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Bike engined cars


Maxyboy
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Has anyone any experience of bike engined cars?

Something along the lines of a Westfield, mk or a mnr vortx.

Last weekends caterham day has got the juices flowing and the bike engined machines seem to be fast enough, and more importantly, cheap enough for battering about on track and the occasional, very occasional road use.

The caterhams are rover engined so surely a bike engine will be more reliable?

Any thoughts welcome.

Edited by Maxyboy
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"The caterhams are rover engined so surely a bike engine will be more reliable?"

They will also be very light, very powerful (bhp/litre), come with a sequential gearbox & have minimal transmission loss (15%) so can see why they make sense in a light car as torque won't be great.

I think Hayabusa engines are the popular choice - 1300cc, 197 bhp, 100 ft/lb of torque (at 7600...) in a 100 kg package (cw 6 speed gearbox, slipper clutch etc.)

The standard bike runs 10s and the engines are meant to br able to handle 150 shots of nitrous if not quick enough for you...

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Hi there, A few years ago, I wrote an article on a three-wheeled Morgan replica that was powered by a Honda CB500 motorcycle engine. The guy who owned waqs an engineer and he built the whole thing himself. I'll have a look for it and post it soon. I'm six foot five and weigh around 100kilos and it managed to haul both myself and the owner up a pretty large hill!

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A friend of mine (before he emmigrated) earned 'pocket money' (as he called it) building up kit cars to order. I had a quick drive in a Westfield XTR2 (1300cc Hyabusa engine) that he was building for himself and it was mind blowingly quick!

I'm used to 1000cc bikes so I knew what to expect but something about it being on 4 wheels made it seem faster than I was expecting.

He used his as his daily drive (lunatic!) and tracked it a fair bit. In the 2 years or so he had it before upping sticks he didn't have any problems with it. It was driven very hard but bike engines are designed for the upper end of the rev range.

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A friend of mine (before he emmigrated) earned 'pocket money' (as he called it) building up kit cars to order. I had a quick drive in a Westfield XTR2 (1300cc Hyabusa engine) that he was building for himself and it was mind blowingly quick!

I'm used to 1000cc bikes so I knew what to expect but something about it being on 4 wheels made it seem faster than I was expecting.

He used his as his daily drive (lunatic!) and tracked it a fair bit. In the 2 years or so he had it before upping sticks he didn't have any problems with it. It was driven very hard but bike engines are designed for the upper end of the rev range.

Was the lack of torque an issue?

I really would love a caterham but don't really want to spend that much on a track car.

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I have never been in one but have been in an F1 sidecar (tuned ZX10 powered) getting underway was tricky but the acceleration was huge due to the huge slick tyres !

I would imagine the lack of torque is not such a big problem on the car type setups as won't be geared for such a high top speed as sidecars are, will be more like driving a small engined very revvy car so more gear changes & have to get things right but very satisfiying when do, just don't expect to monster up hills in 5th from low rpm !

Remember a 300 kg of bike & rider will stand on its back wheel in 3rd with agressive acceleration (although this has a lot to do with the moment of interia of a bike) so although may not be an ideal choice for a car don't be too put off without trying one !

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I've heard that the bike-engined ones need a lot more TLC, they're noisier, and there are loads of scabby/unfinished/rough ones about too, BIL had a Hayabusa engined 7 of some kind, no reverse, electrical gremlins galore, drum brakes, nasty nasty thing, but fookin' rapid.

Depending on your budget I'd be looking at a Vauxhall/Ford/Rover powered Westfield or similar. Loads of 'budget' alternatives available, but take your time, and be choosy. Even a 1.6 engined car will be super-quick.

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I've heard that the bike-engined ones need a lot more TLC, they're noisier, and there are loads of scabby/unfinished/rough ones about too, BIL had a Hayabusa engined 7 of some kind, no reverse, electrical gremlins galore, drum brakes, nasty nasty thing, but fookin' rapid.

Depending on your budget I'd be looking at a Vauxhall/Ford/Rover powered Westfield or similar. Loads of 'budget' alternatives available, but take your time, and be choosy. Even a 1.6 engined car will be super-quick.

I can't vouch for the build quality/running gear etc. of the conversions & may be down to being built on a budget, but from what I have seen of Jap bike engines they are pretty good with long service intervals, of course they were designed to drag around 1/2 the weight which might take its toll. They tend to need more oil changes as the gearbox (& often the clutch) is shared with the engine oil as well as the engine itself being in an extreme state of tune. They don't have hydraulic cams so valve timing still needs adjusting at anywhere between 7,500-20,000 miles depending on the motor.

50,000 is certainly considered very high mileage for a bike but I don't know if that is more down to usage patterns meaning a 50k bike is physically very old rather than actual longevity, high mileage bikes certainly look sorry for themselves but this is probably due to being ridden in all weathers to get to that mileage rather than a consequence of the mileage itself as the "tourers" are often seen with very high mileage on them but is all gentle use.

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Really ? I will have to check but I thought my Ducati was 7,500 for valves & my Yamaha was definitley 23k miles for valve clearances (all 20 of them...) I guess it must need oil in-between which I always did myself do they do anything more than oil every 4k ? (Never had a Honda, knew the Yamaha valves were exceptional but thought Ducati was meant to be one of the worst)

Edited by mb
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I had a Megablade for a year from about 2005 to 2006.

It ran a 919 fireblade engine TTS tuned, with a funky air-intake, and the dizzy off a different honda bike.

The car weighed in at 480Kg and was dynoed with 135 bhp, with the sequential box mated to a driveshaft stretching to the rear of the car.

The lack of torque was an issue mainly as the additional load of a car with a driver (say 600Kg) is significantly more than a bike and rider (say 300Kg).

Like riding a bike it's best kept over 5k revs, but only really got into its stride at 8k plus then it was over in a blur at 11.5k.

The performance was great 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and the standing quarter in just over 12 seconds. But it was the ingear acceleration that was the most amazing thing. I remember a particularly good tussle with an M5 down the foss-way.

Because there's not much mass it's easy to scrub off speed with relatively agricultural brakes (no abs on mine), and consequently change of direction with the wider bodied megablade was superb as it stuck like sh*t to a blanket to the road. Some fun was always ready to be had with the rear end in the wet or dry, due to the weight distribution and power to weight ratio; there was great scope for oversteer..... that car really taught me how to drive.

I would say though that you couldn't use this other than for short journeys, my maximum journey was approx 90 miles and I was absolutley shattered (not to mention deaf). Sitting so low (i could touch the road with my hand) and without a windscreen (I had a deflector) i felt incredibly vunerable and it was physically demanding to drive.

The other thing about bike engined cars is their throttle control, in a car there's a relatively large travel from closed to full open on a bike its a much smaller distance, so quite often you could find yourself screaming up the road if the car went over a bump and made you hit wide open throttle! Trust me it's not much fun when it catches you out!

For thrills bike engined cars are awesome for acceleration, but the lack of reverse gear (you can get electric ones) could catch out the unwary, and as I said already the throttle response was too much to handle.

I actually contemplated getting either the rover engined (not as bad as they sound) or Ford Pinto engined replacement, but settled for an A6 4.2 Quattro Sport instead (go figure:p)

If I were you I'd try one for an hour if you can then think really carefully if you can live with it! As Scotty says, servicing is at quite short intervals, and there is a lot of extra strain on the transmission of running a bike engined car, but for sheer speed they are awesome.

I'll see if I can find some pics

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That is an interesting write up ! Sounds like some though needs to go into making the pedal act more slowly on the throttle body - maybe by changing the radius of the cam on it ? Good thought about hardwork driving it as bikes are quite tiring but you wouldn't expect this of a car but sounds like is far more so !

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