Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Theory

If you are not familiar with the world of Cycle-Cars, or the world of Cyclekarting, take the time to seek out the history and foundation of what other builders have done. Having had exposure to both the 'Stevenson' formula of Cyclekart, and the various 'Gitreville' formulas (among others) it became clear to me that there were things keeping the 'Average Joe' from entering this sport.

For example: Not being familiar with what is involved becomes an issue; fear of the unknown in terms of cost and time are frequent among the beginners. Also the availability of places to drive is usually cause for anxiety. And finally where to store this thing once you build it? Will I accidentally smash into it while storing it in my garage? Try and put all that aside and focus on the task.

Plenty of enthusiast build hot-rods or 'tuners' throwing dozens of parts (and thousands of dollars) on their camaros, but when someone says "Go and build your own racecar" usually people shy away. In fact what is being done here is exactly that. This vehicle, when completed, is only legally allowed to drive on private property, race tracks, or otherwise secluded areas far from public roads or people.

There are no rules. There are no safety regulations. There are no points for winning, or prizes. The reward is to drive something you built yourself, and to experience the fun of pre-war style racing and driving for a minimal amount of time, shop tools, and financial burden. If you are looking for rules, regulations, safety, and the supposed prestige of high cost competition, this activity may not be your thing.

There are no requirements for minimum weight, displacement, wheel diameter, tire compound, aerodynamic effect, chassis material, or design. The only maximum requirements are:
  1. A spending limit of $2500-USD (for all materials used to build and operate)
  2. A maximum weight of 250 lbs (113 kg)
  3. A maximum of 212cc 4-stroke engine displacement
There is also an extensive list of 'recommendations' to make things affordable and achievable in a short time. For example, the wheel choice of the Stevenson formula being a 17" wheel from a 1970 Honda CT-90 moped/pit-bike. I will talk more about that later, but for now consider some of the basics:
  • How much do I actually want to spend on this thing? (yes having a budget matters)
  • Be realistic with your time. Do you have time during the week? or are you a weekend warrior?
  • How much space do I really have in my garage? am I going to need a totally new place?
  • What assets do I currently own that will help me build this thing? (hand drill? welder?)
  • How accurately do I want my fabrication to go? What is my margin of error?
  • Am I willing to trailer this thing around? (It's a federal crime to drive these on public roads)
  • Who can I encourage among my group of insane friends to also build one so we can race?
  • How often do I really want to hit the hardware store?
  • Am I willing to stop my build to wait for the correct part to arrive in the mail? 
  • How much patience do I have with something like this?
If you are able to be honest about your answers at this step, then it will be alot (ALOT) easier as time goes by. The patience portion of this is HEWGH! Being patient with yourself (and your shop abilities) will pay dividends x 100 at the end.

There are also a few forums out there that talk about how to go about this process. I leave it to you to discover them. In any case feel free to contact me for help or for advice, it's usually something that I have an answer for having built 3 of them so far. I am nowhere near as experienced as 'The Godfather' Dennis T from Gittreville, and no I dont have a warehouse full of professional fabrication tools, nor do I have thousands of hours of shop experience.

I am the Average Joe talking to the other Average Joe's out there. It just so happens that this Average Joe has a diploma in Industrial Design and is also a car-design professional with a full time job designing cars all day. So the aesthetic and architectural aspect of this activity happens to be my specialty. I also have a bank of knowledge regarding racing car technology and fabrication which is very useful. If I don't have the answer, it will bug me until I do.

Now lets begin the story of the Bugatti-Type 69, my current love affair with CycleKartDesign. - CW

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