Motorized Penny Farthing?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Alaskavan, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    A friend has asked my advice for motorizing his Penny Farthing. My feeling is that a small friction motor on the front is the way to go.

    Also, it's a real hassle getting going on the bike, is there any way that something like a Schwinn "kick-back" 2-speed hub could be incorporated into this thing?

    Penny Farthing.jpg

  2. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    That would be killer to see one of THOSE with a motor, and being able to sit several feet off the ground!!!
  3. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    An electric hub on the rear wheel would work well.

    So would a rear friction drive engine with centrifugal clutch.
  4. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Your friend actually has one of those? that's pretty cool.

    But motorizing it would seem to be a problem. If you motorized the front wheel, then the gearing would be ridiculously low. (but maybe you could use it as a log hauler?)

    And if you motorized the rear wheel, then that bike would be positively dangerous.

    My advice? Sell it to a museum.
  5. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    Those were notorious for putting the rider on his nose.
    nose dive.jpg Just Say 'NO'... to the front brake!

    here's a modern version... the 3-penny farthing.
    this might open up more possibilities for gearing, motoring & such.
    3-penny farthing.jpg
  6. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member


    "Nose dive" is a classic. (I feel his pain)

    My new desk top!
  7. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    Okay, so maybe the way to go would be to have both power and brakes on the rear wheel.
  8. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    I've seen replicas with two rear wheels.

    I believe that installing an engine on the rear wheels would add weight back there and help prevent nosedives, especially with electric motor and 80 pounds of batteries.

    Ya wouldn't need a powerful motor because the bike seems unsafe at any speed,although a small electric hub would give the necesary oomph to get going.

    Yep, rear vee brakes would probably work great.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2009
  9. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    I'd want to ride one just to see all the WTF looks you would get! :ee2k:
  10. klassard

    klassard Member

    I have always wanted to put an engine on one of those things. It is the ultimate in steam punk! I would get a set of old EV warrior motors with a one-way friction drive. I agree with 5-7Heaven that you'd want the weight of the batteries in the back and definitely no front brake.
  11. ollicat

    ollicat Member

    I saw the title of this thread and expected to see something funny about farting on a bike. That's what I get for reading to fast.
  12. Revorunner

    Revorunner Member

    I see PUSHER TRAILER written all over this.:jester::jester:
  13. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    I see "2009 Darwin Award Winner"
  14. mikem

    mikem Member

    Hypothermia-acally Speaking

    It's still cold up here in Michigan ... I wonder if this would work in deep snow with studded tires.? :whistling:
  15. duivendyk

    duivendyk Guest

    Would anybody believe, there was a Mr Thomas Stevens who had the nerve of riding around the world ( he cheated a bit in China) on one of those contraptions, starting in San Francisco in 1884 and returning back there in 1887.It's a great read if it's sleeting outside. (472 pages!).Republished by Stackpole books.This guy was truly
    Title:Around The World On A Bicycle.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2009
  16. Would the gearing really be rediculously low? Seems to me it is a matter of feet per minute on the driver and driven. The driven wheel won't turn very fast, but look at the circumference, Keith Williams
  17. duivendyk

    duivendyk Guest

    A rollerdrive on the rearwheel would solve that problem, would put some weight where you really need it too!.
  18. Revorunner

    Revorunner Member

    I will have to pick up a copy,sounds like a interesting read.:book::book:
  19. duivendyk

    duivendyk Guest

    It certainly is,how he survived getting across the Sierras was astounding.He followed the railroad track,there were no roads, but it was a single track.So he had to make it to an outrigger(complete with penny farthing bicycle) in order to escape an oncoming train !.Penny Farthing refers to old British coinage,a penny is a largish coin about 1" diameter,a farthing is 1/2 penny and smaller than a dime,corresponding to the wheels of the bicycle. The book is illustrated which adds to it's appeal,I found it quite fascinating.Mr Stevens in his later years ended up running a pub in London.
  20. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Keith, when I said ridiculously low I was thinking of a friction drive on the front wheel.

    If it were a chain drive, for instance, just the reverse would be the case. It would be a fast, fast bike. Too fast, probably.