Electric penny farthing project

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mlt34   100 kW

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Electric penny farthing project

Post by mlt34 » Sep 18 2014 12:48pm

So for some reason, I'm not entirely sure why, but I've been wanting to build an electric penny farthing for a while. A big one, like at least a 48" wheel, would be preferable, but they're pretty expensive. The best I found was for about $1,000 from here: http://www.hiwheel.com/antique_replicas ... andard.htm
Image
That one has a 16" rear so it'd be super easy to put a rear geared hub in it.

There's a cool little 700c front wheel, 12" rear wheel one on ebay for only about $220, but who knows what shipping from the UK will be. Here's that one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/PENNY-FARTHING- ... 1163192660?
Image
That one would already work with a 12" casted Q85 I have. The downside is it's smaller and more of a modern take on a penny farthing. To be honest, it'd be more practical though. I want to build it because I think it would be both fun and funny, but it'd be nice if I could actually get some use out of it too.

Anybody know of some good source for a penny farthing that won't break the bank? I've been looking around and believe it or not, it's hard to find a bicycle with a 130 year old design. :x
Are you planning your first electric bicycle conversion? I wrote a book that teaches beginners everything they need to know about building their own ebike.
Then I wrote the book (literally) on building custom lithium batteries.
I also write for EbikeSchool.com, a site that does mainly how-to style articles and other informational write-ups. Check out our youtube channel for great how-to battery building videos.
Lastly, I run www.Vruzend.com, which sells solderless 18650 battery kits, 18650 cells, li-ion chargers, BMSs and more!

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Jonathan in Hiram   1 kW

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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by Jonathan in Hiram » Sep 18 2014 3:49pm

Mark Twain tried to learn to ride a Penny Farthing and wrote about his experience..

http://www.bikereader.com/contributors/misc/taming.html
Taming the Bicycle
by Mark Twain

I thought the matter over, and concluded I could do it. So I went down and bought a barrel of Pond's Extract and a bicycle. The Expert came home with me to instruct me. We chose the back yard, for the sake of privacy, and went to work.

Mine was not a full-grown bicycle, but only a colt -- a fifty-inch, with the pedals shortened up to forty-eight -- and skittish, like any other colt. The Expert explained the thing's points briefly, then he got on its back and rode around a little, to show me how easy it was to do. He said that the dismounting was perhaps the hardest thing to learn, and so we would leave that to the last. But he was in error there. He found, to his surprise and joy, that all that he needed to do was to get me on to the machine and stand out of the way; I could get off, myself. Although I was wholly inexperienced, I dismounted in the best time on record. He was on that side, shoving up the machine; we all came down with a crash, he at the bottom, I next, and the machine on top.

We examined the machine, but it was not in the least injured. This was hardly believable. Yet the Expert assured me that it was true; in fact, the examination proved it. I was partly to realize, then, how admirably these things are constructed. We applied some Pond's Extract, and resumed. The Expert got on the other side to shove up this time, but I dismounted on that side; so the result was as before.

The machine was not hurt. We oiled ourselves up again, and resumed. This time the Expert took up a sheltered position behind, but somehow or other we landed on him again.

He was full of surprised admiration; said it was abnormal. She was all right, not a scratch on her, not a timber started anywhere. I said it was wonderful, while we were greasing up, but he said that when I came to know these steel spider-webs I would realize that nothing but dynamite could cripple them. Then he limped out to position, and we resumed once more. This time the Expert took up the position of short-stop, and got a man to shove up behind. We got up a handsome speed, and presently traversed a brick, and I went out over the top of the tiller and landed, head down, on the instructor's back, and saw the machine fluttering in the air between me and the sun. It was well it came down on us, for that broke the fall, and it was not injured.

Five days later I got out and was carried down to the hospital, and found the Expert doing pretty fairly. In a few more days I was quite sound. I attribute this to my prudence in always dismounting on something soft. Some recommend a feather bed, but I think an Expert is better.

The Expert got out at last, brought four assistants with him. It was a good idea. These four held the graceful cobweb upright while I climbed into the saddle; then they formed in column and marched on either side of me while the Expert pushed behind; all hands assisted at the dismount.

<snip much more dry wit you can read at the link>
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mlt34   100 kW

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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by mlt34 » Sep 18 2014 4:27pm

So you're saying I should go for it?
:P
Are you planning your first electric bicycle conversion? I wrote a book that teaches beginners everything they need to know about building their own ebike.
Then I wrote the book (literally) on building custom lithium batteries.
I also write for EbikeSchool.com, a site that does mainly how-to style articles and other informational write-ups. Check out our youtube channel for great how-to battery building videos.
Lastly, I run www.Vruzend.com, which sells solderless 18650 battery kits, 18650 cells, li-ion chargers, BMSs and more!

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Jonathan in Hiram   1 kW

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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by Jonathan in Hiram » Sep 18 2014 4:35pm

As long as you keep an Expert around to dismount on you should be fine.

:D
"Any sufficiently developed magic is indistinguishable from technology" -Agatha Heterodyne
"Sometimes I get tired just smilin' " -The Checkered Demon
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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by waynebergman » Sep 18 2014 10:24pm

Mount your Battery Pack low :)

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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by docnjoj » Sep 19 2014 8:50am

One of the reasons the Safety Bicycle became popular is because of the high death rate from folks falling over on the Penny and dying. Perhaps something to think about. Helmet? HANS for your neck?
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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by r3volved » Sep 19 2014 9:14am

docnjoj wrote:One of the reasons the Safety Bicycle became popular is because of the high death rate from folks falling over on the Penny and dying. Perhaps something to think about. Helmet? HANS for your neck?
otherDoc
Not sure of the correlation, but perhaps "greasing up" before riding is not the best idea

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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by The fingers » Sep 19 2014 9:23am

Maybe an ambulance for a support vehicle. :P
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docnjoj   100 GW

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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by docnjoj » Sep 19 2014 3:25pm

r3volved wrote:
docnjoj wrote:One of the reasons the Safety Bicycle became popular is because of the high death rate from folks falling over on the Penny and dying. Perhaps something to think about. Helmet? HANS for your neck?
otherDoc
Not sure of the correlation, but perhaps "greasing up" before riding is not the best idea
Ummm.........do I really want to know where the grease goes? :oops: :oops:
otherDoc
E-bike stable at our house

Steintrike Mad Max full suspension trike rear Cute 100H going on: Whoops, Cute wheel broke but I fixed it.
Sun USX delta trike EbikeKit small geared front wheel sort of front suspension for wife

Agniusm/A123 AMP 20 36 volts on the Steini has been taken off.
2x16000 Multisport from HK now gone as they died after 2 years
New Luna 10S bottle battery 13.6AH now on mine
Relatively New 10S4Px2 for wife's bike giving 20ah @ 40 volts home made Panasonic from Tumich. BMS's rule.

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mlt34   100 kW

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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by mlt34 » Sep 20 2014 2:31am

Yea safety would obviously be a serious concern, though I like the idea of that 700C front wheel, 12" rear wheel modern day penny farthing. It has the funny/fun look that I'd like, and is lower to the ground and more utilitarian.

I found two problems with it though. I calculated out the pedal cadence and at just 10 mph the pedals would be going 120 rpm. Kinda dangerous for a fixie…

Also, they only seem to exist in the UK, and shipping to the US is about the same as the $220 purchase price.

This project might not be going very far :cry:
Are you planning your first electric bicycle conversion? I wrote a book that teaches beginners everything they need to know about building their own ebike.
Then I wrote the book (literally) on building custom lithium batteries.
I also write for EbikeSchool.com, a site that does mainly how-to style articles and other informational write-ups. Check out our youtube channel for great how-to battery building videos.
Lastly, I run www.Vruzend.com, which sells solderless 18650 battery kits, 18650 cells, li-ion chargers, BMSs and more!

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The fingers   100 GW

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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by The fingers » Oct 31 2015 11:47am

http://www.automotive.basf.com/e-bike-c ... cation2015 :?
“Even if this bike isn’t a realistic concept, it has smart solutions that are leading into the future. And that’s only possible because we decided to take a step back and look into the past,” said Rudolph.
Black Schwinn High Sierra
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Black Fiore Cruzer 5: Amped Warp Drive 26" Front DD/SLA kit
http://ghostbikes.org/
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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by Sunder » Oct 31 2015 4:10pm

You know. I saw this title and thought nothing of it initially. Then I thought, electric penny farthing. This could be so steampunk.

Then, just to be even sillier, Australian law says that you're not allowed to attach an internal combustion engine to a bike. But it doesn't forbid external combustion engines. Rather than an electric penny farthing, any thoughts of doing a small steam engine driving penny farthing?
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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by Hillhater » Nov 01 2015 6:26pm

Sunder, I don't know if you have seen him, but there is a guy in Sydney who rides a 700c wheeled unicycle around the North Shore ( hills included !) in full Lycra gear.
I must find him and see how it's set up, because he is not slow, it definitely goes way more than 10mph.
May be some kind of Geared pedal hub in the wheel ?
EDIT:- thinking about it, it probably is one of the 36" wheel versions ?
Last edited by Hillhater on Nov 02 2015 1:14am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by Dauntless » Nov 01 2015 9:02pm

Sunder, THAT was a comment worthy of the name. (Like a shot out of the park in the World Series.)

http://www.boehm-stirling.com/shop/en/i ... aQodhJ4NCQ

So the Stirling Engine is an external combustion engine. Normally a bit of a divergence on an electric board, but the Stirling seems a popular device around here.

https://jet.com/product/detail/280c4a13 ... c3ba4?jcmp

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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by justin_le » Jul 26 2017 4:23am

Funny I didn't expect to see a thread already in existence on this topic! I'd also been dreaming of doing an electric high-wheeler conversion for many years and recently through the grapevine heard of someone who had a large number of modern replica penny farthing's in storage, and got my hands on two of them to convert in time for a local EV show. No doubt the small motor on the back makes them WAY easier to ride.
Justin on Electric Highwheeler.jpg
Electric penny farthing at the VEVA Electrafest Show in Vancouver, July 2017
Justin on Electric Highwheeler.jpg (245.19 KiB) Viewed 1269 times
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Re: Electric penny farthing project

Post by mlt34 » Jul 26 2017 9:52am

Justin, everybody. Showing why the "search" feature is important!

Awesome build! Unfortunately I never progressed with this project, but I'm glad to see that you did! The hardest part for me was finding a penny farthing. I still have a 12" q85 motor just waiting for something fun like this...
Are you planning your first electric bicycle conversion? I wrote a book that teaches beginners everything they need to know about building their own ebike.
Then I wrote the book (literally) on building custom lithium batteries.
I also write for EbikeSchool.com, a site that does mainly how-to style articles and other informational write-ups. Check out our youtube channel for great how-to battery building videos.
Lastly, I run www.Vruzend.com, which sells solderless 18650 battery kits, 18650 cells, li-ion chargers, BMSs and more!

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