Quadricycle builder

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by philgib, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. philgib

    philgib New Member

    I have lived in developing countries most of my life. I have seen the need for a super light and super economic vehicle made of locally available spares to transport heavy stuff like lots of water of family members to school at the next village.

    I am starting a non-profit organisation, gathering money from foundations, building quadricycles, made of 2 bikes and bringing it to places where kids and women have to walk for miles overloaded with heavy products like water, wood, fruits.

    Since I have been riding it myself every day, I know that some people will need an extra boost from some tiny gas engine of about 30cc

    I do not need to go fast, 15mph is more than enough. I need some torque though as the quad may have to transport some 600 pounds of water from time to time.

    I am looking at a solution under 200 dollars for a 1 hp engine. I am a total moron when it comes to mechanics. All I know is that I must be able to pedal without any friction when the engine is off, and that I only want one engine which I will put on one of the 2 bicycles attached together.

    The engine can be started by hand like a grass mower if it makes it cheaper. The driver will simply have to decide wether it goes on the engine or on the pedals.

    I need the system to be as rustic (plain simple) as possible as I intend to sell my quad in the worst places in third world countries and I need people to repair it by themselves if needed.

    Would you guys please help me finding such a system ?
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2008

  2. stude13

    stude13 Active Member

    hello phil; minipocketrocket has pull start 47cc engines for 99 buck + free delivery. if you are talking quantities the price should be 30-40. i commend your endevor. i saw a trike on the news. the rear held 20gal, on the return from waterhole the pedal action moved the water through a filter to a container on the front of the bike. good luck
  3. philgib

    philgib New Member


    That 47cc looks very nice indeed but I cannot see any sprocket, throttle, tank, tank pipe, kill button, and so on ? Is this so obvious and easy to find ?

    Or is it simply easier, faster and better to just purchase the cheapest of the mini bikes at 169$ , and dismantle everything to install it on my quadricycle ?

    I am a bit scared about the noise though :)
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2008
  4. astring

    astring Member

    I'd say that do not marry the idea of two bikes connected. There could be a much more appropriate idea (homemade trailer, Dutch style bike?)
  5. philgib

    philgib New Member

    My idea has been on the road for days with my family of 5 and has been absolutely great thank you. :grin:

    Remember I aim at third world countries inter-connections between villages, not at modern commuting.

    What I expect to find from this clever forum is the cheapest solution to connect a small engine in hills or too heavy a load.
  6. astring

    astring Member

    As for cheap engines look to Craigs list. You will find "goped" scooters there with decent small engines. The trick is to talk the seller down off their price (they will probably discount the price if they hear what you are doing). Most people selling gopeds on Craigslist just want to get rid of them and they will talk on price. This will only work if you are in a large metro area.
  7. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Question: Are you contemplating building these quads here in the States, then exporting them through an NGO of some sort to their destination countries? Or are you attempting to develop a readily constructable plan/kit that will be shipped to the end user, to build the quad there?

    I ask because it makes a HUGE difference in what your actual needs are. Construction here and shipment to the end user is tantamount to the commonest current models of foreign aid, which mostly result in broken down equipment which is abandoned in place after enriching some local plutocrat. Costs of shipment of a complete quad would be enormously higher than a few essential kit parts and information. Not too mention, the quads would evaporate from the receiving nations ports like a mud puddle in 110 degree heat - if 5-10% of them actually reached the intended recipients I would be amazed.

    Far better too hook up with some existing honest NGO (there are MANY that exist primarily too enrich the "managers") in the country(ies) you target that has a presence in the rural communities that most need the aid you seek to offer. K.I.S.S. must be your first principle in design of any kit, and keeping an open mind regarding the sheer ingenuity of tribal villagers is the key. If what you offer is useful too them, and producible by their own effort and a few donated materials/instructions, they WILL figure out how to make it work, and keep working.

    30 years ago I showed some villagers in northern Lesotho how to make a passive solar air heater from scavenged materials, by building one onto a north wall of my house, then inviting them into the resulting warmth. I still correspond with a couple of people there, and those heaters and their derivatives can be found in nearly every village in Lesotho from what I've been told.

    Good luck with your endeavor.
  8. milegajo

    milegajo Member

    Hi Philgib,

    Have seen your post and would like to help, i have designed a range of quadricycles that utilise bicycle parts with a very similar end goal as yourself. current designs incorporate two engines putting out 3.5hp each yet running 220mpg. they are archaically simple but that is their ultimate strength. I plan to network with a charity called re-cycle as they already manufacture cycles in developing countries.
    In the UK people are crying out for affordable and economical transport and we intend to cater for this. Our range of engines can put out 15mph to 50mph dependant on set-up and i would love to help design a suitable solution for your endeavour.

    Kindest Regards,

    Mike Jones
  9. philgib

    philgib New Member


    I have not installed any engine yet, but this is still the plan. I am working on simplifying the connections between the bikes (they work perfectly now but would like local people to weld them very simply) so that I can only export the connecting hardware and work on local bikes.

    I am still working on 2 engines specs : a "solar" one (solar panel + 1 HP) but I am also definitely interested in a rock-solid and super simple engine. Two engines of 3.5 HP would be too much and would need a too powerful brake system. A big max of 2 HP would be more than sufficient, speed is not an issue.

    My budget is limited so I cannot order and try 5 different engines. I am still working on which engine is the most simple and reliable on bumpy and dusty roads.

  10. milegajo

    milegajo Member

    We have a very simple design that would indeed be simple for local folk to install. Can be welded but we are also developing a bolt on system. The solar seems interesting. The engines we use are 50cc and are adequate any less and you wouldn't have much pulling power if at all. Being two stroke they are simplistic and maintenance very straight forward. Bike brakes are sufficient as speed is not much more than 18mph-25mph the sorts of speeds achieveable through pedalling on the flat. I do feel we have a suitable engine at present. Would love to compare designs. If you wouldn't mind emailing them over, will do likewise.