way less than $2k. I also want to use Miata (or similar) spare tires and wheels instead of the dirt bike ones. 4x100 should fit common go kart hubs and they have the 1920s grand prix looks even if its not the common look. And hopefully cheap, lol.

Drunkonunleaded
Drunkonunleaded HalfDork
2/27/17 11:47 p.m.

Having moved from the Detroit 'burbs to our "vacation" home on 20 acres north of Grand Rapids, this has moved up my "projects to do" list.

The 1-mile MX track would be perfect for these, as its mainly grass and rolling hills (no jumps).

My main issue comes with people to run with. My friends are too occupied with street cars (C5, 16v Scirocco) or circle-track racing to devote time to another project. I could put a car together, but it's no fun without anyone to run with.

First thing I'd do if I won the lotto would be to pick up 4-5 of them, add lights, and do some sort of night enduro race. Some of the best memories of my childhood were wheeling the bikes around the "track" at dusk.

stevev
stevev New Reader
3/6/17 12:58 p.m.

To answer a few questions posted here. Yes most guys have one wheel that free wheels otherwise it tends to push in corners. Some are running a differential, this adds weight and complication (cost) but can be done. Vintage Kart Co. runs a differential and even rack and pinion steering on their karts with great success.

Race on pavement, Yes we do. Tipping is an issue for the karts with a higher center of gravity. If you build your seat down below the frame rails, the karts drift with gusto! Super fun.

The whole idea is cheap, friendly racing with gobs of style.

Some guys even get into costume, bow ties and funny old timey hats. We have a little over 100 members on our Arizona CycleKart Facebook page and we freely share design drawings, we even have an excel spreadsheet with all the parts needed to build and where to get them.

stevev
stevev New Reader
3/6/17 1:00 p.m.

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
3/6/17 2:32 p.m.

First this thread comes up then my neighbor cleared a track in the woods for their yard carts. It's almost like a sign that I need to try this.

75280z
75280z New Reader
3/6/17 3:42 p.m.

I don't have any real questions. I just was finally reading my April edition and saw the article. I would love to see a write up on cycle kart. I live in Denver and could probably get one built, but I can't seem to find any huge groups here, and I don't want to waste my time building something that I will never get to race. I saw a frame on CL here a few weeks before reading the magazine which sent me on an evening of reading. This does look amazing.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
3/6/17 5:02 p.m.

Cycle karts remind me of cycle cars, which were sort of a thing in the UK prior to WWII. They were of a similar configuration, but with regular motorcycle engines. The one that sticks in my mind was a car named Bloody Mary, built by John Bolster. There was a famous quote about it:

"It was, as Bolster once wrote, built by two schoolboys in 1929 ‘…with the object of driving around a field as dangerously as possible’. "

http://theamazoeffect.blogspot.com/2012/03/race-car-of-day-john-bolsters-bloody.html

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
3/6/17 5:10 p.m.
stevev wrote:

Love the copper body on that one.

Looks like fun!

oilstain
oilstain New Reader
3/7/17 11:12 a.m.

I think I've seen that copper one at the Capital Grill in Scottsdale... I had no idea what it was at the time (besides a cool little thing)

Stormcrow
Stormcrow New Reader
3/15/17 12:25 a.m.

All, I have not built a cyclekart, but like you I was/am interested. So far the CK community has been fantastic at answering questions. My first suggestion is to head out and good cyclekart specifications it will talk about the different suggested sizes of cars, as well as general guidelines for building. I went ahead and did a bill of materials (BOM) with current costs earlier this week. My total was $1375, with zero added for any type of shipping. I also ran the numbers using what I call the cut corners (cheapskate) method where anything I could buy cheaper and modify or find for cheap to free I used that. For those out there considering this the largest up front cost from what I can see are wheels, tires, engine (100 from Harbor Freight), centrifugal clutch (anywhere from $67-$200), brakes (caliper and disc), rear axle. After those expenses you are looking at relatively low costs (think buying a part or two a paycheck (assuming you don't have to cover shipping everytime).

Here is my quick BOM, ohh and the last bolt line is 100 dollars for odds and ends. Here is the list of parts I found on the cyclekart website as well as added to my list Engine, Torque Converter, mechanical brake, Brake disc, Brake Pedal and Gas Pedal, Throttle/Brake Kit Cable, Chain Connector Links, Chain, 60 Tooth Gear, Rear Axle, Machine Key Stock, Locking Collars, Chassis Metal, Engine Mounting Plate, Wheels, Tires, Front Wheel Bearings, Front Springs, Steering Wheel, Steering Shaft, Rear Wheel Bearings, Throttle Guides, Front Wheel Spindle Kits, Spacers for front Wheels, Tie Rods, Wheel hubs, Front Axle, Seat (think cushion), Body, and Bolts

75280z
75280z New Reader
3/15/17 12:33 a.m.

Weird, I have two user accounts:| I am also Stormcrow

Stormcrow wrote:

All, I have not built a cyclekart, but like you I was/am interested. So far the CK community has been fantastic at answering questions. My first suggestion is to head out and good cyclekart specifications it will talk about the different suggested sizes of cars, as well as general guidelines for building. I went ahead and did a bill of materials (BOM) with current costs earlier this week. My total was $1375, with zero added for any type of shipping. I also ran the numbers using what I call the cut corners (cheapskate) method where anything I could buy cheaper and modify or find for cheap to free I used that. For those out there considering this the largest up front cost from what I can see are wheels, tires, engine (100 from Harbor Freight), centrifugal clutch (anywhere from $67-$200), brakes (caliper and disc), rear axle. After those expenses you are looking at relatively low costs (think buying a part or two a paycheck (assuming you don't have to cover shipping everytime).

Here is my quick BOM, ohh and the last bolt line is 100 dollars for odds and ends. Here is the list of parts I found on the cyclekart website as well as added to my list Engine, Torque Converter, mechanical brake, Brake disc, Brake Pedal and Gas Pedal, Throttle/Brake Kit Cable, Chain Connector Links, Chain, 60 Tooth Gear, Rear Axle, Machine Key Stock, Locking Collars, Chassis Metal, Engine Mounting Plate, Wheels, Tires, Front Wheel Bearings, Front Springs, Steering Wheel, Steering Shaft, Rear Wheel Bearings, Throttle Guides, Front Wheel Spindle Kits, Spacers for front Wheels, Tie Rods, Wheel hubs, Front Axle, Seat (think cushion), Body, and Bolts

stevev
stevev New Reader
3/15/17 11:27 a.m.

The Arizona CycleKart Club has two events the next two weeks. March 18th-We will be racing the karts at an event at Lake Pleasant Marina in Arizona called the "Arizona Rockabilly Bash", Mini Bike and CycleKart Racing....Yeah. March 25th we are having our monthly meet-up near Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ. We are planning to be at the Falcon Field open house and car show. If you are in the Phoenix area and want to join us at either of these events, we would love to meet you.

stevev
stevev New Reader
5/9/17 12:18 p.m.

https://www.facebook.com/carlos.carneiro.775/posts/10210875185328042?notif_t=like_tagged&notif_id=1494325047434665

Here is a little in Kart video from out event last night at a Shifter Kart track here in Phoenix.

Driven5
Driven5 Dork
5/9/17 12:25 p.m.

Has anybody figured out a way to make them sound less...single-cylinder-ish? Maybe a split exhaust of differing lengths?

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
5/9/17 3:22 p.m.

In reply to Driven5: Put a V-twin in them?

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