Its coming along. This project takes a lot of work and time. A lot of the design work requires intricate detail, examinations, and re-examinations. Building the various components may present further issue not present in the design (although I try to animate the actual construction of many of the components) Additionally, I am learning much of this as I go along, and many of the tools take time to save up the money to purchase.
When will you be finished?
It takes as long as it takes.
How much will you sell it for?
If I end up manufacturing these, as one offs, they will be quite expensive, probably in excess of $50,000. But they will be fast. very fast. None of the mainstream motorcycle manufacturers have anything remotely like a recumbant motorcycle. Motorcycle racing rules have arbitrarily banned anything that could ever even remotely resmeble an Akira Bike, and manufacturers shy away from things that can't race (and thus can't win) If you ever want to see an Akira inspired motorcycle on the road, or for sale, consider supporting this project.
Kaneda says in the film "it puts out 200 HP at 15,000 RPM" and "It has dual ceramic superconducting motors" etc. etc.
There is much discussion online about the technical functionings of Kaneda's bike, but since it is only a movie, and this is also not the future, I will not be using superconducting electromagnetic motors in the hub of each wheel, and sparks will not fly out of the rims of the wheel (maybe in a later version, as I have experimented with superconductors!) I am frankly going to ignore all the technical references to the power and drivetrain in the film, and will be making first and foremost a functional, safe, driveable vehicle, and secondly one that looks as much as possible like Kaneda's bike from Akira. Currently however my final design incorporates a 150HP torquey engine and should perform quite well.
What are you using for tires?
Conventional motorcycle tires.
What will you be making the body out of?
The body panels will mostly be Fiber Re-enforced Composites, mostly Carbon Fiber and Fiberglass.
Why arent you making it electric powered?
There are no practical powerfull light electric motors that cost any reasonable sum of money that I could use in the design.. Although a serial hybrid system would be ideal, I feel electric motors are just too unwieldly and heavy at the moment and batteries can not store squat for energy. A typical battery stores about 100 Wh/kg, while gasoline stores well over 25,000 Wh/kg. I do not believe electric vehicles will be popular until there are some major advances in battery technology (like an order of magnitude)
What are you using as an engine/power system?
The first prototype is using a 500CC Tranverse V-TWIN from a used 1985 Honda, at about 45 HP, though I am hunting for a CX650 Turbo, which is about the exact same size and puts out 75HP. The final version will use a more powerful motor, 150HP is the current design.
Financial contributions are always needed. I do need some technical advisors, primarily in the area of composite body work fabrication, Finite Element Analysis, and Metal working (welding, machining, and sheet metal forming) Most of the areas I have taken upon myself to learn, but that obviously takes more time the shooting a question off to someone all-ready knowledgeable in the field. Additionaly, a technical expert on electrical circuits and wiring would be usefull, as this bike will require a few custom designs. Furthermore, someone knowledgable with web programming (preferably PHP) would be a great help to setup a forum for this site. So far I have received virtually no assistance on this project, total financial assistance has been about $200 (thank you for those who contributed!) and I almost had a web programmers. If you are interested in the project and have any of the skills but figured I all ready had some help, I don't, so please contact me.
Some of the information of my design is going to be kept confidential until I test it. I do not want anyone killing themselves on what might be a bad idea on my part. For that reason I will not elaborate one what types drivetrain I am using.
Using motorcycle designer Tony Foale's performance analysis software with some reasonable approximates on the final versions coeffecient of drag, rolling resistance, and weight bias I believe the bike will rival the fastest production bikes on the market in both acceleration and top speed (Hayabusa ranges)
The current design has a wheelbase of 110", this will shorten significantly after prototype testing is completed, but will still be significantly longer than conventional motorcycles
The prototype will be severely over-engineered, and so will be very heavy. I would wager a guess at 900 - 1,000 lbs for the prototype. The redesigned version should be more reasonable, at 500 - 600 lbs
Will the front fairing turn when you steer?
This is yet to be determined, it appears in the film that it does, although it is difficult to tell, it definately is part of the unsprung mass of the front of the bike (as in some scenes it vibrates significantly as if moving with the motions of the front axle) The large determining factor however will be where the center of pressure from side winds ends up being after the design is completed. If the CoP is above the steering axis, a strong sidewind will steer the vehicle into the wind, in which case it would make sense to have the Fairing attatched the the fork. However, if the side CoP is below the steering axis, a strong sidewind will turn the fork into the wind, countersteering the vehicle into the opposite direction, creating a destabalizing effect. If that is the case, the Fairing will be frame mounted. Additionally, the canopy glass would interfere with the handlebar turning if it was frame mounted, so I may make an effort to make sure the CoP is above the steering axis and make it rotate with the handlebars, though it will not be part of the unsprung mass of the vehicle. Right now the design has it not moving with the steering input.
Just behind the drivers seat back.
You should make your frame out of round tubing.
I should, but as I am learning most of this, working with round tubing is significantly more difficult than square tubing. Additionally, manufacturs are primarily concerned with cost of manufacturing, and can use less round tubing and make a stronger frame. As I am over engineering the frame, it will probably be strong enough, and resembles more of a racing roll cage frame than a motorcycle twin spar or tubular backbone frame. But this is just a prototype. The final version will be constructed out of 1" - 1.125" seamless DOM 4130 round tubing, I all ready have the tube bender, notcher, and TIG welder.
Will the front cowling rise up?
Absolutely, this is one of the coolest aspects of the Akira Bike design, and I have expended considerable effort in replicating this effect, I also think it provides a useful functional assistance in getting on and off of the motorcycle.
Email me if you have a question that should be in the FAQ! Or visit the FORUM
this page last updated 01-06-2010