Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Messages

Advanced

Steam powered motorcyles

Posted by Sean Cullen 
Sean Cullen
Steam powered motorcyles
March 18, 2002 02:57PM
<HTML>I am reasearching makers of steam powered road vehicles around the world and have foudn a few references to steam powered motorcycles in the UK. Does anyone have any information about makers in the USA (or anywhere else in the world).

In carrying out this research one question which has not yet been answered satisfactorily is did Japan ever make any steam traction enignes or steam rollers? I know that a couple fo steam cars were made there, but very little else.</HTML>
David K. Nergaard
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
March 19, 2002 09:10AM
<HTML>Sylvester Roper of Roxbury, Mass. made two steam 'cycles. The 1863(?) machine is in the Smithsonian museum. The 1895 machine is in private hands, and a replica is being made. Both are in operable condition, so far as I know.
A number of people have built "one offs" for their own use, and I know of a few of them. Do they count?</HTML>
chrusty
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
March 20, 2002 01:12AM
<HTML>yah, im planning on making the good old "one off" steam powered trike....
single cylinder, double acting, compound expansion....using brushcutter crankcase etc etc...
uh i read an article today about a motorcycle built on a harley"hummer{?}" frame...
light steam power it was in, 19 55 or so...not much info huh?
ill try to find some more lil' nug's of info if i can.....</HTML>
Sean Cullen
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
March 21, 2002 03:00PM
<HTML>Thanks for the info so far. I had heard of Roper, but only knew of one of his machines still in existence, so you have expanded my knowledge. I do know of a few others around the world (well, Europe really)

Michaux-Perreaux (1868) in a Museum in France

Haleson (1904) privately owned in the UK and in active use. I believe that Mr Haleson who built this machine worked for the Douglas motorcycle factory in Bristol.

Hildebrand (1889) a German maker. This machine is in the Science Museum colleciton in the UK (I thought that this collection actually had a second machine which had been sectioned, but cannot remember where I got that info from and have not yet had time to follow it up)

Paul Buard (c.1905) in the museum at the racing circuit at Le Mans, France. This museum is well worth a visit if you are anywhere near it as it also has a veyr good display on the steam vehicle of Amedee Bolee, plus a couple of other steam cars including a de Dion-Bouton-Trepardoux dog cart.

I am also happy to add one-offs to my list so that they are recorded, after all, many of the early pioneers of road steam only built single machines.

Sean Cullen</HTML>
Mark Stacey
Re: Steam powered motorcycles
March 21, 2002 05:51PM
<HTML>Hi Sean If you are interested in one off motorcycles there have been a few over the years in SACA mags and various other publications. I think SACA member David Sarlin had quite a collection of information as well as building/restoring steam motorcycles andmotorised bicycles.

Niles Gildenwater built a Watertube boilered machine. 1910's?
A Montessa was converted to steam by Stehphanie Thomas using a RJ Smith system. 1960's?
There was a Harley conversion with a fire tube boiler and Locomobile engine..
Easy Riders magazine did an article on Steam powered bikes. If you are interested I can fish out the issue number but like most non steam publications its fairly light on technical details.

Cheers
Mark Stacey</HTML>
Terry Williams
Re: Steam powered motorcycles
April 14, 2002 12:39PM
<HTML>David Sarlin did indeed have a very complete note/scrapbook on steam two wheelers. He sold this to someone in the UK before his death. Too bad he died so young, he was an ardent researcher ans sounrce on several aspects of "Steamdom".

David rebuilt the Niles-Gillenwater machine for a friend of his. He ran it a little too. I visited him several times during this reconsrtuction. The bike has a boiler like a Doble-Detroit boiler and was probably a copy. That would put it's manufacture post 1917 or so. I think some of the parts were early 1920's, some being Thor.</HTML>
Jim Reed
Re: Steam powered motorcycles
July 23, 2002 09:52AM
<HTML>I have some steam motorcycle info from England if you are interested. Regards, Jim Reed</HTML>
Merv Kroll
Re: Steam powered motorcycles
August 07, 2002 10:41PM
<HTML>Mr. Twombly made a steam motorcycle in Portland at the turn of the century. It had a generator like a boiler below the saddle containing 4 lb of ether, heated by burning gasoline. The vaporised ether - one third more powerful then steam - worked 2 small motors weighing only 2 lb each, which turned the rear wheel using cranks. The ether was then run to a condenser tank and used over and over again. 60 mph and 100 mile range were claimed. I have written info on it if you want it.

Enjoy</HTML>
Peter J. Antonakos
Re: Steam powered motorcycles
April 07, 2004 04:27PM
I would like to know more about the either powered machine. Pictures etc. This is different. How about using freon? Please reply Thanks P.J.A.
Peter J. Antonakos
Re: Steam powered motorcycles
April 07, 2004 05:41PM
Merv Kroll I would like to know more about the ether powered engine. I wonder if freon could be used?

Jim Crank
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
April 07, 2004 10:38PM
Sean,
The motorcycle that David Sarlin restored is the one that Gillenwater constructed in the mid 1920's, it is in the Clymer Steam Car Scrapbook.
It sat for decades in the window of the museum at the Cliff House in San Franciaco.
David restored the bike for Ed Zelinski of San Francisco, who still has it, and the day we got it running was covered by me in a 30 minute Super 8mm sound film. David did a superb job on the motorcycle.
The restoration was well covered in several hobby steam magazines, especially LIVE STEAM.
JC
dan zelinsky
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 27, 2004 04:29AM
Sean Cullen wrote:

> <HTML>I am reasearching makers of steam powered road vehicles
> around the world and have foudn a few references to steam
> powered motorcycles in the UK. Does anyone have any information
> about makers in the USA (or anywhere else in the world).
>
> In carrying out this research one question which has not yet
> been answered satisfactorily is did Japan ever make any steam
> traction enignes or steam rollers? I know that a couple fo
> steam cars were made there, but very little else.</HTML>

dan zelinsky
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 27, 2004 04:31AM
Sean Cullen wrote:

> <HTML>I am reasearching makers of steam powered road vehicles
> around the world and have foudn a few references to steam
> powered motorcycles in the UK. Does anyone have any information
> about makers in the USA (or anywhere else in the world).
>
> In carrying out this research one question which has not yet
> been answered satisfactorily is did Japan ever make any steam
> traction enignes or steam rollers? I know that a couple fo
> steam cars were made there, but very little else.</HTML>
chuk williams
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 29, 2004 03:57PM

Speaking of steam motorcycles--Graeme Vagg has noted an auction
taking place during the first part of June, that has quite a lot of
steam related items for auction, among which is at least one steam
motorcycle....the listing mentions a "Iver Johnson 26 inch Steam-driven
motorcycle"....there is so much great steam stuff listed---someone should
check it out.....I'm really sorry I can't make it....
The listing is;
[www.eauctionexchange.com]


Cheers---Chuk

rita flowers
Re: Steam powered motorcycles
June 10, 2004 03:38PM
please send me info
dan zelinsky
Re: Steam powered motorcycles
June 10, 2004 04:43PM
this one off steam mc is on display at Musee Mecanique , pier 45 shed "A" sf ca 94133.
Jason Merringer
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
July 23, 2004 02:32AM
This is off thread, but has anyone heard of a bike being modiied to run on hydrogen gas? Would probably have to be a 2 stroke to prevent corrosion fro the major by-product - H2O.....
David K. Nergaard
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
July 25, 2004 11:45AM
Pearson-Cox made a steam motorcycle in commercial quantities in England ca. 1910. One was on display at the Science Museum in Soth Kensington.
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 26, 2013 07:41AM
We are looking for actual timed speed runs of two-wheelers to figure out what the "record" is. Other than the news reports of Roper, I have not seen any.
Is it possible that someone knows who purchased David Sarlin's notebook? He was nothing if not thorough and that notebook must really be interesting.

Karl Petersen
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 26, 2013 02:18PM
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 26, 2013 05:07PM
Karl,
I doubt that since the Roper steam motorcycle days, that anyone has even tried to set an official steam motorcycle record, certainly not one even acknowledged by that FIA, which didn't even exist then.
Roper, according to what has been read, was happy that it was able to go that fast, not set any official record. Steam motorcycle speed records fall into the so what category.

There was lots written back then about steam motorcycles in various hobby and specialist magazines like STEAM POWER, SACA, CYCLE, LIVE STEAM, LSP, etc.. There were good articles written about the Pearson-Cox. Anton Boyaboy (sp?) offered a nice steam light motorcycle engine for sale for years. What about that Stanley steam Pacing Cycle? Google Steam Motorcycles then to Images and see for yourself now look at a carload of them, not rare at all.
I read David's collection several times and I hope you can reproduce it for us.
See what I mean about the lack of a really known, accessible, indexed and digitized steam reference library?

The Gillenwater was a most accomplished and well designed work, showing just how well one can compact all the machinery in a small space. David's restoration was first class.
I still have that half hour Super 8 mm sound film of us getting it running and David riding it up and down the street, plus the Besler steam airplane, streetcar and railcar negative and print. Too bad we as a club cannot get the funds to get a professional CD made of them.

I trust that steam motorcycle speed records are not being added as another side effort at Cyclone, unless a client fully funds it and there is staff to do the work. The Mk-5 and Mk-6 in production are more important. Actually a simple design effort really. Just look them up on Google and click on Images, enough there to provide any design effort.
Jim



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 05/26/2013 07:57PM by Jim Crank.
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 26, 2013 06:38PM
When I visited Cyclone last September, one of the head honchos said they had plans in the works for a steam powered motorcycle.
Ray
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 26, 2013 09:51PM
Right, Jim, it is a case of a small pond and Gillenwaters is still the big fish. I'd really like to get a trace on the Sarlin notebook. No leads so far.
The Team Steam USA is an offshoot which is putting Cyclone power into vehicles to set records, and it is totally funded (or not) by sponsorships as they materialize. Many racing groups have their plans mothballed due to the lack of corporate sponsors in the last few years. The cool part of using the Cyclone includes learning application lessons which benefit everyone including, I am sure, the Cyclone product integration programs.
So far the only known timed runs for recent steam two-wheelers have been the 1/8 mile runs at SACA events since 1998. These are not very official although they can be very serious if you discuss the point with the participants. As you know from your LSR experiences, it is good to have an official record to shoot for.
Ray, the Cyclone 2-wheeler work is awaiting that sponsorship. There was a tease from a potential sponsor and a concept was put together by Team Steam USA volunteer participation, but the wind changed and completely unrelated events steered the sponsor's interest elsewhere. The question of "what is the record to shoot for" still lingers.
Hey, Andy, nice video links. Steam 2-wheelers are getting more visible but the builders all seem to be in different worlds, which is where many steam car people find themselves.

Karl Petersen
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 27, 2013 01:39AM
Karl

There were more on YouTube. I linked to a few. There were Roper reproduction and others. Do a search for steam cycle, steam motorcycle or. loco cycle.

YouTube links change and get deleted from time to time. Listing ever one here would eventually lead to bad links. The R.J. Smith vid I haven't seen before.

Looks like a steam bike would be a fun project.

Andy
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 27, 2013 01:48PM
Karl,
All race teams are feeling the pinch with sponsors now, reviewing if the advertising they get is worth the bucks they have to spend. Red-Bull seems to be the only big one in for the long haul plus the factory teams in F-1, NASCAR seems to still attract big spenders too. Both are widely watched on TV, a bike, well, I don't know.

Sounds like you guys are going at records the right way. sponsors cough up first and with a stand alone corporation separate from the main one.
I think you may be right, Gillenwater's may have been the fastest, although I sure wouldn't believe the number in the Clymer book.
Actually, a steam motorcycle would be a fun and easy project to do, often mused about doing one myself. Suzuki has/had a neat shaft drive bike with an inline four cylinder engine, making for good room for the steam plant. Radiator could serve as the condenser.

If it was not to be powered by a Cyclone, the CAN AM ATV has a nice 90° vee twin with a 75 mm stroke, original pistons are the crossheads, you know, the usual route. There are others with vee twin engines too. Or some snowmobile Wankel on modest pressure and superheat just to see what happens, no smirking now!!
Jim

PS. Is there a way to temporarily park a post to go look something up, then go back to the post without losing it and having to write it all over again?
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 27, 2013 02:47PM
Hal Fuller (of MIT/SES/Skinner)) built one with I believe a direct crank drive 10HP Stanley engine and it was frightening in aceleration. I don't know the sustainable top speed but for a short burts using boiler overload it was very fast in acceleration. Maybe Hal could tell us more about it, it was made severa decades ago.
George
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 27, 2013 04:19PM
Jim Crank Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> PS. Is there a way to temporarily park a post to
> go look something up, then go back to the post
> without losing it and having to write it all over
> again?

Don't know Jim but I make a habit of highlighting what I have written then right clicking and clicking "copy" so I don't lose work halfway through a long post - using that system you would need to restart your post but at least you'd avoid the re- writing chore - as long as you didn't forget and copy something else on the clipboard!

Mike
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 27, 2013 08:25PM
Jim Crank Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> PS. Is there a way to temporarily park a post to
> go look something up, then go back to the post
> without losing it and having to write it all over
> again?

If you're using IE, I can't help you. Same for Chrome (but it's a great browser)

My primary browser is Firefox, you can just click on the icon and open as many separate browser windows as you want. Easy stuff.

I've had frustration with having my post under construction being deleted, if I'm going to do a long one I just do it in MS Word and then paste it into the post when I'm done.

Bill
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 28, 2013 04:04AM
Jim Crank Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> PS. Is there a way to temporarily park a post to
> go look something up, then go back to the post
> without losing it and having to write it all over
> again?

If you are using a PC browser, they all work similar to what bill described. You can find I as New Tab in the file menu. Also some have an unnamed tab that you simply double click.

If you have a text editor that could be the best. I have had some trouble with the site, I think trimming out, not taking the Post after composing it. Android phones have a version of Open Office that you can use to prepare and edit a post.

Andy
Re: Steam powered motorcyles
May 29, 2013 03:01PM
To continue the digression, Jim is using a Mac and therefore has different functionality than the PC users. The most foolproof way to compose a message, and one I use often, is to open a text editor, write the whole post and hop around to websites and reference files. When done, then block and copy the text and paste it into the reply window. Nothing gets lost, and you don't need to hang with the reply window open and your name shown on line while you are working up your magnum opus.

Karl Petersen
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login