String Trimmer powered bikes (and sidecar)

Thanks for the great welcome to a new member. I am attaching photos of a "Zipcycle" , a series of string-trimmer bikes that we built a few years (1994-2004) ago. They were all powered by Homelite (25cc.) string trimmers with a friction roller drive. Now that I am retired I have time to play with a few variations, and I present the first Zipcycle with sidecar, inspired by the recent forum photos of a sidecar for the powered bike. Just a frame now, I plan to add a vintage-appearing body. Notes on sidecar handling: Since I am not exactly a spring chicken, I took it very carefully at first. I went to a local school parking lot,(summer, so it was empty) and practiced first left-hand turns and then right hand turns. I kept increasing the speed until the sidecar lifted. A few more miles, and I began to actually enjoy it (no balancing at parade speeds). Still having fun.
Tom Bartlett


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WOW! Dig that! keep us posted as things progress and adventures are had.
Hey Tom, looking good. By chance, is that drive roller an ex Boat plug or an old brake stop for roller skates?
One more question. By looking at the close up shot of the roller, I can't tell if it is mounted with a bearing brace on both ends or not and if not wouldn't that tend to bend the axle especially if hitting bumps?
You have given me some ideas to try with my little bitty weed whacker motor, so I tap the brain of experience = YOU!
Zipcycle "Indian" edition


While you are building your toy, maybe you could fill the forum in on this EXCELLENT example of a Zipcycle. The detail was astounding, even having detail etched through the metal in 4 places I believe.... even the mirror was a class act !!

I have twenty pix of this bike, after that B'ham News article ran, this fella rode up from Altoona to see if I knew anything about the bike he bought from a friend.

I am impressed, and when you fill me in with the heritage, I'll tell you how much he paid the guy !!!


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Towards the end of the Zipcycle production cycle (about 2002-2003 or abouts) Murray ceased production of bikes at Lawrenceburg, TN, and opened a plant at Mentachie (spelling?) MS. Basically, they were importing completed painted frames and such from China, and assembling them in MS. Murray's line included one cruiser with retro springer fork, "hairpin" seat, luggage rack, alloy wheels, stainless steel spokes and chain, and the paint shown in your pictures. Zipcycle chose this model as the top of their line, (most others were built on beach cruiser chassis from J&B Importers) but did not build very many. Your pictures show one of the best...I only know the existance of one other, belonging to a collector here in Double Springs. I believe one went to a collector in Sweden, and one to a collector in Japan. I remember asking the Japanese fellow, "Why would you want to ship a bike all the way to Japan?" In barely understandable english, he answered, "Looks very American." Thanks for the pictures. Brings back old memories.