100cc Beater Racer (2010)

We believe this is Hasebe Keisuke riding a highly modified FF racer based on a Honda Ape 100 in the Yoshimura 4 Mini Sprint at Fuji Speedway in September 2010. It was entered by a company called Beater who are renowned for their top-quality aluminium fuel tanks.
Thanks to Rob Horn, Mari Kew and Kyle Bowker for the information. See their comments with more info below the still photo of this machine here: http://bikeweb.com/node/3022
Photographer unknown.

100cc Beater Racer (2010)

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I'll be interested in Bob Hornes take on this! But you have to admire the ability of motorcycle people, a racer even, to do the wrong thing. One wonders; do they think they have to adopt this contorted position becaue it's a PTW. Or is it just that their leathers don't fit in any other position? Definitely would have helped to look at what some other damm fools have done.

However, I also have to note that, as there is no 'seat back capable of fully suporting the rider' it aint an FF. So it goes.

It does have a seat back, not

It does have a seat back, not unlike a Gurney 'Gator. I'm guessing the rider is leaning forward since A) That's the Proper Way to minimize frontal area, as is done in Proper Motorcycle World, and B) Eliminating the room for leaning back makes the wheelbase shorter, again, as is "Proper".

My racer still gets "But that's too low for congested traffic/You'll get hurt if you run into cars" comments on facebook from dimbulbs that can't comprehend the operational difference between a racer and a mobility appliance.

Reflective Sam Browne belts for all...


Seat backs not always made use of, even when they're there.

I naturally thought of the Gurney 'Gators too, although it's clear from my photo of Alex Gurney riding his father's machine up the Ortega Canyon in 2011 that he doesn't actually use the seat back at all when cornering hard. http://bikeweb.com/node/2408

As you will...

That seat back's main quality is that it will reliably break the riders back in any sort of rear impact. It's certoinly not 'fully supporting ' the rider. In any case moving the rider forward, placing the legs alongside the front wheel, moving the fuel tank to below/behind the rider and above all, fitting a tail section, will make this vehicle faster, more controllable and efficient.

The seat back, the most important component of an FF, is there to increase rider security and control authority, to exploit the advantage of low CG. If the rider isn't using it for that purpose there's something wrong, with the ergonomic layout and/or the rider's software.

It's good that someone (else) somewhere is trying to break out of the motorised bicycle mould. The objective has to be to produce a complete package of advantages, dynamic, ergonomic and aerodynamic. This doesn't require imagination, just applying the relevent sciences and, mainly, studying the other damm fools.

Nice picture though.

Unmotorised FFs...

I've often wondered if the pedal powered FF (AKA recumbent bicycle) designers have a better grasp at designing and making reclined seat backs that work best for single track vehicles than repurposed car or kart seats and don't otherwise look like lawn furniture. The seat on my racer was modeled after one I first made for a human powered racing recumbent trike - will use the same ergonomics again.

Studying what works well with recumbent bicycle designers/builders will lead to the same conclusion as Royce's entire last post - can't word it any better.

Mike Burrows FF/recumbent work alone is well worth studying.

Oh yes - an earlier and very lightweight FF project of mine:


Watch the e-powered "recumbants!"

Rob makes a good point about seatbacks. Pedalo FF design (I politely decline to type 'recumbant' when 'FF' is avaialble) is the only area at present where two wheeler seatbacks are being purpose designed. And there is no practical distinction between pedalo E-FFs and full on FFs, except for the pedals...

However, in road-going FFs there are a number of factors that make carefully chosen car seat backs attractive.

The seat back needs to be mounted at it's base to allow for shock absorbtion and prevent a sore neck as a result of being thumped between the shoulder blades on bumpy roads.

Rake adjustment is essential in a production design and easy way to get correct rake in one-off designs (Lumber support adjustment is also a nice feature)

The unit needs to be able to protect the rider from a rear impact

These are all standard features on car seatbacks

On the other hand some car seat backs offer excessive lateral, upper body, support, (e.g. 'race' seats and particuarly kart race seats), These provide lateral suport up to the armpits which is intrusive in a road-going FF where the riders upper body needs to move across the seat back in low-speed manoeveres.

The now-legacy Volvo seatback I've used in the past, suitably re-covered to be waterproof, was sold to the Voyager project for £28 a pop, by Volvo, and I challenge anybody to combine it's qualities (Rake, lumbar support adjustement, tip forward latch, proven crash protection, extremely simple) for that price! It was chosen after sitting in a great number of cars in scrapyards.

FF prototyping is a lengthy, intensive and quite expensive process. Best to focus on the unique features and packaging challenges and use other people's carefully thought out solutions where available. It may be neccessary to re-invent the (front) wheel, but not the seatback.

The monoliner race seat, had it been supplied, would have been a stock race seat, moulded in PU foam, with the actual rider fitted, then carved to provide suitable clearances and marginally skinned in Epoxy/Glass fibre. You'll find exactly that unit in Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes. The 1kg. 2-pack PU kit is sold by race shops here as "seat Foam"