When many of us hear the words jetbike or turbine powered bike, we think of Jay Leno riding around on his megabuck two wheeler powered by a helicopter turbine. Now that’s a very neat bike and given the opportunity, I’d love to ride it. Most of us, though, have far less money but some guys have lots of ingenuity, and that’s when interesting things start to happen. Quite a while back, E.J. Potter, the Michigan Madman, known more as the guy who stuffed a direct drive Chevy V8’s sideways into a motorcycle, went on to build a jet powered tricycle, using a rather large jet engine. That’s one way to do it. But suppose you want to build something more like a regular motorcycle, or maybe even something a little smaller, and power that with a jet engine, what do you do?
Russ Moore is one of those guys who has been around tools for a long time, his father was a machinist, his brother is a mechanic and watching them work and jumping in when he could while asking a lot of questions finally resulted in Russ becoming pretty handy with tools in his own right. So Russ begins talking crazy ideas with a friend of his and what comes up is the idea of putting a homemade jet engine into a Yamaha YSR50 motorcycle frame.
If you’re familiar with a YSR, you know they were a pretty compact little bike. They only had a 50cc engine so they didn’t need to be big but they are bigger than the current pocket bikes. Still, it’s a tight fit for most any jet engine you can think of so Russ decided to build an engine based around a Cummins ST50 turbocharger. If you understand how jet engines work you know a turbo is a great place to start and there are a lot of resources on the Internet with lots of other folks who do this sort of thing just for fun.
Russ has a website called Bad Brothers Racing, where he documents the entire jetbike build from original concept to its present state. It’s not finished yet but as you can see from the photo here it’s got a good running start and considering the amount of work that goes into a project like this, which is very evident from the many photos he includes on his well documented site, he’s come a very long way already.
These kinds of projects are extremely cool. Having megabucks is a great way to instantly have neat stuff but coming up with ideas and turning them into a physical finished product is the way to get a feeling of accomplishment you can’t get any other way. My hat is off to anyone who can put together something real and it’s one of the reasons why I like to point out so many interesting or slightly different projects like this, here on The Kneeslider.