Has anyone ever built or seen or heard of a model T motorcycle. I have been thinking what it would take to put a model T engine in a motorcycle chassis and what challenges it would present. There would be much difficulty in the shift lever and clutch mechanism. I imagine a shift lever similar to a tank shift on an old Harley. The lever back would be neutral though handle lever forward would be high gear. To activate low gear you would pull in a clutch lever all the way in for low and then release it for either high or neutral depending upon the position of the hand lever. I envision a gearbox placed directly behind the fourth Main for a 90° sprocket and chain set up to the rear tire. I also envision a smaller radiator and water pump system. Along with 30 x 3.5 wheels married to modern style Hubs and disc brakes. The motorcycle would have some modern features to it such as brakes however it would be strictly model T powered. I know Scripps boothe made a motorcycle and I've seen it and sat in it. It is huge but it was achieved. I'd love to know if anyone has ever attempted this before with a t engine and how it came out.
In my opinion, the power pack of a model T is much to long for a motorcycle application. By the time you added front forks and rear swing arm you would need a football field just to be able to turn it around. Another factor, the weight of the power pack, is as much if not more than the complete weight of common motorcycles.
It has been done done with a model a engine
The Scripps-Booth motor cycle is/was hideous looking and had no practical use. He was a bazillionaire with a hobby. Why would you want to build such a contraption except to say you did?
As Times' "The 50 Worst Cars of All-Time" put it; "A 3,200-lb. motorcycle with training wheels, a V8 engine and enough copper tubing to provide every hillbilly in the Ozarks with a still..."
I was looking into it but when I saw a flathead v8 in a motorcycle frame, I changed my mind ;)
"Why would you want to build such a contraption except to say you did?"
That would be the only reason, that and a unique conversation piece and a whole lot of fun. all good reasons....
Ed in California - That video is exactly what I'm talking about. Beautiful machine.
Also, your time list shows the 1909 Model T as #2 in the list of worst worst vehicles of all time.....
There was at least one Henderson motorcycle powered by a Plymouth six-cylinder flathead engine. It was built for Bonneville, and I don't know if it had a transmission or not. It was long, but didn't look totally weird.
Of course, one could always go this route...
I would use a Model T Ford marine or boat engine
There is a homemade motorcycle in Minnesota that was built in the late 1930s using a number of Model T Ford parts including the frame and the front spindle. It has a 1920s Chevrolet motor.
I have see this motorcycle a few times in person. I have also seen it in operation. There were pictures of it posted on the forum years ago but I could not find them.
I was able to find a photo on the internet.
I don't know! That Model A bike is REALLY REALLY cool. A Model T bike would be pretty awesome. Especially if you somehow managed to incorporate the pedals and lever arm along with keeping the coils, it could be really cool. You could have a little lever by your left hand to advance and retard the spark.
The Scripps-Booth Bi-Auto-Go was my brother's favorite vehicle of all time! He loved it from the minute I showed him a picture of it in one of my Floyd Clymer books.
Posted in memory of my brother, (1954-2013).
As for working out the clutch and lever controls to a T engine? It should be fairly easy using slide-links or cables from two separate levers to work reverse and two forward gears. Either lever would disengage the clutch for its slow gear regardless of the other lever's position. If you pulled both levers, it would be like slamming both pedals and probably kill the engine.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I watched the video of the model A bike and also saw some pictures. That's one impressive bike. That's what I'm going for, something along those lines. I've tried to contact the builder, any body have his info other than facebook? Olsen is the name.
Antique Motor Works
for info, contact the builder Dale Olson, at: (815) 827-3110
Matt, not meaning any disrespect, by any means, but that just seems like a waste of a good Model T engine to me.. JMHO. Dave
if you ever laid that sucker down on your leg you would wish it was a lightweight yamaha though! That would be alot of weight laying on you.My Dad,that is going to be 82 in june, laid his sportster down and had some trouble getting out from under a couple years ago.
I was riding a 58 Duoglide before I was born,mom was pregnant with me on the back. It has a tank shifter on it.Aint that where the shifter should be on all of them?
I believe if I was to venture into building something like this I would look into a Hemco style transmission
Why is it that one guy wants to build a custom bike using one of multi millions of Model T engines manufactured and is cut down by a few.
Matt....Don't listen to the naysayers.
George Barris was probably told no by many people.
He took several good Fords and customized them.
And he is a hero.
How about a cut down 2-cylinder for a T bike? Half the wheels, half the cylinders...
The trouble with the A-bike to me is that it just looks too long. The radiator and transmission take up too much space and the look of the bike suffers. Maybe clever packaging could help and maybe a different, shorter transmission could be used. Or just embrace the hugeness of it all and make something like this beast:
Ive toyed with the idea myself over the years...I say go for it.
I bet you could keep the T transmission and clutch pedal. Even the parking brake lever just relocated forward like some guys move them back on speedsters. Then just make the clutch pedal longer and forward but more flat. Step on pedal to go, let off to get into high gear. Right hand is throttle like normal and left hand could be spark advance and retard. No need for brake or reverse pedal. I think it could be really, really cool. You could do all kinds of need stuff like have the gas tank with a big pocket in the center to hold the coil box. Or have the front wheel look just like a T wire wheel and a TT rear wheel. I have ideas for days! I think this project has loads of potential.
Tim and Ed are onto something here. A cutdown, 2-cylinder T engine would work and they periodically come up as marine conversions (there was a beautiful one listed on Craigslist out on Cape Cod for months - beautifully restored for a really good price).
WOW Ed your fast! only two posts up you were just toying with the idea and now you post a completed picture of you project. That's great work.
Lol that pic looks like something from Mad Max.
That bike was profiled on an episode of "What's In the Barn?" Apparently, it's pretty famous in motorcycle circles.
Found in the net
Easy to burn your leg on the exhaust manifold. Also the power to weight ratio is off.
I would build it to a period look. 1913 henderson seems like a good model to go by. Probaly would be able to remove all inthe trans execpt for brake drum, brake band and clutch. The 13 henderson was single speed.
You may want to tie up your baggy pants around the flywheel
In regards to the Henderson design, could you get by with a very small radiator. If so, how much smaller than standard?
Use a cut down Whippit radiator like Fred Houstons Roof speedster build.
Ed, that bike is called the Roadog. Built by William "Wild Bill" Gelbke in 1965. Powered by a "Iron Duke" 152 CI Chevy II engine and Powerglide trans. It is said the Bill put 20K miles on it in the 1st year. Had the pleasure of sitting on it about 15 years ago. Google it, great story behind this man and machine.
dont emagine this would work, but people have tried crazier things!
Modern version of similar insanity...
That aero engine with the water jackets ground off wouldn't actually cool very well, would it? Or would it have been used on an ice boat where the air is always below zero?