Motorized Recumbent


Local time
2:35 PM
Jul 14, 2008
Hi, all
I just finished building a motorized recumbent if anyone is interested. It's a Rans recumbent and a Ryobi 30cc weed eater engine. It has a motorcycle style 'clutch' and a brake lever for a throttle.
It's VERY fun to ride.
I've attached pictures.

Steve G
Grants Pass, Oregon


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Hi, vegaspaddy!
Thanks! I'm planning to add a bike computer soon so I can calculate top speed and MPG. I'll post it asap.

Have a great weekend!
Steve G
Grants Pass, Oregon
That manual clutch is simply BRILLIANT!! So just the weight of the engine is enough to give it some drive or do you have a kind of a spring to the assembly?

And I don't see any welds. I do see stuff you find at the hardware store. I also see the use of grade 8 hardware.

Dude. I'm copying your design on my trike.
clutch on recumbent

Hi, LF
The clutch idea is based on revelstone's ride on a mountain bike:

It works great on the recumbent. The engine weight plus a bungee cord keep the spindle on the tire. The clutch just lifts it off the tire a fraction of an inch.
The recumbent is a blast to ride with a motor and I'd love to do a trike next.
I think that would be the BEST for several reasons.
The clutch isn't working as well on my mountain bike because I haven't been able to get the angles right. I'm planning to add a pulley or two to increase the force.

Have fun!
Steve G.
Grants Pass, Oregon

seabillco, thanks a bunch. having someone use your ideas and fitting them to thier own needs is a cool compliment to me. glad something i did helped someone else. bill gates could learn a few things from this site. but he'd probably claim they were intellecual ideas and charge us a fortune for them :D:D
Hi, again, LF
Sorry, I forgot to confirm your astute observation about grade 8 hardware.
I used AN nuts and bolts because I have a Rans S-12XL home built airplane. All the nuts and blots on this recumbent project are from leftovers from my plane. Also, my plane AND the recumbent are BOTH made by Rans.
Also, you are correct that there is no welding.
I'm VERY happy with the recumbent project.
I'm eagerly waiting for a 4 stroke engine I bought on eBay to arrive so I can strap it to something around here and see what happens!

Have fun!
Steve G.
Grants Pass, Oregon
Next stop - 4 cycle!

This is just too much fun!
My used, $50, eBay, Ryobi, 25cc, 4 stroke engine arrived today! It runs but that's all I know so far!
I'm eager to see what it will be like on a MB.
I'm hoping it will be more quiet, cleaner, more torque and get better gas mileage. I will weigh it to compare to the 3.75 pounds from the 31cc Ryobi 2 stroke.
On my last trip to town and back (14 miles) on the mountain bike, I got 153 MPG.
I just returned from a longer trip to town and back on the recumbent. As soon as the engine cools down, I'll fill 'er up and calculate mileage and post it here.
At the moment, the recumbent is my favorite because it's so comfortable to sit in. My 50+ year old buns like that a lot!

Have a great day!
Steve G
Grants Pass, Oregon
Recumbent = 240 mpg!

Hi all,
I just returned from a 15 mile trip to town and back on my motorized Rans recumbent. It has a Ryobi 30cc 2 stroke engine on it.
I filled the tank before leaving and watched my odometer and then filled the tank after I returned. I've made the trip before so I know the mileage is correct.
It took slightly less than 1 cup to fill the tank! There are 16 cups in a gallon. So, the gas mileage was slightly better than 240 mpg (16 x 15 = 240).
While that's amazing, I need to point out that I did some riding with the engine off while in town. I'd estimate I rode, at most, a total of 2 miles without the engine running. In that case, the mileage is 208 mpg (16 x 13 = 208).
No matter how you slice it, I'm getting better than 200 mpg with this recumbent/Ryobi combo. I find that amazing!
I'd love to hear from anyone if they find a flaw in my method or if they have any experience with the mileage using these engines. Maybe I'm dreaming here and need a wake up call...
The last time I rode the mountain bike into town and back, I got 153 mpg. The recumbent is probably more aerodynamic than the mountain bike and perhaps this "SS30" engine is more efficient than the 31cc version.

Steve G.
Grants Pass, Oregon