Video: Why Are We So Attracted to Bike-Powered Cars?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9oPF-oaTJ2o

Maybe it’s just something in the air. Or the promise of insanely high revs with minimum mass. Whatever the impetus, they’re out there. Here’s a compilation of nothing but bike-powered cars.

You’re welcome.

Kreb
Kreb UberDork
12/12/19 2:54 p.m.

Because they are the opposite of electric cars?

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
12/12/19 2:55 p.m.

Huh.  I was always rather more partial to car-powered bikes.

Patientzero
Patientzero Reader
12/12/19 3:01 p.m.

Because of the noises they make and how violent they look.  People love violence from afar.  I'd like to see it up close though...  

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/12/19 3:09 p.m.
1988RedT2 said:

Huh.  I was always rather more partial to car-powered bikes.

See also: rotary-powered Mustangs.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
12/12/19 3:14 p.m.

Sequential gearbox, zingy RPMs.

therieldeal
therieldeal Reader
12/12/19 3:38 p.m.

Flappy paddles, bad

Slappy stick, good

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/12/19 3:44 p.m.

And I know there are more videos like this. If you have any to share, just stick them in the thread. 

bigdaddylee82
bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
12/12/19 3:55 p.m.

So at 2:04 that video says "Fiat 500 - engine Hayabusa 1300cc 4x4 200 HP."  So... that's 4x4, like AWD?  I need to know more?

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Reader Services
12/12/19 3:57 p.m.

How about a snowmobile-powered Spitfire?

 

Flynlow
Flynlow HalfDork
12/12/19 4:32 p.m.

I like bike-engined cars because it’s the closest I’m going to get to driving an f1 car on the street.  

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
12/12/19 4:45 p.m.

I would be an outlier on this one if we include wanting to own one. None of them appeal to me beyond wanting to spend an hour beating the living E36 M3 out of it.... leaving the dead, smoking carcass, behind.

 

 

 

Pete

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps SuperDork
12/12/19 4:47 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

How about a snowmobile-powered Spitfire?

 

This is one of my favorite current builds. Found these guys while building a Gambler 500 car. They have a great YouTube channel

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
12/12/19 7:25 p.m.
Flynlow said:

I like bike-engined cars because it’s the closest I’m going to get to driving an f1 car on the street.  

Crap.  I'm missing a lot of files for some reason.

 

I used to have a pic of a closeup of my Autometer 10,000rpm tach hitting its stop while at a rallycross, because I didn't want to have to shift before a corner.  The stop is well after the numbers end.

triumph7
triumph7 Reader
12/13/19 7:31 a.m.

(Almost) Top of the bike powered food chain?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzJsCrBHlOQ&t=552s

L5wolvesf
L5wolvesf Reader
12/13/19 7:43 a.m.

Me and a very good friend got our hands on a BMW 700 back in the early 80s. Had an adapter made, by Kennedy, to drop a rotary (12A because it was free) in it. We were shooting to end up with it at under 1000 lbs. Its purpose was to be a slalom car with Lone Pine as the ultimate goal. Unfortunately life happened and the car went back to it's prior owner.  

infinitenexus
infinitenexus Reader
12/13/19 7:53 a.m.

I would kill for a tiny 60s-70s japanese/euro tiny sports car with a hayabusa engine.  I've always loved these.

A few years back a company made a small V8 out of two hayabusa engines.  Pretty wild stuff.

https://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/a10022304/lotus-elise-hillclimb-car-uses-v8-formed-from-two-hayabusa-engines/

And here's the new version of their engine:

https://www.h1v8.com/maxi-v8---specs.html

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
12/13/19 8:38 a.m.

As a former sport bike, I find this awesome!

It seemed like one or tow of those cars were literally "karts." They way they bounced around looked like they didn't have any suspension?

penultimeta
penultimeta HalfDork
12/13/19 10:34 a.m.

I love that spit. However, when I saw them testing it on dirt, it just kinda reiterated for me how impractical BEC are for the street. No reverse gear, hard sequential shifts, and oiling issues. Again, I don't think this makes them less awesome. Just perhaps less practical for someone looking at small, lightweight engines to retrofit into and LBC or the like. 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/13/19 10:47 a.m.

I still dream of building an Abarth 1000 SP with a bike engine and various lightweight (but not necessarily cheap) parts.  Trying to get it as close to the D-Mod rules limits as I can while staying street legal. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
12/13/19 12:14 p.m.
penultimeta said:

I love that spit. However, when I saw them testing it on dirt, it just kinda reiterated for me how impractical BEC are for the street. No reverse gear, hard sequential shifts, and oiling issues. Again, I don't think this makes them less awesome. Just perhaps less practical for someone looking at small, lightweight engines to retrofit into and LBC or the like. 

What are the oiling issues? 

Lug_Nuts_23
Lug_Nuts_23 New Reader
12/13/19 3:46 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

Fun!

Though that driveshaft through the cabin with plywood foot shield is a bit too risky for me!

Lug_Nuts_23
Lug_Nuts_23 New Reader
12/13/19 3:48 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

I would suspect they eat some oil--most high-revving engines do burn more oil.

The other issue with putting a bike engine in a heavier vehicle is that it has to deal with a lot more stress (accelerating a bike hard is much easier than moving a car!), so it might need lubrication mods to deal with the greater forces.

JimMurphy
JimMurphy New Reader
12/13/19 4:14 p.m.

AHHH . . . . bike motor race cars . . . how about SCCA F600 road race cars . . . a 600cc bike drivetrain in a 900 lb formula car, 15,000 rpm and 140 mph.  A new one for about $35K and good used ones for around $15K.  You can see more with videos on this website  - www.theformula600challenge.com  and our FB page with even more videos - https://www.facebook.com/Formula600Challenge/         

The best bang for the buck in formula car racing, come race with us.

JimMurphy
JimMurphy New Reader
12/13/19 4:46 p.m.

In reply to Lug_Nuts_23 :

In our F600 race cars, oil cooling is critical because the motor no longer gets air flow around it like in a bike chassis.  We have been racing the F600's in SCCA since 2009 so we have developed them pretty well.  We have won the F500 class SCCA National Championship Runoffs several times.  HTH

JimMurphy
JimMurphy New Reader
12/13/19 4:47 p.m.

In reply to Flynlow :

See our post above and rent a F600 experiencing the F1 scream on a race track . . . . . heaven.

JimMurphy
JimMurphy New Reader
12/13/19 4:50 p.m.

In reply to therieldeal :

In our F600 race cars, the shifting (paddles vs. bump stick) method is a personal choice - whichever that you are most comfortable with.  See our post above for more.  HTH.

JimMurphy
JimMurphy New Reader
12/13/19 5:14 p.m.

In reply to triumph7 :

Thank you for showing the F500(F600) race at the VIR Runoffs.  The black car (Clint McMahan) won, running away, and the white car (Calvin Stewart) was finally caught by the orange car (Eric McRee) near the end so Calvin took 2nd and Eric took 3rd.  Plenty more in the links in my post above.  Enjoy on a BIG screen

gumby
gumby HalfDork
12/13/19 8:05 p.m.

I am struggling mentally with project overload, and the one closest to the chopping block is an old F440 chassis with a 600cc bike motor sitting next to it. This thread isn't helping me move on.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
12/14/19 5:50 a.m.
gumby said:

I am struggling mentally with project overload, and the one closest to the chopping block is an old F440 chassis with a 600cc bike motor sitting next to it. This thread isn't helping me move on.

GRM Forums:  We're enablers even when we're not even trying.

stroker
stroker UltraDork
12/14/19 6:42 a.m.

I'm kinda surprised that F1000 doesn't get more attention from the GRM members...

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
12/14/19 9:02 a.m.

Always wondered how the transmission would work on a bike-engined car. How do you implement a reverse gear?

Robbie
Robbie MegaDork
12/14/19 9:21 a.m.
gumby said:

I am struggling mentally with project overload, and the one closest to the chopping block is an old F440 chassis with a 600cc bike motor sitting next to it. This thread isn't helping me move on.

How much do you want for it?

NormPeterson
NormPeterson New Reader
12/14/19 9:52 a.m.
z31maniac said:
penultimeta said:

I love that spit. However, when I saw them testing it on dirt, it just kinda reiterated for me how impractical BEC are for the street. No reverse gear, hard sequential shifts, and oiling issues. Again, I don't think this makes them less awesome. Just perhaps less practical for someone looking at small, lightweight engines to retrofit into and LBC or the like. 

What are the oiling issues? 

Oil drainback to the sump comes to mind.  When a bike leans in a corner, the resultant acceleration coming from lateral g's plus gravity points more or less "down" toward the sump, aiding drainback.  On a car that doesn't roll nearly as much, at best you're not getting that kind of help and would actually have lateral g's times the sine of your roll angle working against gravity even in an inline engine.

There's something fascinating about a smallbore high-revving engine in a light, nimble car.

 

Norm

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
12/14/19 11:38 a.m.

I think it's partly dreaming and partly miseducation... but I want one too.

People see 180 hp from a tiny, light powerplant, they love how they sound, and bingo.  They forget how much of a mismatch things can be with a high-strung engine and a heavier car.  That isn't to say there aren't great matches.  Plenty of lightweight cars out there, but it's hard to go from a 400-lb bike to even a lightweight 1800-lb car and have a 13,000 rpm 1-liter engine be a good match.

kevlarcorolla
kevlarcorolla Dork
12/15/19 10:54 a.m.

https://youtu.be/_AbPkpyLRW8

 Carefull selection of engine and most importantly gearing go a long way to a successfull bike powered car.

 

 My mid engined,awd chain drive geo metro ice racer worked like magic for its intended purpose.

kevlarcorolla
kevlarcorolla Dork
12/15/19 10:58 a.m.

https://youtu.be/J80e5yxLDBg

 

 My scratch built autox toy,shaft drive to a 4.3 miata diff also worked well.

 

 

Nugi
Nugi Reader
12/15/19 11:07 a.m.

So, totally hypothetically, if a guy had a lot of spare time, a few sportbike engines, and a deathwish, what is the 'easy' button on a bike powered 4-wheel... thing? Is there one?

Are any car donors easyish to make sub 1000lbs? I know my crx is in the 1700s on a good day, with some major stuff 'missing', and few cars sold were smaller. 

Is diy tube frame the way? Miata skateboard? I kinda want 'car size', even if its tiny, or I might as well just buy a RZR and lower it. 

This 800cc v4 Gear-driven-cam honda engine needs a home badly. I miss its sweet song. 

kevlarcorolla
kevlarcorolla Dork
12/15/19 11:08 a.m.

Oh yeah,current project is a 2 door awd subaru justy with a honda VTR1000 V-twin stuffed under the hood.

 Required location due to rule changes caused by the Monster Geo as it was known.

 Chain driven jackshaft used to chain drive a big ass sprocket in place of the oem flywheel.

 Bike provides the power,clutch and gears while the justy trans is used in 2nd or 3rd gear while mobile and will provide reverse as well.

 

 Lost interest in ice racing lately after 2 + decades but will finish the justy and do some testing then just sell it.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/15/19 11:42 a.m.

In reply to Nugi :

It won't be easy.  If trying to build a car down to that weight, you really have to start looking at making every single component as light as possible, and in many ways, it'll be a cost-be-damned project if you want it to be streetable as well.  Start by looking at current SCCA DSR cars as those are basically at that weight. 

Some 60's Lotus racers were close and many of them used a few Spitfire parts - mostly the front suspension and steering. 

Light, Strong, Cheap - Pick two.

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
12/15/19 4:40 p.m.

Why so much love for bike engined cars? Because motorcycle engines and transmissions are so much better than automobile based ones!!! (Says the ex bike racer and current F500 owner)

Our Yamaha 1000cc powered D-Sports Racer was 1016lbs with me in it and it belted out 175hp. At a track day I remember accelerating  past a Dodge Viper down one of the straights and the owner was gobsmacked that a chain drive 4 cyl car would out accelerate his car.

The sequential box is the other big plus as well as fairly close ratios stock.

A hayabusa engine/tranny is right on 230lbs so it's going to be 200lbs lighter than most modern automotive 4 cyl twin cam  engine/trans combo.

As for reverse you can by a reverser box, I think they are $1500 though.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
12/15/19 4:47 p.m.

I've linked this before somewhere along the way.

 

 

It is not strictly a "Hayabusa engine".  It is a Hayabusa head, mounted to a VW engine block that has been destroked to 1170cc, so that the turbocharged engine would be under two liters adjusted.

 

From what I remember when they were talking about it on clubgti, his racing rules require a stock engine block for the model car.  I would think that this also gives the advantage of having an oiling system already engineered for lateral forces, and a much easier time mating to a transmission.  The Suzuki head already has valvetrain engineered for high RPM, which is the hard and expensive part when you want to bend the tach needle against its stop.

fasted58
fasted58 MegaDork
12/15/19 5:00 p.m.
LanEvo said:

Always wondered how the transmission would work on a bike-engined car. How do you implement a reverse gear?

https://www.quaife.co.uk/quaife-products/motorcycle-engined-vehicle/

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/15/19 5:39 p.m.

Another differential option: http://jeffcoperformance.com/differential/  Like the Quaife, also not cheap but at least located in SoCal rather than the UK.  There was a cheaper option from a company called TransWorks, but apparently they were not the most reliable things out there and it seems the company is out of business. This is a well traveled path in the dune buggy world and we went through many of these topics extensively in the Abarth 1000 SP thread about 5 years ago. 

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
12/15/19 6:24 p.m.

Because 10,000+ Rpm out of the box. 

Personally ‘m not a huge fan of them.  They need moah torque and reverse gear.  

kevlarcorolla
kevlarcorolla Dork
12/15/19 6:35 p.m.

In reply to spitfirebill :

You mean less weight and more gear :)

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
12/15/19 9:15 p.m.
triumph7
triumph7 Reader
12/16/19 7:42 a.m.

In reply to JimMurphy :

Yeah, it was a great race for 2nd and 3rd no doubt.  Who was it that passed Eric for a few corners midway though the race?  Seemed like Eric eased off for a couple laps as at the same time Calvin pulled away.

On a side note, the Zink and the R6 aren't getting any closer together but I did work out a novel shifter/clutch arrangement for it.

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
12/16/19 11:38 a.m.

@triumph7,  I can only speak for myself but on bike engined cars I go up and down through the box without the clutch...........same as one does in a shifter kart. This makes it possible to left brake which I find to be faster. I never had a gearbox issue but I road raced motorcycles first so matching the rpm is second nature for me.

Even two up a Hayabusa is still only going to be 850-950lbs so yeah a 1400lb car is a lot more.

We've discussed the bike motor thing in my 1600lb Datsun; The little Datsun motor and gearbox are a few pounds lighter than a Hayabusa set up so there's no weight savings. The standard motor can be bored and stroked to get an additional 550cc and realistically about 135 to 140hp in streetable trim. A standard Hayabusa is about 160 at the wheels, I'd expect the automotive driveline to suck another 5-10hp minimum. So at the end of the day the bike engine was not a huge advantage given the amount of fab work.

Now in something like an original Fiat 500 or a Sprite I imagine it would be awesome.

For single seat racing cars, bike motors are the best thing ever. The big thing I miss about the DSR are those lightening shifts and the motor zinging to 12,000 RPM.

 

 

triumph7
triumph7 Reader
12/16/19 12:38 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

That clutch really makes starting and stopping easier!

kevlarcorolla
kevlarcorolla Dork
12/16/19 3:49 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

I suspect it would end up quicker then the math says....1 tall gear then 5 close spaced ones makes a BIG  difference

stukndapast
stukndapast New Reader
12/16/19 5:01 p.m.

A friend has a Diasio D962 which is a scaled down Porsche 962 racecar, and it is powered by a 1000CC Yamaha motorcycle engine.  It has proven to be quite unreliable though, with his last two outings resulting in blown up engines.  Both seem to be oiling related failures.  The engine is mounted such that the crankshaft is parallel with the centerline of the car, so cornering forces mimic acceleration/deceleration on a bike frame.  The car has performed well in the past, but the bike engine transplant has presented a long list of challenges in this car application.  I think he is going to try a different Yamaha engine going forward, with more power, so it should be interesting to see how it works out.

kevlarcorolla
kevlarcorolla Dork
12/16/19 5:52 p.m.

In reply to stukndapast :

I used R1 engines as well,a baffle plate in the pan is a must and I ran a 1/2 quart over full with no issues.

 One build was north south the other transverse as it is in the bike.

 The kawasaki and suzuki options have far more oiling issues then the R1.

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
12/16/19 6:27 p.m.

@truimph7 taking off yes stopping no.............I slide it into neutral.

Our car was FZR1000 powered; other than a jumbo airbox and custom exhaust everything was stock. We never had oiling issues per se.  We did blow up two motors due to having an oversize radiator (as I found out from a former Yamaha engineer) If the motor wasn't fully warmed up (above 160F water temp) the number 4 rod bearing big end would lose oil pressure.

This is another reason to love two strokes!!!

fasted58
fasted58 MegaDork
12/17/19 7:19 a.m.

Ran a baffle plate too, sandwiched between the oil pan and engine case. Dimpled drain holes w/ vertical slosh plates.

'88 FZR 1000 had an oil galley parallel to the crank, 20 mm plugs each end. Used a Honda (car) 20 mm oil pan drain plug, center bored and tapped 1/4" NPT, cut copper crush washer to fit. Plumbed to a mini-sprint MC 1.5 quart accumulator. Oil pressure and/ or low oil pressure sending unit optional. D-Sport road race car. Never had an issue.

Should be somewhere to tap into an oil galley on other engines.

YMMV

JimMurphy
JimMurphy New Reader
1/7/20 4:49 p.m.

In reply to NormPeterson :  In the F600's we build a custom oil pan with special windage tray and pickup and then we add a BIG oil cooler (critical) with more oil = no oil starvation.  Been running this since 2009.

 

JimMurphy
JimMurphy New Reader
1/7/20 4:59 p.m.

In reply to triumph7 :  We tried a R6 but the PTO shaft was in a bad place in relation to the rear axle so we have been using Suzuki GXR600 with great success - it is the lightest, smallest and has a slipper clutch standard.  The Honda can be used but it is the heaviest, biggest and does NOT have a slipper clutch - we just changed a Honda F600 to a GXR600 F600 for the above reasons.

 

JimMurphy
JimMurphy New Reader
1/7/20 5:01 p.m.

In reply to triumph7 :  David Lapham passed Eric and then spun off which damaged his suspension slowing him down.

 

kb58
kb58 SuperDork
1/7/20 7:17 p.m.

I got a ride in a Hayabusa-powered Locost. One thing is that bike engines don't have flywheels, making starting off hard (this was with the owner driving, not me),  he kept stalling it.

Next issue, at steady state speed on the freeway, the driveline gets into this odd oscillation, where all the slack in the drivetrain causes the car to start this slight bucking. That could get annoying.

No reverse. For a track car, meh, but for a street car, that's a problem in my book.

Oil control. Back when I considered a bike drivetrain for Kimini, research showed that a Hayabusa absolutely needed a dry sump ($$$$), while an R1 supposedly didn't, but it's only one liter. 

At the end of the day, I passed on it and went with a Honda Prelude engine.

That said, I saw a video of someone driving a straight-6 bike (an older one) and the sound was glorious, just like an F1 car.

If I do a track only car, it'll likely be a bike engine, otherwise, probably not.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
1/7/20 7:23 p.m.

In reply to stukndapast :

A car can corner a lot harder than motorcycles can brake or accelerate!  Motorcycle acceleration is limited by the high CG and short wheelbase.  The bike the engine came out of probably was CG limited in acceleration up to:70-80mph or so.

JimMurphy
JimMurphy New Reader
8/4/20 1:30 p.m.

In reply to kb58 :

So that you can try out what a bike formula car can do, we will rent you a F600 for either track days or club racing.  Here are some great race videos on our website - www.theformula600challenge.com    Enjoy on a BIG screen.

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