Have you ever wanted to get exercise integrated into your routines of commuting, shopping, errands? Throughout human history, exercise was built into our lives. Today we often drive gas-guzzlers to the gym to stay healthy. Have you ever wished you could bicycle year round? Have you ever been tempted to try a demanding building project? Perhaps a project like this is just the thing. It takes a few months time and about $5000. You’ll never regret it!
Sunbeam was driven every single week of its building, no matter how incomplete. Next winter will see a convertible canopy, but here’s the finished product after the initial November-May burst of building:
It’s not a “garage queen” which sits in your garage and goes to parades. You will use it every non-rainy day. It is relatively easy to step into, is supremely comfortable and intuitive to drive, and is 1/3 powered by pedals and 2/3 powered by a lithium battery and 600 watt motor. It labors up hills at 6-12 MPH and on the level goes 22-24 MPH, when you are pedaling your part. It has a range of 70-90 miles on an overnight battery charge, depending on driving speed and terrain. It turns heads, stops traffic, and gets you into constant conversations.
Use the three pages at the top of this website, and I’ll take you through the building process. If you have questions, use the comment section below each page, email me at moonbeam25(at)myfairpoint.net, or best of all, drop by in Camden, Maine GOOD LUCK! –Jory Squibb
PS. Due to a recent decline in my health, I’d love to find a new owner for Sunbeam. I’m open to offers and imagine that something in the area of half the cost of materials would be fair. So even if you would like to change this car, but would like to start with a quadricycle and electric assist, you might be interested in using this as a start. My email is jorybrenda (at) gmail.com As I remember, the materials cost about $5000.
Now you’ve come to the love-hate part of the project. Real creativity, with all its emotional taxation, is now called into play. You need those orange driveway markers from your hardware store, plus black 1/4″ tent poles from Tent Pole Technology out West, plus aluminum ferrules from Goodwinds.inc also out West, to connect poles together. First extend the front and rear of the quadricycle to receive the poles and start bending! Use the driveway markers for sharp bends. Use crossways loops to stabilize the shape you want. tie it all together with plastic zip ties, which you’ll get to love. Then go to a big city and buy 3 sheets of 1/16″ ocume plywood at $40/ sheet. In New England, Bolter plywood in Somerville Mass is great. Use brown construction paper to make a pattern for each flat section of the body and then use it to cut the plywood, making sure that the plywood’s grain runs in the direction of least bending. Then paint two coats inside and out and use 1″ strapping tape to hold those panels in place. Then use vinyl electrical tape to cover the strapping tape. That’s enough for the first year. Go out and ride the heck out of the machine. Next year you’ll improve it. Maybe epoxy the panel junctions. maybe enclose the cockpit.
Here’s the cockpit view. You’ll see the schlumpf front sprocket which changes from 1:1 to 1:1.67 by kicking the axle sidewise with the heal. the low gear 1:1 is only used up steep hills. you’ll see the inner-tube seat suspension, the ‘dashboard’ having a bike speedo on top, a power switch next below, the the ammeter (very important) and then you might want a watt-hour meter to give a warning of the end of the range. I put a voltmeter in there, but the voltage always stays 53-49 volts and doesn’t give much help. I have Utah trike fenders front and back. The large front side panels are easily removable for repairs as is a panel under the rear axle. To get in, you put your butt on the top of the tub and grip the blue wooden top of the seat. Then put each foot on the yellow cross frame and lower yourself into the seat and then put your feet on the pedals. Make sure you put a flag on the back, and eventually lots of lights. Enjoy!
PS. Due to a recent decline in my health, I’d love to find a new owner for Sunbeam. I’m open to offers and imagine that something in the area of half the cost of materials would be fair. So even if you would like to change this car, but would like to start with a quadricycle and electric assist, you might be interested in using this as a start. My email is jorybrenda (at) gmail.com As I remember the materials totalled about $5000
To see this quadricyle in more detail, go to this address:
After the long slog of building Moonbeam, my 100 MPG microcar , where I had to create from scratch the front end geometry, the seating, and a thousand other basic details; I knew that this time I wanted to buy an off-the shelf “rolling chassis” to begin the Sunbeam project. For a few weeks I dithered about using two side-by-side mountain bikes with new cross framing, but I soon felt the project was getting bogged down with engineering I just wanted to avoid. So I looked around and found that a company called Utah Trikes had converted a Terratrike recumbant trike into a quadricycle and I soon swallowed my pride, opened my checkbook and bought one. Get the extended chassis, for the electric components; the additional rear brakes, since this baby will go from 55 pounds to 105 pounds; the ‘big apple’ tires, and the pedals with straps This chassis would give me a great headstart and allow the project to fit into my 5 month time frame.